Earth on the Menu
Greetings, extraterrestrial visitors!
Ever since our own American astronauts, Lt. Chup Munnler and Captain E.G. “Spurts” Grandango, made contact with the people of Proxima Centauri VII eighteen years ago, Earth has become a popular tourist destination for visitors from every quadrant of our galactic sector. We’re pleased to welcome our guests, who have come to our happy little planet since 2028 from all over — last year alone, we entertained tour groups from Barnard’s Star to Luyten 789-6. Whether you’re searching for a Broadway show, a chance to binge-watch The Slap from the hot tub at a Red Roof Inn, or confirmation that you can indeed get a San Francisco ’49ers t-shirt in 5XL, Earth is ‘the place to be’. The money you spend on your visit will help fund retirement plans for aging industrial robots, pad the expense accounts of President Hernando-Mtume Bush’s favorite lobbyists, and settle lawsuits involving police brutality dating as far back as the 19th century — just part of our planet’s rich history! So please continue patronizing our concert venues, intoxicant dispensaries, and remaining national park.
It has come to our attention here at the United States Tourist Bureau that some of you are unfamiliar with certain aspects of American cuisine. Since you’ll want to ‘eat like a native’ while you’re here (please note: previous editions of this pamphlet read ‘eat a native’, which was a typographical error that has led to some unfortunate and completely untrue stereotypes about humanity), we’ve provided the following guide for the perplexed. Outside of Papua-New Guinea and certain parts of Cincinnati, humans no longer engage in cannibalism, so here’s how to eat well and observe local taboos against murdering and consuming the locals.
BEEF. “Beef”, also known as “meat”, is the most commonly consumed foodstuff in America. Made by pulverizing the muscle fiber of a cow and grinding it into small flavor pellets, it is then transformed through the addition of chemical flavorings into such exotic dishes as hamburger, taco meat, and these things that look like hot dogs but are actually just tubular hamburgers. The hamburger alone, as patented by McDonald’s Corporation of America, is so popular that over 928 quintillion have been served in the last thirty years, and accounts for the elimination of the Amazon rainforests and the dispensing of several billion Frozen plastic figurines.
CHICKEN. Made from the flayed breasts of a common domestic fowl, chicken forms a ‘white’ meat for those who seek a foodstuff that is made with a different variety of cruelty than ‘brown’ meat. Because of its coloration and the hallucinations brought on by ingesting it when it has not been fully cooked, chicken is often believed to be more healthful than other meats; for this reason, it is recommended that visitors deep-fry it in oil and immerse it in heavy sauces.
BREAD. A rare non-animal-sourced food product that Americans are willing to consume, bread is nonetheless believed to be unhealthful by dint of its high carbohydrate content by those who do not enjoy eating. Bread is usually used to create a manual delivery vector for cooked meats, but it can also be transformed into pasta, which can be formed into comical shapes and coated with any leftover sauces you have not yet used to envelop chicken.
FISH. Sourced from inland hatcheries, the fish dates so far back as a human-consumed food item that it was once native to the oceans that now store our nation’s most important industrial after-manufacturing runoff. Properly understood, fish should taste like, and be eaten with, bread; if it has any distinct or recognizable flavor it should be send back at once. Most fish will also satisfy visitors from Sirius B, as it contains 500% of their recommended daily requirement of mercury. Visitors from Epsilon Eridani B-b, however, should avoid consuming shellfish, as it will most likely bear a disturbing resemblance to their spouses, children, or other loved ones.
VEGETABLES. Vegetables, an antiquated foodstuff made from carefully cultivated plant matter, is an archaic native dish once eaten by the original inhabitants of the North American continent before their numbers were reduced through a process of applied economics and the remainder were put to work vending turquoise jewelry, low-stakes gambling games, and discounted cigarettes. Today, vegetables are rarely eaten, instead used as a colorful garnish for cooked meats or as photographic decoration in advertisements for weight loss schemes. However, on occasion, a vegetable may be fried in oil and coated in heavy sauces, as per the American tradition. Note, however, the exception that is the potato: a versatile and tasty starch delivery platform, the potato has become a local favorite thanks to its unique ability to absorb and transfer excessive amounts of fats, salts, and heavy sauces.
FRUITS. Nutritious, colorful, bright, plentiful, juicy, diverse, and flavorful: the fruit is everything Americans hate in a food product. Fortunately, they are very sweet, and thus are appropriate for delivering increased amounts of sugars to the bloodstream, where it metabolizes into the vital sluggishness and hostility that keep the local economy rolling. Fruits are harvested by robots designed by low-wage Mexican workers and used to flavor pastries, pancake syrups, and carbonated beverages, and to insert into wicker horns to symbolize a long-vanished time of plenty.
RICE. Rice is extra.
PORK. Pork, a semi-white meat that is beloved for its ability to be run through industrial threshing machines and stuffed into quasi-edible casings for consumption at sporting events, is made from the pig, an animal that so closely resembles the human being that it is often confusing to extraterrestrial visitors. (Tourist tip: while both humans and pigs are capable of wearing adjustable gimme caps with clever sayings written on the front, only humans will purchase them on credit when they cannot afford to pay for them.) Fans of Earth humor may be aware that at least two of the planet’s major religions forbid the eating of pork, but allow the eating of Crunchberries, BBQ Beef Hot Pockets, and Doritos Intense Pickle Flavor Tortilla Chips. Like most other American foods, pork is greatly enhanced by the addition of marijuana.