Spices Spices
Art Print

Buy at AllPosters.com









Find books fast
Barnes & Noble

WB01419_1.gif (2752 bytes)    La Belle Cuisine

The Spice Cabinet...
Your Webmistress, Up Close and Personal

 WB01419_1.gif (2752 bytes)

Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

"To cook is to create. And to create well...
is an act of integrity, and faith."


Ugly Americans?



Shop at CHEFS!

"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. 
Dance like nobody's watching. Sing like nobody's listening.
Live like it's Heaven on Earth."

Recipe of the Day Categories:

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Recipe Home

 WB01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Recipe Index

 WB01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Recipe Search 

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Appetizers

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Beef

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Beverage

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Bread

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Breakfast

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Cake

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Chocolate

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Cookies

wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Fish

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Fruit

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Main Dish

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Pasta

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Pies

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Pork

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Poultry

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Salad

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Seafood

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Side Dish

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Soup

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Vegetable

 wb01507_.gif (1247 bytes)  Surprise!



[Flag Campaign icon]



Food for Thought






 The Cafe The Cafe
Art Print

Buy at AllPosters.com








OmahaSteaks.com, Inc. 









Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
Art Print

Neer, Rod
Buy at AllPosters.com









All American
All American
Giclee Print

Buy at AllPosters.com








 Stonewall Kitchen, LLC









Heart and Soul
Heart and Soul
Art Print

Butler, Steve
Buy at AllPosters.com









FLAVIA - think fresh! 

Your patronage of our affiliate partners supports this web site.
We thank you! In other words, please shop at LBC Gift Galerie!


Freedom: Cowboys
Freedom: Cowboys
Art Print

Buy at AllPosters.com


La Belle Cuisine


"Courage is as often the outcome of despair as of hope;
in the one case we have nothing to lose, in the other,
everything to gain."

Diane de Pottiers


Ugly Americans?
4 July 2002

Just what is an American, anyway? Are we really ugly? And if so, just
how ugly are we? How did we get that reputation, and is it deserved?

These and other nagging questions came to me as MissSophieDog and
I were making our early morning rounds. This has become our routine.
 It serves us well. Early-morning solitude, peace and quiet has become
essential - the contemplation of life, setting the tone for the new day on
a positive note, if you please. Gratitude is the key, of course, no matter
what past demons may attempt to haunt us, no matter what future fears
may attempt to plague us.

Okay. Gratitude. This is American Independence Day. The Fourth of July. Thank you for this Independence Day, for a free country, for freedom from tyranny, for freedom, period… And then the questions began to flow. What
IS an American, what exactly IS freedom? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness. Hmmmmm…

Well, I could write a book. And, of course, tomes – volumes, actually –
have already been written. But let’s give it some thought anyway. Let’s
consider it in honor of our forefathers, and in honor of the hundreds of
thousands of lives laid down in the name of freedom. And in honor of
those (perhaps even someone near and dear to you) whose lives are on
the line this very instant protecting and defending our country and our
way of life. Our cherished freedom, without which we would have
precious little.

What is an American? What a ridiculously impossible question. The fact
of our immense diversity precludes a simple answer. With the possible
exception of Native Americans, none of our ancestors is actually native
to this portion of the North American continent. (I say possible exception because, when you stop to think about it, everyone came from some-
where, did they not?) We are red and yellow, black and white (isn’t that
a Stevie Wonder song?). Navajo, Aztec, Negro, Caucasian, Oriental.
We are Jews, Arabs, Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, heathens. Saints and sinners. Staunch conservatives and fervent
liberals. We are everything from ridiculously impoverished to grossly
affluent. Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual…

The list goes on and on and on. The diversity is so great, even in a com- paratively small geographical area such as Louisiana (from whence I write),
as to defy categorization. New Orleans and Shreveport are about as much
alike as night and day. The same could be said of New Iberia and Monroe.
Worlds apart. If I cannot answer the question “What is a Louisianan?” how
in the world can I even begin to answer, “What is an American?”
I cannot.

Next question. Are we ugly? And if so, just how ugly are we? And how
did we get that reputation? My, my, my, here is a touchy subject. Let us
tackle it anyway. In certain realms we are seen as incredibly naïve, loud,
totally lacking in cultural refinement, tasteless, uneducated, pompous,
arrogant, insensitive, and downright uncivilized. Mon Dieu! What can I
say? There can be no doubt that some of us earned this reputation quite
justifiably by our behavior abroad.

