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Aug 18, 2011 05:06 AM

Food/dish you are surprised hasn't caught on

I always thought cocktail sauce could become a major force at least in the U.S. but it is still relegated to seafood. Maybe the makers all do ketchup so they don't want to hurt their sales of that.

Tortilla Esponola is another one. Americans love eggs.

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  1. Duck (and Goose).

    (Wild) Duck and Goose could barely be more popular among hunters in America and yet the domesticated versions barely show up on our tables (at some restaurants, yes, but not like Chicken and Turkey in our Homes).

    And when you consider that Goose and Duck are a great "compromise" between red meat and lighter meats (like Chicken and Turkey), I really don't get it. But, I am mainly confused because I love the stuff.

    27 Replies
    1. re: DougRisk

      I love the stuff too, but you are basically highlighting the flaw of this discussion: Good does not equal popular to the general American palate. Homogenized, generic, sweetened, unthreatening, no truly defining taste - that's what sells.

      1. re: MGZ

        Ya got that right! I'm just waiting to see the first tank semi trailer pumping out cheese sauce into the various chain joints.

        1. re: MGZ

          Seems a needless generalization.

          1. re: jmckee

            As the discussion is implicitly about popular tastes, it seems generalizations are practically required. The instant inquiry can best be paraphrased as "why aren't these great tasting things more commonly enjoyed?" Whether an individual enjoys them is irrelevant and fundamentally established by the basic premise. How else could we address the topic? Economic concepts, for example, would only go so far.

          2. re: MGZ

            Well, we just need to define parameters: I think we'd all agree that in the past 20 years food culture in the US has made great strides (case in point, uh, Chowhound). If we're talking about the still-sizable minority of the population that *does* care about food, it's a far more interesting argument...

            I do think for decades due to industrial economy we were swayed away from stronger tasting meats/fish—game, goat, duck, etc. But that's changing...

            1. re: MGZ

              You know, I find that others are WAY more critical of Americans than I am. When I think of the number of things that have caught on in America in last 40 years, it is pretty amazing. But, to give just one example that Anthony Bourdain has highlighted: Sushi.

              Sure, sure, there is plenty of bad Sushi to be had. But many good options as well. And, like he said, if America is willing to take on Sushi then we are likely to take on anything.

              1. re: DougRisk

                Americans have recreated sushi so as to make it acceptable to their tastes. They have not really embraced it in its true form. I can't put it any better than our friend la2tokyo did in a recent post:

                "I quit making sushi after ten years because everyone forced me to put hot sauce on their fish and turn all their sashimi into ceviche. I got so sick of waking up in the morning to go to the fish market, working all morning to prep the best product that was humanly possible for me to serve, and then have someone ask me to cover it with mayonnaise, bake it in the oven with sriracha on top and turn it into a "Volcano" roll or something like that."

                Things don't really "catch on" in this country, they are brought here from other places and made to conform to what is common and acceptable. That's been going on for a lot more than forty years.

                1. re: MGZ

                  I know what you mean. Our supermarket has stopped making a lot of the nigiri options to make room in the case for the "fancy" rolls. They just look so unappetizing to me with all that sauce and god knows what else on them.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    it wasn't the customers who came up with mayonnaise and chili drenched sushi - it was chefs.

                    1. re: thew

                      Yep, I guess you're right. I tried one of those rolls in a restaurant and was so disappointed. There were so many ingredients on it, it was just a mess and I couldn't even taste the fish!

                      1. re: dmjordan

                        they love mayonnaise in Japan. its on everything. including sushi

                      2. re: thew

                        thank you. People cannot "demand" things that they don't know about.

                      3. re: MGZ

                        "Things don't really "catch on" in this country, they are brought here from other places and made to conform to what is common and acceptable."

                        Based on my travels, I don't think this is simply an American thing. I think it's a human thing. YMMV

                        1. re: GirlyQ

                          Yeah, I find that imported cuisine is almost inevitably tweaked to fit local tastes and ingredients.

                          My impression is that the sushi rolls were originally designed to get people who wouldn't touch raw fish with a ten food pole into sushi restaurants, and a lot of people will only eat the rolls, rather than sashimi. I actually do like the rolls, if done well, but tend to think of that as a separate food type. In East Asia, you have to search around to find a place that does decent rolls though, as you generally aren't going to find a dynamite roll at a sushi restaurant.

                          But I still maintain that processed cheese slices have absolutely no place in a sushi restaurant of any type.

