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"My European Family Members Are Completely Horrified By It": These Are The American Culinary Preferences That Are Totally Confusing To Non-Americans

"I have a high tolerance for American food — but I cannot handle these or even comprehend why they exist."

If you've ever traveled to another country, you've probably found yourself fascinated by the unfamiliar culinary habits and food preferences. And there's no doubt that the rest of the world feels a whole bunch of emotions — from intrigued to baffled by — American eating habits. So, I browsed through responses from the subreddit r/askreddit and the BuzzFeed Community. Here are some American culinary habits that are seriously confusing to the rest of the world.

1. "Sweet potato and marshmallow casserole with brown sugar and butter. What the....?!"

Close up of sweet potatoes with cinnamon and marshmallows

2. "Ranch dressing. It's so overpowering. Why don't Americans want to actually taste the salad instead of just the dressing?"

Salad with tomatoes and bacon, croutons, and ranch dressing.

3. "My European family and friends are horrified by Southern grits. I can't even get anyone to try it."

Grits topped with melted butter.

4. "Processed cheese. There are so many lovely real cheeses, so why eat shitty fake stuff?"

Sliced, packaged American cheese.

5. "Multiple Europeans I've met have been baffled by the popularity of root beer in America. As they say, it tastes like medicine."

A Root Beer float.

6. "Not only the unusual combination of peanut butter and jelly, but also the sheer amount of peanut butter that Americans eat."

A jar of peanut butter.

7. "How they love mixing sweet and salty foods like honey-baked ham, pineapple on pizza, corn bread and chili, etc. ... I've been living in the states for 17 years, but even after all this time, it still baffles me."

Fried chicken and waffles with syrup.

8. "My German brother-in-law lost his mind at the concept of American 'all you can eat' buffets. He was like, 'All of this...all one price? ALL of it?' He was amazed by it."

A Chinese food buffet.

9. "I met some Swiss guys at a house party. They couldn't believe that we were all actually drinking out of red Solo cups. It blew their minds. They kept on taking pictures and saying, 'It's just like the movies!'"

Pouring beer into red solo cups.

10. "The fact that they use mayonnaise on everything but French fries (the one proper use!). Use butter, you savages."

Squeezing mayo onto a sandwich.

11. "Boxed macaroni and cheese. My partner is Swiss, and he is appalled by Kraft Mac & Cheese. He could not believe I was looking forward to ingesting orange powder mixed with noodles."

A close-up of boxed mac 'n' cheese.

12. "Pineapple on pizza. It shouldn't be a topping people can order. It's straight up nasty."

Close up Hawaiian pizza for background.

13. "For me, it's not so much a particular 'American' food that I find bizarre, but rather the portion sizes. I'm Australian, and I was raised to eat everything on my plate. I brought that mentality to the US, and I put on 5 kg in over a month. The portion sizes are obscene. I could hardly finish a meal there without feeling ill from eating to much."

Pastrami sandwich and pickles on a table.

14. "Deep dish pizza. This creation is not pizza. It is disrespectful to the Italian culture, especially Neapolitans. Deep-dish completely ruins what pizza is meant to be."

Deep dish pizza being cut with a server spatula.

15. "American bread. I lived in the states for six months. At one point shortly after moving, I bought a loaf of bread and made a sandwich. To my surprise, the bread was so sweet. I told my housemates that I accidentally bought dessert bread, but nope — it was just regular bread in America."

Sandwich with white bread and cranberry jam

16. "Those Midwestern 'fruit salads' where half the ingredients are marshmallow fluff or mini marshmallows, Jello, whipped cream, etc. I have a high tolerance for American food, but I cannot handle these or even comprehend why they exist."

A Jell-o and fruit dessert.

17. "American desserts. I lived in the states for three years, and the amount of sugar Americans dump into their desserts is mind-blowing. They were beautiful to look at, but they were sweet as hell."

Glass bakery display case with assortment of cupcakes.

18. "The felt obsession with anything deep-fried is unnerving to me. There's a good few things that are excellent deep-fried, don't get me wrong, but putting literally anything in batter and frying it seems...wrong."

Fried Oreos covered in powdered sugar.

19. "Mint-flavored candies, like York Peppermint Patties. I live in Japan now, and most people I've met here hate mint-flavored things. I gave one to a friend, and he said it was the grossest thing he's ever had...tasted like eating toothpaste."

A kid holding a cone of mint ice cream.

20. "Pumpkin spice lattes. The one I tried just tasted like really sweet coffee. I don't get the American craze."

A woman holding a latte in a mug on marble table.

21. "I can't get over all those weird fusion foods that are so popular in America, like burgers topped with deep-fried mac and cheese for buns, sushi burritos, taco pizza, etc."

A sushi burrito in someone's hand.

22. "Those coated hot dogs served on sticks. I've seen them in movies, and they look really weird."

Mustard on a corn dog.

23. "A friend of mine brought back loads of American sweets from holiday. The Hershey's chocolate kisses were one of the worst things I've ever eaten. I thought I was going to be sick."

Rows of peanut butter blossom cookies with Hershey's kisses on top.

24. "Casseroles made with cream of anything soup. Green bean casserole, tuna casserole, mushroom casserole. I know what those Campbell's soups taste like (we get them over here across the pond), and the idea of using them as an ingredient in a main dish makes me shudder. What a sodium bomb! Then, consider those casseroles that are topped with crushed chips..."

Tuna casserole with pasta and green peas.

25. "The way Americans take coffee to-go. My partner's Italian mother absolutely can't get over the idea of seeing people walk around holding coffees. Americans are the only ones who don't enjoy their coffee while seated at a café."

Coffee in a to-go cup.

26. "The amount of sugar in American cereal. I could never tell if it was a layer of mold or solid sugar on those Froot Loops."

Froot Loops in a bowl.

27. "The way they eat apple sauce. Over here in the UK, one would have a very small portion of it with some pork. It's just a condiment. In the US, people pretty much have an entire bowl of the stuff, eating spoonful after spoonful. It's like a snack or a meal in its own right."

A bowl of cinnamon apple sauce.

28. "The fact that I ordered one pound of corned beef hash, three eight-inch pancakes with butter and maple syrup, four scrambled eggs with ketchup, six strips of bacon, four sausage links, three pieces of toast, and endless coffee for $12 at a diner. That was my breakfast while visiting the states. I love America."

American breakfast with eggs, pancakes, and hash browns.

29. "A friend visited me from Italy and wanted to try Krispy Kreme donuts. He took one bite and said, 'Now I understand why Americans are fat!' He made me take him back twice for more."

A glazed donut from Krispy Kreme.

30. "The cereal selection. It's my favorite dessert in America."

Pouring milk into a bowl of chocolate cereal.

Non-Americans, what confuses or intrigues you about "American" food and the way Americans eat? Tell us in the comments.