HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

Why do Americans like everything Chunky?

  • 141
  • Share
LOCKED DISCUSSION

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.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIiAAh...

            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.

              1. This American likes smooth tomato soup, mashed potatoes, peanut butter, vanilla ice cream, lots of things. Do you like your chicken and beef puréed like baby food? Are your teeth OK? <ducking>

                3 Replies
                1. re: John Francis

                  Ha, ya, my teeth are fine. I love my mashed potatoes smooth and buttery, not dry and lumpy. You got me on chicken and beef, I like a thick steak, although, I am in love with any kind of chicken that has been pounded thin and served in a picatta or cream sauce.

                  Since I am not a parent, I dont get the baby food connection. Although, I see a lot of my friends who have kids eat it so maybe its some kind of irrational phobia you develop raising kinds? LOL

                  1. re: kjonyou

                    The connection? There's nothing less chunky than Gerber's baby food. :-)

                  2. re: John Francis

                    chunky tomato soup isn't tomato soup :-)

                  3. I prefer chunky because I like texture- I love crunchy, chewy etc. I also like seeing that the promised ingredients are actually there because you can see chunks of them. I also like fiber in my food. I reject the notion that smooth is " refined" and chunky is crude. It is a holdover from the days of the French aristocracy when dentition was routinely pretty ragged so smooth was easier to eat.

                    1. I like my food to have some texture, if "texture is always mushy" then stop overcooking your food!

                      1. Yes, all Americans like chunky things. Without exception.

                        18 Replies
                        1. re: Hobbert

                          Oh, absolutely. Everyone in every region has amazingly similar preferences. And one thing we guys never argue about is texture.

                          1. re: Hobbert

                            I think there's something in the Constitution about it... Something something life, liberty, and the pursuit of creaminess. Or maybe it was forty acres and a food processer?

                            1. re: NonnieMuss

                              Ah. You beat me to it. I was going to say that all American school children were taught "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of chunkiness". Oh, and that anything non-chunky is very unpatriotic. Give me chunks or give me death!

                              Right? This is why *all* Americans prefer all of their food chunky.

                              1. re: Justpaula

                                Could well be, but as I came up, long before those sentiments, I just missed them.

                                Going back about 40 years, I bought my loving wife a Robo-Coupe food processor, because I did NOT like things "chunky."

                                Guess that it was what we learned, at THAT time of our lives?

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  You did well by her.

                                  The Chunky Soup thing was dreamed up by marketing to make you think it was better quality becuase you could see what you were eating. In reality, full of chemicals and stuff but who reads lables when you think you are getting a deal.

                                  That is how America is. Price frist, quality later.

                                  1. re: kjonyou

                                    >>>That is how America is. Price frist, quality later.<<<

                                    I am not sure it would even be possible to paint with a broader brush.

                                    1. re: Fowler

                                      Well it is broad but America has an economy based on consumption. Speaking from my own experience working with large retailers across the US, as well as product developers who come back and fourth from china, price is always the most important issue. That is not true for every country. Some just go for the best quality of something first, then bargain for price. Some buy things based on tradition or loyalty.

                                      In some countries like Italy, they design something first, they way they want it. Then figure out how to sell it and for what price. Not the most profitable method, but that is one reason they have good things still made by hand when all we seem to have is mass production.

                                      1. re: kjonyou

                                        kjonyu, i think your overgeneralization does no service to refining (ha) the subject. you need more granularity.

                                        here is my overgeneralization: america's consumer culture allows just about any product to be available.

                                        1. re: kjonyou

                                          Many seem to have the tendency to romanticize certain countries. Fact is, I am sure there are oblivious people pretty well scattered across the globe.

                                          1. re: kjonyou

                                            These kind generalizations are pointless and untrue

                                          2. re: Fowler

                                            Right because only the U.S. values price first.

                                            1. re: globocity

                                              Right? Don't we stereotypically characterize about half the world's cultures as "cheap"? Whether or not it's true, I certainly have a picture in my head of, for example, little old Chinese women haggling in order to get everything at the cheapest possible price.

                                              1. re: Exy00

                                                It is so trite and boring to keep reading and hearing silly generalizations about Americans that wouldn't be uttered about other nationalities. All across America we like chunky food? Really? Our cultures here are quite diverse. It just makes no sense to me.