                          I've seen some interesting things done to pizza and Italian food in Asia - takoyaki or kimchi beef pizza come to mind, as does Taiwanese pasta (Boil spaghetti, very al dente. Choose one of three sauces - tomato, cream or pesto. Mix sauce and pasta with the ingredients of choice, say bacon and mushroom, or seafood, or mixed vegetables, and serve with cream of corn soup and sweetened iced tea on the side).

                  2. re: DougRisk

                    I think people are intimidated by cooking it at home, due to the fat. It's not hard to manage with a bit of practice, but roasting a chicken rarely involves flames or smoke. And I suspect badly prepared chicken is more palatable than badly prepared duck.

                    I love duck myself, though. If I don't feel like cooking it at home, there's a roast duck place on the corner near my apartment, selling half and whole ducks. You get the breast sliced and served much like Beijing duck, with pancakes, sauce and green onions, and the rest of it is chopped up and stirfried with basil, chili-peppers, and sauce.

                    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                      Duck, goose and pheasant are amongst my favourite things to cook and eat. If I see them on the menu you can be sure I'm having it!

                    2. re: DougRisk


                      My coworkers in UK eat boatloads of this stuff. All the benefits of tofu (or your favorite soy product) with a meat-like texture... so they say. See

                      Also marmite of course...

                      1. re: drongo

                        Our eating of quorn no doubt co-incides with the loss of our empire.

                        1. re: Harters

                          I could have sworn there's quorn in the U.S. But even so, there are so many meat substitutes available in the U.S. (certainly in NYC, DC, and Boston) that the cultured fungus that is quorn isn't really needed.

                          1. re: Lizard

                            It's in the fake frozen meat products section in larger supermarkets.

                              1. re: Lizard

                                The "could have sworn there's quorn in the US." Yes, there is, in larger supermarkets.

                                1. re: ferret

                                  But there isn't in Canada. Banned here.

                        2. re: drongo

                          I checked my local Acme supermarket... and lo & behold, I'm now the proud owner of a package of frozen Quorn "Naked Chik'n Cutlets". It was in the section of the supermarket labeled "Natural/Organic" ... I laughed long and loud.

                          Now to try this stuff...

                        3. re: DougRisk

                          I agree with duck and goose. If I find one in the local market is is also frozen and shoved in the back of the case ... and always overpriced. Which may be the reason it hasn't caught on. Other things I rarely find in the market that I would like are lamb and rabbit.

                          1. re: DougRisk

                            Oh yes. Duck is one of my favorite foods. I have liked goose the times I have had it, but it's hard to find

                          2. I will replay again...

                            Crumpets. They take almost no effort to prepare, they are easy and tasty, they take on many popular toppings (i.e. Butter, Jam, Preserves, Cream, etc) and are relatively inexpensive (in their home countries).

                            And we love our starches.

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: DougRisk

                              I think the problem with crumpets is that they aren't different enough from American-style English muffins to really seem to be worth it for most shoppers.

                              1. re: beachmouse

                                beachmouse wrote: "I think the problem with crumpets is that they aren't different enough from American-style English muffins to really seem to be worth it for most shoppers.".

                                Great comment. This makes me really curious as to what English muffins and crumpets are like in the US, because to me these 2 things are so different in texture and taste. It's like saying that bagels and hamburger buns aren't much different to each other.

                                1. re: Billy33

                                  what are you guys talking about? there are crumpets in every store I've ever been to in America.

                                  1. re: Billy33

                                    I've never seen a crumpet, and to look at me you can tell I have had a few cookies in my time.

                                    1. re: Billy33

                                      Indeed, crumpets and English muffins, in Canada anyway, are quite a bit different. I would never confuse one for the other. I guess they are both bready, cakey type things and both delicious with butter and jam, but the comparisons pretty much stop there.

                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                        Thjey look similar as well.
                                        They both serve as vessels for whatever topping you might want, and the toppings will be similar. ie - butter and jam, peanutbutter, etc...

                                        The big difference is in the texture - crumpets are doughy, soft, and very chewy, but English Muffins are crispy and doughy..

                                        I love both!

                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                          "Thjey look similar as well." [sic]

                                          I don't know about that. A crumpet is like a pancake cooked on one side. English muffins are more like a bun.

                                          1. re: SnackHappy

                                            Sorry, but an English muffin is nothing like a bun!

                                            They are both round disks with nooks and crannies.

                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                              I guess we don't get the same kind of English muffins. The ones I buy are smooth all over and I have to split them open to find any nooks and crannies. Much like I would with a bun.

