Is American culture inherently wasteful?


Question: Is American culture inherently wasteful?


David Chang: Oh most definitely.  America is the most wasteful country in the world.  It’s a country of abundance, which is why we don’t have a food culture. 

I don’t know if we’re ever going to have a food culture, but because we produce so much food and have so much excess of everything, particularly food, I don’t know if America has never been hungry, really hungry for a long period of time, like many other countries. 

Granted we’re not as old as other countries, but almost everywhere else, food is cherished, and people are knowledgeable about it. 

When I lived in Japan, I was like, “Oh my god.  Everybody knows everything about food.”  What fish is in season to the vegetables.  The product and the quality of the product is so high, and you can eat well even on the cheap there.  Everything is affordable.  Even affordable food is delicious, and that was a big moment for me – a watershed moment you could say, where I was like, “Wow, food doesn’t have to be great on a fine dining level.” 

The super wealthy people don’t have to eat well.  And America; to appreciate food, to really enjoy it, is almost viewed as snobbery and elitism, whereas in other countries it’s not.  It’s like wow.  Like this is part of our culture.  This is part of our heritage.  This is part of who we are, is cooking and enjoying food. 

And it’s not the case here.  It’s about hamburgers, and hot dogs, and pizzas and French fries.


Topic: Worshipping Tripe and Offal


David Chang: It’s totally overrated.

Because that’s what people grew up eating.  Most part for the history of the world, you know, I think Chef Keller said it best.  It’s easy to cook the filet mignon.  It’s easy to cook the lobster.  It’s really hard to cook something that is normally thrown away and make it delicious.  And that’s peasant cooking, and that’s where real food comes from.  It’s from people that didn’t have the luxurious ingredients.  They had to make do with what was best around them. 

And it’s funny that it’s deemed “cool cooking.”  But that’s real cooking to the cooks, and to us, and a lot of the guys that are coming up with a recipe or working on the recipes. 

I know that we have a __________ sweet bread; but we’re trying to make something that’s normally delicious. Everyone wants sweet bread for the most part. 

But like, say, pig’s tails, or trotters, or even like stomach, that’s hard. 

Americans right now in the culinary world, or at least in the media, I think they enjoy it more because of the novelty of it all; that it’s different or it’s sort of chic.  But there’s nothing chic about stomach, or tripe, or pig’s head.  There’s nothing sexy about that or cool.  That’s what you should be doing anyways.


"Oh, most definitely."

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less

The most culturally chauvinist people in Europe? Greeks, new research suggests

Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.

Image: Pew Research Center
Strange Maps
  • Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
  • Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
  • British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less