During our grand tour of the US earlier this month, we had the pleasure of visiting Gettysburg, Pennsylvania — site of a critical battle during the American civil war. The battle took place some 146 years earlier, in 1863. Between 46,000 and 51,000 Americans perished here over the course of three days. ((Overall, more than 600,000 men died in the Civil War. This amounted to 2 percent of the country’s population. If an equivalent conflict happened in 2009, given the current US population of roughly 307 million, the death toll would be a staggering 6,140,414.))
Moreover, we visited Gettysburg on America’s Independence Day, July 4th — this was precisely 233 years, to the day, after the adoption of the US Declaration of Independence.
In short, patriotism was in the air.
In addition to brushing up on my American history, I learned this:
Americans love American flag apparel.
Especially at Gettsyburg.
And especially on the 4th of July.
There were American flag T-shirts. There were American flag baseball caps. There were American flag sweatshirts. And as you’ll see, in the image below, there were even…
American flag Zubaz trousers. (You have to look closely, at the third person from the left.) Is nothing sacred, I ask you?
Bonus bit of Americana: I spotted, not far from the entrance to the Gettysburg visitor’s center, this amazing establishment with an improbable name: Mulligan MacDuffer Adventure Golf and Ice Cream Parlour. It embodies so many things that I love about the US: our foreign roots; our passion for sport; our entrepreneurial nature; and — perhaps most of all — our deep love for all things fattening and calorically dense.
Sometimes I really miss the USA.
Embedded below is a 48-second YouTube video of my brother C describing our lunch at Duke’s BBQ. Duke’s serves the best Southern food I’ve ever eaten.
C wrote about the place in his Top 5 restaurants in Beaufort, SC post.
The audio is a bit low here, so you might want to turn up the volume. (RSS readers can click here to see the video if it isn’t displayed below.)
Okay, first things first: Let’s talk about the food in America. If, as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, then let me say that after spending just one year in the US since 2002, I have a renewed passion for American foodstuffs.
Here are a few notes and cell phone pics ((I snapped these images with my trusty Nokia E71, which I’ve blogged about before.)) of various items we consumed during our three-week visit to the US.
In retrospect, I must say that our culinary conquests seem rather…calorically dense. Beer, burgers, chocolate, cheese grits, pecan pie — and large portions of it all.
Let the games begin…
- High-quality beer:
In Thailand, our beer options are restricted to a few unremarkable Thai brews and some standard imports. I’d forgotten how much high-quality beer is available in the US. Here’s but one segment of one aisle of the beer section at a Wegmans supermarket in central Pennsylvania. Amazing. ((For an in-depth look at the vibrant microbrew industry in America, check out this New Yorker story from November 2008 by Burkhard Bilger. My takeaway, among others: I’m justified in liking Budweiser! Just ask the Belgian brewmaster…))
- Classic burgers:
- Hershey’s Chocolate World:
Yes, we visited this monument to American confectionary innovation. It was…fantastic. Don’t miss the Kit Kat Cafe. Here’s a snap of the factory’s daily production of Hershey’s bars, Kisses, KitKats, and York Peppermint Patties:
- Side note: Portion sizes:
I am a large man with a healthy appetite, but if American restaurants offered children’s portions to adults, I’m quite certain they’d be enough for me to subsist on — and have some left over to take home. I’m not sure that I finished a single restaurant entree portion that I ordered during the entire three weeks.
Check out the size of this soup-and-salad lunch combo from the otherwise reasonable Panera Bread:
Or this cobb salad, which I ordered at a restaurant in PA:
- Indian food:
And here’s Mrs. S at work in the kitchen:
- Southern food:
We ate some incredible food in my latter-day hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina. Namely, my Aunt Cece’s ((Hugs and kisses to you, Aunt Cece! I’ll do my best to replicate your recipe…)) pecan pie, which I’ve mentioned before:
We also did some Southern cooking of our own at home. Here’s an unabashedly artery-clogging breakfast we whipped up one day: sausages with gravy, cheese grits, fried eggs, and toast. Believe it!
Up next: a Newley.com exclusive video of a visit to Duke’s BBQ in Beaufort, SC, an establishment my brother C has raved about before. Stay tuned…
- @TheOnion, now "owned" by a Chinese corporation, asks: "NASCAR: Why Is It Not Done On Thousands Of Bicycles?" http://bit.ly/D97WA Awesome. #
- @yelvington Good point! Speaking of which, it was amazing to see one of Thailand's notable exports, Red Bull, all over the place in the US! in reply to yelvington #
- Ha, enjoy your Fri. post-work cocktails, @bshank and @bafox. My body says coffee but my circadian rhythms say beer… #
- This Sat. morning Bangkok sunrise is brought to you by a brutal case of west-east jet lag. The best stimulant money can buy. #