                                                1. re: globocity

                                                  I would make sense to you if you were in the buisness of selling millions of dollars of soup.

                                                  In the real world, business make generalizions all the time to sell the most products as possable. Millions of dollars are spent on research just for that reason. The result is alwasy a generalizon of what people want.

                                                  I dont get what you mean about other countries. People generalize about them even more. Do Chinese love rice? Do Italians love pasta? Do the French love wine? What those are not generalizations? I hear those everyday.

                                          3. re: kjonyou

                                            Yeah, I have never warmed to those "chunky soups." Actually, I like my wife's "homemade" versions much better.

                                            Hunt

                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              Canned soups are generally pretty terrible.

                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                Agreed.

                                            2. re: kjonyou

                                              As if the regular (non-chunky) soup wasn't full of the same stuff.

                                    2. I like the texture of chunky food but I also enjoy smooth. Really depends on the reason for it either way. A bit of both like a applesauce with some chunks of apple or smashed, mashed potatoes with the skins offers both.

                                      If food is too smooth or pureed I'm probably nursing a cold.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        If food is too smooth or pureed I'm probably nursing a cold.
                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                        Or strep throat. Or I just had teeth pulled.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Well some pureed food is quite nice, like most creamed soups. Also the food shows are showing really thin vegetable purees on the plates. Other than that purees to me are meant for babies, or sick people, that`s why books like ``Soft Food for Easier Eating Cookbook`` exists.

                                      2. with our proliferation of highly processed foods, things with texture, with pieces and chunks of actual recognizable pieces, seem more like 'real' food. illusory or not, its a perception thing. And some things, i just like the texture better - like chunky peanut butter, but i respect that others do not.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                          Yep, even our mash potatoes are left a little chunkier for that reason. They want it like 'their' monthers made it.

                                          But, like mentioned above I like to 'chew' on something when I eat. But that's my personal opinion.

                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                            "i just like the texture better - like chunky peanut butter, but i respect that others do not."
                                            Even when they are sooooo wrong ;) ;) (tongue firmly in cheek)

                                          2. Your Statement is false.

                                            1. You begin as an American, later Americans are "you guys".
                                              You got some 'splainin' to do....:)

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                Funny, but actually some of my roots go way back to Native American. I am a mutt though.

                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  and s/he also said "ja."

                                                  LOL

                                                2. Hmm, jars of chunky Alfredo sauce...

                                                  1. "Why do Americans like everything chunky?"
                                                    We do?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                      yes, that was news to me, as well.

                                                    2. Good question! I like most things chunky - peanut butter, sauces, salsa. pureed soups, sangria.....to name a few. I don't know why. Do you have an explanation? Sounds as though you already have placed a value on the answer.

                                                      1. " 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.'

                                                        Then perhaps you should not shop in those types of supermarkets and not purchase those chunky products or simply cook your own food from scratch which is what most of us here do.

                                                        'Why do you guys like everything chunky? "

                                                        So it is a preference based upon gender? I thought your original claim was that is was simply Americans. We have both guys and women here.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Fowler

                                                          You are reading too my into my question, not a gender issue, just a general phrase. And I actually do cook all my own meals. It just sort of perplexes me when I cut through the soup isle and it's almost the entire length of the store with Chunky Style Soup. Obviously, someone is buying all that in large quantities or they would not bother to stock it.

                                                          1. re: kjonyou

                                                            As John Russell (Paul Newman) said to Jessie (Dian Cilento) in "Hombre", "If it bothers you so much, why think about it?"

                                                            1. re: kjonyou

                                                              The 'chunky' soups are right next to the 'smooth' soups; they all can't be at eye level, but both types are there.

                                                              There is a brand with "Chunky" in the name and of course those don't have a corresponding 'smooth' version.

                                                          2. About the only thing I like chunky is peanut butter. I tend to prefer soups, salsas and sauces that are velvety smooth, although I don't mind mashed pertatas that have some textural contrast, i.e. lumps.

                                                            1. Not all do.

                                                              I think that "chunky" is a marketing director's wet dream, but that is just me.

