What’s one of the most defining characteristics of a country’s culture? Food. And boy, does America have a lot of it.
Literally. The food portion sizes are double what Australia serves. At first I was startled, but now I have accepted that it’s the norm here. Throughout my stay in the US, I have identified the foods that make Wisconsin unique, and have even taste-tested some of them. To ensure Australia is not judged based on my biased opinions, I brought some of my fellow Aussie Badgers along for the ride too. So what foods have not crossed the cultural divide into Australia and how do we feel about them? Let’s find out:
Mac ‘n’ cheese pizza
I feel like mac ‘n’ cheese pizza is a pretty adequate explanation of American food. American people love bringing two completely different foods together into one meal. They absolutely love mac ‘n’ cheese and absolutely love pizza, so why not combine the two? Genius!
Australians also feel the same about this, apparently. One Aussie badger said it was ‘weird but amazing’ and another wishes that our pizza stores were more conveniently located for the 3am feed after a big night out.
Wisconsin cheese curds
This was a big one. I had heard about Wisconsin’s love of cheese and dairy before I left Australia. The love is real. The Wisconsinite’s love for cheese curds is even stronger. I was told I HAD to try the ‘squeaky’ cheese. That’s a pretty accurate description. I like cheese curds, although I’ll admit I prefer them fried and free from that one farmer’s market stall at the Capitol every Saturday. All the Aussies liked cheese curds too, perhaps because when fried, cheese curds are remarkably similar to haloumi. However, to my dismay, haloumi is all but unknown in Wisconsin. Strange but true. Get on it, Wisconsin!
As soon as Fall arrived (on September 23rd, how unusual), pumpkin-flavored everything was massive. Pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattes were what I was advised to consume ASAP. Whilst I haven’t tried the pumpkin pie yet, I ordered a pumpkin spice latte soon after. My conclusion? Kind of weird. I’m a die-hard coffee addict who likes the taste of coffee. I thought the coffee-pumpkin combination was slightly unusual, although another Aussie Badger said that they’re nice unless there’s too much syrup. I think I might have to go another round.
Some approaches to food that the US has is bewildering. One Aussie Badger pointed out that the US appears to have a ‘fry anything and everything’ mantra. Cheese curds? Fry ‘em. Chicken? Kentucky fry it. Nothing is spared!
The sugar content in normal foods was also startling. All the Aussies agreed that it was peculiar how sweet cereals and bread are. The first bite of Special K was not what I expected! It was packaged the same but it was significantly sweeter! That was a shock, to say the least.
Americans definitely know their confectionary. I have never seen more than an aisle of the stuff! It’s a double-edged sword really- I love chocolate but I know I can’t try them all because I would probably pass out from the sugar high!
All in all, American food is both a blessing and a sin in disguise- it tastes amazing, but your belly and arteries won’t thank you for it!
- Nat Kasch
- Rhys Scholefield
- Kate Fester
- Jamie Watts
- Mary Crowley