Our Parisian woman-about-town Christine Miksis has been en vacance on U.S. soil for the holidays, and has used this time chez Uncle Sam as any Good. Food. Stories. correspondent wisely would to calorie-load on American delicacies. Let her break it down for you:
Don’t get me wrong, the cuisine in Paris is obviously to die for; however, from time to time, visions of buffalo wings and beef bean burritos dance in my head….
The biggest dilemma visiting the U.S. from Paris is controlling the cravings for all things delicious, fried and American (or not-so-American but which we embrace as our own nonetheless) and holding onto the little dignity I have left in this life. I pretty much de-board my flight fork in hand with a paper bib tied around my neck and crazy eyes à la Housewife of New York Ramona. That said, you can imagine that what I crave sometimes requires lots of moist towelettes, a defibrillator, and a stint on The Biggest Loser.
On my last trip home for the holidays, I was inspired to create a Top Ten list of American food not to take for granted should you crazy Americans be 9-to-5-ing near the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall of China one day. Some of the items on this list may be found abroad, but are either A) extremely difficult to find or B) just straight up not.the.same.
If you didn’t get the hint yet, this food list is not gourmet. It is, however, for all the football-tailgating, middle-American-mallratting, hangover-Sunday-snacking, I-don’t-feel-like-cooking-dinner-tonight-so-I’ll-raid-the-fridge-for-whatever-is-around people out there. I know you must fit into at least one of these said types of people some of the time. And if you don’t, then get off your high horse and get on the mechanical bull, people. Let the countdown begin!
10. Dill pickles. France has these little pickles called cornichons, but I like my dill spears the way Britney Spears likes her Cheetos.
9. Peanut butter. Nutella is awesome, obviously, but sometimes you just want a little Jiffy. Learn to appreciate your ants on a log.
8. BBQ ribs. Need I further explain?
7. Soft pretzels. Particularly from dear old Auntie Anne. Sour cream and onion…don’t judge.
6. Lucky Charms and other sugary cereals marketed towards children and immature adults like me. Because who doesn’t like marshmallows with a cardboard-like texture that turns your milk pink? [Editor’s Note: I find that the Target-brand “Marshmallow Treasures” are in fact superior to the non-generic version.]
5. Smartfood Popcorn or Pirate’s Booty. White cheddar snacks just make me giddy.
4. Bagels with Philadelphia cream cheese. The French make a mean and crusty baguette, but sometimes a Philly girl with a New York soul prefers the former.
3. Cheesesteaks. In Paris you could make your own awesome version with baguette and provolone, but I like mine “wit” American cheese that one cannot find in the City of Lights.
2. Buffalo wings. A classic that is MIA in Paris. I have attempted to at least make a buffalo grilled chicken salad, but in line with my expectations just could not find Frank’s Red Hot sauce for the life of me.
And drumroll please…
1. Anything Mexican! It’s almost impossible to find good flour tortillas, jalapeños, chili powder, Manchego, queso fresco, Oaxaca cheese, or Patron in Paris. The closest thing to sour cream is light crème fraiche. And I know it’s not authentic, but take me to Chipotle during a trip home and I’ll consider you my BFFAE.
Honorable mentions: chocolate covered pretzels, Cool Ranch Doritos, graham crackers, Easy Mac, New York style pizza (Joe’s on Carmine Street comes to mind), WaWa (if you’re from PA, you will know), ranch dressing, Diet Dr. Pepper, iced tea and Breyer’s ice cream in mint chocolate chip and cookies & cream. Hamburgers are not on this list because they are very available and delicious in Paris.
There you have it. Now go out and appreciate your American quintessential treats before your company ships you overseas.