Culturally Discombobulated

Tag: America

America Comprehended: Study Abroad

STUDY ABROAD: Program where American college students spend a semester or two at a foreign university, thus allowing them to experience a foreign culture in the best way possible – by living and socializing exclusively with other American study abroad students.

America Comprehended: Delaware

DELAWARE: US state referred to as “the first state” on account of being the first state to ratify the constitution, thus disproving the adage that winners always come first. Population size: snug  

Any color as long as it’s green.

In an obnoxious tradition (not rooted in Ireland), Americans feel entitled to “playfully” pinch you if you’re not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day; yet punching them back and deriding them for cultural appropriation is somehow not considered “playful”. American social rules are difficult for a foreigner to navigate at times.

Not that St Patrick’s Day in the US has anything to do with Ireland. No, this is a holiday run purely for the benefits of an avaricious if imaginative food coloring industry. In the early 60s finding themselves with an excess of unwanted FD&C Green No.3 and Fast Green FCF, the decision was taken to illegally dump these chemicals into the Chicago River. Fortuitously they happened to do this on the weekend of St Patrick’s Day. Never the sharpest, the people of Chicago assumed this was deliberate and celebrated accordingly. Spotting a market for their green dyes, the food coloring industry have since then been convincing various brands that in order to fully embrace the Irish spirit they need to make full use of green coloring – despite the only thing green you’ll eat in Ireland being mushy peas. How else to explain the likes of these?

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The Shamrock Shake is McDonalds’s misplaced and diabetic-inducing effort to US-Irish relations. It was popularized in the 1970s by McDonalds character / marketing brain fart, Uncle O’Grimacey. Pathetically, 85% of Americans believe Uncle O’Grimacey is what people in Ireland actually look like.

Maternal Tea Party

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Mein Mutter is visiting. That involves one thing and one thing only – tea. My mother, like many a little English woman, is to tea what Tony Montana is to cocaine. In a week how much damage will she do this box of 100 tea bags? Place your bets now.

Wholesome American experiences #34: Kraft mac and cheese

Today we debut an irregular feature in which the author for the first time experiences something that might be considered typically American.

In a decision I’ve immediately come to regret, I’ve just had my first experience of a Kraft mac and cheese dinner.

I now feel awful, like I’ve taken part in some classified scientific experiment – only without the bonus of my beneficiaries receiving compensation from the government in thirty years time.

This wasn’t food. This was a sad simulacrum of food. The future as perceived by the 1950s.

I’ve got the warm, cheesy sweats, man. It’s a cheese powder-induced fever. I’m also pretty certain I’ll be pooping out something orange later this evening.

p.s. America, mac and cheese – like lasagna or coq-au-vin or the KFC value chicken bucket - should not be considered appropriate as a side dish.

p.p.s. Comments about British cuisine will be heavily moderated.