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Dec 19, 2011 08:10 PM

American food used globally--

I roasted a cauliflower tonight with butter and sweet curry powder. I was wondering how an East Asian cook might feel about using curry powder for roasting a vegetable. Would she think it totally weird? And then I wondered about how people from other cultures might use American ingredients. Would they use them in a way I would think was totally weird? So, I thought I'd ask here. Do you know of ways American ingredients, such as chocolate chips, pecans, sweet corn, popcorn, pumpkin, cream cheese, chili powder, or any other American food is used elsewhere that is a surprise?

And now I will tell you that I saw one episode of Nigella Lawson's that featured chili! I was so surprised. But what really raised my eyebrows, was how she seasoned it--she used dried red chilies. No chili powder. I have to admit I thought that strange.

How about you?

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  1. Here in Israel many cooks add large chunks of pumpkin to chicken soup. (I don't care for it myself - like the 2 flavors, but not together.) Sweet corn is a popular pizza topping.
    Speaking of chili powder, it's not commonly used here. I hunt for bottles of McCormick's in specialty stores. I don't recall ever seeing curry powder in 20 years living in this country, although turmeric is extremely popular.
    Almost forgot -- popcorn is sold pre-popped and pre-salted in large bags, at pitzuchiot (kiosks with a variety of nuts & seeds for snacking), and eaten cold.

    3 Replies
    1. re: almond tree

      "Speaking of chili powder, it's not commonly used here."

      What about spicy food in general. I figured, with your climate, spicy food would be pretty popular.

      1. re: DougRisk

        While chili powder may not be common in Israel, you can find a lot of hot-pepper-based sauces and condiments (common throughout the Middle East) like schug, harissa and others.

        1. re: ferret

          Yes, ferret is right. I think American chili powder may not be hot enough for Middle Eastern tastes!

    2. spam musubi - of course it is hawaiian, not true japanese, but not something you expect to find in Minnesota where spam was invented.

      1. picture of spam musubi

        1. Corn on pizza and french fries on hamburgers are two things I have seen in the Middle East and South Asia. Also in South Asia, putting ketchup on pizza and spaghetti as a condiment.

          12 Replies
          1. re: luckyfatima

            That's the one that came to mind for me - ketchup on pizza, in Mexico.

            1. re: Cachetes

              Yup, ketchup on pizza in India, too.

            2. re: luckyfatima

              corn goes on salads and pizza in many parts of Europe, too -- never eaten as a vegetable unto itself.

              1. re: sunshine842

                sweet corn on the cob is eaten by itself...... Sometimes with a meal, sometimes on the bbq.
                But I agree it's more common to buy sweetcorn canned and then mix in salads etc

                1. re: butzy

                  not in France -- what little sweet corn you can find in the shops (and many markets) is dried out and old, because nobody eats it (and I won't buy it either, because it's old and starchy and gross)...I did find some excellent corn on the cob this summer at the local u-pick, and the guy was all excited because I was neither Asian nor African, his usual market for corn on the cob.

                  In France, corn is "for the pigs" and isn't eaten by itself.

                2. re: sunshine842

                  The thing is, corn is a grain, not a vegetable. People insist on considering it a vegetable in the US. This is a dietary mistake - it is a starchy grain. My mother still insists that corn is a vegetable, and when menu planning I will ask her what vegetables she is considering, and she will say "corn".

                  My family LOVES our meat, but we will frequently have several vegetable dishes as our meal. Being from the south, Mom still thinks, "meat and starch"!

                  It sounds like the French see corn as a starch, which would be correct.

                  1. re: sandylc

                    No, the French see corn as animal feed. Period.

                    When it's used for human consumption, it's only as a garnish.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      You got me! I should have said that the French see corn as a grain - (and evidently a not-for-people grain!) I wonder what French foods Americans see as animal feed? There must be some?...

                    2. re: sandylc

                      I just want to point out that some veggies are quite starchy, for instance winter squashes and potatoes.

                      1. re: sueatmo

                        That's true, veggies have carbs and can be very starchy. Corn is still a grain, though.

                        1. re: sandylc

                          and tomatoes are fruit.

                          But they're eaten as a vegetable.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Aren't there others like that? Isn't a cucumber a fruit? You have me curious now...I found this interesting link:


                3. SueAtmo, I did not realize that Chocolate chips were an American Ingredient. I am not doubting, I simply did not know.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: DougRisk

                    Yep I am wary of taking things as an American ingredient since I don't know the origins of every single item. Like American by brand or New World by origin???

                    I also thought of popcorn: When I lived in Oman I saw that flowing amounts of popcorn were necessary in a baby's first birthday celebration. I am not sure what the significance of this is. Also, I had a Nepalese friend who is from a Buddhist (Sino-Tibetan) Nepali ethnicity and her people drink salty butter tea. She put popcorn in her tea and drank it. She said that's how people enjoyed popcorn with their tea back home and they actually ate a lot of popcorn as a snack.

                    1. re: DougRisk

                      "Chocolate chips are a required ingredient in chocolate chip cookies, which were invented in 1937 when Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in the town of Whitman, Massachusetts added cut-up chunks of a semi-sweet Nestlé chocolate bar to a cookie recipe. The cookies were a huge success, and Wakefield reached an agreement in 1939 with Nestlé to add her recipe to the chocolate bar's packaging in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate. Initially, Nestlé included a small chopping tool with the chocolate bars. In 1941 Nestlé and one or more of its competitors started selling the chocolate in chip (or "morsel") form.[1] The Nestlé brand Toll House cookies is named for the inn."---

                      I guess it is possible that Nestle started making these in Europe too. Since the chips originated with Toll House cookies, I assume chocolate chips are an American invention. Maybe someone knows different?

                      1. re: sueatmo

                        don't know who invented them, but teeny little chocolate chips, called pepites, are available at most grocery stores in France (Tollhouse-sized chips or chunks exist, but are a little tougher to chase down).