What food is really American?

2011-05-27

What foods are really American? Most of the foods we associate with America are not really from here. Hamburgers came from Hamburg, Germany sometime in the 18th or 19th century. Pizza, from Italy, French fries, France. The hotdog is a form of sausage which has been around as long as civilization, maybe longer.

So what foods can we really consider American? Well we can start with what the Native Americans were eating. Maize, or corn was originally from the Americas. So cornbread? As American as apple pie. Oh wait, apple pie was from Europe. American as turkey (which also originated in the Americas). Perhaps the phrase should be As American as pumpkin pie.

Succotash is another dish that came from Native Americans but was made popular by Sylvester the cat.

One of the biggest American foods and probably my favorite is BBQ. Slow cooking meats was practiced by Native Americans and taught to the Spanish. When Europeans introduced the pig to North America we got the main ingredient the BBQ we know today. Sweet potato, Vanilla, Tomatoes, Sunflower Seeds, Maple Syrup, Peanuts (Peanut butter) and Pecans also come from here.

Corndogs, Philly Cheesesteaks, The Rueben Sandwich, The Cobb Salad, Buffalo Wings, Turducken, one we should be especially proud of in my opinion, are all purely American creations.

When I started this article I was thinking I might find 2-3 truly authentic American contributions to cuisine but I was pleasantly surprised to find some of my favorite things are truly American.