FOOD

USA by Mark Rosenfelder, Australia by Chris O'Regan, Austria by Klaus A. Brunner, Brazil by Emilio Neto, Brittany (France) by Damien Erwan Perrotin, Canada & Ontario by Adam Bishop, British Columbia (Canada) by PJ Perdue, Quebec (Canada) by Valerie Bourdeau, China by the English class at the Suzhou branch of Agile Software Co, Colombia by Carlos Thompson Pinzón, England by Graham John Francis de Sales Wheeler, Finland by Johanna Laakso, France by Nicolas Duvernois, Germany by Irgend Jemand, Greece by Chris TDAQ, India by Apurva Mishra, Israel by Robin Alexander, Italy by Riccardo Distasi, Japan by Hirofumi Nagamura, Urban Mexico by Acoyani Garrido Sandoval, The Netherlands by Bas Suverkropp, New Zealand by Gareth Wilson, Nigeria by Didi, Poland by Pawel Stachura, Scotland by Geoff Eddy, South Africa by T'Mar, Sweden by Anders Janson, Turkey by Cyril Alebard, Long Island by Robert Delaney, Southern Louisiana by Andrew Chaney, Texas by Tom Wier, Yorkshire (UK) by Stephanie Bailey, Southcentral Alaska by Cherie Campbell, and the general characteristics of the First Generation Immigrant by John Smith

C

Biggest meal of the day

What you won't eat (and odd things you will)

How you eat & local cuisine

Fast food & restaurants

Packaging

NORTH AMERICA

U
S
A

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. You don't kill your own food.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You like your bacon crisp (unless it's Canadian bacon, of course).

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC etc. as cheap food.

Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in bottles or in cardboard boxes.

A
L
A
S
K
A

S
O
U
T
H
C
E
N
T
R
A
L

U
S
A

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. You know that muktuk, or whale blubber, is eaten by the Inuit people in the far north of the state, however. You might kill some of your own food, either for sport or subsistence. Even if you do not fish as a career, you go any chance that you get.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You like your bacon crisp (unless it's Canadian bacon, of course). You might be acquainted with a Sourdough or two. Fish and other seafood are a sizeable part of your diet. You know that agricultural products aren't the only thing harvested in the Mat-Su Valley. Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana in one's private residence is actually legal here according to state law, a fact you are probably ambivalent about. You likely know someone who smokes it, however.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, etc. as cheap food.

Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in plastic jugs or cardboard boxes, and occasionally in bottles.

L
O
N
G

I
S
L
A
N
D

U
S
A

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening, except on holidays when it is around 2 or 3 in the afternoon.

 

LI's duck and potato farms used to be world famous, but all that remains of that era is a landmark building shaped like a big duck. You've probably never eaten duck, and potatos come from Idaho. Your food preferences are probably based on your ethnic background although Italian food has been so widely assimilated that it's practically considered to be American (if you're older, you know that no place outside the NY area can make a decent pizza (or bagel)). Chinese takeout is common too. You may know a few vegitarians.

Ding Dongs are called Ring Dings. Moon Pies are Scooter Pies. Fannie May candy is known as Fanny Farmer.

Conflicting schedules of school, work, and activities may mean that family members do not always get to eat together. You've probably eaten while driving in your car.

You prefer eating at national chain resturants and fastfood franchises you've seen on TV to locally owned resturants. The only exceptions may be Italian and Chinese (certainly pizza, if you're older). You think Taco Bell is authentic Mexican food. You've never heard of Popeye's Chicken.

Mustard comes in jars or plastic squeeze bottles, and it doesn't belong on hamburgers.

L
O
U
I
S
I
A
N
A

U
S
A

 

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs food, but you will eat crawfish (never, ever crayfish). You know what a nutria is. You don't kill your own food -- unless you like to go hunting or fishing.

You eat at a table sitting on chairs. You've never eaten a submarine or dagwood sandwich, but you have eaten a Poboy. If you drink coffee, it's Community Coffee. Carbonated sugarwater is called coke or soda or by the actual brand name. Pop is very rare. Alcohol is the second or third biggest business in the state. There are drive-thru daiquiri huts. You feel proud when you hear Tabasco sauce mentioned in British comedies (e.g., on Red Dwarf and on Good Neighbors).

McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Popeye's, etc. are cheap food. If you've been to other states, you laugh at what they call "Cajun" food because it is no more Cajun than Taco Bell is Mexican.

Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in jugs or cardboard boxes.

T
E
X
A
S

U
S
A

 

 

While most non-Texans immediately understand basic culinary concepts such as the enchilada and the taco, it usually takes you a little more explanation for such items as chicken-fried steak or, worse, chicken-fried chicken. If the idea of TexMex comes up, your interlocutor might think you're just using a fancy name for Mexican.

You call any softdrinks "coke" despite the actual brand name. Certainly not "soda" or "pop" (>shudder<).

As for Taco Bell, that's neither Mexican nor TexMex -- it's fastfood. Period.

 

C
A
N
A
D
A

The biggest meal of the day is usually in the evening.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. You don't kill your own food.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You like your bacon crisp. You know what Canadian bacon is but you probably don't eat it very much. Same story with poutine and maple sugar, which you associate with Quebec. If you live in the Maritimes you probably eat lots of fish. You like to think Canadian beer is "real" beer, compared to American beer anyway. You can drink when you are 19, unless you are in Quebec, Manitoba, or Alberta, where you can drink at 18. You know that Americans use different words for the same things, sometimes, like "candy bar" for what you call a "chocolate bar" and "soda" for what you call "pop." Some chocolate bars have different names too - you would call an American "Milky Way" a "Mars." You would also eat Smarties, which are like M&M's, but not exactly, and they are better anyway.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Harvey's, etc., as cheap food.

Milk comes in cardboard boxes or plastic bags, usually.

B
R
I
T
I
S
H

C
O
L
U
M
B
I
A

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. You eat snails and lobster; you regularly eat veal but are horrified at the thought of eating horsemeat. You don't kill your own food.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You eat chocolate bars instead of candy bars. You drink pop, not soda. You understand the sentence "Could you please pass me a serviette, I just spilled my bowl of poutine." Potato chips come in ketchup, dill pickle, and salt-and-pepper flavours as well as the others. You like your bacon crisp, and Canadian bacon is only known as "back bacon" in Canada. You can eat more than one maple sugar candy without feeling nauseated.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC etc. as cheap food. You see Tim Hortons and Swiss Chalet as a slight cut above.

Mustard comes in jars. Milk comes in plastic jugs, cardboard cartons, or plastic bags. You casually refer to "Homo" milk when you mean homogenized.

O
N
T
A
R
I
O

C
A
N

 

You don't regularily kill your own food but if you hunt, you probably eat what you kill. If you live in the north or rural areas of the south you probably hunt fairly often, and dislike those in the urban south who think you are just killing innocent animals for no apparent reason.

You have eaten maple sugar and seen it being made - you may have made it yourself. You can drink when you are 19.

You eat lots of fast food - McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Harvey's, Pizza Pizza, etc. Swiss Chalet is a respectable dining establishment. There are Tim Horton's everywhere, although, especially in the larger cities, there are more American places like Starbucks, which you complain about but go to anyway. Laura Secord is a store that sells chocolates, but you also know she (and, if you are old enough to remember this part of the legend, her cow) warned the British of an American attack during the War of 1812.

 

Q
U
E
B
E
C

C
A
N

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You don't consider insects, dogs and cats to be food, but snails are, as are pigs feet.

You eat at a table, sitting on a chair. You like bacon crisp, and back/Canadian bacon is called ham. Traditional Québec cuisine is rustic and sticks to the ribs. Poutine, tourtiere (meat pie), ragoût de pattes de cochon (pigs feet stew), oreilles de christ (deep-fried salted pork fat yum) and maple syrup are familiar dishes that are usually only eaten around the holidays or on a trip to the cabane à sucre (where they make the maple syrup, dontcha know).

McDonald's and other fast food places are everywhere, and are considered cheap and unhealthy. Poutine is found in every fast food restaurant and subject to many baroque variations. You mostly shop in supermarkets, but open-air markets and specialty shops are also popular.

Mustard comes in jars or squeezable bottles. Shaving cream comes in aerosol cans. Milk comes in plastic jugs, Tetrapaks or bags. Every package is printed in both French and English thanks to Bill 101.

