Ever wondered why American food is always in the news for being a source of bad health and obesity? It’s hardly a wonder when most of the famous and notable dishes and snacks are full of fat and sugar!
Early Native Americans utilised a number of cooking methods that have been blended with early European cooking methods to form the basis of modern American Cuisine. Grilling meats was common, as was spit roasting over a pit fire. Vegetables, especially root vegetables, were often cooked directly in the ashes of the fire.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Americans developed many new foods, though most of these spread throughout the nation yet with no international appeal, such as the famous peanut butter and jelly sandwich; and some spread throughout the world, such as popcorn, cola, fried chicken, cornbread, muffins, and brownies.
In modern times, some dishes that are typically considered American have their origins in other countries. Hot dogs and hamburgers are both based on traditional German dishes, but in their modern popular form they can be reasonably considered American dishes. Wherever the origin, I think you can agree that some of modern American food is extremely unhealthy!
Now let’s take a look at 4 light bites, 7 main meals, and 4 desserts from American cuisine!
A traditional Lobster Roll is a sandwich filled with lobster meat soaked in butter and served on a steamed hot dog bun or similar roll, so that the opening is on the top rather than on the side. These are extremely popular in San Francisco!
Popcorn is a type of corn that expands from the kernel and puffs up when much heat is applied through a microwave cooking device or other heating object. Popcorn is able to pop because its kernels have hard moisture-sealed hull and a dense starchy innards. When heated, pressure builds within the kernel, and a small explosion is the end result. Some strains of corn are now cultivated specifically as popping corns.
Hotdogs are sausages served in a sliced bun as a sandwich. Typical hot dog garnishes include mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish, cheese, chili, and even sauerkraut! The sausages were imported from Germany, then became a working class street food that became associated with American and baseball. Coney Island in New York City is considered the birthplace of the American hotdog.
Popular among kids, Bubble Gum is a type of novelty chewing gum, designed to freshen breath and to be inflated out of the mouth as a bubble. More than anywhere else in the world, bubble gum is consumed in the United States of America.
Turkey Legs are nowadays more than just a Thanksgiving treat. It is sold throughout the year and because of its high fat and calories count, it is usually considered a main meal rather than a snack. Part of the fun of gnawing on a turkey leg is the chance to go right down to the bone and eat the last of the meat!
A Cheesesteak is a sandwich made from thinly sliced pieces of steak and melted cheese in a long hoagie roll. A popular regional fast food, it has its roots in Philadelphia.
BBQ Ribs have become very popular in the deep American South. Meats of pork or beef can be barbequed on an open fire and served complete with bones in tact. These BBQ Ribs are considered a very masculine food.
Pulled Pork is a method of cooking pork where what would otherwise be a tough cut of meat is cooked slowly at low temperatures, allowing the meat to become tender enough so that it can be “pulled”, or easily broken into individual pieces.
The term Buffalo Wings is a chicken wing section that is deep-fried, unbreaded, and coated in vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter. They are traditionally served hot, along with celery sticks and/or carrot sticks with blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping.
Hash Browns are a simple preparation in which potato pieces are pan-fried after being shredded, julienned, diced, or riced. In some cultures, hash browns or hashed browns can refer to any of these preparations, while in others it may refer to one specific preparation. Hash browns are a staple breakfast food at diners in North America, where they are often fried on a large common cooktop or grill.
Everybody has heard of a Hamburger. It is a sandwich consisting of one or more cooked patties of ground meat, usually beef, placed inside a sliced bun. Hamburgers may be cooked in a variety of ways, including pan-frying, barbecuing, and flame-broiling. Hamburgers are often served with lettuce, bacon, tomato, and cheese, and topped with condiments such as mustard, ketchup, or relish. Hamburgers are sold at fast food restaurants, diners, and specialty and high-end restaurants (where burgers may sell for several times the cost of a fast-food burger). There are many international and regional variations of the hamburger.
Frozen Custard is a cold dessert similar to ice cream, but made with eggs in addition to cream and sugar. Many American fast food companies have made their name by selling this fattening dessert.
Considered by many to be the Ultimate American Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is a type of tart made with a strawberry and rhubarb filling. The pie is usually prepared with a bottom pie crust and a variety of styles of upper crust. In the United States, often a lattice-style upper crust is used. Check out my post for more info on Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and many other pies from American cuisine.
Pumpkin Pie is a traditional sweet dessert, often eaten during the fall and early winter. In the United States, it is usually prepared for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it is also featured at Halloween, as the pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time. The pie consists of a pumpkin-based custard, ranging in colour from orange to brown, baked in a single pie shell, rarely with a top crust
Cheesecakes are heavily associated with American cuisine and the New York Cheesecake is arguably the finest of the lot! The typical New York cheesecake relies heavily on sour cream and has a dense, smooth, and creamy consistency. Sour cream makes the cheesecake more resilient to freezing and is the method by which most frozen cheesecakes are made. However, a lavish variant uses sour cream as a topping, applied when the cheesecake is cooked. It is mixed with vanilla extract and sugar and replaced in the oven, essentially making the cheesecake twice-baked.
For more American desserts, check out my post 23 American Desserts you MUST try before you die!
Have I missed any healthy American foods from my brief list? Which ones make your tummy rumble?