Hamburger meat on a grill

EN Podcast: What is (real) American Food?

What do you know about the American food that real Americans eat?

Find out about three famous American dishes and what three of our Vivaling American coaches enjoy eating.

There might be some surprises for you

In today`s podcast we are going to discuss American food.

When people think about American food, they usually think about Mcdonalds, KFC, apple pie, peanut butter, Coca-Cola.

But I wanted to find out if it`s true – do American people really eat a lot of fast food, or is this just a cliché?

The best way to find out is to ask some of our American coaches at VivaLing what their favourite American food is.
But first – here is an interesting statistic : In the USA, 20% of all meals are eaten:

• indoors
• in the car
• in fast food restaurants
• just with fingers
• in less than one minute

What do you think?

Answers, as is customary, at the end of this podcast….

American Food

Before we listen to 3 American VivaLing coaches talking about their favourite food, I want to introduce you to my 3 American classics.
The USA is an enormous country, and its cuisine is influenced by local climate, locally available ingredients and the culture of inhabitants who settled and continue to settle there.
Listen to a description of these 3 traditional dishes. Your task is to say which city or region is associated with these 3 dishes.
Your choice is:

• Texas
• New Orleans
• New England (the area on the North East coast which includes Boston)

Clam Chowder: This is a soup which contains clam (a type of shellfish a bit like a mussel or oyster but smaller) milk, vegetables, sometimes even pork as well. It became popular in the 18th century and can now be seen all over this region.

Jambalaya: This dish is influenced by African, French and Spanish cuisine. It consists of sausages, rice, meat and vegetables all cooked together with special spices to make it really tasty.

Smoked Brisket: This is a cheap cut of beef from the chest of the animal, but when cooked slowly with smoke over an indirect fire, it produces tender, tasty meat which is a delicacy across this region. Don`t try to cook this in a hurry. People in this region usually cook it for 8 or 9 hours. Not exactly fast food!!!

And the answers are :
Jambalaya is from New Orleans.
Smoked brisket is from Texas.
Clam Chowder is from New England.

I hope you got that right , but what you really need is to get the information straight from the horse`s mouth.
Gene, Brittany and Jessica are 3 English coaches from the USA.
Listen to what they say about their favourite American foods. Then listen to the sentences at the end and work out who they apply to.

Hello. My name is Jessica. My favourite American food, do not say the hamburger, is its much more delicious cousin the barbecue sandwich. I`m talking about meat cooked all day long in a secret sauce, which is usually a sweet sauce, made from pork or beef, which they call pulled pork or beef brisket. This food reminds me of summer time. It reminds me of cookouts with friends and family, swimming outside, hot weather, lazy days, no school. The best thing to eat with this sandwich is coleslaw or greens. Coleslaw is a cabbage salad. It`s made with cold cabbage, carrots, and then you use a cream like mayonnaise, something sweet like honey or sugar and something bitter like vinegar. So that is my favourite food, and I know its not totally healthy, but it has all the food groups. At least it has that. So, this is delicious. If you ever get the opportunity to eat it, I would say take that opportunity.

Hi. This is coach Gene from VivaLing. I’m from the USA, and I`m going to tell you about a food that many Americans like to eat when we`re concerned about our health. I personally love legumes or, in other words, beans. Probably the most popular beans are called red kidney beans. These beans are packed with protein. They`re also very tasty with ground beef or with chicken inside or just by themselves. Another popular bean, and this is my personal favourite, are lentils. Most of the time we make lentils stewed in a pot but, compared to kidney beans, they can be done pretty quickly – in about 90 minutes in a regular stove. The last kind of beans that are really popular in the United States are chickpeas. If you think beans take too long to make, you can get a pressure cooker and they`ll be done very quickly, in 30 – 45 minutes. I hope you got a lot out of this brief bit of audio about beans that Americans love.

Hello. My name is Brittany, and I am from New Jersey. My family and I are vegan which means we do not eat meat or any dairy such as milk, eggs or cheese. A lot of people ask, “Then what do you eat?” And I reply, “I eat a lot. My favourite meal is spaghetti with red marinara sauce and meatballs, but since we do not eat any meat, the meatballs are made from rice, beans and vegetables. We mash them all together, roll them up in a ball and fry them in the pan to cook. For my pasta I like fettuccine. The are long and flat like ribbons. And I love to put brown sugar in my marinara sauce. My friends always laugh at me and tell me that I`m crazy, but after we make the marinara sauce and put the meatballs on top, I like to sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top of my food. Oh, it is so good! If you try sugar on top of your spaghetti, you will not be disappointed. Let me know how it tastes.

Sentence number

  1. This person mentions special equipment which will cook things more quickly: GENE – the pressure cooker.
  2. This person`s favourite food is cooked outdoors: JESSICA – barbecued meat sandwiches.
  3. This person doesn`t mention putting sugar in their food: GENE – both Brittany and Jessica use sugar.
  4. This person has changed a dish because of their personal diet: BRITTANY – she eats vegan meatballs.
  5. This person thinks that their favourite food contains a lot of nutrients: JESSICA – a sandwich has all the food groups.
  6. Other people make negative comments about this person`s favourite food: BRITTANY –she says her friends tell her she`s crazy.

Well done if you got those right, and thank you to Gene, Jessica and Brittany.
Before we finish today, let`s go back to our original question. About 20% of American meals – are they eaten:
in the car
in fast food restaurants
just with fingers
in less than one minute

The correct answer is in the car.
I wonder what Gene, Jessica and Brittany would say about that?
Do they eat vegan meatballs, barbecue sandwiches and beans in their cars?


Attribution The Star Spangled Banner John Stafford Smith / Domaine public
Effet sonore du tambour – The Sound Laboratory

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