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European tourist describes the things he likes most and least about traveling across America

A lot of Americans agreed with him.

european tourists, best parts of america, worst of america

A server taking orders in a restaurant and a man enjoying a U.S. National Park

When we try to take stock of where we live, sometimes we can be too close to things to appreciate what's right in front of our eyes. It can also be hard to accurately assess some of the problems we’ve learned to live with over the years.

That’s why a Reddit post by a Dutch tourist who spent some time in the U.S. resonates with many Americans and Europeans alike. In the post, a Reddit user named MikJon shared the things they liked and didn’t like about their time in America.

They noted they didn’t post anything about politics, taxes or healthcare because those issues aren't relevant to tourists.

Here are the 5 things that they liked:


1. Nature

Raw, wild and untouched, and—most of all—VAST. The sheer vastness AND variety of nature and pure wilderness here are definitely unmatched in Europe. Specifically the little nature we have in The Netherlands is laughable compared to the USA.

2. People

People are generally approachable and friendly. Yes, I do like Americans, at least their overall demeanor. I would be greeted and asked where I'm from, even by someone at the 7-11. In general Dutch people are quite rude.

3. Free refills!

This is a small thing but really unheard of in the Netherlands. In my country, you pay the same price for just one tiny cup of coffee. In fact, all drinks you order are tiny in The Netherlands and you pay for each one.

4. Traffic lights across the street

I can't for the life of my understand why we still have to lean over the steering wheel and get a sore neck looking straight upward at the traffic lights in Europe.

5. The doggy bag

You MIGHT be able to get to take your leftover with you in certain places in The Netherlands, but it is really not the norm, and would surely raise an eyebrow if you ask. Here it is normal and I find it very good to not let the food go to waste. Besides, I did pay for it so it's nice to be able to take it with me.

Here are the top 4 things they liked least:


1. Tipping!

Why the heck do I need to be partly responsible for a proper salary for these people? Also, it is just annoying to have to calculate the tip every time. It is also annoying that listed prices are almost exclusively without tax. In my country—and across most of Europe as far as I'm aware—you pay exactly what is listed as the price. No hidden surprises.

2. The food, especially breakfast

Almost everything contains sugar. Breakfast is never with fresh bread and fresh good meats and cheese. In fact, American cheese is awful, but maybe I'm spoiled living in a cheese country. For dinner the food isn't quite as bad, but it's still nowhere near the quality and variety that you find in Europe.

3. Plastic!

Too much plastic is a problem in Europe also, but the amount of plastic (and styrofoam or other disposable crap) used here is bizarre. I also find it really bizarre that in every hotel breakfast, it's all disposable cutlery and plates also. You really NEVER see this in Europe, not even in the cheapest hotels.

4. Imperial measurements

Gallons, miles, feet and especially Fahrenheit is so bizarre. Also because the conversion factor to metric is odd. Almost all the world, as well as the scientific world, uses metric which makes so much more sense in every way. Why does the U.S. hold on to such an archaic system?

A Belgian Redditor named Jakisirtaki mostly agreed with the original poster.

PRO:

European (Belgian) here who just came back from a one-month road trip in the U.S. I'm so jealous of the magnificent nature you have in your country. I saw so many beautiful sights! Please treasure it. I disagree with the low-quality food, I had both really good meals and really poor ones. Best Thai food I ever had was in LA. Also, so many places sell drip coffee just the way I like it, not some watered-down espressos. Loved that! Another like were the many (mostly) clean and free restrooms.

Having to pay for using a dirty restroom in a rest area along the highway in Europe sucks. That being said, some restrooms in the U.S. really didn't care about my privacy with one-inch gaps everywhere. Driving was so convenient, being a pedestrian not so much. I biked through SF but couldn't say I felt very safe.

CON:

Dislikes were the tipping culture and prices listed pre-tax. I mean, I ordered food or drinks to go a couple of times where I often had to tip in advance only for something to go wrong with my order. Not getting my tip back am I?

Domina from New Zealand is a big fan of Americans’ “can-do” attitude.

Like:

Sports culture, have-a-go culture, general enjoyment of life, being encouraging of people that are willing to try something or hustle, low barrier to entry for someone starting a business, online shopping, gas stoves, diversity across the different parts of the country, super friendly, most people are big on values, pride in keeping towns tidy.

Dislike:

Tipping (I know you have it already but seriously, what gives), treatment of indigenous history, lack of consumer protection, level of poverty, strange policy-making that reinforces lack of trust in government, occasional respect for road rules, hard-to-access to good quality produce at a reasonable price, no ring-pulls on tinned food.

Just pet peeves. Overall I freaking love being in U.S.! This country rules and will continue to rule!

Edit: I forgot to add innovation. It feels like this country could invent anything.

Kelpo has a real problem with how people get around in Los Angeles.

