Before I came to Seattle, my idea of American food was Pizza, Hamburger, Fried Chicken, and beef steak. I am always interested in finding out what is American foods, especially what American think of American food. There are interesting descriptions about Cuisine of United States including histories posted in Wikipedia. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_food).
I got an opportunity going to a dinner party to ask its guests what they think is American food. Their answers were: Fried Chicken, Pizza, Hamburger, corn on the cob, Pork & beans, Chile corn carne, Pumpkin pie, corn bread, barbecued beef steak, Gumbo, Turkey, roasted meats, mashed Potato, Broccoli, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Spam, Potato chips, nachos, peanut, Iced tea, Ice cream, cob salad, scone, Cereals, Cheez Whiz and Spaghetti-Os. Someone pointed out that many foods above originated from somewhere else. I researched a bit to find out the history of some of these foods which are not well known their origin.
- Corn on the cob seems to be American (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_corn).
- Fried Chicken is brought by Scottish (http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodmeats.html#friedchicken).
- Pork and beans were invented during Civil War and it is surely American. (http://www.metnews.com/articles/2006/reminiscing072006.htm)
- The recipe similar to Chile corn carne was written by Sister Mary of Spanish in 17th century according to Southern western Indian legend. (http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Chili/ChiliHistory.htm ).
- The original recipe of Pumpkin pie was French. http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/PieHistory/PumpkinPie.htm)
- Spam is definitely American food invented to send to US army during WWII. (http://www.spam.com/)
- Potato chips were invented in US. (http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/potatochips.htm).
- Nachos were first created in Mexico. (http://www.oed.com/learning/word-stories/nachos.html ).
- Peanuts came from Brazil.(http://www.peanut.com/aboutpeanuts.asp)
- Iced tea was invented in US. (http://www.teausa.com/general/icedtea.cfm)
- Cobb salad was created in Hollywood in 1937 and American. ( http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/CobbSalad.htm).
- Gumbo came from Africa and gumbo is term Okura. ( http://www.foodreference.com/html/artgumbo.html ).
- Cheez Whiz is American.( http://www.answers.com/topic/cheez-whiz?cat=health )
- SpagettiO’s is American.( http://www.campbellsoupcompany.com/history_1960.asp ).
Although many foods came from somewhere else, I found foods which were born in U.S. They are Corn on the cob, Spam, potato chips, Iced Tea, Cobb salad, Cheez Whiz and Spagetti-O’s. This is getting interesting!
One friend mentioned that American made unique foods by mixing together the best food of one culture and the best food of another. Another said that if the food is not authentic from other country, then it is American. Some had a hard time to think of any foods as American. I asked him what he had eaten at home when he was a child. I grew up in Japan eating Japanese food mostly and assumed he must have eaten American food at home. He grew up eating Norwegian foods at home. I realized my sons ate a lot of Japanese foods at home. 20.1% of Seattle residents speak other language than English at home. (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/53/5363000.html ) Seattle public school receives students from more than 70 countries and 129 languages are spoken in the schools.( http://www.seattleschools.org/area/bilingual/index.htm) United States are the large melting pot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melting_pot ). As someone said, American foods now seem to be the results of multicultural integration.
By searching American food using google, I found an article “10 foods that make America great”.( http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8392312/ ) The 10 American foods listed in the article are ‘New England Clam chowder’, ‘Pastrami’, ‘Shoofly pie (Pennsylvania)’, ‘Smithfield Ham (Virginia)’, ‘Po-boy(Louisiana)’, ‘Fajitas(Texas)’, ‘Chicago hot dogs(Illinois)’, ‘Chile Verde (New Mexico)’, ‘San Francisco sourdough (California)’, and ‘Olympia Oyster (Washington)’.
If you read this, please write comment about your favorite American food.