Common dishes. There are a wide variety of foods, depending upon which type of restaurant you go to. Some American-style restaurants have a typical menu.
Appetizers are nachos /a tortilla chip topped with melted cheese/, chili /a thick sauce of meat and pepper/, shrimp cocktail, raw vegetables and dip, finger sandwiches, cheese and crackers. Soups are French onion, chicken, vegetable, and soup of the day. Salads are regular, Greek, chef, Caesar or spinach. Main Courses are steak, fried chicken, fish, hamburgers, pasta and pizza. Hot and Cold Sandwiches are combinations of ham, turkey, roast beef, chicken, tuna or egg salads etc., served between two slices of bread. Beverages are coffee, tea, soft drinks, mineral water and iced tea. Deserts are cakes, ice cream, frozen yogurt, fruit, etc. Breakfast dishes are cold cereal and milk, warm cereal, toast, yogurt, eggs, pancakes, French toast, waffles, etc.
Pot luck supper. Sometimes when the family gets together with other families they have what's called potluck supper. This is an informal occasion, so people dress casually but nicely. Invitations can be written or made by phone, and each person is asked to bring a dish of food: starter, main course, salad or vegetable, or dessert. The hostess knows how many of each kind of dishes but not exactly what the guests will bring. That's why it is called "pot luck". It is a lovely surprise, holding a dinner party what you are going to feed your guests.
As the guests arrive, they put their "pot" on the table and the meal is served buffet-style. Drinks are provided, although some guests might bring a bottle of wine as a present. It is a fun, and a relaxed way of getting together with friends.
Restaurants. Americans eat out often. Fast food restaurants have wide popularity. There are two types of restaurants in the U.S.: fast food and full-service restaurants. The style of fast food restaurants is much like that of cafeteria. Patrons go up to a counter to order their meal: hamburgers, hot chicken sand-wiches, and pizza. It is then placed on a plastic tray which patron brings to a table. A typical dinner costs from $3.00 to $6.00. It is expected that patrons will finish within 30-45 minutes. In full-service restaurants a waiter comes to take the patrons' order. Dinner can vary from $10.00 to $50.00. It is expected that pa-trons will finish eating and leave restaurant within an hour. To express satisfaction with service patrons will give a tip of 20% of the bill. Small tips are given to coat check attendants /up to $1.00/, rest room and car park attendants /50 cents/.
Water and ice. Most people in the U.S. drink tap water. Any cold beverage you order will be served to you with ice unless you request otherwise.
Historically, there was the Grand Exchange. Kernels of New World corn became a yellow currency more valuable to the well-being of the world than nuggets of gold. Potatoes kept famine from European villages. Sweet potatoes eased China's dependence on rice. Wheat from the Middle East made North America's Great Plains the "breadbasket of the world". Five centuries after it started, the Grand Exchange goes on.
c) Sports and recreation
In the U.S. of today football is the most popular spectator sport. Baseball is now in second place. Football in the U.S. differs from European rugby and soccer. It is the most "scientific" of all outdoor team sports. There are hundreds of specific rules. Because of this football has been called "an open air chess game".
Basketball and volleyball are American in origin. The first basketball game was played in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. It was invented as a game that would fill the empty period between the football season /autumn/ and the baseball season /spring and summer/. Michael Jordan /b.1954/, the leading scorer in American basketball has become a legend, respected by millions of fans all over the world. Volleyball was first played in 1895. During the WWI and WWII, American soldiers took volleyball with them oversees and helped to make it popular. Professional basketball games in the U.S. attract large numbers of fans. Most of the games are televised live.
Hockey, baseball, football and basketball are the "four major sports". There are many other sports in America: golf, swimming, tennis, marathons, track and field, bowling, archery, skiing, skating, squash and badminton, rowing and sailing, weight-lifting, boxing, and wrestling. 44% of all Americans take part in some athletic activities once a day. Swimming, bicycling, fishing, jogging, calisthenics or gymnastics, and bowling are American's favorite participatory sports.
Americans like competition, by teams or as individuals. American schools follow the tradition of all English-speaking societies in using sports as teaching 'social values". Among these are teamwork, sportsmanship /when Americans win they say, "well, we were just lucky", and persistence /not quitting/. Being intelligent and being good in sport is an ideal. There are colleges which have excellent academic reputations and are also good in sports. Stanford, UCLA, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Yale are among them. Recently, a new rule has been adopted which states that all college athletes must meet set academic standards. If they do not, they are not allowed to take part in sports. Among all professional football players in the FNL, more than a third have earned university degrees.
Rules prevent any college athlete from accepting money. Most Americans think that government should be kept separate from sports. The citizens of Denver, Colorado, did not want the 1976 Winter Olympics there. They voted "no" and the Olympics had to be held elsewhere. The residents of Los Angeles voted for Summer Olympics in 1984. But they declared that not one dollar of city funds could be spent on them. L.A. Olympics made a profit of $100 million.
Leisure sports. There are many sporting activities which are a part of daily American life. Most Americans who grow up in the North, grow up with outdoor winter sports. Skating, sledding and tobogganing are very popular. Fishing and hunting are extremely popular in all parts of the country. There are 17 million hunters in the U.S. Hunting is strictly controlled. There are many more fishermen /42 million/, and many more lakes than bears. Only Minnesota is the land of "10,000 lakes". There is 1 boat for every 25 people in the U.S. today. In Minnesota, one out of seven people owns a boat. All watersports and activities are very popular. They include swimming, skin diving, sailing, white-water canoeing, water skiing and boat racing. The beaches are not crowded; so long walks along the beaches are quite relaxing.
There are several unusual sports in the U.S. Americans will race just about anything that has wheels: "Funny cars" with jet engines, pick-up trucks with gigantic tires, etc. The first "people-powered" aircraft to cross the English Channel was pedaled by an American. And the first hot-air balloon to make it across the Atlantic had a crew from New Mexico. Skate-boarding, wind-surfing, hang-gliding and triathlon /swimming, bicycle racing /180