Home Food & Beverage The Foods People Say Are Ethnically “American”

The Foods People Say Are Ethnically “American”

by SharonKurheg

Every country in the world has its foods that are uniquely “theirs” and part of its culture. Iceland has its famous hot dogs (we tried them!). Ireland has some “uniquely Irish” food that we found so yummy that we stopped in Dublin for lunch on our way to England. Mexican food is so popular that the U.S. made its own version, Tex-Mex, on the northern side of the border.

And the U.S.? We have bunches of food that are uniquely American. In fact, if you ask people what they would consider a “cultural” food in the United States, you’d probably get the same answers over and over.

In fact, that’s what someone on Reddit did not too long ago. A user named FruityandtheBeast asked, “What do you consider to be a cultural food of the United States?” They got 7.2 thousand replies and I’m betting you won’t be surprised by any of them. Here were some of the most popular responses (edited only for length and adult language):

  • As someone not from the states I would kill to try a peach cobbler or a pumpkin pie
    Edit: judging by the amount of responses I’ve woken up to I want to say I answered the question accurately. You guys have changed the game by telling me about a Dutch oven peach cobbler, I’ll definitely have to make it with the recipes posted. In all honesty I just wanted to be invited over for thanksgiving like these guys. I’d be on the next flight over from London!
    Edit 2: American hospitality is unmatched. Whoever has extended an invite to me please do not be surprised when I randomly call you on it, see you on thanksgiving ❤️ — DukeOfPoose
  • Buffalo wings, perhaps. — Upstairs_Try6583
  • I was grocery shopping recently when a very nice German guy approached me for advice. He had friends coming to visit from his home country and he wanted to introduce them to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and could I advise him on the best ingredients? He already had some kind of bulls**t artisan bread from the bakery department in his cart. I told him to put that back, go to the bread aisle and get the crappy white Wonder Bread. Then there was discussion about the merits of Welch’s grape jelly vs. strawberry jam, and how most big brand peanut butter is optimal as opposed to the oily natural kind. Lastly he learned to use the term “PB & J.” He went away delighted, and it felt great to be a cultural ambassador! — RedBattery
  • (Note from Sharon – same answer as the previous one, but it was priceless, so I’m including it, as well)
    Idk if it was originated in the US but it’s not that popular in other countries, although it’s shown a lot in American cartoons
    I literally tried PB&J last year for the first time and it’s freaking delicious 10/10
    Edit: thanks for your suggestions on different forms on how to eat PB&J, so I’m gonna make a list of some:
    — PB&Honey
    — With sliced banana (+cinnamon)
    — with chocolate chips
    — with freeze strawberries
    — candied pecans
    — Fluffernutter (I like this word)
    — PB&pickles (what)
    — With mayo (wtf im gonna try this tomorrow)
    — mixing the peanut butter and the jelly in one
    — with lemon zest
    — with popcorn
    — With bacon (you are gonna kill me but I hate bacon)
    — with potato chips
    — with yogurt
    — with aged white cheddar + lettuce
    — with Doritos
    — PB&Nutella (I have to try this, but with Nocilla, it’s more popular in Spain)
    I don’t even have half of he things of this list — burber_king
  • Cornbread — DPF
  • Cajun — tnmcnulty
  • Tater tots — tdly3000
  • Oh my god so many things. Popcorn, peanut butter and jelly, turkey, Caesar salad, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pie, soda, breakfast cereal, sure.
    But also pizza, lasagna, French fries, hamburgers, tacos, nachos, jambalaya, fried chicken, barbecue, apple pie, egg foo young, sweet and sour chicken, pancakes, omelettes, hot dogs, doughnuts, bourbon whiskey, bagels, grits, clam bakes and fish poke.
    “Hold up”, you say, “most of that second list is bastardized versions of other countries’ cultural foods, and I’m not really sure about all the stuff in the first list either. You even included some indigenous peoples’ dishes!”
