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Kay asked in Food & DrinkEthnic Cuisine · 7 years ago

Do you agree that there's no such thing as "American food"?

I mean, when people hear "American food", they think of fast food like burgers, fries and hot dogs. But actually, fries were invented by the Belgians, and the Germans invented hot dogs and hamburgers. The Italians invented pasta and pizza, the Asians gave us rice, Jews invented bagels, matzo bread and Kosher (best kind of food), there's a ton of good Mexican food, and so forth. There are two main reasons: one, because we are a comparatively young country, and a lot of good foods came before us; and two, this country was built by immigrants, who brought their tasty foods with them. Even if we did change the ORIGINAL recipe (for example, I know American Chinese food is often different than real Chinese food), it's still generally the same idea. So really there's no such thing as "American food", don't you think?

11 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    If yo look at Texan BBQ which is mostly brisket, Buffalo wings, ribs, cornbread, biscuits, New Orleans dishes such as gumbo, the best salads in the world and grits, you will realise that American food is far removed from the 'burger' which British people think is American because their only experience is McDonalds. Boston clam chowder, Rhode Island clam cakes and raw bars are more fine examples of American cuisine. I often put recipes in my blog winewithfood.tumblr.com which I discovered while living for many yuears in the States.

  • 7 years ago

    The Hamburg Steak came from Germany but the idea of shoving it between two slices of bread with some onions, mustard, and later some ketchup, is American.

    Pizza originated in Italy but resembles nothing like the things you get in Chicago or New York City - and both claim theirs is the "REAL" pizza.

    Apple tarts may have come from France, Germany and The Netherlands yet none of them have any resemblance to American creations such as deep dish dutch apple pie, not to mention cobblers, buckles, foldovers, dumps, and so on.

    These are but a few examples of foods that were brought to America by immigrants, only to share them with their neighbors and end up having them altered.

    Most of what Americans call "Chinese food" is another good example of this.

    So there certainly IS such a thing as American food. Many Americans can't name anything because they've never been some place other than America and are suddenly deprived of what they suddenly realize is "American Food."

    Let's start on the East Coast. New England Clam Chowder, Lobster, Crab cakes. Not to mention the aforementioned Pizza.

    Then we swing down South where you'll find BBQ, Southern and Soul Food, not to mention Cajun and Creole style cuisines. Those don't exist anywhere else.

    Going into the Southwest you have Tex-Mex - the original fusion cuisine - best known for its creation "Chili" which folks in Cincinnati are very fond of served over spaghetti noodles, topped with a mound of shredded cheddar cheese and maybe onions.

    Further to the west you have tons of fusion cuisine. The dish "Chop Suey" originated from an anonymous Chinese railroad worker. The so-called Chinese Fortune Cookie also originated from California. Today, you need only look for a roaming food truck to see the future of American cuisine. How about a Torta made with Korean BBQ chicken and Kimchee? Or a Mu-shu Burrito?

    And let's not forget the indigenous foods from the American continents:

    * Maize / Corn

    * Avocados

    * Chili peppers

    * Turkey

    * Pumpkin

    * Cranberries

    Source(s): This melding of different foods and cultures happens all over the world. For instance, the Pizza Hut in Japan serves a pizza topped with roasted octopus, corn, sprinkled with bonito flakes and seaweed. It's actually pretty good - sort of like an Italian Cioppino spread on a pizza crust. But definitely not what you think of when you think of "American Pizza."
  • 7 years ago

    Thinking this way, your idea is relatively true, there's no such thing as "American food" simply because the country has been found "recently" and so many cultures have preceded it. But since Americans had the idea of creating a diner most people credit burgers to be an american food. Though everyone knows that pizza and pasta are italian.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Nonsense. I only agree on one point - "reverse" sexism, etc., is BS. There is no "reverse" about it - discriminating against someone because of which "group" they belong to is wrong. It is equally racist (or sexist, etc.) to make broad assumptions about whites, blacks, women, men, gays, straights, etc. Why do people see things in such black and white terms? Just because you are a member of an oppressed group, it does not give you carte blanche to do some oppressing yourself. Only through having dignity and showing class can we advance the image of women, for example, or blacks, or gays, or whatever. That means not being incredibly sexist or racist and then whining that you're oppressed yourself, so it doesn't "count".

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  • 7 years ago

    No, I don't agree. What makes food ethnic is more in the preparation than the ingredients. For instance, ground beef is used to make spaghetti sauce, enchiladas, Swedish meatballs, etc. These dishes are easily classified as ethnic even though they're all using the same ingredient. The American take on hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and sausage makes them uniquely "American Food".

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Actually, the Chinese invented pasta.

    If you look at Creole and Cajun food from New Orleans, it may have parts that started in other cultures, but it comes together in a unique way that is all-American. You are not getting gumbo, oyster po boys or crawfish anywhere else.

    American Chinese food is uniquely American, because no one in China would recognize it - no one in China would call it Chinese food. There is nothing in traditional Chinese cooking that resembles General Tsao's.

    You'll find types of sausage all around the world, but Wursts are German, and Hot Dogs are American.

    Maine Lobster is like no other lobster in the world - not even close. I've had carribean lobster and Indian ocean lobster, and they are nothing like Maine lobster... and they don't make lobster rolls anywhere else.

    If Wagyu/Kobe beef is uniquely Japanese, American Corn Fed Beef is uniquely American.

    All food is a version of something from somewhere else. There are a million kinds of bread, but Naan will always be considered Indian... a milion versions of fried, sugared dough, but zepploes will always be Italian, bignets will always be from New Orleans, etc.etc. I don't think anywhee in the world you'll find roast Turkey with cranberry dressing, except in America.

    Key lime pie? American.

  • 7 years ago

    I don't agree. There is such a thing as "American food" although its history is only maybe a hundred years old vs all those you've mentioned.

    To Americans and people around the world, American food refers to those made popular by American companies that operate worldwide, such as McDonalds, Burger King's burgers, Spaghetti House's Italian food (American style), KFC's fried chicken, Coke, Starbucks.....

  • 7 years ago

    I would think that any indigenous plants and animals there were here before other cultures populated the Americas would be considered American food.

    Corn, wheat, gourds, bison, turkeys, coastal and river seafood, those would all be American foods.

    Most of what we have now is a amalgamation of many cultures. Our American food and culture is enriched for this. People judge us by today's standards but we're so much more than the deep fried Twinkies that we serve. LOL

  • 7 years ago

    Rather insulting to the Native Amercians who ate quite well before them foreigners came along.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Hamburgers and hot dogs are German, fries are Belgian, fries with steak are Belgian, apple pies are common all over Europe, barbecue has been around since before the barbarians, etc.

    There is no quintessential American food.

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