Back in my homeland, my inner glutton malefically bore its teeth.
The demon inside of me lusted for boneless buffalo wings. Bagels. Burritos. Burgers. Italian subs. French fries. Pizza. Nachos. Those foods that, despite their origin, are inherently American by reputation.
Before me gleamed a variety of dispensers. I grinned. Strewing the small containers on my tray, I plundered the spoils, filling each cup with possibility. The sauces, though all suffixed with “mayo,” stood independently glorious. My rapacious paws consumed the moment.
Only in America.
My sister, the epicure that she is, took it upon herself to feed me during my brief stint back in The States. She, indeed, knows what I like. And she, indeed, knows how to satisfy the voracious. (Sorry, Sis—I don’t mean to paint you as a pig!)
I engorged an authentic Cuban (the sandwich, not the person). Pork cheek nachos. Chicken tenders and french fries (ahem…chips) with a large side of beer. Deep-fried ravioli. A hot dog drenched with cream cheese and Sriracha. Deep-fried, bacon-wrapped peanut butter cups. Eggplant french fries. Yucca french fries! A chivito. Authentic, all-American burgers. Chipotle. Jalapeño poppers. Cupcakes with bacon on them! Macaroni and cheese. FroYo. Milkshakes (the real ones—frappes, cabinets, whatever you want to call them—not those ice-cream and flavored syrup imposters).
How many other places in the world offer such a smorgasbord? (Sorry, Sweden.)
I was introduced to this insalubrious new fast-food restaurant where they neatly stack the fries into the container, taking such care in placing it in the takeaway bag, only to douse the bag’s contents with another two scoops on top. And for about six dollars you get a burger three times bigger than your fist. The toppings are all included (no additional charge for extras) and your paper cup gives you access to any one of their 106 (yes, you read that right) dispensable drinks. If you’re an American, you know which one I’m talking about.
Me, on the other hand? I had never heard of it. Two years away from home and I missed the birth of an American institution. Good luck finding something like this anywhere else in the world.
It’s no wonder I’ve skinnied up since I started traveling. It’s not the heavy backpack or having to rely on my own two feet for transportation. It has everything to do with what (and how much) I’m eating.
It’s also no wonder Americans are known to be so overweight. Judge us if you must, but I’ll tell you one thing—though we may be fat, we have a damn good time getting there.
Disclaimer: I am not, in actuality, a fatty.