The trouble with being an “exchange student” in another country is homesickness. You miss sights, sounds, food, smells, friends, family. The way my parents’ house smells. Blasting the radio. 24 hour grocery stores. The mountains and the smell of snow. Miss Erica and our numerous inside jokes. Iced coffee. My dear Jo, whom I miss so dearly, but I love reading her posts – it’s like talking to her, somehow. Kisses to you my darling.

Anyway, yes, I miss things. But I’ve overcome the missing food part. With the exception of chocolate chips (my mom literally shipped me some because she knows how much I miss them) and whole wheat tortillas, but that’s water under the bridge at this point.

Another obstacle is my quest to integrate and shake this dumb “exchange student” stigma is my damn nationality. Yeah yeah yeah, American accent. Okay, I can’t shake that. The assumption by EVERY OTHER NONAMERICAN PERSON that I am the authority on all things American. For example, in my literature course – my American literature course – I am the only American and am therefore called upon to explain the historical and social context of every text we encounter. Last time I checked, I was a communication science major, which entails socio-cultural theories, studying gender and organizations, understanding the facets of nonverbal communication, and being able to write a bomb essay analyzing a billboard. I am NOT a history student. But hell, when the instructor asks what happened in 1864 in the US and no one says anything, looking around the room with sad and confused looks on their faces, what do you expect me to do? Civil War my friends. Civil freaking War.

And the trend continues. I have dinner with two of my Dutch friends every Tuesday, and today, it was requested that we make something easy. Domi studied in Utah for three years (she was my roommate last year), so she requested Mac n’ Cheese or Sloppy Joes. And it was determined that “the American” would deal with it, she being the resident authority on these particular dishes.

Mac n’ Cheese is kindof boring to me these days, since I make it quite often (with real cheese, of course, non of this boxed crap). So, Sloppy Joes I done did make. Sans Manwich Sauce, I might add. Not as hard as you might think, and in my expert American opinion, just as, if not more tasty than the lazy kid normal American method. Look at me defying stereotypes.

Talle’s Sloppy Joes

  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Serves: 6
  • Frying pan for meat and sauce, napkins!

*PS. As I am denying my Americanness despite this recipe, I’m using grams for meat measurement*

600g Ground Beef (I prefer 15 fat/85 meat, but that’s your call)
1 small onion, chopped
olive oil
2 C ketchup
3 tsp stone ground mustard
curry powder
salt and pepper
meat seasoning
cinnamon
chili powder

The Steps!

  1. Fry the onions in the olive oil until translucent, add the beef and cook thoroughly.
  2. Remove from heat. Mix in ketchup, mustard, and seasonings. I admit, I didn’t measure. I added a bit and tasted, then added a bit, then tasted. Heavy on the curry powder and meat seasoning; low on cinnamon, chili powder, and salt.
  3. Serve on buns with coleslaw, baked beans, potato chips, corn on the cob, anything interesting and “American” you can get your sloppy little fingers on.
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