                                                              Hunt

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                My theory is that "chunky" is supposed to say "Hey, there are actual pieces of recognizable ingredients in here. It's totally classy/looks like home-made and therefore miles superior to the smooth stuff that's made from reject ingredients". For things like cookies, it emphasizes the amount of chocolate (look - visible chunks) in the food.

                                                                Mind you, with modern food technology it's perfectly possible to make chunks of things like meat and potatoes out of reject ingredients, so it's not actually that a good measure of the quality of ingredients.

                                                                Weirdly enough, I have had people look at me funny because I prefer creamy peanut butter to the chunky stuff. For some reason, the chunky peanut butter has more of a healthy, natural vibe to it.

                                                                And as a random aside, the phrase "chunky" always makes me think of the phrase "blows chunks", so the whole "chunky soup" thing sounds pretty nauseating to me.

                                                                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                  That could certainly be correct.

                                                                  However, I like a finer texture, and "chunky" is not usually where I go.

                                                                  Why it is so popular in some cultures, I cannot say. In very general terms, it is not my direction, but then I might well be in the minority.

                                                                  Hunt

                                                              2. Nothing better than a CHUNKY chocolate chip cookie. Maybe the overall chunky has to do with pioneer times when it was a task and a chore to cook. The pioneers needed hearty food and if meat was available it was not easy to smooth it out in a stew or soup or logical for that matter. I am speculating that perhaps this is where CHUNKY derives from.

                                                                1. I like my salsas and stews chunky (but firm) and my deli salads and pasta sauces smooth.

                                                                  1. IMO, this may not be an American only preference, but a rustic, or country style of cooking - no matter the country

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Wisey

                                                                      I agree, and prefer rustic style cooking. It is more visually and texturally interesting. It is probably healthier and more filling, on the whole, as fiber has not been strained out of it. One smooth item as part of a meal is interesting and provides contrast. I would not want a meal consisting of a pureed soup, pasta in a cream sauce or risotto, and panna cotta or custard.

                                                                      For the smoothophiles, what are your bread preferences? In general, more people seem to go for crusty, rustic loaves than pillowy rolls with tiny crumb.

                                                                    2. I think you are seeing differences that are not there. Plenty of chunky food in other cultures. Ever have a smooth minestrone soup? Last time I had spaghetti vongole in Venice, the clam shells seemed pretty chunky to me. Smooth and chunky stuff shows up everywhere. By the way, you note that you were eating creamy food in restaurants, not in homes. That has a lot to do with the way food is being prepared. Resto food is not the same as what people eat at home or what you see in the stores. There's a lot more labor and cream being used in a restaurant.

                                                                      1. Based on your examples, Americans who don't cook prefer chunky processed things. I don't often buy canned soup or sauce; what I make from scratch can be either chunky (lamb stew) or smooth (cream of fennel soup) or in between (gazpacho), and my homemade ice cream is creamier than any gelato I've ever tasted. It will also give you heart disease faster than any gelato you've ever tasted, because I make it with heavy cream and lots of egg yolks.

                                                                        1. So if "Americans like everything chunky" and you are American, surely you can answer this? Or is it possible that a.) not all Americans like the same thing and b.) not all foods from other cultures is pureed?

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                            I am one of those US citizens, who is not a big fan of "chunky," in general terms.

                                                                            As for all other cultures, I am not qualified to comment.

                                                                            Hunt

                                                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                              Maybe we just have better dental care.

                                                                            2. I am sure Americans who are old enough will remember this...

                                                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H7-ac...

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                OMG I totally forgot about that. So looking back that was basically a marketing trick. Small candy bare melted into a big chunk must be better then a smooth flat one.

                                                                                1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                  "Chunk-a-chunk big-chunk."

                                                                                  Obviously, some "Americans" DO like things chunky, though not all.

                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                    imagine chunky for five cents!

                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                      I remember it going up to six cents and being shocked!

                                                                                  2. I'm bi-textural. Clam chower(chunky). Lobster bisque(non-chunky). Soup with meat(c), pate(n-c). Salsa(c), salad dressing(n-c). Cookies (c), Cake(n-c). Milkshake(c), other beverages(n-c).
                                                                                    Why make assumptions about what all americans like?