I went to LA recently and found the car-centric culture suuuuper inconvenient for a tourist. Every time you want to see a thing, you need to research it beforehand and then drive there. Want to see another thing? More research, then drive. In just about any other city I've ever been I would just head to the city center and explore on foot and pop in to whatever place looked interesting.

Admittedly it was a short trip and maybe I did it wrong, but the closest thing to being able to just wander around was in downtown, and even there, you occasionally have to walk over a nice 8-lane highway, which is a long way to walk (and be wary of certain neighborhoods and whatever).

That and since a car had to be involved at every step, you couldn't really stop for a few beers or whatever. I guess locals either plan their days better or drive drunk.

An American who goes by HTC864 took on the original poster’s points one by one and, for the most part, agreed.

Nature

Natural resources have always been the big selling point.

People

People are generally approachable and friendly. I think this changes depending on which area of the country you're in, but I also don't know anything about the Dutch in comparison.

Free refills

Just [happy face emoji]

Traffic lights across the street

Weird to me that it would be any other way.

The doggy bag

I wouldn't have thought this was an issue anywhere. Is the resistance to taking home food a European thing or just in the Netherlands?

Tipping

Hard agree. I think most of us know this system isn't helpful and should be done away with.

The food, especially breakfast

There are a lot of variances, but we do overuse sugar (and salt) on top of having larger-than-needed portions.

Plastic

Again, hard agree. We need to do more to reduce our overuse of plastics, although we'll probably never be rid of them.

Imperial measurements

Doesn't bother my day-to-day, but it would make more sense for there to be one international standard.

A New Yorker with the username inbettywhitewetrust realized they need to appreciate the beauty in their own backyard.

As a New Yorker, it's funny to see the vastness of nature as the first one. Your post motivates me to go on domestic vacations instead of galavanting around Europe in the summers; I really haven't seen any of the U.S. aside from the East Coast's major cities.

Accomplished-Sky-434, an American who recently visited the Netherlands, turned the conversation around and shared what they thought about the original poster’s city.

Pros:

Amsterdam is a beautiful city. It was pretty clean and felt safe too!

Fresh and tasty food everywhere! Maybe this is just my perception from my recent experience but every meal we ate seemed like it was made from fresh ingredients. Made everything seem that much more tasty. Especially the cheese!

The walkability. A 30-minute walk in Amsterdam city center was nothing. If anything it was a delight walking past tiny cafes and beautiful buildings. In the U.S. a 30-minute walk is a no-go almost anywhere. A 30-minute walk in Texas means you're walking along major roads and under/over freeway overpasses.

Tipping was totally not expected! Anytime I did tip the servers in NL were genuinely grateful. Unlike the U.S. where if you don’t tip it’s viewed very negatively.

Lots of really cool things to do. From museums to river cruises and coffee shops. Need I say more?

Cons:

Taxi drivers try to take advantage of you. Maybe this is the same in the U.S. but I don’t ever use taxis here. In Amsterdam, I tried approaching taxi drivers and they almost always made up some kind of excuse like "minimum payment is €40 regardless of distance" or "I can only take you this far, you have to walk the rest.’" I learned to just use Uber while I was there.

Hard to find gluten-free food! I have celiac disease so I have to eat gluten-free. Not much of a problem in the U.S. for a number of reasons but in the Netherlands, restaurants rarely advertised gluten-free options, had gluten-free menus, or had any items on their menu that were gluten-free.

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O Organics make eating organic affordable

True

Friendsgiving might have started as a novel alternative to Thanksgiving, but today it’s an American holiday in its own right.

For many, especially millennials and Gen Zers, Friendsgiving offers an opportunity to get creative with their celebrations without being obligated to outdated, even problematic traditions or having to break the bank.

However, some of us might not want to go to the extreme of only having pizza and beer. What if there were a way to balance the decadence of a traditional Thanksgiving meal while still keeping it easy and laid-back? And could we make it healthy too?

As it turns out, we can.

Here’s a super simple breakdown of what your next Friendsgiving prep could look like. An appetizer, salad, side, entree, and dessert. All done in an hour—even quicker if you assign certain dishes to different partygoers. #spreadsheetsrule

But wait, it gets better—all of these meals can be made organic at an affordable price, using O Organics® at Albertsons. O Organics helps shoppers find quality ingredients at reasonable prices every day of the year. Friendsgiving is no different.

Without further ado, let’s get cooking!

Appetizer: Charcuterie Board


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Nothing quite hits like the fancy, grown-up version of Lunchables. Crackers, meats, cheeses, and various fancy toppings that can be combined in endless ways. The easiest form of culinary creativity there is.

You already know how to make one of these bad boys, but here’s a basic template if you’re needing a dose of inspo:

Meats: Some tasty choices here are salami, prosciutto, sausage, etc. I made a smaller-scale board and decided to go with salami. If you or your friends aren’t a fan of pork, sliced turkey or smoked salmon are some yummy alternatives.

Cheese: The possibilities are endless here. You can even opt for a dairy-free cheese option!

