September 24th, 2012

"American Food" in China?

Hi all!

I am teaching in China for a year and was invited to a home cooked dinner a couple of nights ago with one of the other American teachers and her Chinese goddaughter. Over dinner we got to talking, and I found out the goddaughter has a really negative opinion of American food. I offered to make her some American food to show her how tasty it can be...but once I got home I realized, I don't really know what "American food" is.

I eat a lot of international food when I'm in the States, since it's 1.) delicious, and 2.) veg friendly. Also, I can't really draw from my family experience since my mother is Honduran and cooks a lot of beans and rice and other Latin-Caribbean things...and my father's family is from the US South, so they do a lot of meaty things.

I'm just not sure what I can make that will be representative of "America", since a lot of American food is influenced from other parts of the world. I was thinking I could maybe do a vegan coleslaw...and that's about the extent of my inspiration.

Another challenge is dealing with her dislikes: she doesn't like mushy things, or tomato sauce, and doesn't care for spaghetti (nor much western pasta, I think).

I do have access to a pretty well stocked supermarket, but the import section is small and expensive, so I'd like simple recipes where I can make use of local produce and ingredients as much as possible.

Help?