Thanks to an abundance of cooking shows on cable and satellite TV, there’s no shortage of foreign foods that Americans find totally gross. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe foreigners have similar reactions to some of our American classics? They do.
There are some things we eat in this country that just don’t make sense to those not born and raised here. Some of those foods just look gross; some of them really are gross. So gross, in fact, that some Americans won’t even eat them.
For your dining pleasure, here is our list of 10 American restaurant classics that gross out foreigners:
1. Biscuits and Gravy
This Southern breakfast classic consists of light, fluffy biscuits and some sort of sausage gravy. Such breakfast fare is not so unusual to certain types of Europeans, but go to South America, Asia, or Africa and you’ll find they think that biscuits and gravy is pretty gross. A recipe from Bob Evans shows their gravy – which is what most foreigners consider the gross part – consists of browned sausage, flour, milk, salt, and pepper.
2. Bacon and Eggs
As long as we’re talking about breakfast, bacon and eggs is another recipe strange to many foreigners, especially in countries like France, where breakfast consists of some sort of fruit along with a bread product. Foreigners find our bacon and eggs especially difficult to swallow if the bacon is greasy. But even the eggs don’t look all that appetizing to those who haven’t grown up with them.
For one last look at gross breakfast food, we give you yet another Southern classic: grits. This dish is a soupy, pasty porridge made up of ground corn, water, and a few other ingredients. The Food Network offers a recipe from Paula Deen, if you’re interested. And just so you know, any self-respecting restaurant claiming to serve authentic Southern food will have grits on the breakfast menu. That’s just the way it is.
4. Peanut Butter and Jelly
Because peanut butter and jelly is so common to American households, it’s normal for family restaurants to include it on the kids menu. Heck, even some adults will enjoy a good PB&J at lunchtime. But not foreigners. To this day, many of them are grossed out by the sight and smell of peanut butter. That’s a shame, because they’re also missing out on other classics like goober peanut soup.
We decided to lump every casserole into this one category because, quite frankly, the majority of foreigners find them all disgusting. Whether you’re talking about Aunt Genevieve’s famous bean casserole or the tuna and cream of mushroom casserole mom used to prepare during Lent, there’s no getting around the fact that these meals are more than an acquired taste.
6. Corn Dogs
Did you know that the original corn dog was patented in 1929 by an inventor from Buffalo, New York? Even so, the historical nature of the corn dog doesn’t make it any more appealing to non-Americans. Since its inception the corn dog has gone through its own evolutionary changes to arrive at what we now find being served by restaurants and street vendors and at state fairs across the country.
Let’s be honest; we’ve all had a meatloaf or two that was gross even by our own standards. Imagine what foreigners must think of this classic American restaurant food. To some, it’s the egg that makes the recipe unbearable. To others, meatloaf is unpalatable because it’s dry and flavorless. But Americans love it, as evidenced by the number of family restaurants serving it.
8. Spam Sandwich
The good folks at Hormel take a lot of ribbing where their signature Spam product is concerned. And despite the fact that Americans devour this product without question, foreigners are a lot more choosy when it comes to their meat. They don’t like Spam specifically because no one really claims to know what’s in it. And besides, meat packed in a can is just not the way they do it in most other countries. Thanks to Monty Python, however, there may be some Brits who actually enjoy a good Spam sandwich.
9. Cold Breakfast Cereal
Making a quick return to breakfast for just a minute, have you ever considered cold breakfast cereal from the hotel restaurant’s buffet? We think nothing of making our breakfast a combination of grains, sugar, marshmallows, and milk or, heaven forbid, some sort of fiber-rich cereal that amounts to nothing more than a nuclear laxative in a box. As for the foreigners, many will eat biscuits and gravy before they’ll think about cold breakfast cereal.
10. Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich
The Philly Cheesesteak sandwich was allegedly invented by two Philadelphia hot dog stand owners who were experimenting with chopped steak and onions on Italian bread. That said, the modern cheesesteak is disgusting to most foreigners because of the ingredients involved. A true, classic cheesesteak uses the worst cuts of meat available along with hot, melted Cheese Whiz―another classic American food that foreigners hate.
We certainly have some strange foods here in the USA. But, there’s no place like home. Most of us would prefer to eat what we’re used to rather than try something different from another country. And that’s probably where all of these negative feelings come from anyway. So whatever you eat, enjoy!