Case in point: The mother of a college friend came to visit us in Germany
in the early 1970s. Very fine Southern lady (this means her manners were excellent, okay?), intelligent, well-educated, delightful. But I just gotta tell
ya, she acted like a complete idiot in Mainz. Embarrassed me no end.
Why? Because she was too loud, because all she wanted to do was shop
(as in Spend Money). Everywhere we went, she asked me, stridently,
“How much is this is real money, honey?”
Well. I let it ride the first couple of times, and then I could no longer
restrain myself.
“Mrs. American (name changed to protect the insipid), please remember
that the Deutschmark IS real money. It is not Monopoly money, okay.
It is the currency of this country. It is not fake money, it is simply
different. You can pretend that one Mark is about a quarter or so (those
were the good ole days) if that will help. But, please. Do not insult the
citizenry of your host country by implying that their money is something
to be laughed at, and by further implying that the almighty U.S. dollar
is the only genuine currency in the Universe.”
“Well, dahlin’, I do declare, I certainly did not mean to hurt anyone’s
feelin's, (pouting) it’s just that it doesn’t look real to me…” Etc.
You get the picture. And I did NOT make this up. Do we have a mono-
poly on this sort of thoughtless behavior? Not bloody likely.

Consider this, if you will:  Germany again, early 1990s. Party in progress,
hosted by Germans, revelers mostly Germans, with the occasional token American, Frenchman, and Brit thrown in. This scenario is typical of what
I had experienced on a number of different occasions, but this time I was prepared. At long last, I had answers for the almost inevitable questions (translated from the German):

“Are you an American?”
“Why, yes, I am. Thank you! How kind of you to notice!”
“Well, good, because I have a few questions for you…”
(Deep breath, smiling sweetly.) “Really? How can I help you?”
“Why can’t you learn how to cook over there? The food is awful!”
“And just what food are you referring to, sir?”
“You know. AMERican food. That fast-food junk.”
“You mean like hamburgers?”
“Well, I suppose you had best take that up with your countrymen in
Hamburg, sir, since…”
“Ja, ja, ja, I figured you would try to act schmart about it. You know
what I mean!”
“Well, let me see. Hot dogs. then. Which of course are actually sausages: Frankfurters or Wieners. But then of course you would have the populace
of Frankfurt or Vienna to blame… How about pizza? (He is getting red in
the face now and clenching his fists.) Nein? Well then, perhaps you did
not care for our steaks…”
“Okay, okay, okay, just forget about the food. You Americans are so
very barbaric! First of all, you drove the poor Indians off of their land,
you took from them what was rightfully theirs…”
“Well, I suppose perhaps that might have something to with the fact that Europe does have an ancient history of barbarianism…”
“EUROPE?!?!? What do you mean??? What Europe? Your brain must
be kaputt!! We are schpeaking of Americans here…”
“But of course. And everyone knows that it was Europeans who
migrated, who settled the New World, do they not?”
“Well, what about the criminals? What about the Mafia? No one is safe
on the streets in America! We would never put up with such behavior!
Germany is the most civilized country in the world!”
“Gee, I’ve not had that experience. Yours in a most interesting perspec-
tive, sir. How long did you live in the United States?”
“LIVE in the United States? Ich? Now I KNOW your brain is kaputt!”
(Silly grin, nudging his companion in the ribs as if to say, “Can you
believe this bimbo thinks I would be stupid enough to LIVE in the
United States!”)
“Well, obviously you must have lived there a very long time, indeed,
to be such an expert. How else could you possibly have come by
such a wealth of invaluable information about the USA and its more
than 200 million inhabitants…”
Glub, glub, “Well,” cough, cough, “I’ll have you know that in 1987 I
vacationed in America for three weeks! And not only that, but my
wife’s cousin’s next-door neighbor used to be married to an
American! THAT’S how I know!”
“Ah, yes. By all means, sir. I understand. You are indeed an expert.
Everyone here can surely see that. Please excuse me, now. I need
to refresh my drink…” Smiling all the while, with only a smidgen of
eye-rolling. There are smirks and chuckles all over the room, and
Herr Bozo tries to make himself invisible.
And I am thinking, “Are we badasses? You bet yourBratwurst we
are, Herr Bozo. We are pioneers. And proud of it!”

