So to reward myself (and because I didn't leave work until late) I stopped by the grocery store and picked up some Kraft macaroni. I bought chicken breast too, so I'll be good tomorrow night.
When I got home I half-jokingly told my Italian roommate, showing him the box, I was embarrassed to cook it in front of him (okay, I actually was kind of embarrassed). His response: "Oh. What is this?"
That's right, kids: he didn't know what it was! Maybe that shouldn't be surprising. But American culture is so pervasive, I get a little kick whenever I discover something that's commonplace back home but unknown to my non-American friends. It doesn't happen that often.
When I explained that it was noodles with "cheese" powder, he followed up with "Oh, but I wont get mad about this. I love the taste of Velveeta."
I like Italians. Or at least I like my roommate and my one close Italian girlfriend in Shanghai and the various others I've met here, of which I will base my Italian stereotyping off of: they know how to have a good time, they're exceptionally hospitable and even the ones who "don't really cook" can take pasta, olive oil, tomatoes and make something delicious.
Moving on to the other reason I titled this post fake food: for the first time in my life, I bought a box of instant coffee. Don't tell my mother. There's no coffee at work, I haven't been able to find a drip machine for home yet, so I broke down and did it. It's Nescafe which, interestingly, is much more popular in Europe than in the US.