LATIN AMERICA

B
R
A
Z
I
L

The biggest meal of the week is the weekend family lunch. During the week it is dinner.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs, snails or horses to be food.

You don't like bacon. You think it is gross to eat bacon for breakfast like the Americans do. You eat rice and beans at least once a day, six days a week (except Sunday). You eat a lot of chicken and beef, but not much pork (except salted pork with beans) or fish (except in some parts of the Coast). You also eat pasta, potatoes, yam and other starch, but not as much eggs, cheese and milk as in the US. You know you should eat more greens and vegetables. You try to compensate by eating fruit (bananas, papaya, pineapple, apples). You consider plums, strawberries, peaches, cherries and other delicate temperate fruits to be delicacies. You eat with your family, maybe with the TV on.

McDonald's and other American-style franchises are more expensive and more highly regarded as a place to go for a quick meal than the traditional neighborhood bar/eatery (botequim).

You don't eat much mustard or ketchup except at McDonald's or pizzerias. Pepper often comes in liquid form, in jars. Milk comes in cardboard boxes or closed plastic bags.

C
O
L
O
M
B
I
A

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You don't consider dogs, cats, horses or humans to be food. Most probably you don't consider insects as food unless you are Santanderiano (in this case you won't be able to understand why people do not like ants), and you don't usually consider Guinea Pigs as food, unless you are from Nariño and Cauca. You don't usually kill your own food, but you have once probably killed or seen killed the hen or turkey you've eaten.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You like your bacon crisp in your hamburger, and soft in your fillet mignon, but you rather have a chicharrón, and this better be crisp.

You think of corrientazo (a one or two dollars lunch that includes soup, meat, rice or yucca or both, and salad) as cheap food. McDonald's, Burger King, KFC etc. are cheaper than a formal restaurant but twice or thrice a corrientazo. Unless you have kids, you would rather go to El Corral than to McDonald's.

Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in plastic jugs or cardboard boxes.

M
E
X
I
C
O

U
R
B
A
N

 

You think of some bugs, monkeys and lizards but not cats, dogs or guinea pigs as food. You don't kill your food.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You always like your bacon crisp. Since Christmas used to be a no-meat day (à la Lent), sometimes you eat cod, romeritos (egg tarts with a rosemary sauce and shrimp) and other kinds of fish and seafood instead of turkey.

You think of McDonald's, KFC, Burger King... as cheap, social food.

Mustard comes in jars or squeezable bottles. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in plastic jugs or Tetra-Brik packs, and occasionally in bags.

EUROPE

A
U
S
T
R
I
A

The biggest meal of the day is usually at noon.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. However, you might occasionally enjoy horsemeat in the form of Leberkäs. You don't kill your own food.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You don't eat bacon. What you eat is Speck, usually smoked, and very yummy. You miss decent dark bread, decent strong coffee, and decent, well, beery beer whenever you leave Central Europe. You expect to get alcohol anywhere without presenting an ID if you look at least 16 years old. The very idea of hiding beer cans in brown paper bags seems bizarre to you.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, etc. as fast, but not really cheap, food. When you're in a restaurant, you usually don't have to wait to be seated, and you expect that you can just sit and chat and maybe have a cup of coffee for a long time after you've finished your meal. If you want to pay and leave, you'll have to tell the waiter (who did not tell you his or her first name). You don't pay with credit cards in restaurants unless it's an expensive place or you're trying to impress someone with your Platinum Visa.

Mustard comes in tubes or jars. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in Tetrapack (cardboard) boxes, and occasionally in glass or solid plastic bottles. You can't have it delivered to your door.

F
I
N
L
A
N
D

The biggest meal of the day is at noon.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys or guinea pigs to be food -- but crayfish and reindeer are. You also know that in order to pass for a good "European", you should  eat frogs, oysters and snails. You don't kill your food yourself (except a few times a year, if you happen to be one of those who like hunting or fishing).

If you are middle-aged or younger and urban, you believe in a kind of all-European gourmet cooking (anything from pesto to paella). If you are old and rural, you eat rye bread and potatoes every day, with either fish (mostly Baltic herring in different forms) or "sauces" with different kinds of meat. You feed your foreign guests with reindeer and arctic brambleberries (an exquisite taste and seeds like pebbles between your teeth) and try to convince them that these belong to a typical Finnish menu.

