An American Appetite in Princeton Alumni Weekly

PAW Illustration

Illustration by Catherine Meurisse

One of my first writing jobs (you know, the kind that actually pay you) was for Princeton Alumni Weekly, writing alumni profiles.  So when they contacted me last month to write a feature essay on anything I wanted about food, I was over the moon.  I thought to myself, “Now I’ve made it!”

I think my editor expected something foreign and fabulous from an ex-pat alum, who spends her life italicizing French dishes and phrases on this blog.  But it was for the November issue, and as always when that time of year rolls around, my thoughts turned homeward.  Many a weeknight will find me raving around my apartment (or, rather, flat), shouting at Mr. English while we try to put together our Ocado order (that’s British for Fresh Direct), in disbelief over the unavailability of key, essential items.  Half sour pickles.  Jumbo shrimp (seriously).  Thick slabs of steak.  Blue cheese dressing.  Corn bread.  Rainbow cookies.

It feels like such a deprivation that when I go home I plan my meals out months ahead of time, and never miss an opportunity for a real American hot dog, or a giant wedge salad, or a ice-packed shrimp cocktail.

The essay will give you my perspective on why, though I left the States and pursued a love for French cooking, American cuisine is not only my absolute favorite, but also on the rise here across the ocean.  Check it out!

And a huge thank you to Catherine Meurisse who did the fabulous illustration.  It made me feel like a big timer getting a bespoke illustration, and she couldn’t have captured my sentiments more exactly!

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Categories: Finds

10 Responses to An American Appetite in Princeton Alumni Weekly

  1. brilliant essay. it’s funny, i’m american from a family of quebecois descent and i did my grad degree in london. having grown up eating far more sophisticated fare than many of my peers by virtue of my parents’ palates and traditions, i never thought i would miss american food. however, where did i seek refuge when a bout of homesickness struck? whole foods in south kensington, where i would roam around for over an hour before settling on a steak and a bottle of california cabernet, and i would try to get my mother to send me bisquick and maple syrup so i could have real american pancakes.

    now that i am back in the us, i find myself missing english-style indian curry, so please go to brick lane for me! and the crazy thai pub near notting hill gate. you know the one.

    • Kerry says:

      Whole Foods! I go in there and throw money at the homesickness problem all the time! You should have seen what I did for last Thanksgiving. It was criminal.

      I’m going for a curry tonight, actually. I’ll have some vindaloo for you. And what’s with the crazy Thai pubs? They’re everywhere! I love the broadened horizons.

  2. Richard K. says:

    Now I know why I enjoy your recipes so much!

    –Richard K., ’60

  3. Mara Rae says:

    Great article, and I love the illustration! I found your blog by following some bizarre croque monsieur Google rabbit trail (I’m headed to Paris tomorrow to visit family – I’m American but I live in Russia, and I went to grad school in London too!) and I just subscribed. :) Your blog header is absolutely adorable!

    • Kerry says:

      Thank you! I know, I just love the illustration. Catherine Meurisse is some kind of genius. I think I know the rabbit trail you mean–it tends to include the Guardian? Whatever it was, I’m so glad it led you here.

  4. Jenni says:

    I loved your Princeton Essay! American cuisine has always been so hard for me to distinguish – it is such a conglomerate of things. Your essay was brilliant, enlightening, and entertaining.

    • Kerry says:

      Thank you so much! I have to say, it was so easy to write. Since living over here, I see American food with a strange amount of clarity–in that I think about it and crave it all the time.

  5. Candida says:

    I can certainly relate to this! I’m reading this quite a few months late, but I’m an American living in London as well, and I’ve shocked myself with some of the things I miss. (And some of the things that I didn’t realize would be so hard to get!) I’ve introduced my British gentleman to American-style pancakes, and I’ve brought s’mores to a weekend in the Lake District. It’s nearly impossible to get graham crackers in London.

    Your article was great to read! A very well-written ode to American food.

    • Kerry says:

      Thank you! And I definitely relate on graham crackers! You know what else I really can never find? Saltines. Miss them like crazy.