Monday, March 7, 2011

American Lifestyle of Diet and Eating

Americans eat a lot of fast food such as hamburgers, pizza, and fried chicken, but their diet embraces an enormous range of foods from all over the world. Staples include potatoes, pasta, breads, and rice prepared with a variety of sauces. In the past two decades, eating habits have changed as people have become more health conscious, but many Americans continue to eat red meat (beef in particular) as well as pork, and chicken and other fowl. 

People visiting the US for the first time are often amazed at the size of the steaks and other portions of food served in restaurants. Fresh fish and seafood are widely available on the coasts and near major rivers and lakes, and a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruit is available year-round. An extensive food-distribution system makes fresh farm products available to all parts of the country. Americans also consume large amounts of chocolate, ice cream, and other forms of confectionery. Although beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages are available and popular in most areas, many Americans abstain from alcohol for health or religious reasons, and various kinds of mineral water are commonly available.

Eating styles and habits vary between people of different backgrounds, but Americans generally eat with the fork in the hand with which they write. A knife is used for cutting and spreading; otherwise, it is laid on the plate or table. Fast foods, such as chips, fried chicken, hamburgers, pizza, and tacos, tend to be eaten with the fingers. In general, table manners are casual, although it is traditionally considered impolite to rest elbows on the table. There is a significant difference between what people may do at home or in a fast-food restaurant, and how they act in a more formal restaurant. Because both parents often work outside the home, some Americans are less likely to sit down as a family to eat once the children are older and able to prepare their own food or serve themselves.

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