It may be the “land of opportunity” and the birthplace of McDonald’s and Burger King (don’t deny it—you know you go weak for a KitKat McFlurry), but the US doesn’t have the best of reputations when it comes to food. In fact, Americans are often perceived as having no cuisine at all, gluttons who gorge on fast food, cloyingly sweet breakfast pastries, and Doritos chips. And there’s a lot of it that Lebanese people find totally gross or just plain bizarre.

Let’s shuffle through a few items many Americans consider normal kitchen staples that have no place in Lebanese households or, sadly, their hearts.

1. Peanut Butter

(Image via Applied Behavioral Strategies)

Almost all Lebanese anonymously agree that peanut butter sucks. Whether it be creamy or crunchy, this sandwich spread is a big no-no in a land where Nutella rules. Maybe it’s because folks here associate peanuts with salty, and thus a sweet peanut concoction confuses their taste buds. What I don’t understand is the contradictory country-wide obsession with Snickers, which is the ultimate fix of chocolate and crushed peanuts. So in a candy bar, sugary peanuts are permissible?

2. Root Beer Float

(Image via World Now)

Don’t even bother describing the merits of a root beer float to an uninitiated Lebanese ignoramus; chances are she/he will deplore it. Something about root beer that repels Pepsi-loving people in this country. Many compare it disgustingly to the minty flavors bottled up in a tube of toothpaste.

3. American Chocolate

(Image via Digital Trends)

US chocolate in general pales next to its European counterparts - Hershey’s doesn’t stand a chance next to Lindt, Milka, or our very own local Patchi. There’s something unmistakably waxy and dusty about Hershey’s “chocolate” bars, if they may even be referred to as such. Mr. (Not So) Goodbar, krackel, and Special Dark are a far cry from what the Lebanese deem as pleasant chocolaty goodness.

4. Pop Tarts

(Image via Fatguy Food Blog)

I once brought a box of frosted pop tarts coated with sprinkles to the office to share with my unsuspecting colleagues. Two bites and they grimaced with horror, describing them as revoltingly sweet. “You actually eat these for breakfast?” they asked with bewilderment. Lucky I didn’t bring the Gone Nutty! Chocolate Peanut Butter variety, I thought to myself. That would have gone over real swell.

5. White Wonder Bread

(Image via Serious Eats)

Don’t get caught dead buying preservative-infested white Wonder bread - the iconic sliced American loaf - or Harry’s from France. If you do, prepare to get glared at, reprimanded and possibly egged by your neighborhood boulangier. I’m not sure why this American mainstay is imported and sold in gourmet supermarkets like TSC Signature, where you can find shelves of them behind glass panels in the frozen aisle, right next to the faux fruit-filled Danish pastries made by Pillsbury. A high-fructose corn syrup heaven, if ever there was one!

Articles & Media

5 photos


Avatar 1
Post to facebook