June 26, 2010

Hello, America.

The main drag of Louisville, Nebraska might not seem like a threatening place, but if you've been living in Cambodia and Japan, this is an IV of Americana. My parents love eating here, midway between the Omaha airport and Lincoln, a quaint little town with a real flare for country cooking.

Jet-lag already taking a serious toll, I surveyed the menu. Hamburgers, Chicken Fried Steak, Onion Rings, a side of Gravy—typical dinner fare. I chose the half portion of chicken and noodles on mashed potatoes, thinking it would be wholesome and filling. As I waited for my food, I could barely believe the scene around me: good old country folk out on a Friday night after a ball game, an obese waitress with a booming voice, and even Coors Light beer. It was like some strange movie about Nebraska, where I am the Asian foreign exchange student.

After dinner, we strolled down to the local soft serve ice cream stand. Inside, an overweight woman in a cut-off t-shirt that reveled her love of tattoos served up the best ice cream in town. As I enjoyed my small twist cone under a twilight sky, a herd of teenage girls wearing bikinis and towels, fresh from the pool, bounced and giggled out of the car to get giant ice cream cones. I couldn't imagine anything more summer, or maybe anything more Japanese men's magazine. Either of those.

Fried food, obesity and bikinis: Home sweet home.