Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cuisine Americaine??

I've been asked to cook an American meal for French friends. I'm terrified. I mean, I've lived alone for the past 5 years and practically alone for the 5 years before that. I'm not sure I even remember how to cook! And I don't have all my wonderful, top-of-the-line cooking equipment surrounding me and ....and....and...

Okay, I can do this. I know I can. So then comes the problem of what to cook that is all-American. This poses some serious dilemmas. I actually asked this question on facebook last night and got all sorts of suggestions ranging from hot dogs and hamburgers and fries to meat loaf and pot roast and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. The problem is, I am having a difficult time finding something that would be truly American.

We're all immigrants...mutts (save the native American population) and our traditional foods all seem to come from somewhere else.  Pot roast is basically French Pot au Feu. Hot dogs are originally German. French fries are Belgian.  Beef stroganoff was a suggestion but that is Russian. I thought meatloaf might be a nice idea but it comes from Germany and Belgium. A grilled ribeye steak could work, but I think our meat here in no way compares to steak back home and besides, I have yet to master barbecuing any type of meat (see more about that here). Tater tot hot dish came up as well but if I remember correctly, that's made with creme of something soup and we don't have that here in France. And I just CAN'T do that. Nor can I subject the French to the world's greatest hangover food, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese...even though I have 3 boxes stashed just in case!

For dessert I thought of my old staple, carrot cake. This is Swedish.  Perhaps Apple Crisp...but this is more or less British Apple Crumble. I could try apple pie but I know it would be too sweet for them. Bread pudding maybe? Nope, seems every country has that! Jello? Oh god, no! And besides, I can't get that here either.

You see my problem?

So this is what I've come up with:

Grilled Barbecue pork ribs with a nice, slightly piquant BBQ sauce (the French have very sensitive taste buds). Barbecue and BBQ sauce seems to be  genuinely red, white and blue.

Potato Salad and/ or coleslaw (neither are really American but we've put our own, unique spin on them)

Garlic bread with lots of butter. Nobody puts butter on their bread here except if it's for breakfast.

Chocolate chip/peanut butter cookies, although I reserve the right to sic 'em with apple pie and ice cream.

My last problem is an entrée (appetizer). Anybody have any suggestions? I'm thinking nacho chips and guacamole. Did you know the avocado originates in the Americas?

I will take photos of the grand event and comments from my French guinea pigs. Even if I and my meal fall flat on our respective faces, this has got to be worth a laugh. Doesn't it???????



  1. Sounds great. Can't wait to see the photos.

  2. It sounds like you've come up with a pretty original American meal. I've found that French friends always want chocolate chip recipes. I was going to suggest sloppy joes as an all American meal. I can picture the French trying to eat those with their forks.

  3. Crumbs!...No not a suggestion, just a reaction!

    As a non American I'm fascinated by what you've come up with...and your reasons for rejecting some dishes.
    Waiting to see what starter you choose....and the pics!

    (American friends here don't do starters...perhaps that's just them...)

  4. Cheesecake would probably work too. Guacamole is a great idea for nibbles, nice and recognisable for them too.

  5. I am in awe of how much time, effort, and research you are putting into creating a meal for your friends. Thay are lucky people and I'm sure the meal will turn out fabulous. Can't wait to see the pics.

  6. Darling Delana, as non American Clam Chowder and brownies come to my mind.
    Quite honestly, spaghetti and meatballs ARE American, not an Italian dish!

  7. delana,
    guacamole for your starter. no doubt.
    can't wait to see how it goes.
    do you have a recipe? i have a great salsa recipe too.

  8. oh. Sounds good, Don't worry you will do just fine. I want to cook more this year vs take away.
    Can't wait to see your party photo(smile)

    Julie x

  9. Don't worry. The bar is low. When I first cooked for french friends they seemed amazed that the food was editable: "Wow, you are an american and this food isn't awful!"

    Too bad you couldn't work wild rice into the plan Minnesota Girl.

  10. I think your menu sounds delicious and American! And chips with salsa and guacamole would be perfect for a starter :)
    Every time I cook something for French people they ask if it's American... I'm like no, it's just food.

  11. I find that turkey and stuffing is all American cuisine. But can you get a turkey in France? Love your menu by the way. Take a few pictures.

  12. Will be anxious to hear how this one turns out. I remember the first time I invited the French- my entire basketball team - to dinner. Oh no, couldn't do simple fare. I tried to tackle a Thanksgiving dinner. Much to my dismay, my teammates tried to eat every dish in courses, so everything was cold. With my limited French at the time, I couldn't explain our turned into a real fiasco, but we still had fun!

  13. Cuisine-I don't know your first name but you must live close to me. I'm going to remember to take photos...I am, I am, I am!

    Paulita- That made me laugh because I ruled out pulled pork sandwiches for exactly the same reason. They would most certainly eat them with a knife and fork. And that is just WRONG!

    Fly-No, I don't normally do starters either. But I have to give a little....I don't want to completely knock them off their chairs!

    Sarah-I thought of cheesecake too. Next time. If they ever give me a next time!

    Blandina- Oh, I love, love, love clam chowder. However, I have absolutely no idea how to make it and I'm in the dark as it is.

    Aidan-I have a great guac recette. We'll have a guac-off when you're here next weekend.

    Julie-I wish you were here to style the table.

    Jim- Wild rice next time. I am, as a joke, setting 2 maalox tablets at each place.

    Sara-peeling the avocados as we speak.

    Renee- We can get Turkey during the holidays. But they are the saddest excuse for a bird.

    Pat- I know, that course thing. I think I'll give them the salads first, then the meat, then the cheese (gotta have that here), then the dessert, then the coffee, then the digestif. That should satisify that course thing. I hope.

  14. I can't wait to hear about this- I've gotten out of the habit of cooking, too, and have a hard time just cooking for friends and family. I cannot imagine cooking for French friends... lots of liquid courage would be needed! Hope all went well!


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