What Chinese students think of Southern food
I just finished taking Noah on a cultural food tour of various parts of the world represented by Nashville food outlets, and now my friend Charlotte Fraser has alerted me to this. A woman currently teaching in China made a PowerPoint presentation of iconic regional American foods and the reactions of her students. We may turn up our noses at bird’s nest soup and chicken feet, but the Chinese have some equally negative reactions to foods we in the South hold near and dear.
Grits: No. Ew. Why eat that? That is not good.
Biscuits and Gravy: No thank you. NO. Pretending to vomit.
Red Velvet Cake: BLOOD. IT IS LIKE BLOOD. Is it meat? I don’t like it.
Sweet Tea: It’s…sweet…tea? Why is that good? I don’t understand.
That’s okay. I understand. Not three states to the north of here, people don’t understand about grits and sweet tea.
In the North, people grow up eating Cream of Wheat. It’s kind of like grits, but not. It’s made from wheat. How good could that be? Ew.
Northerners do not understand the proposition that gravy can be white. Gravy is brown there. And they would never put it on a biscuit because all they have are English muffins and toast. No thank you.
They also do not understand why we would put red food coloring in a chocolate cake batter to achieve the violent hue that is Red Velvet Cake. Yes, it is like blood. Very, very tasty blood.
Sweet tea. I must confess I hate sweet tea, but here’s the moment when I realized most of the country doesn’t even understand what it is. I was traveling through Kansas a while back and stopped at a restaurant for supper. The waitress asked about my drink order and I said, “I’ll have unsweet tea.” She looked at me quizzically. “That’s all we have. What is sweet tea?”
Of course, the quiz about regional foods covered more than the South. Here’s the link. I don’t understand why the Chinese students expressed great enthusiasm about tacos and chocolate chip cookies, but could not embrace the cornbread. Then, again, I’m still not embracing the chicken feet.