Only in America!

This will be the last of my posts from my recent trip to the US, and it’ll mostly be photos. Every time I visit the US, certain things strike me as odd. They’re not really odd, I don’t think, to Americans, but as an expatriate, they seem strange to me now. I did one such post when I was in Washington state in 2013, so consider this installment 2 of “Only in America.” I’ll start with odd food items, many of which I spotted in Santa Cruz.


ad for deep-fried cheesecake

At Santa Cruz boardwalk: cheesecake doesn’t have enough calories and fat by itself. It needs to be deep-fried too.

Everyone knows that obesity is a problem in the US. It’s becoming a problem in many parts of Europe too. I loved, though, that when you order a lemonade or iced tea in the US, you get free refills. What a treat! And, yes, I gained weight on this visit, even without trying deep-fried cheesecake.[tweetthis]Cheesecake doesn’t have enough calories and fat by itself. It needs to be deep-fried too.[/tweetthis]

I didn’t try these either:

ad for deep-fried twinkies, oreos, etc.

at Santa Cruz boardwalk

I didn’t think Twinkies even still existed! I didn’t try these either:


also at Santa Cruz boardwalk

I’ve made sweet potato fries before, though I baked them rather than frying them. But what is a Pineapple Dole Whip?

These actually don’t sound quite as horrifying:

ad for French fried artichoke hearts

At least these might have some health value, right?

I have no idea what these are:

ad for Texas Donut

What is the difference between a Texas Donut and a regular donut? Besides the price, I mean.

Maybe they’re just bigger than regular donuts?

At our hotel in Monterrey, we found this in the breakfast room:

automatic pancake maker

Push one button, wait a minute, and out roll two pancakes.

We tried them, but they weren’t very good. One of the cardinal rules of fluffy pancake-making is to leave the lumps in because over-beating will make them tough. These were tough.


There were other “only in America” sights besides the food-related.

earthquake warning sign

lawsuit avoidance

That may be an “only in California” sight. It was posted on one of the missions I visited.

And then there are the oddities of the American health care system:

ad for flu shots

Outside a Walmart

I saw signs like this at every Walmart or similar store. They advertise all sorts of shots, especially flu and chicken pox. I guess there’s money to be made.

package of chicken poop lip balm

Commercialism gone mad.

And speaking of commercialism, producers of all sorts of products do their damndest to stand out from the crowd. But, really? Chicken poop lip balm? It contains no actual poop, according to the package, but would you buy this? Might want to hire a different branding firm.

Redneck Bling storefront

in Placerville, CA

At least they’re honest! I might have actually shopped there if I’d had the time, just out of appreciation for the name.

And then, of course, the perennial favorite of Europeans traveling in the US: big cars.

very wide pickup truck

The sheer size of this pickup truck amazed me. I’m not sure it would fit on European roads!

So that’s my collection of odd things seen only in America from my latest trip.

If you live outside the US, but you’ve visited there recently, what would you add? Leave a comment below.

And if you’d like to read my other posts from this trip, here they are:


  • Doreen Pendgracs

    December 29, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Hi Rachel: Yes, it really IS crazy how they want to deep fry all sorts of things, isn’t it? Although, at a MX resto in the US, we were also served deep-fried ice-cream! Crazy, but it was actually good! Part of the excitement of travelling. You never know what you might get!

    • rachel75

      December 29, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      Yes, I had deep-fried ice cream once too, but somehow deep-fried cheesecake just seems much much worse! And don’t forget the crunchy sweet tortilla wrapped around the cheesecake! Who thinks up such a concoction?

  • Natalie

    December 31, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    I love the outsider’s view–all of this stuff seems ridiculously commonplace to me, but I can see how it would look wacky to someone from somewhere else.
    1) A Dole Whip is SO GOOD! It’s a pineapple sorbet that’s usually swirled with vanilla soft serve ice cream. It’s a lighter treat–people usually associate it with Hawaii or Disney World/ Disneyland since those are popular spots to get it.
    2) The Chicken Poop lip balm is a joke–the company has an entire line of them, including Cow Poop, Moose Poop, and some other ones. They know that putting “poop” on a lip balm will get people’s attention–and that’s the whole point. It’s like a gag gift!
    3) There are a lot of fried things here, but, as an American who eats pretty healthy, I probably eat something fried like once a month. And that fried thing is never a cheesecake (though, man, oh man, that sounds SO rich and good)!
    4) I have nothing to say about the gigantic trucks. They drive me insane, too.

    I hope you had a good time exploring America! 🙂

  • rachel75

    January 1, 2015 at 12:46 am

    That pineapple thing does sound good! Do you think people actually BUY something with poop in the name? And even if they did, wouldn’t it lose its novelty pretty quickly? Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed my outsider’s view! Happy 2015!


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