Land of the Brave. Part One.

November 30, 2010 § 9 Comments

Some people love airports and love flying. My dad will always arrive at an airport many hours before his flight to watch the planes land. My brother believes that longer flights are a haven for movie watching and whiskey drinking. Similarly NB doesn’t mind hanging about in the terminal as long as he has access to hotdogs, a good book and a bag of chocolate-peanut-sultana trail mix.

Not me. I don’t like airports and I don’t like flying. I don’t like waiting. I don’t like sitting. I don’t like bad coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts. I don’t like being inside. I don’t like turbulence or being stuck in a capsule way up in the sky. And I don’t like airplane scrambled eggs.

But I love to travel, and when you live in Australia you have to accept that long flights and holidays go hand in hand.

So here I am, sitting on the floor with NB in an American airport, waiting for a delayed flight to Atlanta, another (also potentially delayed) flight to LA, before boarding a plane for the 15-hour flight back to Sydney. If I were a clairvoyant I would predict the next 25 hours to include: Inside. Waiting. Turbulence. Bad eggs.

But I really shouldn’t complain, having spent the last ten days holidaying in Charlotte, North Carolina, where we spent Thanksgiving with NB’s family and friends, savouring good food, good drink and good company.

Now I know America gets a bad rap in the media about their eating habits, but I am happy to report that there is a lot of good amid the bad.

Admittedly, sometimes it is too goooood if you know what I’m saying – When was the last time you had a country fried steak for breakfast? It takes me back to my childhood of homemade veal schnitzel, densely crumbed and fried, but never eaten before 6pm and not usually served with an extra plate of hash browns and fried eggs.

Other goood Southern specialties that might tickle your fancy include buffalo wings, sticky ribs and red velvet cake.

Or perhaps you would rather a giant meatball stuffed with mozzarella cheese? Why not! It’s really really goooooood.


A side dish to breakfast at Cook House, Cornelius.

But there is also some ‘real’ GOOD. We snacked on berries and nuts and one day after the gym I found a nice place to buy sushi. Another morning I only paid $4.50 for a massive plate of hummus and flatbread at Pewter Rose and today, on the way to the airport, I got a yummy takeaway vegetable soup from Panera bread. Plus the waitstaff work on the tips system so if you want to order a plate of plain lettuce with dressing on the side and a bottomless glass of soda water then you’ve got it.


My way to start the day.

But of course it wouldn’t be America without the bad. The country can do things to scones (‘biscuits’) that would make an Australian grandmother shudder in her knitted cardie. There is also liberal use of cheese at every opportunity, such a variety of sodas that would make your teeth ache and the sheer affordability of crap is simply dangerous. It’s enough to make the mind boggle.

The menu at Bojangles.

Here is some advice that I would like to share with you, dear blushers, for eating in the Land Of Opportunity.

  1. Do not wash and iron your jeans mid-holiday. They will shrink. You will not enjoy this.
  2. Do not feel that it’s necessary to blog about the top three fast food joints in the area during the Thanksgiving/eating holiday period. Later, when you’re rolling around with indigestion, you will realise that this was not a good idea.
  3. Avoid loitering around bowls of pistachio nuts, cake slices or corn chips.
  4. After ignoring Tip. #3 and devouring the above…blame the dog.

But most of all just go with the flow. Now is not the time to be paranoid about

  • dieting…
  • exercising…
  • OR remembering that upon returning to Australia it will be beach weather (gasp and die).


Finally, here is my list of American foodie surprises for your enjoyment!

Number one grocery surprise:

It is very difficult to find full fat, plain, unsweetened Greek yoghurt. The country is obsessed with low fat/added sugar.

Number one grocery discovery:

EarthFare – which will become my organic wholefood haven in 2011. Thankyou NB Senior!

Number one cafe surprise:

Packets of potato chips as a ‘side’ to sandwiches

Number one cafe discovery:

Free refills of drinks!

Number one food surprise:

Scones are called biscuits (and they make the jam and cream variety look healthy).

Number one food discovery:

Shrimp and grits…a Southern delicacy!!


Every tub is flavoured and low-fat. Every tub. Incredible.




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§ 9 Responses to Land of the Brave. Part One.

  • Oh I hear you with this on Jen, this time last year I’d just spent a month in the good ol’ US of A & even though I had the best time (as I always do when visiting the land of opportunity & incredibly lovely people) my little chef palate was severely damaged with the bounty of low fat ++ sugar options in almost everything & the lack of a nice clean salad. We walked for hours in LA the day we were to travel home looking for fruits & salad options but my memories of that day are clouded by the overwhelming amount of affordable Pizza, stodgy options – in the end we went to an up market restaurant & paid through the nose but ate like royalty which made settling down for the L O N G flight home & some serious catching up on movies quite a bit easier.
    Still…, I love the place but think I love the wonderful foods here in Oz more.
    Welcome back BTW. 🙂

  • Thanks Anna, and I’m glad you agree with me…I began to worry I was just being a food snob! We just arrived home and I’ve made a big batch of spring vegetable soup for dinner, let the ‘detox’ begin 🙂

  • Hehe very funny tips! 🙂 Someone I knew told me that she couldn’t find any non sugary cereal, I wonder if that was true?

  • I love flying, airports, and Krispy Kreme donuts (when hot). When I go back to America to visit my parents, i am sometimes surprised that the food here in the UK is a lot more sophisticated (at least, thats the case for the places I tend to go). I loved reading your food discoveries 😀
    *kisses* HH

  • GirlonRaw says:

    Oh it sounds like a wonderful holiday despite all the travelling involved that you despise. I am a career traveller (just resigned as a flight attendant) and although I LOVED the days I would be working on the planes, yes I do detest the times I have to sit still as a passenger. And same as you, being from Australia, I have come to expect that as the norm. Just imagine if you were like me, and lived in the Middle East, and had to travel back to Australia 3 times a year. Yep, it’s no fun.

    Glad it was a good trip!

  • Hannah says:

    Oh dear heavens, I’m so excited about any and all upcoming America posts that I honestly can’t contain myself. American grocery stores are one of the main things that made me fall in love with teh place, though I spent more time at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s than Earthfare (I think that just depends on your area, though!)

    Though I didn’t have a hard time finding full fat greek yoghurt – oikos, fage, something that starts with v – I often found them in non-flavoured and non-nonfat versions. But I agree, the flavoured ones do outnumber the plain!

    Squee! America!

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