    Exactly. The hallmark of American cuisine is borrowing, adapting, and combining stuff from cultures around the world to make our own unique food landscape. You claim chicken adobo as your unique national dish? That’s great, Americans are gonna put it on a pizza.
    And let’s be clear: every country does this. Italy didn’t invent noodles, or tomato sauce. Vindaloo is borrowed from Portugal, massaman curry isn’t originally Thai. Every old-world dish that contains tomatoes, potatoes, corn, or peanuts was invented after these ingredients arrived from the Americas.
    But American cuisine is defined by its variety and its willingness to be inspired by and combine foods from the whole world.
    You wanna know what makes America great? We’re the land of the kalbi taco, spam musubi, the kimchi quesadilla and the tandoori pierogi.
    Okay I just invented tandoori pierogi for this post, but now I want one. And that’s the point. — agate_
  • Shrimp and Grits
    Nashville style Fried Chicken
    Texas BBQ
    Carolina BBQ
    Kansas City BBQ
    Memphis BBQ
    NY Style Pizza
    Po Boys
    Ambrosia Salad
    Clam Chowder
    Manhatten Clam Stew (it is not a chowder)
    Conch Fritters
    Chicago style Brownies
    Chicago style Italian beef
    Philly style chopped steak and cheese (NJ and DE have pretty good ones too)
    Beef on Kimmelweck with creamy horseradish sauce
    Lobstah Rolls (Maine only, every other one sucks)
    Maryland crab cakes
    Tex-mex style everything
    Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
    Chicago style hot dogs
    Texas style corn dogs
    Bagels with Lox (smear optional but I never get one without it)
    edit: forgot buffalo wings and cole slaw
    edit of edit: california style burritos and how could I forget Gator Bites????
    edit of edit of edit: people love them some BBQ (I am people) — RandomUser0666
  • The Cuban sandwich – originated in Tampa Bay. — OhSeesOhMees
  • Biscuits and gravy
    Edit: The reason it came to my mind is I have been making them now in the winter months. Here is the recipe I use for biscuits. It takes practice but they come out great. Very cold butter and not overworking or touching the dough with your warm hands is key. I get a little better at each time I make them.
    — wanted_to_upvote
  • Chocolate chip cookies — whoathererocker
  • Chitlins, collared greens, cornbread, black eyed peas, hominy grits, biscuits and gravy… much more — tdly3000
  • Buffalo wings, s’mores, biscuits and gravy, grits, jambalaya, BBQ, apple pie, Chocolate chip cookies, Jerky (some people noted that people have been drying and smoking meat for millennia), meatloaf, cornbread. — Drife1994
  • The USA are fierce contenders against mainland Western Europe for the greatest breakfasts in the world. You people are visionaries when it comes to breakfast. Like, chicken and waffles? Who the f**k thought of that? You did, that’s who, you beautiful b*****ds. It shouldn’t work, but by god, it does. And steak and eggs? Who the f**k eats steak in the morning? THIS GUY, THAT’S WHO. I LIKE YOUR STYLE, AMERICA. — ZdCole
  • Betty Crocker recipes. “She” defined the middle American dinner for decades. Let me try this one on you and see if anyone recognizes it: Chicken breasts topped with provolone slices covered in cream of chicken soup. Cover that with stuffing mix and butter, bake at 350 for 40 min. — 3SquirrelsinaCoat
  • Philly Cheesesteak — Anonymous
  • Pecan pie
    Submarine sandwiches
    Corn pie
    Scrapple — wistfulmaiden
  • Louisiana boiled crawfish and crabs. — vzwire
  • Blueberry pie. Or anything with blueberries since they originated in North America. — YooperScooper3000
  • General Tso’s Chicken. — slugline
  • I think, as a non American, Italian-American and Tex-Mex are two that are found all over the US and now the world. Spaghetti meat sauce, non bechamel lasagna, deli style pizza: chili con carne, loaded nachos, etc.
    Other dishes that may be more regional just aren’t found everywhere even in the US. — OLAZ3000
  • Chicken fried steak.
    Yes I know some of you are going to say “what about German schnitzel?” … IT IS NOT THE SAME AND YOU KNOW IT.
