In 2016, I left my home in Scotland to spend a semester abroad at a university in Pennsylvania.
While there, I got to try many American foods for the first time, such as pumpkin pie.
However, there were some that I found difficult to get used to.
Back in 2016, I spent four months living in Pennsylvania.
In August 2016, I left my home in Scotland, UK, to spend a semester abroad at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. There were many things that surprised me about US life, and one of the big things was food.
Whether it was at the university dining hall or while traveling around the east coast of the US, there were many opportunities to try new food. Here were some of my favorites.
Since we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK, pumpkin pie isn't something we eat. I had never seen or tasted a pumpkin pie before I went to the US, but I had heard about it through watching TV shows and movies.
I tried it a couple of times during my semester abroad, as the university dining hall served it throughout the week of Thanksgiving. I loved it, and when I returned to the UK I found a recipe online and made it for my family.
Shoofly pie is something I had never heard of before arriving in the US. The pie, which has a filling of brown sugar and spices, is most commonly associated with Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine.
It tasted sweeter than any pie I had ever had before. We don't have a large variety of sweet pies in the UK, so this was a nice change.
While pizza is a popular food dish in the UK, I found that Americans are a lot more creative when it comes to their toppings. One thing I enjoyed from the university dining hall was "breakfast pizza," which was served every Sunday with various breakfast-themed toppings.
My favorite was the apple and cinnamon breakfast pizza, which I had never tried in the UK.
Anything from Panda Express.
I visited Panda Express for the first time during a weekend visit to New York City.
The American-Chinese cuisine that Panda Express serves is similar to Chinese restaurants we have in the UK, but with one important difference.
I liked that Panda Express allows its customers to sample a couple of different items before ordering their meal. That's something I had never experienced at take-out restaurants in the UK.
I tried s'mores for the first time during a weekend at my friend's parent's home in New Jersey. My friend, who was born in the US, hosted around 12 of us — all international students — just a couple of weeks after the semester began.
She wanted to show us some staple American food. As I bit into the delicious marshmallow and chocolate combination by the campfire in my friend's garden, I felt like I was living in an American movie.
There were some things that I wasn't a fan of. American bacon was one of them.
Before living in the US, I didn't realize that the bacon would be completely different from the bacon served in the UK.
My American friends were confused when I tried to eat my bacon with a knife and fork for the first time. I didn't realize that most people eat it with their hands, due to it being much crunchier and served in thinner strips than bacon served in the UK.
Bacon in the US comes from pork belly, whereas bacon in the UK is cut from the loin and is therefore leaner.
Tea in the US was also difficult to get used to.
I knew that tea wasn't as popular in the US as in the UK, but I didn't realize to what extent.
When I requested English breakfast tea at restaurants, many places didn't serve it at all. If they did serve it, the tea usually came with cream instead of milk, which isn't something I was used to.
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