                                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                                Well, actually, you got me there, you do have to split them open - but once open Crumpets and EM's are basically the same shape.

                                                Thomas' Enghlish muffins are the Only brand! I think you can get generic, but I don't know of another brand name that do them. Never saw them in a bakery or anything like that, either.

                                                I wonder why?


                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    Whaddya know!

                                                    I've never seen them.

                                                    I did Google home-made English muffins, and homemade one look exaclty like crumpets, actually.

                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                      Someone gave me a gift once, years ago. They were okay but not worth what they probably cost.

                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                      Wolferman's as a business enterprise is a puzzler. I have yet to eat a product from there that tastes "artisanal." It's all just variations on store-bought English muffins. Huge waste of money from my perspective.

                                                      1. re: ferret

                                                        Is that true of most national mail order food stores that are popular? The ones that come to mind quickly are Harry and David, Omaha Beef, Swiss Colony, off the top of my head. I think of them as gift items when you don't want to send a gift certificate or flowers and don't know the person well.

                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                          None of those have good quality products, in my experience.

                                            2. re: NellyNel

                                              Perhaps north American "English muffins" are different from muffins in England. Here, a muffin is like a bread bun, soft and doughy. A crumpet is a completely different beast, in its taste, look and method of cooking.

                                              I had never seen a muffin until I visited America in 1980 when I was intrigued to see "English muffins". They're quite popular in shops here now. Our normal supermarket does a very nice cheese and black pepper one.

                                              1. re: Harters

                                                I'm pretty certain English muffins are the same as muffins in the UK. They're bread cooked on a griddle whereas a crumpet is a type of griddle cake made from batter and not leavened dough. Taste and texture are quite different.

                                                I think the similarities pretty much stop at general shape and size, geographic origin and usual toppings.

                                    2. I'm assuming that you mean havn't caught on in America?

                                      I say this as the things you and the earlier posters mention are popular here in different parts of Europe. I imagine there are some popular American things that havnt caught on here.

                                      20 Replies
                                      1. re: Harters

                                        Chime in! What hasn't caught on in the UK that surprises you? I'd be curious.

                                        1. re: Jen76

                                          Salad. Good, inventive, salads.

                                          And in line with a discussion on the UK board that involved schooling one of the UK posters whose knowledge of the US was entirely limited to occasional visits: DELI. Seriously impossible to find sliced turkey breast for deli sandwich. And few options elsewhere-- UK is a fan of the reformed meat product if the general popular offerings are any indicator. (I am DYING here.)

                                          And frankly, the celebration/recognition of Hanukkah. That is, I cannot understand how a festival that celebrates with fried foods has not caught on here.

                                          1. re: Lizard

                                            Inventive salads? I see them all the time...

                                            But I agree with you about many Jewish foods that aren't known outside hardcore deli culture: matzoh brei, gribenes, kreplach...

                                            1. re: tatamagouche

                                              Do you live in the UK? Because really, no salad... And outside of London and certain major city centres, hardly any Jews. I am very lonely up North.

                                              1. re: Lizard

                                                Living in Edinburgh I have never (knowingly) met a Jew here, but then I'm in the student community and I only know the religion of close friends. I do think there is some sort of society/community at the uni - most major faiths have one.

                                                1. re: Xantha

                                                  There are around 250,000 Jews living in the UK (as per 2001 national census), with some two thirds living in Greater London. The next largest centre of population is Manchester with about 30,000. That's less than 0.5% of the total population.

                                                  That's about the same sized group as Chinese and a bit smaller than Bangladeshis - both groups have had major impact on UK food culture. No doubt, because many have been involved in the restaurant trade , whereas Jewish immigrants brought other skills and did not, generally, set up restaurants or other food related businesses here.

                                                  In terms of population movement, it's perhaps interesting that the census notes there are more folk born in America living in the UK , than born in Bangladesh. And American born residents are the fifth largest foreign group (after Irish, Indian, Pakistani, and German).

                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                    Just a quick request that the focus here remain on food. Racism and antisemitism are huge, important issues, but really too huge and off-topic for our site.

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      250K Jews (or any other population) in the UK doesn't sound like a whole lot of folks to me, but then I'm not a statistician. Harters- is that a significant population?

                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                        Well, I like to think we're significant, but no, these numbers are tiny.

                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                          Not statistically significant - as I mention upthread, less than 0.5% of the population.

