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What makes "American" food distinctive?

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What makes "American" food distinctive?

Father Kitchen | Feb 13, 2009 03:15 PM

In another topic, I think I raised some hackles by humorously referring to popcorn as ethnic American food. Behind it was the simple observation that we have a culture, too, and we have food mores. If we grant that we have borrowed from a great many cultures, we still can note that we often transform, if not transmogrify the "authentic" cooking of other cultures. Sometimes we do this because we have to depend on whatever ingredients are available to us. But more often we do this to suit our own tastes. I heard of pizza for the first time 55 years ago. Now it is supposed to be the best selling food in our country, even though it includes varieties Italy never heard of, like Hawaiian Pizza and Barbecued Chicken Pizza. Salsa has long since outsold ketchup. And our ketchup was very Americanized, too.
So what does our national food "genius" do to the cooking of other countries in making it American? Or, to put it differently, how would other countries identify our ethnic approach to food?

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