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American Cuisine : Articles About USA
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It doesn’t have to be this way. Although the U.S. is the home of fast-food, processed meats, fried cheese sticks and all-you-can-eat buffets, there is a way to eat healthy in America. In fact, if you avoid the traps, you can find the healthiest food in the world. Here are a few tips to find the best American cuisine without sacrificing your health.
Avoid Chain Restaurants
They are not all bad, but everything about these franchises is based on marketing tactics that have been replicated all over the country (and sometimes the world). Chain restaurants look identical in every city and serve identical food. To find a more personal dining experience, choose the type of food you want and then look for small locally owned restaurants. In these cafés and restaurants you will find unique recipes prepared according to your specific desires by highly trained chefs. The restaurant design will be a better reflection of the local people and culture.
In the past 15 years or so, there has been a surge of new micro-breweries in major cities across the U.S. These micro-breweries usually employ a highly trained master brewer who makes stout, bock, ale, amber and wheat beers—each hand-made with the best ingredients. The rise of micro-breweries is just another example of how Americans are increasingly turning away from mass-market chains.
Explore Regional Foods
If you look beyond the chain restaurants, you will see that every geographic region in the U.S. offers a distinct style of food that reflects the local culture. In Louisiana, you will find French-based Cajun food, such as spicy seafood gumbo. In Texas, New Mexico and Arizona you will encounter authentic Tex-Mex food, which is an adaptation of Mexican cuisine. San Francisco is famous for sourdough bread and fish. Minnesota offers dishes made with wild rice, which originated with Native Americans in that state.
Between Washington, D.C. and Maine, in the northeastern region of the U.S., you’ll find the best lobster and crab in the world. The historic town of Annapolis, Maryland, which sits on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, is one of the best places to enjoy fresh blue crabs. Maryland watermen commonly catch more than 40 million pounds of blue crabs each year, making the 320-kilometer-long bay one of the richest crabbing areas in the world.
A typical crab meal works like this. A waiter or waitress will roll brown paper across the table and set out the instruments needed for successful crab dissection: a wooden hammer for cracking shells, a small fork for digging out the protein-rich meat packed tightly in chest cavities, a knife, plenty of napkins, and cold beer. Then he or she will stack big pile of crabs in the middle of the table for everyone to grab.
The Maryland blue crab’s body is an underwater suit of armor. Therefore, many crab parts, due to the animal’s defensive nature, must be opened with force. Once the outer shell has been snapped off, most people start yanking out its lower legs and then tear off its powerful forward pincers. The claws must be hammered open. Children, especially boys, enjoy this process more than most rides at Disney World.
Before long your table will look and sound like a war zone piled high with crustacean refuse, as if a bomb had exploded and scattered everywhere little scraps of shell, green slime, and entrails. It’s all great fun! By discovering the regional foods, you’ll be discovering the heart of American culture.
Explore America’s Ethnic Diversity
There is a school district near Washington, D.C. in which more than 220 languages are spoken. This incredible ethnic diversity has brought a wonderful explosion of diverse foods to American shores. In all major cities you can find a vast array of ethnic restaurants that serve food from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, India, and South America. There are very few places in the world that offer such a great opportunity to explore the foods and traditions of the world. So take advantage of the cultural diversity in your backyard.
Cooking at Home
If you walk through the aisles of a typical American grocery store, you will find an incredible diversity of products from around the world. Unfortunately, the cheapest and most convenient foods will be full of fattening ingredients such as sugar, bad carbohydrates and high fructose corn syrup. In order to escape the American obesity epidemic, you should buy fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins (fish, chicken and beans), and whole-grain bread and rice. Avoid processed foods and products based on white flour. It will be helpful to have a couple of American, health-food recipe books on your shelf.
Ask for a box "To Go"
When you go out for a meal, remember that most American restaurants serve far more food than a person needs to eat. Estimates vary, but some researchers have found that the average restaurant meal contains 1,000 calories (including an appetizer and drinks). So, if you order a meal and it arrives on a giant plate, eat only half of the food, ask for a “doggie bag” and take the rest home. Another way to reduce calories at a restaurant is to avoid appetizers and alcoholic drinks. In addition to keeping the weight off, you will also save money.
Author: Glenn McMahan
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