Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Cultural Myths Dispelled: What You Thought Is Not

October 10, 2011  
Filed under Global Spotlight

By Amanda Deltuvia —

cultural food myths dispelled

It’s time to drop all those assumptions about that other country because you might be mistaken. Blame it on the labeling and marketing tactics used but it worked like a charm. Here are a few myths from different countries dispelled once and for all.

Fortune Cookies. Believe it or not, fortune cookies are actually derived from the Japanese. Supposedly based off a wafer of some sort, the cookie evolved to become part of American culture. In China, packages often include directions so they don’t end up eating the paper.

Swedish Fish. These red chewies are actually manufactured in Canada primarily for a North American market. Similar candies are found in open plastic containers the country these gummies are named after, but the infamous yellow bag filled with the red fishes does not exist in Sweden. Although originally founded by a Swedish candy manufacturer, it’s now made in Ontario Canada by Cadbury Adams, who purchased the brand in ’06. Once made, they are then shipped and distributed through Parsippany New Jersey. In the UK, you can find the yellow bags in the “Swedish Food Section” in Ikea.

Iceland Weather. Iceland is relatively warm and green compared to its friend Greenland. The name was apparently derived when a Scandinavian explorer came across the land in the winter and looked at drift ice. Rumor has it that he wasn’t in a creative mood and dubbed the land Iceland after his floating ice friends. Surprisingly, hundreds of thousands of years from that first discovery, the people there have been documented to be the healthiest, happiest and have the longest life expectancy on the planet. The U.N. annual report constantly rates it as the best place to live. Turns out this little land isn’t so cold after all.

Irish Bread. Native Americans are the original creators of this St. Patty’s day go-to fare. They used soda or pearl ash to make the bread rise. Eventually this recipe would travel to Australia, Serbia, Britain, Scotland and good ‘ole Ireland. This bread is tied into multiple cultural celebrations and the recipe only seems to vary slightly from country to country.

Taco Bell in Mexico. Taco Bell went away from Mexico for almost fifteen years until 2007, after an unsuccessful venture. Some Mexicans were quite upset with the rebirth, stating that U.S. chains were far too common in their country, i.e. Starbucks and Subway. These Taco Bells, however, do not compete with traditional Mexican cuisine. Instead, they add more of an American fast-food flavor to their menus by adding French fries and ice cream. Tacos are re-named as tacostadas, playing off the word tostada in order to protect the traditional taco image. Taco Bell in the U.S. has about 5,800 locations, while abroad in total there are only 278. Yet still on the streets of Mexico, vendors sell these little U.S.-infused tacos.

America, Not the Fattest Country. Obesity is still a major health issue in America with our overindulgent and unhealthy lifestyles consisting of fast food and expanding waist lines. But according to a recent country-by-country obesity report, other countries are putting on more weight at a faster rate than America, which is especially seen in the Middle East and Pacific Island Nations. Kuwait is number one on this list.

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