                                                                                    No matter how you rack your brain,
                                                                                    Some like coarse, some, finer grain.
                                                                                    So put away the false conjecture,
                                                                                    Let us prize our varied texture.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: DonShirer

                                                                                      I don't judge you for being bi-textural Don... I think deep down inside most people are bi-textural, it's how they were raised that won't let them admit it freely.

                                                                                      it's sad when you have to go hide in a closet to eat your smooth peatnutbutter on wonder bread. I envision a day when people aren't judged not on their textural preferences, but on the content of their pantry!

                                                                                      1. re: cgarner

                                                                                        Hear! Hear!

                                                                                        1. re: cgarner

                                                                                          LOL ... I mostly prefer chunky, except when the chunks get to be Manwich size. I generally do not like a pureed texture. Something about it ... I find all those little tiny pieces to produce a rough texture that I do not care for. Smooth is one thing ... it's the attempted and failed smooth that displeases me.

                                                                                        2. re: DonShirer

                                                                                          Now that`s what we call politically correct. Right smack in the middle of the road. That reference was funny!

                                                                                        3. i think people just get bored with what they,ve been eating and when something new comes to the market we all try it some way or another..if the manufactors stopped taking out the good ingrediants and replacing them with preservatives and artificial this and that, it wouldn,t really matter if something was chunky or not! By nature we lean towards new and better things. I cook mostly from scratch, so I have controll over the texture and what goes in what i eat..

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: crispys

                                                                                            "New" and "better" are not synonymous.

                                                                                          2. Let's repost your question but change the term "chunky" to "smooth". You see cream of whatever soups, smooth gravies, popsicles that are just smooth frozen juices, instant oatmeal with no texture. What gives? Why do we all like everything smooth? We women even like our legs smooth!;-) You're seeing what you want to see to justify your conclusion. Americans like choices, smooth or chunky.

                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                              but chowswer, smooth underarms? american women -- yes; others, not so much. LOL

                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                Right On chowser!!

                                                                                                1. re: mudcat

                                                                                                  Wasn't Chowser the guy on Sha Na Na who would eat everyting in sight?

                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                    Nah, I'm not that old. Nor do I eat that much.;-)

                                                                                                  2. re: mudcat

                                                                                                    I think Hugh Acheson hit it on the head in his Top Chef blog this week:

                                                                                                    http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

                                                                                                    "Stefan...brings up his theory that everyone (I assume that means all of North America) thinks all Europeans are gay. I am sure this is a U.S. Census stat and not a crazy weird generalization."

                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                      Funny part is I heard a woman say that before about European men. When I questioned her about that comment she explained that it was because men there seem to pay a lot of attention to proper manners, how they dress, formalities, culture...all the things only gays care about here.

                                                                                                      She said that is why its hard to tell if european men are gay or not.

                                                                                                      What can you say after that.... Sigh.

                                                                                                      Good thing I didnt bring up the fact that Speedos are the norm for straight men over there and not shorts that go down to your ankles.

                                                                                                      1. re: kjonyou

                                                                                                        Ha. Have you seen the TV commercial for Southern Comfort?

                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                          "Southern Comfort," the movie, or the liquor?

                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                            Liquor. A somewhat portly, not-very-young gentleman in a very small, tight swimsuit strolling the beach grabs an SC on the rocks. Has a look about him that says he owns that crowded beach.

                                                                                                          2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                            I just checked it out, uh, why is there an a Adult warning for that on Youtube? Really? THAT says a lot about America.

                                                                                                            1. re: kjonyou

                                                                                                              Actually, in my youth, I saw an image of King Farouk in a very tight, and tiny swim suite (long before Speedos, but similar), and swore to NEVER wear such, even when I was a youngster, and buff long distance runner. That image shocked me!

                                                                                                              Some years later, while driving in San Diego, we came upon an overweight man, wearing a thong. He was bent over, retrieving something from his Ferrari 308, and it was a very ugly sight. I can imagine children being traumatized, and women running in terror - it was THAT bad.

                                                                                                              Some folks are just sartorially challenged, and there is no way around that - other than to avert one's gaze.

