Sunday, October 17, 2010

Biscuits, you know, they're like...

My language abilities were strained this weekend when over dinner with some French men I was trying to explain biscuits. Simple, old-fashioned, American biscuits. The biscuits came up because of my home state, Kentucky. As often is the case when conversing with people for the first time, I was asked where I'm from. Kentucky. Oh, KFC? Yes, KFC. But then I took the floor and told my story of asking for free food at a Parisian KFC by showing my Kentucky license, which was greeted with a 'hang on and let me ask my manager'. My dinner-mates laughed and said that the French have no sense of humor. Then I explained to them that KFC here is nothing like it is in the States. In France, KFC serves chicken and fries. That's it. There's variations of the chicken, but no other sides. So I was telling them about all of the sides at a KFC buffet back home: mashed potatoes, green beans, corn... and I came to biscuits.

While there are a million pastries in France, there's really nothing like old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits. I tried to describe them but failed. I was encouraged when one of the other men at the table tried to help me. He'd traveled in the US and knew exactly what I was talking about, but he too could not find words to describe our tasty warm baked treats.

So apparently biscuits are very American and totally foreign in France, maybe the rest of the world too. It's funny what I've found to be non-existent outside of America, and thus in my mind more American. Biscuits are definitely one. Also buffalo wings. I've never encountered the flavor of standard buffalo wing hot sauce anywhere outside of the US. Simple sweet iced tea that's not flavored with fruit (peach, raspberry, lemon), there's another.

What about you? If you've traveled outside of the country, what American foods have you found to be non-existent in the rest of the world? Do you agree with my biscuits and buffalo wings assessment? I'm especially curious of those of you that have lived for some time as ex-pats in other countries. What can you absolutely not find that's common in the USA?

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