Sweet sweet sweet!!!!

Joined Aug 18, 2007
a Very happy thanks giving to all in the Us of A

Now i know I'm generalising, but why does the thanks giving menu and sooooo much else need to be so sweet?

I've just read a thread related to sweet potatoes being sweetened with marshmallows and brown sugar. I can't knock it... I havnt tried it. But it seems extreme. The more i think about it tho, the more i want to taste it.

I'v mentioned my love of American food in the past, but I do have a problem with the sugar content....Especially where you dont expect it. ie sliced white bread is sweet!!!!! How can you enjoy a cheese and ham salad sandwich without added sugar?... Answer... pay a fortune for artisan bread. (In its place I do admit to dealing in white sliced. One cannot make a decent toastie without it)

Salads are sweet...I havnt met a US salad bar yet that lacks 3, or 4 uber sweet concoctions. Granted,they usually have some smashing substitutes - Fair play

Dont get me wrong, I'm all for sweet and sour. I love fruit with meat. I like corn syrup with my bacon. And I glaze my carrots and parsnips. But for me, America = over the top sweet
Just me?
Joined Jan 5, 2007

Every time I have visited (granted, not since 2002) I was struck by the love of sweetness in lots of what I would consider a savoury dish.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
You are not alone. Was in Baltimore one Easter, and the baked ham was glazed with something sweet but SO sweet, it was like a dessert, not a ham. And the beef fillet was drenched in a very sweet marinade (the people went all out to spoil us, we had a lovely time-just couldn't understand the food). I read some recipes (different tastes for different folks, I do realise), but am amazed by how much sugar/sweet elements are involved.

I love roast pork with cranberry sauce, but it's a fairly non-sugary sauce we get here, also apple sauce-this is not very sweet either, and lamb with mint sauce. But again, the mint sauce is more sour than sweet, to cut through the fattiness of the meat.

Enough from me. Hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful :)


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I don't like the sweet potatoes sweetened up. In fact I prefer them with some heat But on Thanksgiving, I serve them with just butter S&P.

Joined Jun 16, 2007
I think one reason things have gotten this way here is people watching what they eat. May not sound right, but . . . I think the "low fat" label is often a reason people pick a particular food, and sometimes this just means sweeter.

Sometimes a food manufacturer adds sugar to something that wasn't "low fat" and it becomes something they can now label as "low fat". The sugar calories have gone up while the fat calories have stayed the same, so the % of calories from fat has become less.

I don't know if this applies directly to Thanksgiving food, but it may be one reason many (not all) Americans are used to, and maybe now prefer, sweeter food. It's "healthier" :lol:

Just a theory.
Joined Aug 25, 2009
Yes Bughut,

You are right. When I think about it....if there was not such a big demand for it then the restaurants would not be pushed to serve so much of it.

What is the real reason behind it ? To cover the sweet/savory taste buds so all bases are covered ? There is a fine balancing act and some dishes just don't make the cut.

I am the FIRST to say I love a good sweet, but like everything, it has its place.
Love to pair different foods, mistake (or two or more) I have learned a few things....
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Yeti - you make a good point. Low fat often = high sugar. Having to watch both sugars and fats in our household, I read the labels on everything now. All 4 of us do. I get in trouble if I get it wrong! Especially my son and husband (hubby has the issue, but son is noticing girls :) ) Anything over 10g fat and/or sugar per 100g doesn't not pass our front door.

I am appalled at the high levels of these in so called "health bars". (Ok going OT here) there are so many that are totally unhealthy, as well as "lite" yoghurts, full of sugar. And then, well, don't get me started on sodium. And added msg.

Ok mini rant over, but it doesn't help peoples health hiding behind a "lite" label.
Joined Sep 29, 2009
I'm actually not a big fan of sweet food. That's the main reason that I avoid most American restaurants these days. Instead I look for Mexican, Cuban, Italian, French, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Thai, etc. restaurants with a traditional menu.