                                                    2. re: Lizard

                                                      I normally find myself in complete disagreement with Lizard whenever the state of British food is concerned. However, in this respect, for once I agree with her/him.

                                                      It is certainly much easier to find good food and ethnically diverse food in urban areas than it is in rural.

                                                      In that, I'm fortunate to live within an hours drive of three of the UK's major cities so it is comparitively easy. That said, many of the country's top restaurants (as rated by Michelin stars or Good Food Guide scores) are found away from the major industrial cities. Only last week, in rural Wales, we had two great dinners at nationally acclaimed "upscale bistro" type places.

                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                        Only very recently decent coffee has started to catch on. Until a couple of years ago, the best you could get was that awful milky 'coffee' Starbucks served up or horrible stewed liquid. Coming from New Zealand where good coffee is a way of life, I couldn't believe there were very few decent cafes in London that served good coffee and a nice home booked muffin or great breakfast (i.e. not a greasy spoon). Cafe culture hasn't really caught on here in the UK - yet.

                                                        1. re: pj26

                                                          Well even in the USA, we are not homogeneous. Ice coffee, down south, was not popular for years. And you could not have gotten that most delicious of ice creams, coffee, in the south either. But you could get more weird super sweet fruity flavors.

                                                          And up north, you can get ice tea, but your basic southern sweet tea is not a staple.

                                                      2. re: Lizard

                                                        Hi—sorry, been in deadline hell. No, in the U.S.

                                                    3. re: Lizard

                                                      "turkey" in US "delis" is definately a "reformed meat product". I find myself wondering what natural turkey tastes like!

                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                        Sorry, but no. Perhaps where you live, but in NYC, turkey is turkey breast. Full stop. Perhaps we should stop making generalisations about such an enormous country.
                                                        (Although your statement really really makes me want to make a generalisation about the flyover states.)

                                                        1. re: Lizard


                                                          Go ahead, make your generalization. Let's see what it is. :-)

                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                            Erm, would you mind making your argument? This data is something, but I honestly have no idea what kind of point you want to make.
                                                            In the meanwhile, i can continue to aver that I've had proper trket breast from many an NYC deli.

                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                              "In the meanwhile, i can continue to aver that I've had proper trket breast from many an NYC deli."
                                                              Sure. But one can also get reformulated turkey, as described in that pdf file I posted, in NYC as well as almost anywhere else in delis in lots of places. Your statement in your post suggested that "turkey" in a NY deli was always and only turkey breast. Even if that was true, the pdf article makes clear that such "whole muscle" turkey breast meat destined for delis was compressed together and processed further - so one can hardly say that one gets "turkey breast", as a piece of breast such as one might see after being cut from a whole turkey, as the only offering in a NY deli.

                                                              As for that "generalization" about flyover states in the US, from someone who lives in Europe - let's see what it is...

                                                    4. re: Jen76

                                                      Patterns of immigration can affect things, of course. We have always had significant Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish immigration to parts of the UK. My own area, in north west England, has a very long-standing Sephardic community - such that when Ashkenazi were emigrating westwards in the 19th and early 20th century, from Russia, through England, to America, a significant number stopped here. But their foods have never really impacted on the wider community.

                                                      Similary, we had significant immigration in the 1940s/50/60s from the Caribbean which has had minimal impact on food culture.

                                                      If I had to guess at reasons for this - when we have very much taken on board foods of more recent immigrants (from Hong Kong, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan) - I suspect it's because those immigrant groups precede our growing overseas travel in the post World War 2 period and the consequent discovery of "foreign" foods. It is also the case that both Jewish and Caribbean groups quite quickly Anglicised themselves in many ways. That is not to say that there are not communities, it is just that in food terms, they dont get a wider audience.

                                                      On a specifically American theme, I would agree with Lizard about salad. It is generally rare to find the prominence given in America to it in not only the UK but throughout Europe.

                                                  2. Fruit Fools.

                                                    I mean really, it's good home-made whipped cream with fruit and sometimes (though not when I make it) nuts folded in. Easy, and c'mon it's a dish based on folding things into that heavenly fluffy dairy product WHIPPED CREAM!

                                                    Oh well, it's lack of popularity makes mine look all impressive (and lessens the chance that it will be a duplicate of what somebody else brought.... not that too many fools would be a BAD thing....) when I bring it to a party lol. Being here in California there is always some wonderful fruit (ESPECIALLY during strawberry season! OMG strawberry season in CA.... Oh yes....) to make a fool of. One time for a party I made a chocolate/coffee whipped cream and strawberry fool and put them in the same bowl (after the manner of Neapolitan ice cream... separate flavours touching, know what I'm talking about?) and it went over really well.

