While touring Europe in 1879, Mark Twain composed a long menu of the eighty American foods he professed to miss the most. Drawn from his own fondest memories of life in the United States, the menu allowed him to think of America without the bitterness that so often characterized his political commentary. Instead of a nation of hypocrisy and greed, he imagined a country of abundance and mighty appetite, the source of the folkways that he celebrated throughout his work. Maintaining this image required notable omissions, as he carefully constructed an image of America without details that could have undermined the contrast between the complex "shams" of Europe and his supposedly simple, genuine home country. The result was an idealized portrayal not only of the United States, but of Twain's own biography and authorial persona.

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