Bread or Crackers: Artfully arranged. Speedily snacked upon. Some O Organics options here and here.

Fillers: this is where the charcuterie really shines. Fill in the spaces with splashes of color and flavor. Be sure to go for both savory and sweet. That means olives, sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, nuts, and a vibrant array of fresh or dried fruit. A yummy fruit spread doesn’t hurt either.

Time: 5 min

Salad: Squash And Feta Salad

Ingredients:

(3-4 servings)

1 small red onion (O Organics sells them in a bag)

1 bag O Organics frozen Butternut Squash

6 cups fresh O Organics spinach, arugula, kale, or whatever salad green you like

1/4 cup O Organics pecans

1/4 cup O Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil

O Organics Lemon and Olive Oil Salad Dressing

CrumbledO Organics Goat Cheese

Salt and pepper

Chop some onions. Sautee them in olive oil. Add a bag of frozen squash. Dress some salad greens with dressing. Add the onions and squash. Top with pecans, cheese, salt and pepper. Badda bing badda boom.

Time: 10 minutes

Side: Autumn Seasoned Air Fryer “Roasted” Potatoes

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As any millennial will tell you, we love our air fryers. Nothing quite ticks all the quick, easy and healthy boxes quite like one. And if you haven’t yet had a perfectly crispy on the outside, buttery soft on the inside air fryer potato, then what are you waiting for?

Ingredients:

One 3 pound bag of O Organics red or russet potatoes—honestly any potato will do

2 Tablespoons O Organics olive oil

1 tsp Italian Seasoning

That’s it. No really.

Cut potatoes into one-inch pieces. Coat with olive oil. Sprinkle seasoning. Cook in an air fryer at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Toss the potatoes in the basket and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender and crisp.

Time: 20 minutes. TOPS.

Entree: Coconut Chicken Curry

cravingsomethinghealthy.com

Because who needs turkey? This one pot piéce de rèsistance is the very essence of Friendsgiving—unique, versatile and not without a little spice.

Being the entree, this dish calls for a few more ingredients, but is honestly not much more demanding. You’re basically looking at 15 minutes for prep, and about 30 minutes to simmer.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon O Organics olive oil

1 medium onion diced

2 teaspoons ginger minced

2 teaspoons green curry paste

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 cups O Organics Thai Style Curry Chicken Broth

1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1-inch dice

1 15-ounce can O Organics full-fat coconut milk

2 ½ cups O Organics cooked chicken breast

1 8.8 ounce package O Organics 7 Grains & Lentils Blend

1 16 ounce bag of O Organics frozen peas

½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Lime juice

Cilantro

Chopped O Organics cashews to garnish

Using a Dutch oven (or large pot with a lid), saute the onion and ginger in olive oil over medium heat, for about 4 minutes. Add the curry paste and curry powder and saute for one more minute.

Add the Thai Style Curry Chicken Broth and the diced sweet potato. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low and catch up with friends for 20 minutes while the dish simmers.

When the sweet potato is tender, shake the can of coconut milk well and pour it into the pot. Add the chicken, 7 Grains & Lentils Blend, and peas. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and let the curry simmer for another 10 minutes.

Congrats! You are finished. You can add salt, lime juice, cilantro, extra curry powder/paste, or garnish with roasted cashews. Each bowl is customizable.

Time: 40 min

Dessert: Holiday Kettle Corn Bark

onbetterliving.com

Of course, you can always opt for pie, but sometimes people might want to opt for something a bit more bite-sized when it comes to desserts—especially after a hefty meal. This sweet and salty finger food does the trick quite nicely.

Ingredients:

1 bag (6 oz) O Organics Kettle Corn Organic Popcorn (about 9 cups)

1 bag (10 oz) O Organics Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

8 oz white chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 cup pistachios, roasted and salted

2/3 cup O Organics Dried Cranberries

2 tbsp O Organics Organic Coconut Oil

1 tsp salt

Line a 12x17-inch baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Spread kettle corn on the lined baking sheet in one thin single layer. Put the semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate evenly over kettle corn, reserving about a 1/3 cup for finishing touches. Sprinkle the pistachios and cranberries over the kettle corn evenly.

Follow the same melting instructions for the white chocolate, then drizzle evenly over the kettle corn. You can follow with any remaining semi-sweet chocolate for a layered effect. Let the kettle corn stand for 5 minutes.

Place the kettle corn bark in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden. Once the bark has hardened, break into pieces.

Time: 20 minutes.

OR…if you want to make life even easier…just grab some pints of ice cream and call it a day. No judgment here.

Time: literally a few seconds to open the freezer and grab some bowls.

And there you have—a no muss, no fuss, healthy and affordable Friendsgiving spread. Spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your chosen family.

Get to your nearest Albertsons today and find everything you need to make these yummy dishes! No Albertsons in your area? You can also find O Organics products exclusively at Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, ACME, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, Randalls, and Pavilions.

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