You drink coffee in every situation where a typical Englishman would have a "nice cup of tea". Elderly and rural people literally force their guests to have some coffee, and people whose job includes visiting people's homes (like clergymen) may develop a stomach ulcer.

You may have a problem with alcohol. The traditional pattern (men work hard the whole week and drink themselves unconscious in the weekend) has been disrupted with unemployment (no more hard work for everyone), more and more women and children drinking (the reverse side of equality and individual freedom), and the so-called "European drinking habits" (which are understood as sipping wine or beer all the time).

You visit McDonalds or other junk food places. You have also eaten in a Chinese restaurant and, if young and urban, you might like sushi.

Milk comes in cardboard cartons (never in bottles -- and you must go to the shop for it!), and the colour shows how much fat it has. If you are male or over 40 (or under 12), you maybe drink milk at every meal. (And milk means plain milk, not hot milk or some fancy liquid with banana or chocolate flavour.)

F
R
A
N
C
E

The biggest meal of the day is at noon.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys or guinea pigs to be food-- but snails, frogs and horses are.

You are proud of being able to eat more than 600 different types of cheeses. You are proud of the baguette française. If the baker near your home makes one which doesn't suit your taste, you may buy your bread 10 km away.

You think of canned food, McDo and so on as cheap food, and think there is nothing like an open-air market. (You find it amusing that American tourists consider a visit to an open-air market as much of a must-see as one to the chateau of Versailles.) You also say that you prefer small shops-- but you mainly go shopping in supermarkets.

 

B
R
I
T
T
A
N
Y

F
R

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You don't kill your own food. You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. Rabbits definitly are.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. Butter is salt. You drink wine, but also cider and chouchen (mead). You don't eat very much bacon, and if you do, it's as part of an omelet.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC etc. as cheap food. Mac Dos are made to have a lunch in, not to be bombed.

Mustard comes in glasses that can be reused as drinking glasses. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in cardboard boxes or (rarely) bottles.

G
E
R
M
A
N
Y

The biggest meal of the day was traditionally at noon; now whether it's at noon or in the evening depends on the household.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. You don't kill your own food.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You like your bacon soft (unless it's on a pizza).

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut etc. as cheap food.

Mustard comes in jars or tubes. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in bottles or in cardboard boxes.

G
R
E
E
C
E

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening-- or any other time you see fit.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, horses, guinea pigs, or snakes to be food. Snails used to be savored by older generations but they're all dead now, so snails are not an endangered species anymore.

You put salt in your food before you taste it. You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You take it for granted that Greek cuisine is the best in the world. You savor delicacies like tzatziki, souvlaki, gyros, and feta cheese. Many Greek dishes include olive oil-- sometimes too much of it. The abundance of olive oil serves another noble purpose: the making of papara-- a chunk of bread dipped into the oil. You rarely eat bacon, but you will have kokoretsi (i.e. fried sheep intestines) at Easter. Turkish Coffee is Turkish; but you probably prefer to call it Greek coffee. You drink tons of coffee, especially frappe, or freddo. If you have guests, you will serve them anything available. And they'd better accept it. You think the rest of the world eats bland, boring food.

You think that fast food like McDonald's, Burger King, or KFC isn't expensive and/or prestigious. There are better (tastier, healthier) alternatives for about the same price.

Yogurt comes in plastic bowls. Shaving cream comes in tubes or cans. Milk comes in plastic bottles and in cardboard boxes.

I
T
A
L
Y

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. However, depending on where you live, snails, frogs, horses, donkeys, rabbits, raw octopus and nettles are considered delicacies. You don't kill your own food.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You are proud of Italian cuisine and wines. You don't eat bacon, but sometimes you do eat pancetta, which is similar. It appears in the Bucatini all'Amatriciana, a pasta dish.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC etc. as cheap, fast food. There are better (tastier, healthier) alternatives for about the same price.

Mustard? Ah, mustard. Fairly exotic stuff. It comes in plastic bottles (or small bags at McDonald's). Peeled tomatoes (pelati) come in cans. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in plastic jugs or tetrapack bricks.

