Silly corporate Americans. Everyday, all I see around me, in malls, on large strips, around the corner, and on TV, are more and more ways people find to exploit cultures of other countries. Especially in the fast food industry. Take for example, the Italian culture, which I am very proud of. I got no beef with little independent pizzarias, owned by nice, fat, old Italian men named Vinnie or Louie or Tony, but its these chain Pizza Companies that turn an already Americanized dish into complete crap.

Even good pizza made by Louie and the such, if taken to native Italy, the residents there would be somewhat confused. Pizza, as we know it, is only under the Italian influence, it's not some sort of delicacy in the "old Country". But now Pizza Hut, Dominoes, and other corporate monsters have yet again outdone themselves, and invented a new way to bring the food farther away from it's mourning culture, and pack it with as much artifical flavor and make it as oozing with as many calories as possible: Garlic Bread Twists to serve as a crust around the pie. Who would have thought?

The Olive Garden: a little closer, but still an evil chain! Most of their commericals display a typical large, noisy, fun-lovin', Italian family, going out to eat at their local Olive Garden. They seemed as if they really knew what they were talking about/doing. But alas, my parents went there one night and said it was nothing more than mediocre. They did complement on the free refills of garlic bread, however.

Ragu and other canned marinara sauce are funny too. Spaghetti and Ragu, as Italian as a Bean Burrito. And another thing, I find it especially amusing when non-Italian people try with all of their might to pronounce something they wish to order at an Italian restaurant. But I can't hold anything against them. You might want to bring a guido buddy along as not to feel extremely, well....dumb, when the waiter laughes in your face when you place your order of Cavatelli (sounds somewhat like Gob-a-deal in this household anyway). Heheheh.....gnocci. But anyway, back to the subject....

Another good one is Taco Bell. It's somewhat of a disgrace to the flavorful and distinctive cooking of the Mexican culture. To the local restaurants, all the ingrediants needed to make a Mexican Pizza (?!) are delivered by the provider, sent in little pre-packaged plastic bags, and the contents are God knows what. Not alot of cooking is required, either, just heat up the ingrediants, lock and load the refried bean paste into the filler guns, aim, carefully, and fire into the flour tortilla. Hours of intense training are required to be a Taco Bell employee, as you can very well see. I dare you to bring a Chili Cheese Burrito to Mexico. They'll feed it to the donkeys.

A question that has plagued mankind for centuries: Do Aussies REALLY sit around all day, eating Bloomin' Onions and petting kangaroos?

The Greek culture, an athletic and usually healthy people, are known for, well, reasonably healthy food. The pita is a good example. But when you go to a quick, close, and cheap place to satisfy your hunger, and at the same time watch your waistline, you'd probably consider getting a gyro. Well, let me tell you something, I never knew before that Greek food could be so greasy! And that special white sauce, my my my. It's not their fault however. My aunt's husband's homemade gyros, on the other hand, delish and nutrish.

Now, here's one for the books. America has managed to exploit, (get this), themselves! McDonald's and Burger King....tsk tsk. "French" fries, (actually originating in Belgium), hamburgers, and apple pies couldn't be more American. But yet again, they've upped the preservatives, packed in the calories, and yet somehow managed to reduce the size of the meat patty (?) to about the size of a quarter. You ask me how they do it. Even the American Southern culture with KFC is greasified, if there is such a word.

I'm glad to say, however, that there aren't any major Chinese food chains.....yet. But almost anywhere you can find a Chinese take-out place where real live Chinese people cook your food for you. I'm sure the MSG and cat meat steriotypes DO actually exsist, but I wouldn't worry too much. Even though these people are, infact, Chinese, I doubt that anything besides the white rice comes close to what an average, middle-class family eats ordinarily in China. I wouldn't know too much about that though.

So friends, family, countrymen, be advised. If a grumbling in your tummy urges you to fufill its needs, please think twice when wanting to fill it with crap. Oh why sure, it's tasty, special chemicals can do that. Appreciate your fellowman's culture, try not to cheapen it. Respect it for all its worth.

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