Traditional American food in the past was buttery, savory, sell seasoned, and starchy. Smoking, frying, roasting, baking, and poaching were the common methods of cooking. These have been replaced by sauteing and braising, but not in the traditional sour and buttery way. Sweet sauces and marinades have begun to dominate the American culinary scene and it bugs me. If I wanted sweets, I'd be at the candy store. Even the potatoes I had the other day were conspicuously sweetened! They're potatoes! If you'd just learn to cook properly, some of the starches would caramelize and you would be left with a lightly sweet and crispy plate of delicious.
Joined Nov 5, 2007
Yes indeed, too much sugar, and often too much salt. I've not always checked the labels before purchasing. I think I ranted on this forum once about making creamed spinach, and I thought lemon yogurt would be a nice way to "cream" it. Only *after* I tasted it did I look at the yogurt label - three of the first four ingredients were sweeteners.

And I wanted some jerked chicken wings once, was in a hurry and bought a prepared jerk rub. Once again waited too long to read the label - the first ingredient was corn syrup. I ended up spending more time doctoring it up to get a spicy bite than I would have spent starting from scratch. A lot of prepared bbq sauces have corn syrup ( usually the high-fructose chemically altered stuff) as one of the primary ingredients. Not my cup of tea.

Like some others, I too am not fond of sweetness in my food, and tend to pass on the cookies and candies. I do make something I call sweet onion soup, but the sweetness comes strictly from the natural sugars in the onions, no other sweeteners added.

And rarely do I make desserts, and one of my favorites I like to make for dinner parties is a fairly tart lemon curd, served with berries and rum laced whipped cream on top. Yum.

Almost time to get the turkey in the oven.

Joined Apr 3, 2008
I've lived in the states since I was 10 and I still can't figure out why there is so much sweetness in everything. My idea of bbq is rubbing some ribs down with lemon and pepper, maybe some garlic and oregano and smoking. But here all bbq is bathed in syrupy ketchup. Not sure why though. I can't eat sweet and sour chinese dishes either.

Thanksgiving is a particularly sweet holiday with yams, glazed hams, cranberries etc. I prefer my sweet potatoes mashed with a little butter, cinammon, and allspice but skip the honey/sugar/marshmellows most people put in htem.
Joined May 29, 2006
Blame our society From when we were born we were rewarded with something sweet, be it candy, cookie, ice cream, or soda pop. It has become part of ouir heritage and we continue to pass the legacy to the next generation
Joined Jan 5, 2007
We in Europe 'reward' our children with sweet things - doesn't mean that as adults we eat sweetened savoury dishes!
Joined Aug 18, 2007
Great feedback.Thanks all. I thought I might be shot down in flames for being negative about US food.
It would be interesting to discover why so much is laden with sweetners. And that begs the question, When did it all start? I feel a google session coming on.

DC &Yeti, I totally agree with your low fat=sweetners. The only low fat i buy is philidelphia cream cheese in wee tubs.
I want butter, not whipped up l/f spread.(they even manage to stick sweetness in that too) Naah!, when I'm being good, I just eat less of the good stuff.
Anyone tried 1/2 fat cheddar? Never, ever again!!

BTW I saw a programme recently that showed supermarket own brand cereals (Not the value range) contained a lot less sugar than the equivelant leading brand. Even "healthy" All bran has tons of it. I'd never have known.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
No offense to farmers (that would be maize to some of you), but buying up that government-subsidized corn crop and turning it into something profitable is a major aim of big companies like Archer Daniels Midland. We're swimming in corn here. It's used to fatten cattle (never mind their guts can't digest it), create fuel additives and the rest, it seems, goes into food additives- principally, high fructose corn syrup. Upping our taste for sweet things makes us consume more corn, causing more demand, more to plant, etc. They've made us into virtual addicts for the stuff, which has helped increase the numbers of people with insulin resistance, diabetes, etc.

IMHO: You can thank mega-agricultural businesses for the overly sweet palate of most Americans.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
We Americans tend to be nice most of the time. Can't say the same for a british cooking forum I'm part of where anti-americanism is rampant. But I'm not keeping score....
Joined Nov 1, 2009
As an American I can tell you that it is not your imagination. That's one of many reasons I like to cook from scratch. Because then I decide on the contents. (I'm not a big sweets person, althought I did do a killer Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake for my father's birthday one year) I try to stay away from refined sugar when possible.
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