N
E
T
H
E
R
L
A
N
D
S

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. Raw herring is a well-liked delicacy, though. You don't kill your own food.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You don't eat very much bacon, and if you do, it's as part of an omelet. You can drink alcohol at age 16. IDs are not often asked for.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC etc. as cheap food.

Mustard comes in jars or glasses that can be reused as drinking glasses. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in cardboard boxes or (rarely) bottles.

P
O
L
A
N
D

The biggest meal of the day is in between 2 and 3 pm. You eat it first thing after coming home from work.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. You don't kill your own food, unless you live in the country.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You like your bacon crisp-smoked or raw. You eat it on bread.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC etc. as a cool place to go on Sunday, coming back from the cinema. If you are under 20 McDonal's is the only acceptable place to eat out. It is not cheap at all.

Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in plastic bags or cardboard boxes; it used to come in bottles.

S
W
E
D
E
N

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening, if you are urban or white collar, otherwise maybe at noon.

You do not consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food in peace time, but crayfish, crabs, reindeer, and semi-raw or fermented fish certainly is. You do not kill your own food unless you hunt or fish.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You like your bacon crisp, or not, as you please. Green bacon (salted but not smoked) is traditionally slightly less crisp. You can order a beer legally at 18 (and restaurants usually do not ask for your ID) The same rules apply for hard stuff such as whisky or rum. But if you want to buy entire bottles in the liquor monopoly stores you have to be 20 years old and they normally ask for your ID, if you look too young.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King (KFC, we do not have) etc. as unwholesome, fast and fairly cheap food, but no bargain.

Mustard comes in jars or tubes or plastic squeezable bottles. Shaving cream comes in cans, or cakes or bars, if you are conservative. Milk comes in cardboard Tetra-brik boxes, but it used to come in bottles.

E
N
G
L
A
N
D

U
K

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food, though if you're an older northerner you may have a strange taste for tripe and onions. You don't kill your own food.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You've never come across crispy bacon.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC etc. as cheap food.

Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in bottles or in cardboard boxes.

Y
O
R
K
S
H
I
R
E

U
K

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening, and is called 'tea'. You never eat 'lunch' - 'Dinner' is the name for the meal eaten at mid-day.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. You don't kill your own food.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. Bread is served with most meals - it is the norm to 'mop up the juices' from your plate at the end of a meal with a slice of bread, which is then eaten. You despise the habit of serving Yorkshire Pudding as an accompinament to a meal - it is meant to be served as a starter with lots of gravy. It's purpose is to fill you up so you don't want so much (expensive) meat. You've never come across crispy bacon (and no burned bacon, please).

When you visit someone, you can expect to be offered food and drink - in fact it's best just to accept even if you aren't hungry, just to stop your hostess naming random foodstuffs at you for the duration of your visit!

You think of McDonalds, Burger King, KFC etc. as cheap food, unless you are of the older generation in which case it's an extravagant waste of money when there is perfectly good food at home.

Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in plastic jugs or cardboard boxes, and occasionally in bottles. Even if you are relatively young you may remember having milk delivered from the local farm, but EEC regulation stopped that some time ago.

S
C
O
T
L
A
N
D

U
K

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening, usually at or not long after five pm if you're at school, and a bit later if you work.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, horses, or guinea pigs to be food, and you certainly don't kill your own food.

You probably eat at a table, sitting on chairs; if not, you eat on chairs in front of the TV.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Chinese takeaways and so on as cheap food, but a perfectly acceptable excuse for not cooking.

Mustard comes in jars or yellow tin boxes, and sometimes in stone pots. Milk comes in plastic bottles or in cardboard cartons decorated with black-and-white abstract cow-like designs, and the lettering is colour-coded so that you know how much fat is inside.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

A
U
S
T
R
A
L
I
A

 

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys or guinea pigs to be food-- though you may have eaten kangaroo or emu.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You've never come across crisp bacon-- you prefer the old staples such as barbequed sausages.

You think of McDonalds, Burger King/Hungry Jacks, KFC, fish and chips, etc. as cheap food. Multiculturalism is a wonderful thing-- at least, when it comes to restaurants.

Mustard and vegimite come in jars. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in bottles or in cardboard boxes.