                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                  3. me preferences:
                                                                                                    smooth creamy peanut butter
                                                                                                    smooth tomato soup not chunky
                                                                                                    all the way pureed salsa
                                                                                                    smooth mashed potatoes
                                                                                                    silky split pea soup
                                                                                                    smooth not chunky refried beans
                                                                                                    silky salad dressing, no chunks

                                                                                                    1. The refined, "smooth" food you're describing grew out of wealthy households which had kitchen staff to do the time-consuming work of that fine preparation. Also, since wealth tends to be concentrated in cities, that style of cooking has become more popular in urban areas.

                                                                                                      Up until the end of WWII, however, most Americans still lived in farming communities and rural areas, not cities. Unlike the wealthy, they had to spend more time raising and hunting their food than preparing it. Though the average American now does not live in rural areas, that more rustic food preference has remained.

                                                                                                      You'll see this elsewhere. Your mention of the Bolognese sauce is a great example. Bologna has historically been a wealthy region of Italy. But go to Tuscany, a region still dominated by farmers, ranchers and hunters, and everything is more "rustic" with chunkier soups and stews, bigger pieces of meat, etc. than you will find in the city.

                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                        That makes sense, at least in many cases. While I can think of some exceptions, they are pretty few, and possibly have another regional explanation. You make good points.

                                                                                                        Thanks,

                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                        1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                          Thank you. That was the explination I was looking for. That makes total sense in stead of "to each his own" reasoning.

                                                                                                          The only thing I would add is that people in large cities have more free time on thier hands then farmers. Free time can be spent looking at food as an artform or craft and not just for survival.

                                                                                                          1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                            If you want to get psychological, one could posit that even if the rustic food preference HASN'T remained, as evidenced by the smooth-food-lovers here, that the marketing appeal of Chunky plays into the American mystique - chunky suggests rustic, down-home, old West, Ma's homemade cooking, and as a culture (prepare to be generalized), Americans like to think of ourselves as a pull-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of people. As a cultural touchstone, we respect people who have achieved the American Dream, not inherited it. Everyone wants to hit the upper middle class, but no one wants to look down on their roots or the neighbors they left behind... Many European countries with a background in nobility or more established class systems don't carry this same pride in poor beginnings.

                                                                                                            1. re: thursday

                                                                                                              Those are all good points I haven't thought of.

                                                                                                              I suppose it is similar to the idea the French Country is rustic compared to Paris. Or Tuscan as compared to Milan.

                                                                                                              The nobility factor is also a good point. Although, I have met quite a few Americans that get to a point where they make a lot of money and suddenly, their old middle class friends just don't seem to be in their league.

                                                                                                              They brag about THEIR humble beginnings only to show how much they have achieved, but there is a lot of looking down at people once they get there.

                                                                                                              I once had a job working with a lot of wealthy people. America only. Anyway, long story short, the people how had NEW money were always the most rude, demanding and condescending. The people with OLD money (family) were a lot less obnoxious and treated workers with a lot more respect.

                                                                                                              1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                Great points, Thursday. Yes, it might be a historical/cultural identification with our rugged pioneering history and its expression in "rustic" food.

                                                                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                  Ha, ha, well enjoy your culinary cultural identification process.

                                                                                                                  1. re: kjonyou

                                                                                                                    >>>Ha, ha, well enjoy your culinary cultural identification process.<<<

                                                                                                                    kjonyou, would you please provide some clarification regarding your response to EarlyBird? I do not understand your "Ha, ha" or your "well enjoy your culinary cultural identification process" comment.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                      I was trying to say enjoy your food in the form of EarlyBirds sarcastic comment.

                                                                                                                      1. re: kjonyou

                                                                                                                        Funny, I wasn't really being sarcastic! You'll see above that I really tried to answer the question seriously.

                                                                                                                        My theory is that we find more "rustic" food - which I would generalize would be more "chunky" (using the OP's term) than "smooth" (or refined) in the sticks, whereas we find more "smooth" food in the big city. My idea is that there is more concentrated labor and wealth in the city which would allow the man power to break down food into refined sauces and so on. If you're farmer, rancher or hunter, however, you don't have as much time and people to do that, so you're gonna eat more "chunky" food.

                                                                                                                        Many Americans' heritage is rural, even if now we live in cities, and so perhaps any preference (if in fact it exists) has to do with this heritage.

                                                                                                                        1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                          Makes sense to me.

                                                                                                            2. I find that's there's more of an obsession with things being juicy.

                                                                                                              1. Smooth things should be smooth and chunky things chunky.

                                                                                                                Duh.

