Although the great U.S. of A might not be best known for the most glamorous culinary delights of the world, we do know a thing or two about good food. Some might call it junk but we like to call it a National treasure. Cheeseburgers, s’mores and corn dogs may not be caviar but they’re also not something to scoff at. I mean, have you had a corn dog lately? Although American food may not be light on the calories or will any of the items on this list be featured on the menu of France’s most prestigious restaurant, it has a special place in the heart of the country. They may be simple and most of them have more ingredients that you can’t pronounce than ones you can, they’re ours and they’re great and people come from all over the world to sample the flavors of America. So, without further adieu, here’s the foods the U.S. is most famous for!
A food that’s become a staple of our diet, American’s love burgers so much we’ve created pretty much any version you could possibly think of. Turkey, chicken, boar, bacon, black bean, Boca, vegan, vegetarian, however you want it, we’re sure there’s an option out there somewhere. No matter where you are in the United States, you’re never more than a stone’s throw away from a decent cheeseburger.
The hot dog—a ballpark staple, grill out necessity and great street food option. This food plays many roles and has tons of different variations across the country. There’s the Chicago Dog, the Chilly Cheese Dog, the Dodger Dog, the Philly Combo, the New York Dog, the Seattle Dog and many more. The hot dog is such an American staple that most major cities have their own variation. We’re still not quite sure what they’re made of and truth be told, we don’t really want to know. What we do know is that they’re delicious, they go great with mustard and taste like days at the ballpark, watching your favorite team duke it out on the field.
Slow-cooked, smoked and slathered in barbecue sauce until it’s falling apart and melting in your mouth, there isn’t much to not love about home style ribs. There’s the Kansas City style, the St. Louis-style, the Texas-style, the Memphis-style— and they’re all very different and all absolutely delicious in their own way. Whether they’re grilled, baked, smoked or cooked over a fire, ribs are the best excuse there is to throw manners out the door and end up covered head to toe in barbecue sauce. We won’t judge! And if you end up attending a Texas culinary school, be sure to explore the local grub.
It was once thought that Twinkies were so processed that they could withstand a nuclear explosion. Now that we know that isn’t true and that America’s favorite snack cake does actually go bad (at some point), we feel a little less guilty for enjoying it every now and again. It’s true that Twinkies may not be the healthiest thing you can pick up at the grocery store, but man oh man are they good.
Also known as American pie, apple pie has been a part of our culture since almost the beginning. In fact, the original colonies enjoyed throwing together this dessert. Fast forward years later and we’re still enjoying it as much as they did back in the day. In fact, soldiers during World War II were known to have one answer when asked why they were going to war, “For mom and apple pie.” Although apple pie was a part of European menus for many years before America was even founded, we were more than happy to adopt this particular pastry as one of our favorites and tweak it to make our own style. We love ours a la mode!
Whereas you’d assume the Reuben sandwich was created in one of New York’s famous Jewish delis, one rumor is that it was a certain Rueben Kulakofsky, a grocer of Omaha, Nebraska. The other is that it was created in one of New York City’s favorite delis, the now defunct Reuben’s Delicatessan, which seems to be the more likely scenario. Whoever invented it, we just know that we love it. The rye bread, corned beef, thousand island dressing, Swiss cheese, horseradish and sauerkraut all seem the least likely combination of ingredients to make a seriously delicious sandwich but boy oh boy does it.
Another one of those recipes brought over by the old world to the new world, the American south was happy to adopt fried chicken as one of their staple dishes. This soul food pairs perfectly with a slice of plain white bread, some slaw and collard greens for a true down home classic. And don’t think for a minute that Kentucky Fried Chicken is even relatively close to the real deal. The best fried chicken will often be found in a place you’d least expect it.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich
One of the most basic flavor combinations and yet it hits the spot every time, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a quintessential American dish. The saltiness of the peanut butter and the sweetness of the jam is total perfection for the palate. Whether you like your peanut butter crunchy or smooth or you have a particular preference for grape, strawberry or raspberry jelly, there’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich out there for everyone.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Perhaps the most American dessert, the chocolate chip cookie hits home for just about everyone. That familiar smell of vanilla and butter and chocolate all baking into beautiful oblivion in the oven can put a smile on even the grumpiest of people. As the story goes, the chocolate chip cookie was invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield, the owner of the Toll House Inn in a town about 30 minutes south of Boston. The 1938 edition of the first cookbook she published contained a recipe for “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie,” and the rest is yummy history. One of the most basic and most scrumptious pastry recipes, the chocolate chip cookie is the perfect example of simply delicious.