N
E
W

Z
E
A
L
A
N
D

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. You consider juvenile fish ("whitebait") -fried whole, including the head and eyes- to be a delicacy, though. You don't kill your own food.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC etc. as cheap food.

Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in glass bottles delivered to your door, or in cardboard cartons.

ASIA

I
N
D
I
A

The midday and evening meal are equally light.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food.

The masses eat sitting cross-legged on the floor. You do not eat bacon. In fact it is very possible you are a strict vegetarian. If you do eat meat it is probably either mutton, chicken or fish. It is expensive and not something you can afford to indulge in everyday. Many people can only afford two meals a day anyway.

McDonald's or KFC are for occasional outings for upper middle class folk in the big cities.

Everybody knows that mustard seeds are bought whole. Shaving cream comes from solid round tablets. Milk comes in the milkman's aluminum cans and is decanted into your container at your doorstep, or at the dairy.

C
H
I
N
A

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You eat almost anything, which, especially if you are in Guangdong, includes a variety of mammals, reptiles, and insects. However, feasting on one-time delicacies such as monkey brain and bear paws is now prohibited and widely frowned upon.

Everybody knows that Chinese food is the most delicious in the world. You eat at a table, sitting on chairs.

You don't think of McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut as tasty, healthy, or cheap food. Somehow, when you do go to McDonald's or KFC, you have trouble finding a seat because there are so many people eating there. If you have the opportunity to publicly display your indulgence in foreign products, by, say, eating in a Häagen-Dazs restaurant, all the better.

Mustard comes in jars, but nobody buys it. Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in plastic jugs or bags, cardboard boxes, and sometimes in bottles.

J
A
P
A
N

The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food, although grasshoppers and wasp grubs are considered delicacies in some areas. You do consider seaweed, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and raw fish to be food. And, of course, kujira (whale). Yum! You don't kill your own food.

You either eat at a table sitting on chairs, or at a low table sitting on zabuton mattresses laid on the tatami floor mats. You usually don't eat bacon. It's too greasy. You eat boiled rice with most meals, use soy sauce as a condiment for much of your food, and eat most things with chopsticks. Grasping peas and beans with chopsticks is easy; tôfu (bean-curd cake, which tends to disintegrate at the slightest provocation) can be a bit tricky, but everyone manages. People who are clumsy with their chopsticks are beneath contempt.

You think of McDonald's and KFC etc. as cheap food.

Mustard comes as a paste in plastic tubes or in powdered form in cans, as does wasabi (the pungent greenish paste used in sushi). Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes in cartons (usually) or in bottles (now rare).

AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST

N
I
G
E
R
I
A

The biggest meal of the day is dinner.

The highlight of the year is the killing of the chicken, turkey, or cow you have fattened for the past 364 days. This act is watched with relish and anticipation by the whole family.

If you're middle class, you sit at tables, although you know you really want to sit on the floor for your meal. No matter your profession or social standing, you have a farm behind your house, and all your food comes from there.

McDonalds, KFC, etc. is the ideal place to have a first date if you want to score.

Mustard? Shaving cream comes in cans. Milk comes fresh from the cow

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The biggest meal of the day is at night. Unless it's Sunday, in which case it's at noon.

You don't consider dogs, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs and the like to be food. If you're black you might eat mopani worms. You've heard that people "in Europe" eat snails, frogs' legs and oysters, but you generally wouldn't.

You love to feed tourists on boerewors (long sausage) and pap (made from corn) at a braai (barbeque). You also consider samoosas (square curried mince pies, usually found in Indian eating establishments) to be traditional South African food. You'll drink either coffee or tea depending on what you feel like at the time. If you're a health fanatic you might drink Rooibos (herbal) tea. You consider the American influence on coffee (dozens of varieties) to be a good thing. If you have young children you try to get them to drink a glass of milk a day; otherwise you just use it to put in your tea or coffee. You can drink alcohol when you're 18.

If you're under 25 you probably consider McDonald's to be fine dining. You think of KFC, Wimpy, Steers, Debonairs and the like as fast food as it isn't really that cheap. If you're over 25 you enjoy going out to new restaurants. You might even enjoy sushi bars.

Milk comes in cardboard cartons, plastic 2-litre bottles, and one-litre sachets, but not in glass bottles. You buy milk at the supermarket or the corner cafe (which to Americans would be a "convenience store").

