Americanized Food Disorder


Photo via Pixabay

Max Otero, Staff Reporter

Some foods we commonly eat are directly associated with another country. Our minds instantly go to Mexico when we think of tacos. Likewise, when we dream of Italy, bowls of spaghetti come to mind. However, looking at or tasting the food and talking with people with close ties to the origin countries, the foods are actually inauthentic. Many people seek  restaurants for what they see as foreign cuisine. The streets are lined with signs advertising Maggianos, Taco Bell, Olive Garden, Qdoba, Carrabbas, Chipotle, Pizza Hut and Del Taco. Caroline Williams in her article “Most Popular Ethnic Cuisines in America According to Google” explains how Mexican and Italian are consistently near the top of the list.  

People of Hispanic and Italian descent  would argue these restaurants are more staples of American culture. 

Several American foods branded as “foreign” don’t even have their origins traced back to other countries. Fajitas and chimichangas, for example, were invented in the American southwest.

“It’s not even real Mexican food,” senior Diego Munoz said.

Americanized Mexican cuisine often doesn’t contain key features of the original dish. Tacos, for example, have changed immensely since the original dish was produced in Mexico.

“Actual Mexican tacos are generally not hard shells,” Munoz said. “And, Americans use flour tortillas when it should be corn.”

Restaurants claiming to serve Mexican food such as Taco Bell tend to manipulate dishes to fit American tastes, whether it’s using Dorito shells for tacos or stuffing burrito wraps with cheese to invent the ‘quesarito.’

“Food you get from Taco Bell tends to be processed and made improperly with the same ingredients and seasonings Mexican food uses,” sophomore Yoanna Barajas said.

It has become a trend that Mexican-inspired food in the US is often processed and manufactured versus being made by hand with natural ingredients.

“[Americanized foreign] cuisine is more fat and less natural,” Munoz said. “You get more chemicals and preservatives in the food.”

Without a doubt, Americans love butter and incorporate it into non-American dishes. For example, the  Italian staple garlic bread only uses butter in America, whereas the original Italian dish uses olive oil.

“Garlic bread and other Italian foods are way healthier than in America,” senior Michael Trush said. “Italian food never uses ingredients like butter or processed milk in their cheeses.”

Americanized-Italian food also produces food slathered with ingredients typically used as flavorings to the main dish in Italy or often unused entirely. Like butter, Americans tend to put cheese on many Italian entrees to the point where there is more cheese than entrée.

“Italian food isn’t covered in cheese and sauces,” Trush said. . “They’re supposed to be used in small doses.’”

Overall, foreign cuisine is not well represented in the US, with chain restaurants often appealing more to people who’ve never experienced authentic food than the people who created the food the American dishes are inspired by.

“[Chain restaurants] advertise that they’re selling authentic foreign food, but it’s not even remotely close to the real stuff,” sophomore Nick Zaravia said.