Final: USA vs. Chile

It is time, loyal readers, to once again present our decision, advancing one cuisine and eliminating another.  This week the case is the United States against Chile — one cuisine, being our own, is very familiar, while the other was hardly a blip in our culinary radar before it was featured.

American dishes on The World Cup of Food:

Chilean dishes on The World Cup of Food:

Our greatest concern when tackling the topic of the American table was objectivity.  We worried not that we would inflate American cuisine’s results, but that we wouldn’t give it the credit it deserves.  Living here our whole lives, it is easy to take a jaded look and focus on Walmart and McDonald’s and ignore the great things like deep-dish pizza and eggs Benedict.  Ultimately our decision has to come from the best a cuisine has to offer, not the worst.

Our question for the time being is whether we believe that American food is better than Chilean.  Chile’s bounty of shellfish and potatoes (some of our favorite ingredients to work with) and history of immigration and culinary influence from Spain, Italy, and Germany has created a varied, complex, and delicious food tradition.

Unfortunately, Chile falls just short in our eyes.  The South American nation’s population is only about one-twentieth of that of the United States, and as a result Chilean cooks have made significantly fewer innovations and taken far fewer risks in the kitchen overall.  Immigration from a few very different countries has given depth to Chilean cuisine, but no country on Earth can match the impact and variety immigrants to the United States has made on its culture and kitchens.  In the end we realized that almost any person compiling a list of the thirty-two best countries in which to eat would include our own.  We select the good ol’ U.S. of A. to advance to the round of thirty-two, where its next opponent, Portugal, awaits.

Up next is Egypt versus Ethiopia.  We’ve been looking forward to revisiting Egyptian food and trying our hands at Ethiopian food for some time.

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