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The biggest meal of the day is usually in the middle of the day, but sometimes in the evening.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. You may not consider pigs or shellfish to be food either. You don't kill your own food, and, even if you are not religious, almost all of the meat you buy at the store is kosher.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You spend much of your free time socializing with friends and family, over shared meals, at parties, or in cafes or restaurants. You rarely drink more than an occasional glass of wine or beer over dinner. You make fun of Americans and English/Irish people who seem to need alcohol to have a good time.

You think of McDonald's, Burger King, KFC etc. as moderately priced, but not cheap food, more of a treat to take the family on occasion. Cheap food is felafel or pizza. You rarely go to a bar.

Milk comes in bags or boxes.

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The biggest meal of the day is in the evening-- or any other time you see fit.

You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. You might have committed most of the sins in the book, but you can proudly announce that you've never eaten pork. You fail to understand how foreigners can eat it. Fortunately, hamburgers aren't made of ham.

You eat at a table, sitting on chairs. You take it for granted that Turkish cuisine is the best in the world. You think the rest of the world eats bland, boring food.You will feel cheated if you don't have your daily dose of meat and bread. You put salt in your food before you taste it. Turkish Coffee is Turkish; but you probably prefer tea or instant coffee. If you have guests, you will serve them tea. You never eat bacon, but you will have kokoreç (fried sheep intestines) after a good night's drinking. You might fast during Ramadan yet still have no qualms about consuming alcohol the other 11 months. You'd still go to Heaven though, because God forgives. You probably smoke like... errr... like a Turk.

You think that fast food like McDonald's, Burger King, or KFC is expensive and prestigious. Long after your meal is finished, you sit around the uncomfortable chairs, and chat away.

Yoghurt comes in plastic containers; sometimes glass. Shaving cream comes in tubes or cans. Milk comes in bottles and-- increasingly-- in cardboard boxes.

SUBCULTURES

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The biggest meal of the day is whenever you can afford it.

The Chinese consider anything that flies, except a Boeing 747, anything that crawls, except a Sherman tank, and anything that swims, except a Polaris submarine, as potential foodstuffs. The French eat most things (and very tastily) but draw the line at monkeys and perhaps dogs. Eating horses however is another kettle of fish, although it is said to be on the decline. The Scandinavians eat vast quantities of ruminant and scavenging beasts to give them enough protein and calories to get through the arctic night and cold. Generally you will adapt to the food of most magnet countries given enough time; it is a fundamental condition of survival. You don't kill your own food except during semitic (Muslim & Jewish) religious festivals (pass-over etc) when you cut the throat of a sheep / chicken in your bath and let the blood run away down the plug hole (this is probably just a secular rumour put out by people of other, or no faiths).

You either eat at a table sitting on chairs or out of a paper bag / styrofoam box in the street if you buy take-away food. You begin by eating the food provisions you brought with you then go to ethnic stores to buy more with your savings. If you're muslim, you usually don't eat bacon. It comes from the pig. If you are not a muslim, then you eat whatever you can find / afford from the supermarket. Once you have organized a steady, albeit meager supply of cash income then you begin to go to hard-discount food supermarkets where you buy some of your food in bulk (there are entrepreneurial chinese everywhere serving the asian community). However, you adapt very quickly since food is a basic requirement. And in most countries, if you are not carniverous, you can find vegetarian food. Rice is to be found everywhere. Anyway, if in need, you can always fall back on the ubiquitous 'McD', Burger King and KFC etc. In Germany the bread rolls are wonderful, and in France, fresh market vegetables are still de rigeur but are slowly giving way to deep frozen veg.

You agree that McDonald's and KFC etc. sell cheap food ... but that's just what you are looking for since, unless you live in a metropolis with a wide variety of reasonably priced restaurants, you can't afford / abide / stomach, the local food. Furthermore, since you can't speak the language well enough, it's easier to point to a pictogram menu with a fixed price rather than struggle through a complex and fancy sounding menu.

In Sweden, shrimp cream cheese comes as a paste in plastic tubes, as do herring and smoked-salmon cream cheese. Milk comes in jumbo (family size) or individual (1/4 liter) size packs. All the rest is standard stuff that you can find in all countries (economies of scale to keep the prices down).

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