Let’s face it. Neither the Americans nor the Germans (nor the French,
nor the you-name-its) have a monopoly on rudeness, narrow-mindedness,
or pomposity. Not even on stupidity. Those attributes seem to pop up
everywhere. God help us all...

So. We Americans are often considered gaudy, brash and rowdy, if not
actually brutal. Not altogether untrue. No doubt some of us have behaved
deplorably in virtually every country on the planet. Then again, countless
thousands of us have shed our blood in those very same countries fighting
wars not of our own choosing. We are idealists, romantics, generous to a
fault. We are creative (a byproduct of this freedom we enjoy), innovative,
resourceful, enthusiastic, optimistic, confident, doggedly determined. How
else, pray tell, could the West have been won? We do not go quietly.

Do we have problems in these United States of America? Damn straight
we do. Is there crime in the streets, is there poverty, are there still ghettos?
Does so-called white-collar crime appear to be on the rise? Do fraudulent
business practices seem to haunt us of late? Has our international reputation
taken an unprecedented nosedive? None of that can be denied. I do not
applaud these regrettable facts; I simply trust that we will continue working
to find viable solutions. We will not give up. We SHALL overcome!

Brutal, barbaric? Geez, how could that be? Our heritage is sooooo refined.
We would not dream of sticking our primitive necks out, would we now?
The simple fact is we are a nation of rebels. Our forefathers staged, fought,
and won a revolutionary war. We do not denounce that; we celebrate it.
Today, in fact. We do not take a lot of flak from anyone, nor do we suffer
fools gladly. We are the embodiment of the “I’m madder than hell and I’m
not going to take it anymore,” mentality.
Our forefathers did not board sailing vessels and head across the Atlantic
Ocean toward the unknown because they were bored. They were discon-
tent with the status quo. Discontent enough to take action. They sought a
new way of life, against all odds. They were totally DISsatisfied, and they
had gumption enough to do something about it. They decided not to take
it anymore. By and large, they sought freedom. It is ours to protect and
defend. We are reminded today, once again, that freedom is not free.

The gift of freedom carries with it a tremendous weight of responsibility.
The more freedom we enjoy, the more responsibility we have to give
serious thought to our actions, knowing that it is we who will ultimately
be held accountable for our choices. Chew on that for awhile, if you will.

In addition to the other ruminations that occupied me today, I deliberated
on what might be considered the quintessential American metaphor. Finally
came up with the cowboy. Intrepid and fiercely independent. Rugged, just
like this magnificent country we call home. Audacious, plucky. A little
rough around the edges, perhaps, but a jewel nonetheless.

You’ll forgive me if I do not include any recipes in today’s offering. Food
has not been uppermost in my mind, although I did manage to put quite a delicious 'barbecued' brisket on the table, along with a huge bowl of potato salad. American potato salad, by God! Somehow I never did get around
to the chocolate cake. But I did decide on Cowboy Cuisine for today’s
Surprise. What else?

God bless America. United we stand.

Memorial Day - Lest We Forget

Be well, stay safe, enjoy your freedom. Count your blessings. Write
your congressman. And until next time, remember,

“What a tiresome place America would be if freedom meant we all had
to think alike or be the same color or wear that same gray flannel suit!
That road leads to the conformity of the graveyard . . . .”

~ John Oliver Killens


"It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love,
are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think
of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I
am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the
love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and
fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one."

~ M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating icon icon



Featured Archive Recipes:
4th of July Buffet at the
White Dog Cafe

All-American Barbecue Menu
Corn Chowder: The All-American
Summer Soup

Different Smokes for
Different Folks

Down Home in Luzanna on the 4th

Current Spice Cabinet Feature
Index - The Spice Cabinet
Index - Food Features
Daily Recipe Index
Recipe Archives Index
Recipe Search

WB01419_1.gif (2752 bytes)

WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Home  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Sitemap  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Recipe of the Day  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Art Gallery  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Cafe  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Articles  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Cookbooks
WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Cajun Country  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Features  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Chefs  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Food Quotes  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Gift Gallery  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Favorites
WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Basics  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Recipe Archives  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Links  WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) Guestbook   WB01507_.gif (516 bytes) What's New

LinkShare-Get Your Share!

Webmaster Michele W. Gerhard
Copyright © 1999-2011 Crossroads International.  All rights reserved.
Some graphics copyright www.arttoday.com.
Revised: July 03, 2011.