It’s only a few weeks after July 4th, and in the belated spirit of America’s independence, I wanted to write about our frontier spirit when it comes to creating new food dishes. These are famous American foods that make me proud. Unfortunately, foods like Tater Tots don’t make me proud … unless it’s Parmesan Truffle Tater Tots. Then we’re talking.
It’s with this thought in mind that I often question whether the land of the free is perhaps a little too free when it comes to food. Especially when it comes to America’s love to deep-fry everything.
And what better time to fry some grub than at a state fair, a true American pastime? It was here, specifically in Texas, that the first corndog was created in 1942. And for those that are fortunate enough to have never crossed paths with a corndog, it’s a hot dog dipped into corn meal before being deep-fried and thrown on a stick. No bun needed. Yum.
Incidentally, the hot dog itself was also created here. Whether you’re at a summer BBQ, tailgating before the game, or participating in Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Contest, the hot dog is most definitely a part of Americana (along with baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet).
Other foods to make the list of “Made in the U.S.A.” are Buffalo wings, Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, and the Philly cheese-steak, all of which are reppin’ different parts of the country with pride.
Of course our country is the “great melting pot” so there are a number of foods that many of us believe to be authentic international dishes when in reality they’re just more American creations that cater to our large and hungry crowd.
This cultural appropriation of food can be found in both American “Chinese” and “Italian” food, among others. For example, General Tso’s Chicken, a greasy deep-fried staple of your town’s Chinese restaurant, is indeed an American creation. This also goes for Mac n Cheese, in which the Italian dish involving cheese and pasta was appropriated to create an American enterprise. After all, there’s very little that reads Italian when it comes to a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese, which seems to be just what Americans ordered.
And finally, S’mores, Nachos, or Chocolate Chip Cookies, (damn you, Mrs. Fields) are all traditional American snacks.
So next time you dig into these 10 national delicacies, just remember that they were created in America: the land of the free and the home of the fat.
What are some of your favorite U.S.A.-made meals?