Americans can eat. More specifically, Americans can buffet. And they know exactly what they’re doing. I’m sitting here at the Mariott Hotel in Atlanta (not because I’m staying here but because I’ve walked the half-mile, sidewalk-less strip from my Days Inn Motel) with a plate of what looks like canteen food: a lumpy pile of carbs.

The American on the table opposite has very calmly made himself a salad (with just the one dressing) and is now helping himself to a chicken marsala with a side of vegetables while I watch, with a slight pained expression, having ignored the advice of my parents, friends and indeed a nation, and filled up on bread.

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