chapter  3
22 Pages

Appetites Without Prejudice: U.S. Foreign Restaurants and the Globalization of American Food Between the Wars

WithAudrey Russek

An American and his Filipino friend walk into a restaurant in the Philippines. The proprietor greets the two men, and then launches into an enthusiastic conversation with the Filipino “in the native dialect” about choices for the meal while the American, “his face wreathed in a huge artificial smile,” waits to discover what his friend has ordered. The proprietor disappears to the back, and “within ten seconds there issued from that portion of the house such an odor that the smile literally dropped from the face of the American.” In a little time, the chef presents his pie`ce de re´sistance: an egg that had remained “twelve days under the goose, and six weeks buried in

the ground”—“neither an egg nor yet a fowl!” The American, startled and disgusted, roars, “And you expect me to eat that?” Calmly, his Filipino friend replies, “Egg-goose is very sanitary, for the earth has kept it from all the germs which your people fear so much. Funny, Americano, is it not?” After considering the Filipino’s point for a while, the American decides, “I guess it all depends on what you are used to, and I suppose there is such a thing as tolerance and narrow-mindedness in the matter of food as in all else. We will put it this way. I am not hungry enough to eat your balut, but I grant you that it is a very interesting and, yes, sanitary dish” (Chow 1924: 2-3).