                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                  Thank you. I think the real question here is why the OP thinks Americans like EVERYTHING chunky.:-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                    While there have been some selected observations, I ask the same question - how has it been established that Americans like everything chunky?

                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                      Human nature. Theoretically, we categorize things and then find things that fit into our stereotypes. It's supposedly one reason racism exists--we start w/ a stereotype, every time something fits that stereotype, we think, "Ha, see, it is true" but we never notice the things that don't fit into our stereotypes. It's easy to see it in action politically (w/out getting political) when one group of people are broadbrushed as a stereotype. As I said above, if we started w/ "creamy" instead of "chunky", we could find similar examples to fit what we think. We like to be right.;-)

                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                        "We"???

                                                                                                                        Talk about painting with a broad brush! :-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                          Ha, good catch. Theoretically, people do or so say studies. Or so I was taught in psychology classes. This was back in the 80's so maybe people have evolved.

                                                                                                                  2. <Why do you guys like everything chunky?>

                                                                                                                    I like chunky style just fine because it offers a less homogenized texture. Smooth is good too, but I also enjoy chunky soaps. Something more interesting. I am not saying this because I am an American. I like other things with texture too. For example, I prefer European style sausage where the meat it not in complete homogenized mush like the American hotdog.

                                                                                                                    <Is it because you think you are getting more on your plate?>

                                                                                                                    Not entirely, but I can concede partially to this point.

                                                                                                                    <Texture to me is always mushy. How is that good?>

                                                                                                                    Hey, and how is homogenized mush (or you call it smooth and creamy) any good?

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                      But, what kind of soaps have chunks? Chunks of what? Do you really eat them?
                                                                                                                      Sorry for being an ... I couldn't resist. :)

                                                                                                                      1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                        :) Heh heh heh. I knew I must have made a mistake somewhere. Thanks for pointing it out.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                          Oatmeal?

                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                      2. It is all marketing. It's the whole "stick to your ribs" concept.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                          Yes. It is marketing gibberish, not a sign of tastes. If a dish is good, it is good, regardless of its relative smoothness or chunkiness. Many dishes that are exactly the same in all other regards could possibly be delicious whether they are chunky or smooth. Example: mashed potatoes.

                                                                                                                        2. Not everything. Just my women.

                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: njmarshall55

                                                                                                                            How YOU doin?

                                                                                                                            HAHAHAHA

                                                                                                                            1. re: njmarshall55

                                                                                                                              So you don't like smooth and creamy?

                                                                                                                              <The best soups I have ever had in a good restaurant here have almost always been smooth and creamy>

                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                Or fine?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                  :) Heh heh heh.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                  Chunky on the outside, smooth and creamy on the inside?

                                                                                                                              2. I think your basic premise is an over exaggeration. I remember when Campbell's Chunky Soup was first introduced, but I have never even once eaten it. Some soups I make smooth (shrimp bisque, parsnip soup, sit pea) and others are not. I also prefer creamy peanut butter.

                                                                                                                                If you're an American, what's with the "you guys" stuff? How can 'texture' always be mushy. Isn't texture a spot on a continuum of degrees of texture (or 'chunkiness' if you prefer)?

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                  Chunkiness IS a term of texture, and, while some may promote it, I have yet to see indications that it permeates the US culinary culture - but might have missed the memo?

                                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                    When I wrote that, I got the words mixed up a little (word salad?).

                                                                                                                                    I meant to write "Isn't chunkiness a spot on a continuum of degrees of texture"?

                                                                                                                                2. Here is why: http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_glad...

                                                                                                                                  1. Really, the world is too big for this generalization. Enlarge yours. Stews with beans, hunks of meat, fruits raw and/or stewed/sauteed/preserved, etc., what is your foundation for this claim?

                                                                                                                                    Lentils/rice/plaintains/sausage/cabbage/preserves of all types in their global preparations, I could go on and on. This is small. Research and think large before you generalize on "Americans do it all chunky" theme.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: afridgetoofar

                                                                                                                                      afrigetoofar: Perfectly stated . It seems ridiculous to generalize such a diverse country.

