What is american food?
I dont' understand what "american" food is besides fast food. Theres clearly different foods like italian, greek, french, english, chinese, japanese, even Canadian!
It's all of the above with added preservatives and colors and things we won't talk about. Then it is generally zpped in a microwave. Microwaving is like the Americana stamp of approval.
Preservatives and colors? Nonsenese, maybe in the 70's.
American food is processed foodstuffs, analyzed for a couple dozen elements - taste, mouth feel, texture, color, etc. and synthetically created. Jelly Belly jellybeans are the symbol of what American food is - you can make anything taste like a hamburger with the right combination of chemicals.
March 8th, 2005
American food is what Americans eat. Duh.
Slightly more sriously, tt depends entirely on where in America you are. Here in the south, American food is:
1. Fried Anything. If you give a southerner an uncooked anything he will immediately try to batter it and deep fry it. Don't question it, it's just what we do.
4. Barbeque, and don't ever ask anyone about the relative merits of tomato based vs. vinegar based sauce. I've seen family feuds break out over stuff like this, and vinegar based is the only true sauce.
I have no idea what qualifies as American food elsewhere. You just have to remember that we're all a country of imigrants, so most of our food originated elsewhere. I think African slaves are responsible for 90% of southern cuisine.
March 8th, 2005
Heh, I saw an episode of King of the Hill just recently that had them frying everything they could. It all started with bananas, then a candy bar... It got ugly when they decided to try to fry a beer.
Quite true though. I remember being amazed when I saw a stand at the fair for fried Twinkies(tm)!
Not sure if it is such an 'only southern' cuisine but country ham... (it's REALLY salty).
I think chitlins<sp> (pig intestines) are almost strictly southern and iced sweet tea, to offer a beverage example.
American Food is "Meat and Potatoes" -- In Texas, Barbeque is big, as is a nice 8-oz steak. Tex-Mex is the Texas version of Mexican food -- Chili (with or without beans, another religious debate there), Enchiladas, Tamales.
In the north-east (New England) it's Fish, Clam Chowder, Lobster, some Beef.
Basically, American Food is an amalgamation of whatever immigrant food came in (Pizza, Spagetti with meat sauce, Lasagna, Garlic bread) modified through exposure to the American melting pot of culture. Modified also through whatever food stuff is cheap locally.
Hot dogs, Hamburgers, Pizza, Fried Chicken all fit under the 'fast-food' label, I suppose.
Actually, chitlins are fairly rare in the south too. I've only had them once, when I was a kid and we stopped off at some little road side pig house barbeque that used to be very common.
I don't remember them tasting remarkably bad or good to be frank. I wouldn't eat them again, but neither will I eat a myriad of other things (like souse meat).
There are probably a ton of other "southern" food that I forgot. Like boiled peanuts. I've only ever seen those in the Carolinas. Those too came from Africa I believe, along with black eyed peas.
March 8th, 2005
I might've spelled it wrong... it may be polk salad.
It's a wild plant people make salad out of but it has to be prepared carefully because it contains a toxin.
> I have no idea what qualifies as American food elsewhere
Taking an American to a supermarket can be quite amusing - assorted things are labelled "American <whatever>" but elicit blank stares and "what the hell is that supposed to be?!" which suggests it's not a particularly american food.
Incidentally, I thought apple pie was the American food of choice. :)
Nope, but the phrase "As American as Mom's Apple Pie" is a catch-phrase. We all love our mom's cooking, of course, no matter how odd it may seem to others.
My mom could cook Enchiladas, Chicken Curry, Chicken a la King, Tamales, Pinto Beans, Ham, Pot roast, etc. Her Chicken Curry was 'mild' compared to true Indian versions I've had.
As mentioned above, there are many different 'types' of American food depending on the region you're in. For instance, California cuising is TOTALLY different than the Southeast or Northeast. California cuising is NOT fast food, it's very flavorful, with tons of mexican and asian influence, but not really a subset of either. It also incorporates a lot of fresh incredients due to California's terrific farming culture. I kind of resent the view that our food is 'fast food'. It's okay though, because our country is generally fatter and unhealthier than most countries.
"As American as Mom's Apple Pie"
Personally, I prefer Mom's pecan pie. But the apple's pretty good, too.
March 8th, 2005
I remember one thing about Canadian food - they use mayonnaise on EVERYTHING. Just gross.
American food is really a hybrid of various ethnic foods and influences. The only cuisine I can think of that's distinctively American is BBQ, but I'm sure you can claim that's not really true.
Foods from the new world transformed our cuisine:
Potatoes, tomatoes, capsicums and chillies, sweet corn ...
Poke weed is very southern. You have to pick it young. It is very toxic. Not salad, but boiled thrice then fried. It will actually, and this is true, are you ready for it... resequence your DNA. That's how bad it is. But people go crazy over it, figuratively.
> Potatoes, tomatoes, capsicums and chillies, sweet corn ...
Ah yes, where would the world be without potato chips, pizza, tacos and corn syrup.
March 9th, 2005
Read all about it here, (it's a good read, I had NO idea how efficiently every potion of corn is exploited... etc ... usw)
Interesting book. I was 100% serious when I said food in America is about deconstructing what a "hamburger" is and reconstructing it with chemicals wherever possible.
If I had to sum up what food in America is in one phrase, that phrase would be "processed, pasteurized and homogenized." No two people are alike, but we expect every apple to be the same.
March 9th, 2005
To which I would add "genetically modified" and "irradiated".
No thanks, make mine natural.
But the real zinger is what we've learned about the meatpacker combines and the speed with which contaminated mincemeat can be fed to the American consumer. Spew.
This reminds me of an almost amusing advert for Wagner Pizza on German TV. Some pseudo American family are heating these pizzas and they say "We love Wagner pizza, we love America", then they realise it is from Deutschland (Germany, ok?) and they say "Oh, we love Deutschland". As I say, almost amusing.
For truly amusing you have to watch the Austrian version of the advert - same story, except it continues for a few seconds more and they say "Where is Deutschland? ... There, by Austria."
American regional cooking goes way past meat and potatos. Think of cajun and creole cooking from Louisiana. In Western Pennsylvania and the Midwest Amish and Mennonite cooking is prevalent. In Maryland, crabs and in the North East you have clam chowder and lobster. Give America more credit.
Lastly no other nation on earth really gets dessert like we do. Italy comes close, but the intense concentration of flavor that happens in American desserts is really only done here.