Americans are lovely people…

… but what is it about salad that defeats them. Twice we have been out to eat – unpretentious places, roadhouses, steaks, fries, the usual. And twice I’ve ordered a side salad to go with the steak. And twice the salads have come as a starter, to be eaten before any more food is served. Baffling.

Tonight was even better. I ordered a ‘tossed’ salad (don’t even go there, missus) with a balsamic dressing. This turned up as usual before the rest of the food. And not only did it come with lettuce, tomato (pronounced ‘tomaytow’ of course) and onion….but also crispy croutons, grated cheese and what tasted like finely chopped chorizo sausage. The overall effect was BBQ rather than vinaigrette. Lovely food, but by the time my main arrived I had ingested enough protein and fat for a day at least – never mind an entree.

I was driving tonight so opted for Coke – the US operates a zero tolerance policy for alcohol so not even worth considering. The seaside bucket it came in prompted Louisa to take a photo of it – and that was not including the endless refills as soon as the level of liquid had got down to around halfway. I was sober, but completely wired for the rest of the evening on a sugar high !

Now don’t get this wrong. So far, the Americans we have met (holographic Steven Tyler included) have been polite, considerate, charming and helpful to a fault. Far more so than a comparable cross-section from our own loverly isle. But we assume that, because we speak more or less the same language and they allow us to believe that we invented rock and roll music, that we share the same culture. We don’t. We touch at certain points but then we diverge so drastically that we might as well be completely different species. And meat in salad is one of those points. 

And before we get any further with this, neither am I passing any judgements. In many respects, American culture lacks the worldly-wise cynicism of us more enlightened Europeans (not that we British would admit any allegiance with the Euro-zone) and that makes it very attractive. Positive and can-do is not a bad world view when all is said and done.

So basically what I’m saying is…get your salads right, and the rest will surely follow.

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