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Aug 9, 2012 12:59 PM

Why do Americans like everything Chunky?


So first off, I am American, but as I have been expanding my cooking experience I have fallen in love with how refined some food is from other cultures. The best soups I have ever had in a good restaurant here have almost always been smooth and creamy, Yet if you walk down the isle of a supermarket almost everything is Chunky or chunky style. An Italian meat sauce or here often has chunks of vegetables showing yet a an authentic Bolognese from Bologna Italy would never do that, alwasy minced fine so they melt into the sauce. Even Ice cream here is rougher then say Gelatto which is smooth and creamy.

What gives? Why do you guys like everything chunky? Is it because you think you are getting more on your plate? Texture to me is always mushy. How is that good?

  1. I'm a purebred american and I don't like anything "chunky". Not even salsa.

    1. I like chunky, and it needn't be mushy. I think of smooth, pureed food as being for people who are too young or too old to have teeth.

      1. I think part of this may be the difference of what is store bought vs. what you make for yourself or get somewhere nice. if i'm shopping at a grocery store, or generally buying a non-high end brand, i tend to trust 'chunky' products because i expect to get more actual taste/texture of the product that's supposed to be in there (whether this is soup, salsa, tomato sauce). on the other hand, if i'm at a nice restaurant, you're right, creaminess/smoothness is often not a signal of less flavor but instead of richness, so i'm not going to naturally prefer anything 'chunky' over something 'smooth in that case, indeed, as you point out, it may be just the opposite.. but that's just my preference/speculation

        3 Replies
        1. re: valcfield

          Hmm good point, I never though about people looking at chunky stuff a better indicator of quality but I think you are right there when it comes to soups and canned stuff.

          1. re: valcfield

            Yes, if I can see the component ingredients it helps to know it is not just a chemically created flavor. Also, I love me some chunky peanut butter, because I like peanuts.

            1. re: PenskeFan

              I love peanuts. Used to kill 5 lb bags from Costco weekly. I have to have creamy peanut butter. Don't ask me why, cause I don't know.

          2. It is marketing; there is something for everyone. You have to watch Malcolm Gladwell’s Ted Talk on tomato sauce.


            1 Reply
            1. re: adido

              OOOH! Thank you for that! I am old enough to remember those examples as a kid. I have a totally different perspective on more then tomato sauce. Question Answered.

            2. There's an association between chunky and hearty as well as the association with the quality of the ingredients themselves (you see recognizable pieces of whatever and it confirms that they use the real ingredient and not some industrial or dehydrated foodstuff). Having said that, it's not at all a general rule. It's more along the lines of acquiring shelf space. If you aren't willing to risk developing an entirely new product then just add a chunky version. Then you strong-arm the store into carrying the additional items and before you know it your label has deepened the bench for its category.