Fried, fatty, and fulfilling. This is what I thought American food would be like when I came to study at Marist College. A steady diet of burgers and french fries sounded like heaven, but only for about a month.

American food has its good and bad sides. We asked international students from Greece, Italy, Spain, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia for their thoughts on the matter. Here are the points which most students agreed on:

“American food is too greasy.”

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This is one thing with which everyone agreed. American food could be a little easier on the oil, butter, and fat in general.

“I started to eat more since I moved to the US.”

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Photo by Becky Hughes

Most people said that since they moved to the US, they began to eat more than before. This may be a phenomenon common for all college students though—who hasn’t heard of the freshman 15?

“I love cheeseburgers and hamburgers.”

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Photo by Annie Madole

Many people listed either hamburgers or cheeseburgers as their favorite American food. And who wouldn’t? Burgers are perhaps the most successful culinary invention of the United States.

“American food is too processed.”

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A common complaint of international students was that American food is too processed and does not contain a lot of fresh, raw ingredients.

“The food of my home country is healthier and more organic.”

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Photo courtesy of Ambiente Group

At least three people mentioned that the food of their home country is healthier in general. For example, Cecilia Sancho Pascual from Spain said, “American food is cooked with butter, while in Spain we use olive oil, which is way healthier.”

“American food is not spicy enough.”

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Photo by Helen Poon

Two people, Ilaye Yola from Nigeria, and Biruk Yohannes from Ethiopia, said that American food was not spicy enough for their taste. This shows that the food of your home country can influence your opinion of US food.

My Thoughts

As an international student from Bulgaria, I cannot miss the opportunity to give you my own verdict. I like American food in general, but there are definitely some all-American favorites that I’m not a fan of.

For a lot of foreigners, sweet and salty do not go together. However, Americans constantly mix the two, enjoying everything from chocolate-covered pretzels to chicken and waffles.

Other than that, I also agree that American food tends to be processed and greasy. But I’m not sure if I consider this good or bad. It may be bad for my health, but I sure enjoy the taste of the forbidden fruit. (I’m guilty of hiding chips in my desk drawers and eating at McDonald’s more often than I should.)

What I found most surprising about the responses of other international students is that a couple of them said they started to eat less since moving to the US. I would have to join the ones who said they eat more, since a meal plan with unlimited swipes and a lack of parental supervision has made it hard to control my cravings.

Another surprise was the conflicting opinion on mac and cheese. While some people said it’s their favorite American food, an equal number of students put it in the list of their least favorite foods. Personally, it’s one of my favorites.

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