Although th USA is known principally as a meat consuming society, even meat requires bread, ie a bun for the hamburger or hot dog.
In France and in Germany, bread - of all types, are treated as part of a staple diat, in France the prices are actually regulated by official laws, as are the weights, so imagine my surprise (and horror) when I saw the prices in the USA of simple bread - bread that is "squishy" - has little or no taste, is generally pre-sliced and can be kept for months!
Maybe this comes from the British influence, where you can squeeze/press the bread to get 3 or 4 "loaves" into the freezer. Elastic or plastic stuff - generally inedible! Toasted or grilled it can be used and although there are many types - Italian, French, and other, they are not serious contenders for the real articles.
MEAT: Everything, or almost everything, is available. Mainly, meat is of the "fast cookable style" - even at home. Whilst the home baked/cooked/grilled is better in general than the the National chain stores, it is also more expensive. Certain meats are impossible to find in certain areas, others very difficult to find.
I found that veal was difficult to find, very expensive and when findable, then in escalope/chop form, the same held good for lamb, and strangely enough for Turkey, apart from the 4 July when turkey was about all you could find!
Those cuts for stews were rare to find, and liver (or "guts" as they call them) I never found! Minced meats were available, for the famous "meatloaf" or for the sauce Bolognese known in certain parts as "gravy"........
Unfortunately I never found one of these in the USA!
A butcher shop specializing in horse meat in Pezenas (languedoc, France) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In general, all normal, and some strange vegetables, are available, but tend to be cooked/prepared only at home. The prices, fresh or frozen, are comparable to European prices, with certain exceptions - notably potatoes (strangely, again a staple diat food in Europe) sold in Europe in minimum 1kg (circa 2lbs) packs, in the USA I saw them in pre-packed of 4 potatoes.......!
Apart from a lot of shellfish, my largest disappointment! As a lover of fish, I didn't like the selection - the taste - the fact that most things were filleted, and the state of freshness. On the other hand, live lobsters and such like, are much more available than in Europe, even if they are much smaller!
Salmon tends to be "Atlantic" salmon, which - as every Scotsman knows, has nothing to do with real salmon, it's just farming in the water! The price is actually higher than the price for the same article in Europe!
There are many other items and remarks I would like to make, but I'll be coming back to the subjects later - just one thing - Imagine, in this part of New York, there is NO fish and chips - "Long John Silver's" - there are 12 in NY but nowhere near here, and this is called, after all "Long Island" - what better place for Robinson Crusoe.......?
I hope to do an article on the wine/beer/alcohol subject in the USA. Most confusing and makes me pleased to live permanently on the Old Continent....!