                                                                                                                                    2. Chunky is good for all the reasons stated by others here. My "beef" is with what I call the 'crumb lovers"; those enamored of anything 'mini'. Is it a fad? I guess it all started with M&M's. Now other candies have "lowered the 'bar'" and come out with tiny morsels. Muffins, too, have been miniaturized so that you need a handful to make one bite. Let's not forget popcorn shrimp or chicken nuggets. Would someone please explain this fascination with tiny?

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                                        "Lowered the 'bar'"

                                                                                                                                        Ha! Well done.

                                                                                                                                        I'm sure "tiny" and the health craze are closely related. Many feel more virtuous about tiny muffins, even if they eat 29 of 'em.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                          Good point. It makes sense.

                                                                                                                                      2. I think we like things different (and just basically having other options) than other countries simply because that's who we are.

                                                                                                                                        Which is why we sent the Crown packing a couple hundred years ago in the first place.

                                                                                                                                        1. I do like lots of orange peel in my marmalade, does that count? On the other hand, I hate ice cream that has a lot of chunky stuff in it. I enjoy the smoothness of the ice cream texture. The cookie dough stuff and the fake chocolate chips distract from the sensuous experience. Tender pieces of fruit is ok, because they don't make the texture of the ice cream gritty like mashed piece of pie crust or cookie dough.

                                                                                                                                          1. I think it's just a marketing thing. "Chunky" just sounds good, it sounds like/is reminiscent of "hearty", both of which your getting a sound meal.

                                                                                                                                            1. << if you walk down the isle of a supermarket>>

                                                                                                                                              most of the food you see in supermarkets is produced by huge multinational corporations.
                                                                                                                                              these corporations make often make decisions based on what market research companies say.
                                                                                                                                              among my personal friends, not one has any interest in eating soup from a can, chunky or smooth.
                                                                                                                                              i'm american. most of my friends are americans.

                                                                                                                                              <<Texture to me is always mushy>>
                                                                                                                                              well what do you think happens to all vegetables that are subjected to the high heat and pressure involved in commercial canning. if you want crisp, you have been looking for it on wrong aisle in the supermarket. try going to the produce section.

                                                                                                                                              my only speculation about your question is that when buying processed food from large conglomerates, if you get the chunky stuff you at least can see if any real vegetables were used as opposed to the food being something whipped up by the legions of food scientists that work for them.

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                I am not saying anything about being an American based on what food you like. I was simply stating an observation about what products seem to sell very well in the US. And Why?

                                                                                                                                                Just like butter is to French cooking, Pasta is to Italians or rice to Asian culture. Dose everyone in those cultures like those things? Of course not. Dose it make you un-Asian if you dont like rice? Of course not. Can you find an Asian country that dose not use rice? Probably. But you can say generally most Asian cultures like rice.

                                                                                                                                                That is all I was saying about America. Generally speaking, based on what marketers and retails put on their shelves, it appears that Americans really like chunky stye food.

                                                                                                                                                While you and your friends may never touch anything in a can, that dose not mean a vast majority shop like you do. I worked in a market when I was young, shelf space is rented and every the location is highly fought over. If something is not selling really well, they stop ordering it because it dose not generate money for the store. So someone is buying that canned stuff all across America, and quite a bit of it.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: kjonyou

                                                                                                                                                  I actually agree with what you're saying in this post, but I'm just not sure that "chunky" foods are really that overrepresented on grocer shelves.

                                                                                                                                              2. I wonder why Skippy, Jiff, and the rest make creamy peanut butter?

                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                  That's what I said above--we could change the question to why Americans like everything smooth. You have just add water soup, smooth peanut butter, plain vanilla ice cream is the no. 1 seller, Ragu and the other pasta sauces have smooth versions, alfredo sauce, vodka sauce, jello. This is one of those "scotomas" of the 80's Quality courses--choosing only to see what you believe and cherry picking to reinforce your own beliefs while ignoring contrary data. The OP might have a good career as a political operative.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                    This an example of a thread where I wish I not made a post to at all. Or, if the powers-that-be are listening, I wish I could delist this thread from my profile.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                      All you did was speak the honest, polite truth, John E. There is nothing wrong with that.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, me too but then I pull it open and then post. Total lack of willpower.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Folks, this thread continues to get pretty off-topic, and kind of personal and not very friendly. We're going to lock it now.