American vs. European style of eating

Headline: American vs. European style of eating

By Anush Yepremyan

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One of my many favorite American customs is dining with the whole family. I just adore the idea that it is also a family time. I am privileged enough to have a family here. I live with my aunt and uncle and their three children. My aunt is Armenian and my uncle is American. It is fascinating to observe two different cultures clash. The scene will not leave you indifferent, and sometimes you can end up laughing with tears in your eyes.

I will start with a perfect example of an ordinary dinner that involves corn on the cob. Have you ever paid attention how people eat corn?

It was one of those winter dinners. Everybody was enjoying their corn on the cob, but I felt like somebody was watching me. My uncle’s father, who is an American, stares at me for a minute or so and excitingly says, “I have never seen anybody eating corn that way over here, is it European style?”

At that point, my relationship with corn was over. Is there a certain way of eating corn on the cob? You may think it is silly, but apparently, you can eat it vertically (around the corn) – that is European way – and horizontally (from one end to another) – the American way. As my uncle teases, “American style is so much more efficient; it doesn’t involve wasted motions.”

Everybody has hard-boiled eggs for breakfast occasionally, right? Now imagine me sitting at the table, proud of myself, taking the shell off the egg in order to enjoy my monumental breakfast and realizing that I am the only one who is doing it because everybody else just cut the egg in half with the shell on and scooped it with a spoon. That is exactly that “Hah?” moment.

Even such a little thing as banana peel can different. For example, I noticed that many of my American friends eat bananas “backwards,” meaning they use the part where bananas attached to open it. Whereas in Europe, we use it as a handle to hold the banana.

When we have dinner at my uncle’s parents’ house, his dad always asks if I would like an American style glass of water or European style. You probably wonder, what’s the difference? Ice.

In Europe, we rarely use ice in our beverages. For example, if you go to McDonald’s in Ukraine, they will not put ice in your Coke unless you ask them to because people are willing to pay for whatever they are getting. People want the full cup of Coke, not 70 percent of it to be ice.

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