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America The Delicious

June 29, 2011

With Independence Day looming I was thinking about this question, What is the quintessential American Food?

The first things that come to mind are hamburgers, hot dogs and apple pie. There is a lot of opinion about this, but the consensus (according to the Googles) seems to be that the humble hamburger represents us around the world. At first I thought this seemed wrong. There are so many great foods in this country and a hamburger conjures up images of loud obnoxious tourists who expect everyone to speak English and have to pay for two seats on an airplane. Then I thought about it for a bit and decided to embrace the stereotype (of the food not the American).  We do eat a lot of hamburgers in America. Heck, I have eaten my fair share of burgers over the years. I am definitely one of a 1,000,000,000 served. I rarely eat under those golden arches any more because I have discovered how good a hamburger can truly be, but I’d be lying if I said I never ate there.

Hot dogs are typically second on the list, and that is what I grilled up for dinner tonight. These were Schweigert Beef Wieners and for our side dish we had another American classic – Kraft macaroni & cheese.

To finish the top five I would say Fried Chicken, Pizza (the way we make it here not the un-American, but delicious way they make it in Italy),  and French Fries (which is kind of funny if you think about it).

These were pretty easy to come up with, but with all the cooking I have done this year has made me think beyond the obvious choices. I asked myself, “Self, what types of foods should I cook this week to show that I am an American?”

Then it hit me. All of the recipes in Damn Good Food are American (with the possible exception of Huevos Rancheros). It is a list that includes Peanutbutter,  Reuben sandwiches, Bison Burgers (Bison are much more american than plain old cows), Coleslaw, Chicken Soup, Mashed Potatoes, BBQ Ribs, and Oatmeal for a start.

Damn Good Food Quote of the Day:  In the 1700’s, [the recipe for hamburgers] made its way across the ocean and arrived at Ellis Island. You know how it goes:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the Golden Arches!


What do you think is the quintessential American Food?


12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2011 9:12 pm

    American cheese. It says “American” right in the name! Only we could process something that much……and make it so tasty. 🙂

    • June 30, 2011 10:32 pm

      Very True. I grew up on Kraft American singles. It was the ultimate snack when I got home from school.

  2. June 30, 2011 8:14 pm

    Wouldn’t steak and BBQ be considered quintessential American foods? I don’t think of any other country when either is mentioned, even though I know BBQ is in some form or other around the world (thanks, Steve Reichlen!)

    • June 30, 2011 10:32 pm

      There is Mongolian BBQ, but I think you are right do other countries talk about grilling the way we do here in the US? I don’t believe so.

  3. June 30, 2011 9:29 am

    Apple pie has gotta be in the somewhere, surely. 😉

    • June 30, 2011 10:57 am

      For sure, but I was focused on food for meals.

      Then again if you can have chocolate cake for breakfast, why not apple pie for dinner. It has fruit, grains, you add some cheese for protein and you have a meal.

  4. June 30, 2011 6:37 am

    you need to listen to the CBC podcast with calvin trillin, who declared that poutine was the national food of canada (and thus irritated most of the people in that country). hilarious.

    and didn’t your mom teach you not to play with your food???

  5. June 30, 2011 2:07 am

    Interesting arranged wieners ! Have a good day.

  6. Patti permalink
    June 29, 2011 11:36 pm

    At this late hour I wax poetic, and say it should be Humble Pie.

    • June 29, 2011 11:39 pm

      I would expect nothing less no matter what the hour of day.

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