Unlike other places in America, Los Angeles was the hub of healthy. Friends and family would visit and feel compelled to tell me how shocked they were at how few overweight people there were there. “I thought Americans were supposed to be fat?” guest after guest would ask as another perfectly pert posterior strutted past.
With the statistics showing that a third of U.S adults are obese, I can understand their confusion.
I do remember once waiting at Minneapolis airport and being left completely gobsmacked when I saw a VERY large lady in a wheelchair with a block of cheese in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other. She wasn’t just carrying her shopping, it was in fact, her snack! Her head bobbed back and forth like she was watching center court at Wimbledon as she took a bite out of the oversized lump of American cheddar in her left hand followed by a bite of her uncut loaf in her right. It was, for lack of a better word, incredible!
But in LA people were forever ordering their food “without cheese,” with the dressing “on the side” or requesting it sans bun aka “skinny style”. My husband, friends and I used to joke about how far it could be pushed. “Hi. Can I get (because you don’t say “please may I have” in America) the bacon, avocado beef burger. But without the bun, bacon and avocado. Also is it possible to get a veggie patty instead of a beef one? I’d also like that without the mayonnaise and tomato, and actually scrap the patty all together”.
I honestly don’t think the waiters would bat an eyelid if I’d done it.
In England and specifically in the countryside I’ve discovered it’s probably best to just eat it as it comes.
When I asked for ‘white meat’ – a very common request in America, simply meaning breast or tikka meat – from the local curry house, I’m convinced they thought I was being racist.
Me: “I’d like to order a Chicken Madras but with only the white meat please.”
Them: “You asked for chicken, right?”
Me: “Yes, but can I just have the white meat, please.”
Them: “Chicken is white meat”
Me: “I know that but can I have the light coloured meat, not the dark meat.”
Them: “You didn’t order lamb.”
Me: “ I realise that, I ordered chicken. But could it be the chicken like the stuff that comes in the Tikka Masala.”
Them: “The best meat is the darker meat, why don’ you like it?.”
Me: “I do, I just prefer breast meat.”
Them: “I suppose you want white rice and not brown either!”
Kudos to the man on the end of the phone, I thought his closing comment was quite witty.
But by that point I didn’t dare ask for the bottle of white wine they were offering for free for orders over £30.
“I’ll just take an onion bhaji thanks.”