Long before I came to New York, one of my sisters had a wonderful time in Spokane, WA, when she visited the United States for the first time during her summer high school senior year. When she returned, she brought back American souvenirs with her. Some of them were boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
She must have loved eating macaroni & cheese so much with her host family, that she wanted to bring some back to Japan to share her excitement with her own family and friends. Contrary to her expectation at seeing her friends and family crazed about it, she received a rather confused, sometimes even cold reply. No one seemed to eat it.
It was not because people expected a more valuable souvenir. They were deeply troubled by the orangey color of the macaroni & cheese sauce. That vivid color signaled to the Japanese brains that it was extremely artificial and not suitable to eat. People asked her, “Did you eat that? Is that OK to eat?”
After I came to New York and familiarized myself with American food, I learned that even by American standards, macaroni & cheese was not exactly healthy food. The judgement of Japanese people who refused to eat the macaroni & cheese wasn’t totally wrong.
Now another interesting example of a differing perspective about food. In Japan, egg yolks are more orangey than the American counterparts, because chickens are fed reddish feed. The Japanese believe orangey yolks are fresher than paler ones. However, the color of egg yolk has nothing to do with freshness.
Neither of the coloring for macaroni & cheese or egg yolks harm people, theoretically. And both of them are an orangey colored food. I cannot explain why egg yolk’s orange is ok, but macaroni & cheese’s orange is not ok. The only thing I can say is no matter how I may explain it, they keep believing what they believe.