    The size of a dinner plate and served with white gravy. — raygan
  • Carolina Sauce replaced the actual blood in my body years ago and I’m still kickin. — 2fardownrange
  • Soul food — Safe-Refrigerator333
  • fried oreo’s from the state fair. Pretty much anything deep fried at the state fair is American culture. — Musician-Round
  • Popcorn. Who can see a movie without it? It was first made by Native Americans. — sirensong150
  • I’ve lived abroad and my wife and her family are non-American so I can confidently say that people see cheeseburgers, milkshakes and pizza as “american food” — Sensitive_Pickle247
  • The US is so big that I think regional foods are more culturally identifiable. I’ve had lobster rolls in Maine, Maryland crab cakes. Garbage plates in upstate NY. Clam Chowdah. The carolina BBQ and slaw. I’m a Texan so brisket. Chislic in the dakotas. Rocky mountain oysters in the rockies. My God Chicago food is a blue collar workers dream food. Wisconsin sausage and cheese is one of a kind. Louisana, nuff said. Nebraks steaks. It all depends where you are. I kind of think maybe burgers, chicken fried steak, things like that are actually nationwide. New Mexico please put green chilies on everything. — Lostiniowabut713irl
  • Ranch — olivemon88
  • Fried Chicken. It’s a combination of a Scottish cooking style where they fried unseasoned food in Lard and west African seasonings. — kilertree
  • Macaroni and cheese! — hiker2go
  • (Note from Sharon: I love this reply to the above) My non-American wife thought it was called “mecan cheese” short for “American cheese”. She had never seen the word in writing before and I’d talk about how I missed my mom’s homemade “mac and cheese” (which sounds like mecan cheese to her). — Sensitive_Pickle247
  • Funeral potatoes iykyk — redvelvetcakebatter (Note from Sharon: IDK)
  • Breakfast Cereal (especially the sugary kind) seems very American to me. — Successful-Income-22
  • The Reuben.
    This is a unique food because it is so distinctly a result of the United States.
    When Irish people came to the United States in large volumes they found themselves in New York, and moved into poor communities where they could find housing and work, this lead to them living in close contact with Jewish Immigrant communities. As a result of this, the tradition of corned beef was revived, despite having rarely been consumed in Ireland in years or even decades as most poor Irish farmers couldn’t afford beef from the cows that were being exported to England.
    The Jewish communities, of course, didn’t eat the pork that had become a staple of the Irish diet, instead they had pork, which was often prepared by kosher processing, nearly identical to how Irish people used to handle their beef, but those Irish people also lacked their own traditional bread, resulting in replacing beef on weck, to beef on Jewish rye, it not a long jump to adding cabbage, already a part of the Irish diet. And a lot of Jewish communities already made Sauerkraut. The cheese was Swiss, the sandwich spread was “Russian” despite it actually being a version of thousand island, a truly American recipe.
    The whole thing could never have come to be without the American melting pot doing exactly what it does, bringing cultures together. — Talusthebroke
  • Chicken Nuggets — arianleellewellyn
  • Spaghettios — TruthOdd6164
  • Fortune cookies are definitely American. — OldPolishProverb
  • I’m Canadian and I would say the deep fried turkey leg is unique to the US and only the US. — bisoninthefreezer
  • Truck stop/diner/greasy-spoon breakfast. Doesn’t matter what you order and if you’re somewhere in the mid-west- even better.
    Or, if you ever find yourself in a church basement in Minnesota after an event, you will know the authentic, All-American comfort of many kinds of salads with no lettuce, dessert bars, and hotdishes. — Rayraydavies
  • Saturated fat — BadBeach

There were plenty more – here’s the original thread. Heads up there’s occasional adult language.

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1 comment

StAugustine April 1, 2023 - 7:47 am

Thanksgiving staple: Green Bean Casserole with mushroom soup, sliced almonds and those crispy onion things on top


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