In the land beyond the fictitious realm of Shower Thoughts, there’s absolutely no reason to waste time deciding who the Guy Fieri of Europe would be, or whether there’s a true pumpkin spice latte equivalent in another part of the world. Someone somewhere once said that comparisons are odious, but we think they’re kind of fun. Who doesn’t love a spirited debate about international food and famous people?
This article is less about making a statement of some kind, and more about opening a potential can of worms. Below, we entertain a handful of thought-provoking questions and make a case for a few potential answers.
What is the pizza of France?
The baguette or the crepe?
Pizza is arguably the most democratic carb in the United States. It’s universally loved, cheap, accessible, and almost always reliably satisfying.* It’s also quite adaptable. Pizza does well as a plain slice of New York-style pizza, and it can also be gussied-up with gourmet toppings.
So what’s the equivalent in France? On one hand, the baguette is probably on par with pizza in terms of how ubiquitous, crispy and portable it is. On the other, the crepe is more properly fit to be a meal unto itself, and it can generally accommodate a wider range of toppings than a baguette.
*Does not necessarily apply outside of the Tri-State area
Who are the K-pop fans of America?
One Direction or Lady Gaga die-hards?
It would be overly simplistic to say that K-pop is just “Korean pop.” There are certainly similarities between American pop music and the wide-reaching phenomenon that is K-pop, however. For instance: high production value and the assumption of a dedicated cult following.
One of the most eminent K-pop ensembles of the current moment is BTS, a seven-member boy band who have been dubbed “the Beatles of the 21st century.” Does that make K-pop fans most analogous to One Direction fans, who obsessively followed the moves of what was arguably the most popular boy band in the West in recent times (not to mention had their own dictionary)? Or are they more like Lady Gaga fans (aka Little Monsters), who are thoroughly committed to the quadruple threat of Gaga’s singing, dancing, fashion artistry, and attention to audiovisual details? One Direction didn’t really dance, after all. But they were surely a bit more manufactured from the outside.
What is the sushi of Mexico?
Burritos or ceviche?
As a food format, sushi has it all: a satisfying grain exterior that can artfully accommodate just about any combination imaginable of fish, vegetables and salty sea things, packaged in a tidy roll that allows you to experience every flavor simultaneously in every bite.
With that said, what would be its Mexican counterpart? The burrito, which is also a rolled-up meal? Or ceviche, which contains raw-ish fish and vegetables that are more on par with what you’d normally encounter in a sushi roll?
What is the guacamole of the Middle East?
Hummus or baba ganoush?
Guacamole! The light of our lives, the scourge of our wallets. This coveted, dippable mush can hold its own at the party snack table, and in many ways, this nutritious paste is akin to the mortar that glues the bricks of our society together.
In many Middle Eastern cultures, nutritious-delicious-mortar-paste can be found in at least two different forms, and both are consumed with flat, wedge-shaped carb vehicles (in other words, pita is to the tortilla what hummus is to guac). In view of all that, is hummus more like guacamole because it’s generally eaten in more of a dipping context? Or should we go with baba ganoush because it has a more guac-like consistency and because it’s made from eggplant — which, just like avocado, is technically a fruit?
Who is the Beyoncé of the U.K.?
Adele or Princess Diana?
No one can step to Queen B, and her most ardent followers will be sure to remind you of this at every conceivable opportunity. Beyoncé is one of the most prolific, iconic and influential artists in American musical history, and the mythos of her goddess-like perfection has become a cultural meme in its own right.
Who, then, occupies the Beyoncé-sized hole in U.K. culture? Would it be Adele, who is the reigning musical diva at the head of the popular zeitgeist? Or would we look beyond the pool of musical artists for someone who is literally royal and mythically adored, like Princess Diana?