Almost all my subjects are New York based, which does influence their responses for a number of reasons: seasonal and local availability of ingredients, NYC as culinary mecca, NYC as prohibitively expensive, distance from family. My friends who replied also had very varied backgrounds: Colombian, Mexican, Guyanese, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Libyan, white. Despite the difference there are a number of patterns that emerged which I will go on to analyze because its Sunday and I really have nothing better to do.
What we can feel good about, though, meaning us NYC-dwelling 20-something-year-olds, is that we still honor our food traditions but our diets have progressively gotten better. We may actually avoid becoming fat like our parents. Here's why (don't worry, I'm only going to list the more interesting sections):
"Some kind of pasta with marinara sauce."
"any kind of pasta"
"pasta, chicken, vegetable"
"grilled chicken (maybe with a side of broccoli, probably not)"
If you're going to invest in anything this year make it either chicken, pasta, or vegetables. Rice came at a close second as did soup. There were a handful of anomalies, more complex dishes like tagine, stuffed pepper, and other mostly North African dishes or simple Chinese fare like tofu and vegetables.
Dinner Ordered or Eaten Out:
Asian food was overwhelming mentioned, from Chinese, Thai, Indian to specifics like veggie lo mein and sushi. Pizza and burgers were in second place followed by the word occassionally. Most of these people even hold gym memberships. (That's right, none of my friends are fat.)
This category for reason confused some of my subjects. By top three some thought I meant four or more which they somehow turned into three by combining two things into one like "cheesecake/pie" or "cookies/brownies." Chocolate, cookies, cheesecake, and ice cream were the highest rated, with two practicing Communists saying they don't really care for desserts.
Blow-Out Feasts Eaten Out:
One word: Steak. Steakhouse, Outback, Churrascaria... the biggest blowout for my friends and I involves bloody, red meat. Second place went to Olive Garden and Max Brenner. Meals eaten abroad and paid for by someone else also came up which only confirms that if you're traveling and someone else is paying, you can eat as much as you want.
Christmas and Thanksgiving were prominent but what was interesting was how they specified that what made them special beyond just the food was the gathering itself with family or friends. Interesting because so many people hate these holidays for precisely that reason.
Most Hated Foods:
This was the Freak Show portion of the survey. The most mundane: Broccoli and cabbage. The most bizarre: sea urchin, bone marrow, chinese buffets, and "the Large Fish Eggs, the smaller ones I can live with on sushi because they blend in. but the big ones taste like suicide in your mouth." That's right, suicide in your mouth. An oddly common one was raw onion.
We're still kids at heart:
"Peanut Butter Cups Sour Gummy candy Cookies!!!!! OH MY GOD YES"
"Ice cream with unlimited toppings ... like cookies, cereal, fruit, chocolate fudge all at the same time.. ON.. a hot brownie/chocolate cake"
"butter<--spreading too much of it on bread, cooking with it, baking with it, LOVING IT"
"the occasonal fast food dose. Like that time we went to McDonalds... Sometimes you just need a dose of gross."
One of the Communists left this section blank. Other notable items aside from the fast food and dessert orgams above were french fries, hostess cupcakes, and cheetohs. Mmmmm processed foods.
The last three sections all realte to each other as they prove three things:
- We are shedding college habits like fast food and hard liquor (with the exception of those who listed fast food as a guilty pleasure, which is still indicative of a reduction).
- We grew up on processed foods like pop tarts and slim jims which we don't eat anymore but which we remember fondly.
- There is a definitely vegetarian slant in what we have recently started eating with many vegetables like kale and brussel sprouts coming up and a sharp decline in meat.