Since several years I have been trying to commit myself to healthy eating. Fruit in the morning, salad for lunch, lots of fish and vegetables. Not to mention the unsalted peanuts I am addicted to.

They suffer from the prejudice of too much fat, but I have experienced again and again: They are the best I can ever become weak for because they supply my brain with amino acids and vitamins (and they are of perfect help against depressive thrusts).

It’s not always easy to keep up these eating habits while travelling. Meanwhile I have learned that it is even kind of difficult in the agricultural or rural areas of the U.S. The main reason is that there is no local infrastructure, no grocery store, just the big malls along the Interstates. And the other reason is that there simply are different eating cultures. While it’s not a problem to find sushi bars, thai or veggi restaurants in the bigger cities of the East and West coast, it is hard to find those in the Southern part of the country. So in the meantime apples and these small salted pretzels have become my main course during my driving days accompanied by bottled water and this sort of coffee you can read a book through while drinking.

After several days I considered rethinking my nutrition strategy. It suddenly came to my mind that experiencing a country also means experiencing its food culture. So I looked up the best burger place on the internet and found it. In New Orleans at the Camellia Grill I had a fabulous hamburger with French fries. It might have been unhealthy to eat that but it was a double experience. First of all I really liked it (after all these pretzels). And second it was an opportunity for observation of U.S. history and societal change. There were men dressed in suits with necktie and women in dresses, both about 70 years old, sitting at the lunch counter. There were older and younger people, blacks and whites – and they all were enjoying themselves and the food. I felt like being part of a film location of the fifties. And the prices were alike.

Conclusion: Don’t be ideological about eating habits. You might miss even more than the perfect hamburger.