I like to think I know American culture and American food, having grown up watching it on tv as well as experiencing it in person – be it with my family in Minnesota or during our road trip a couple of years ago. I don’t, though. I realised as much when I browsed through a list of well-known (and lesser known) American comfort foods and it struck me that I haven’t tried the vast majority of it. Which means there’s a marvellous, greasy, deep-fried adventure waiting for me across the Atlantic!
Even so, here are four things I’ve already crossed off my American comfort food bucket list, all of which is well worth risking a heart attack for. Trust me, I’m not a doctor.
Biscuits and gravy
Don’t let this picture fool you, this is not how you eat this. Biscuits are basically the American version of scones, except you eat it with buttloads of sausage gravy instead of clotted cream and jam. What’s wrong with this picture? You need to triple the gravy. Gravy those biscuits up until you see no biscuits. This is breakfast, by the way, primarily found in the South. Since I love a hearty breakfast, I was quite happy to start my days with this when we were driving through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama.
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While we’re on the biscuit train, let’s talk about Popeyes for a second. Popeyes is a restaurant that started in 1972, selling New Orleans-style fried chicken. They’ve since expanded far across the American border, though obviously not on the scale of KFC. However, it’s not the fried chicken that I love them for – it’s their amazing biscuits that are flaky, salty, buttery and downright addictive. These are biscuits that don’t need gravy, partly because they’re so delicious, partly because that would straight up kill you. Unfortunately the biscuits don’t seem to be amazing everywhere- the ones in Atlanta are fantastic, but the Hong Kong branch didn’t impress me at all. Time go give Atlanta another visit.
Southern fried chicken
So Popeyes is alright for fried chicken and KFC has no true competition where I live. Neither of them come close to the fried chicken Frank and I had in Orlando, or more specifically, at Chef Eddie’s. It’s not a fancy restaurant, but their giant portion of fried chicken was the crispiest and juiciest we’ve ever had. That was back in 2013, but hopefully it’s still just as good. Loved the sides as well: we had a fantastic, rich mac & cheese, cornbread and collard greens. It was after that meal that I understood why Americans drive everywhere, because there was no way we could walk after all that food.
Everywhere you go in the South you’ll find sweet tea and (the grammar nazi rage-inducing) unsweet tea. It’s simply plain iced tea with tons of sugar or unsugar. AND I LOVE SWEET TEA. It’s way too sweet and I don’t care.
Sweet or unsweet, which team are you on?