Minor things that I just find interesting:
At restaurants and such, you can order half a fried chicken. When you get it, you remember that chickens in the states are over-processed, hormonally stuffed, cage fed mutants. Because half a chicken here has about as much mean as a leg quarter does in the states, if you are lucky, but it also has about three times more rich flavor.
Eggs: I buy them in the store. They are not always 100% clean.
This is puzzling to me: I make deviled eggs here a lot, and more than half of the time the yolk is not dead center of the egg, it’s more toward the end, which means the deviled eggs are not quite so pretty. But why would the yolks be all the way down at the narrow end of the egg so often? What makes them grow that way?
Vinegar: I have seen apple cider vinegar in the stores, but it’s kind of expensive. Vinegar is mostly white and made from cane sugar. I did not even know that was a thing. Whole 30, paleo eaters would have a hard time here. Everything is sweet.
On the other hand- as an assiduous label reader due to Cherub’s allergies (corn, wheat, eggs), I have been very happy with the things she can eat here that she could not at home. Corn, not being a government subsidized and thus artificially saturating the market ingredient, is *not* in everything. It’s not much in anything except products you would expect it to be in- corn nuts, corn chips.
It is in a couple things I would not expect it to be in, but it’s well labeled. It’s in some desserts- a kind of ice cream, a custard. Whole corn kernels. It’s rather shocking after coming from Indiana. I remember a Japanese friend telling me that the one American food she could not get used to and none of her friends from Japan could, either, was rice pudding. It was so wrong to her. This is how I feel about whole kernels of corn in a dessert. Culture does that to you- because why is that so weird? Fresh sweet corn is one of the sweetest things on earth, after all. But you eat it with butter and salt, not sugar and ice cream, because that is just how it is. (at Shakey’s pizza in Japan, they put corn on pizza, and this was also totally bizarre to me, although I did learn to enjoy cuttlefish on pizza, I never could handle corn pizza).
Likewise, due to my southern heritage, I eat my watermelon salted. My kids do find that weird, but I know they are wrong and I am right. Filipinos eat their jicama (singkamas) with salt, which I find weird. I tried it, and I still find it weird. But I can’t figure out why it should be. Watermelon and jicama are both sweet and juicy. I think watermelon is delicious lightly salted, and salted jicama just tastes like somebody had an accident with the salt shaker, but there’s no objective reason this should be so. Culture is that thing where you don’t even know you have it until it bumps up against somebody else’s different culture and both of you are wondering why on earth the other one could…. think that, eat that, enjoy that, be offended by that, not be offended by that, not see that, do things that way, not do things that way….
Traffic can be crazy busy, and drivers do what seem to me to be daring and risky things, but it mostly works. Somebody told us whenever there is a bad snarl and backed up traffic jam, that is almost always because there is somebody directing the traffic instead of leaving it alone and letting it work itself out. This fits with my own observation as well.
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