Wednesday, August 20, 2008

timid tastebuds?

I saw an advertisement last week that I found disturbing. On the back of a Time magazine was an ad for a photo-developing website. The picture showed a man and a woman holding a glossy photo book, pointing at a picture of a hamburger. The text below described the couple's joy at finding "the best hamburger in Beijing", thanks to a thoughtful friend who made them a photobook to use when they didn't know the Chinese word for what they were seeking.

I find it mind-boggling that an American couple travelling through China would desire a hamburger. I can understand that if one lived in a foreign country, one might occasionally crave the food of home. But are the culinary horizons of American tourists really that narrow? Are we so arrogant that we expect our national cuisine to follow us around the globe? I cannot imagine seeking out a hamburger (available at dozens of restaurants in my hometown, not to mention easily prepared in my home kitchen) while halfway across the world, surrounded by culinary adventures that are only available in that exotic location.

The only explanation I can think of is that some people have very timid tastebuds.


Liz said...

Very interesting thought. Maybe location is playing a part? They are onlyear something that serves hamburgers.

DebD said...

Actually, I think you are on the right track. I think that many tourists are stubborn and stuck in their ways... and thus don't try to get outside their comfort zone. Perhaps this is why there is such an explosion of Cruise and packaged vacations... that way no one has to actually go and "meet the locals" - unless of course it's at a company approved trinket shop. UGH.