                                                    For that matter, home made whipped cream in general. I understand that we Americans like our pre-made stuff, but I have run across so many people who have either never (and I mean never) had home-made whipped cream or only had it once or twice in their life, it's crazy. Cold cream, softened/melted gelatin, vanilla, and sugar in the mixer mixed until desired thickness and everything measured only according to taste (in other words, as unsweet or as sweet as I've wanted it, I've never managed to mess it up). In case anybody is curious, I prefer to make my whipped cream ultra thick. I basically play "chicken" with it in the mixer and let it whip until it is JUST about to separate and make butter. So far I've managed to avoid making butter, but my mom did tell me once that she managed to accidentally make whipped butter one time by overwhipping her cream. She said it was wonderful on toast, so it was no great loss.

                                                    14 Replies
                                                    1. re: Popkin

                                                      Good point. I left convenient off my list above.

                                                      1. re: Popkin

                                                        I hear ya! I make fools regularly and love them. My favourite is elderberry which I had in England. Not only fools but Eton Mess! I mean, it's delicious and so simple.

                                                        1. re: Popkin

                                                          I read your first line with the voice of Mr. T in my head.

                                                          1. re: Popkin


                                                            I recently read a posting on another (non food) board where someone was crowing that she had FOUND A SUBSTITUTE FOR COOL WHIP. Just whip some cream with your mixer!!

                                                            I truly wish that I was kidding, that there were not Americans who think that Cool Whip is the original and whipped cream a substitution that they cleverly came up with.

                                                              1. re: rohirette

                                                                Cool Whip was something I ate (blech) when I was on weight watchers in the 80's.

                                                                Now, it's a staple in most homes of the families I know. I believe it became that
                                                                way because people thought they could have a low fat option to whip cream. However,
                                                                far fetched the flavor is, it can be an alternative for some I suppose. For me, it's not a replacement, I'd rather not eat it at all.

                                                                1. re: rohirette

                                                                  I know what you mean. My wife was amazed when I suggested that, rather than BUYING Stay-Puft Marshmallows, that I MAKE marshmallows at home! She truly didn't know that you could actually make your own marshmallows!

                                                                  1. re: rohirette

                                                                    I'm really glad (but also sad) that I just read that. HA

                                                                    1. re: rohirette

                                                                      The sister of a guy I used to date had made Knoephle soup from scratch and she proceeded to tell me she couldn't believe the recipe had called for cool whip. Being of German descent I asked to see the recipe..lo and behold the recipe called for whipping cream which she assumed meant cool whip...

                                                                      1. re: rohirette

                                                                        First time tonight I laughed out loud- and then a shiver ran up my spine. Thanks for the full experience.

                                                                      2. re: Popkin

                                                                        You put gelatin in your whipped cream? Whipped cream for me is always 40% fat, hand whisked with some regular sugar and some vanilla until it forms soft peaks.

                                                                        1. re: Xantha

                                                                          I just like a really stiff whipped cream (^_^) I usually whip up a good bit then stash it in the fridge for use for a couple of nights, and the gelatin helps keep it stiff in the fridge. I would of course never denigrate the softer styles, whipped cream is always heavenly.....

                                                                          I also really like to use it for for frosting cake and cupcakes, much preferred in this house to buttercream for the most part.

                                                                          1. re: Xantha

                                                                            I use gelatin in whipped cream when I'm going to transport it. I also like it fairly stiff.

                                                                          2. re: Popkin

                                                                            What we do instead of fools is, we have our fruit with ice cream. And what we do instead of trifle, is we make shortbread.

                                                                          3. falafel- its fried, portable, cheap, and yet unavailable in many areas in the united states

                                                                            camembert - so similar to brie, yet not a household name in the usa

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: PotatoPuff

                                                                              I actually prefer Camembert to Brie. And I never met a falafel I didn't like.

                                                                              1. re: PotatoPuff

                                                                                Falafel? Not sure about "unavailable in many areas" but larger cities are overrun with falafel options. Near my office in downtown Chicago there are no fewer than 7 falafel-centric fast-food places within a fairly quick walk. Jeez, it's even on Subway's menu. If it's not in your town yet, it soon will be.

                                                                                1. re: ferret

                                                                                  I was thinking the same thing. Years ago in New York City, I used to think that the falafel was the city's official food.

                                                                                  Still, they can be difficult to find in many non-urban places.