American Fatso Voyeurism

TomatoImage via Wikipedia
A tomato: in puris naturalibus
Watching tonight’s episode of “Jamie Oliver’s American Food Revolution” it occurred to me that there exists a kind of voyeurism that people get in seeing the extremes of people that exist in the United States, particularly in that sea of ignorance which in the media is referred to as “Middle America”. Of course it’s not just the fatties that people enjoy watching and Americans get a the same sort of kick out of watching the bizarre specimens of humanity that their country is capable of producing as well – just think of the success of Jerry Springer – but when it comes to food, I can’t help getting the impression that the rest of world watches in a sort of stupefied awe and wonder at how people can actually live off of the food that so many Americans eat.

It seems incredible to me that people can actually eat junk food as if it were everyday food. But on Jamie’s show, it seemed common at the school he was visiting. For example Jamie showed a bunch of tomatoes to a class of 5 and 6 year olds and incredibly not a single one of them knew what they were, the closest guess from the class was “potato”. For reference, Jamie explained that tomatoes are what ketchup is made from and a student immediately chimed “oh tomato ketchup I know what that is.”

Another voyeuristic highlight from the show was the incredulity Jamie received from the “lunch lady Doris” types who ran the school canteen when he tried supply knives and forks with his meal. These ladies wouldn’t believe that in England primary school kids were allowed to eat with knives and forks. Even more incredibly, when given knives and forks these kids didn’t know how to use them!

A few months back, I wrote a post entitled “English Food Deserves its Reputation”. I was quite critical of the stodgy and boring “meat and two veg” type food typical of an English kitchen. But to think that there exist in America, entire communities of fatties, who live off of McDonalds food and the like and never have to eat with knives and forks or have fresh vegetables at home is almost unbelievable – in fact, how can you not watch, transfixed to the screen?
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2 comments:

JJ said...

Akseli: Anyone who loves to travel, enjoys Tuscany, and finds American junk food and Jerry Springer revolting cannot be all that bad. Although I hail from the Colonies, I think I will follow along.

Akseli Koskela said...

Haha JJ. Didn't you Americans surrender usage of that term long ago?! I though it was now only us Australians who got to refer to our country as the "colonies".