Living in Argentina is a little like returning to that pre-globalized food culture. Argentine recipes are heavier on beef and flour than the creamy buttery creations of 1960s America. But they largely lack the infusion of influences from Mexico, Japan, Greece, Thailand, the Middle East, and so on, that are so common in the U.S. The variety in ethnic cuisine, at least in cities like Boston, is such the norm these days that it's barely worth remarking upon. But after living in Argentina for five months, I'm now thoroughly impressed by the existence of all the different cuisines and their incorporation into mainstream cooking.
Argentine food, basically, is boring. The steak and wine are delicious, and should you ever visit, you should eat and drink as much as you can. But it gets old after a while. And moreover, it's not very healthy. Argentines eat lots of meat and lots of carbs. Fruits and vegetables are only stocked when they're in season. And even then, vegetables like red onions are often impossible to find. Forgot about asparagus for most of the year, or edible lettuce, or cilantro. Think about the selection of foods at a U.S. supermarket. Fresh produce, fresh fish, nuts, hummus, granola, fresh herbs. Think about how essential most of those foods are to a healthy American diet and then consider this: One of the few places you can find those ingredients in Buenos Aires is Chinatown. Nowhere else.
Argentina is a very isolated country in a lot of ways. The government imposes all sorts of import restrictions so it's hard to find non-Argentine products. Its neighbors are far away (its largest borders are with the Atlantic Ocean and Chile, which is separated by the Andes Mountains). An unstable economy and currency has meant that many Argentines never had the money to travel abroad.
When I think about the ways that America interacts with the world, I think about free trade, travel, immigration, etc. I don't usually think about things as simple as food. But America's engagement with the world means that American cuisine has gotten more interesting and healthier. And many of those influences have been so absorbed into mainstream cooking that we no longer notice them. Living in a less globalized country makes everyday activities, like shopping and cooking, a totally different experience.