Super-sized servings of food in the United States is such a clichéd topic that I’m hesitant to even write about it. Everyone knows that in AMURICA, the serving sizes are as big as the people (apparently the two are somehow connected).
I don’t think I’ve met a single foreigner who has visited the US and not commented on how [—-] the portions are (insert adjective of your choice: big, humongous, massive, enormous, gigantic, over-sized, super-sized, monstrous, etc.). So there should be no surprise for me to come home to that familiar story.
And yet somehow, I have still been amazed by just how – umm, BIG – everything is. When I first got back home, I would often pick “medium” when given the choice between small, medium, and large. But I quickly clued up to the fact that what Americans consider to be “medium” is what Europeans would call “large.” And what Americans refer to as “large” is what Europeans would label “extra large.” And what Americans call “extra large” is what Europeans would call… ridiculous or grotesque. So I now unfailingly order a small, whenever given the choice. I’ve never had too little.
But sometimes you just can’t control the size. You order a slice of pizza, and you are handed a triangle bigger than your face that won’t even fit in the take-away box without being folded in half. You ask for a donut, and you are served a mutant pastry. You order a single entrée, and out comes one plate filled with a mammoth meal fit for two.
This is undoubtedly the reason why so called “doggie bags” are so popular in the US. This is not a practice you see as often in Europe (indeed, I think the French consider it crass and shameful). But in the US, it makes good sense. If each time you order one meal, you get the equivalent of two, then why not ask to take the second one away? You might as well eat it again tomorrow (and possibly even the day after). There may even be leftovers of the leftovers to feed the dog, too.