What Is America’s National Dish – Somehow.. there is no official national dish in a country known as a melting pot. Maybe that’s part of the problem now. Because the country is so diverse, it can’t be easy to sum everyone up in one simple recipe.
But America is a nation of food. This is the country that brought you the world’s largest restaurant chain. This is the country that brought you an entire Food Network TV channel. And it’s also a country named after a pickle seller.
What Is America’s National Dish
So with that said, and with countries from France to Spain to Japan all representing their edible pride on a national level, the United States is perfectly positioned to present an example of the country’s chief cuisine. Although this begs the question…which dish should America choose?
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The most obvious candidate, and the one most associated with America by non-Americans, would have to be the Burger. Ham, cheese or bacon, it doesn’t really matter. After all, the biggest restaurant chain we talked about earlier was, of course, McDonald’s. For better or worse, there are many in the world who think of the fast food giant when they think of American cuisine.
What’s more, it’s not like Americans themselves don’t love the humble hamburger. Just think about it. What American Independence Day cookout would be complete without these grilled beef patties sandwiched between toasted buns? And especially with all those toppings. From ketchup to mustard, sweets to cheese and even fried eggs, perhaps the best way to represent different people is to choose a dish that has many variations.
But despite everything, there are plenty of Americans who would prefer their country not to be represented by the Golden Arches and their staple food item. Not only is this dish 100% American (as it originally came from Hamburg, Germany), but the national dish is not based on what other countries think of your cuisine, but on how you define your own food. And as culinary awareness grows in this country, there are those who hope the U.S. could have a slightly more elevated palette and American roots. In that case, it might be best to take a vacation…
Thanksgiving is probably the most American holiday if you stop to think about it. Many other countries celebrate their nation’s birthday. Christmas is celebrated all over the world. And ringing in the New Year happens no matter where you are.
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Now, it’s not certain that the US isn’t the only country with a day to give thanks. But the version celebrated in the United States has Americana deep in its holiday roots. The symbolic origin of the Pilgrims’ and Native Americans’ joint breaking of bread is not only the beginning of the holiday, but also the beginning of America.
In addition, Thanksgiving was officially declared a November Thursday tradition by beloved President Abraham Lincoln. Not to mention that Benjamin Franklin himself recommended the turkey rather than the eagle as the national bird.
While Franklin didn’t understand the urge, it’s not too late to give the turkey a chance to represent the United States at the dinner table, especially with all the trimmings.
Although the downside is that when we look back at that first Thanksgiving, the turkey was just an ingredient in the meal, not the star. Sharing the stage alongside deer and lobster and other foods no longer considered traditional. Which is really par for the course. Because many of today’s Thanksgiving traditions are based more on holiday ideas than historical accuracy. Which makes it hard to have one set meal.
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Not to mention, no two Thanksgiving tables are ever exactly the same. Each family has their own specific hotspot to celebrate this occasion. Which brings us right back to the problem that there are too many variations to choose a clear and concise signature dish. So maybe it’s time to simplify.
What if the national dish was just one simple recipe, with no toppings, side dishes, or excuses. And why not rely on America’s sweet tooth in the process. After all, what could be more American than mom, baseball, and… Apple Pie.
People don’t think of desserts as the main examples of cuisine, but that’s a shame. Just because it comes after a meal doesn’t mean it isn’t a meal in itself.
And when it comes to being America’s poster child, Apple Pie’s history is more in line with the facts than any of the misconceptions that accompany Thanksgiving. What’s more, it also does a great job of encapsulating the American story. Because the American way of making apple pie comes straight from Jolly Old England. But like the United States itself, it came into its own when it arrived on these shores.
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Mainly thanks to a large part of American iconography, John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. A man who traveled America carrying a pot on his head and spread apples over the ground. This piece of history is baked right into the crust of this country and explains how apples became an American staple. Not only as food, but also as myth.
And why shouldn’t it be? No other food is said to be everything from forbidden knowledge to a method of keeping doctors away. Also, as for the pie part, well, let’s just say we’re singing “Bye, bye Miss American Pie.”
But just as the national baseball game isn’t as popular as it once was, Americans don’t seem to have as many pies cooling on their windowsills as they used to. While Don McLean’s story may be stuck in your head right now, perhaps Bob Dylan’s words should be considered. Because times are changing. But while baseball and apple pie may be out of style, mom is as important as ever. And with that said, maybe mom is the one we need to turn to.
The Buffalo Wing is said to have been created late one night in Buffalo, New York by Teressa Bellissimo. The buffalo wing was made on the spot to feed her son and his college friends. Around using everything he had at the now famous Anchor Bar where he worked.
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As such, Buffalo Wings epitomize American ingenuity and the mother of an inventor created by a mother to feed her son. What a lovely feeling of family right now, isn’t it?
Coming back to the idea of a modern kitchen, this creation was born in the 1960s. Unlike Apple Pie, Hamburger or Thanksgiving Dinner, which are all significantly older.
Moving on, after the late 60s, the relatively new invention of the Buffalo wing has taken off ever since. Entire restaurant chains dedicate themselves to the dish. And if food can represent entire franchises, why not an entire country?
Moreover, even though Buffalo Wings were created on the fly, their experimental nature is still very much tied to the dish. America still cares and continues to evolve food. Because people are constantly coming up with new variations of the product. And not all of them come from the original hot sauce variety. Teriyaki, herb butter and BBQ sauces do their best to sit on a hot wing. But speaking of BBQ…
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The problem with the Buffalo Wing is that it comes from Buffalo, New York. And even though Buffalo is in America, it’s still a very small part of the country. Instead, what if there was a dish that represented a much wider range of Americans, such as the American South.
Although it may not seem like it to urbanites, the Mason Dixon line down below covers far more ground than any urban city. Thanks to this, rural cooking is a better representative of the country as a whole. And when it comes to southern food songs, it’s hard to think of a better song than Barbecue.
Now, the most patriotic part of this whole parade is that when it comes to barbecue, America really is the best bar.
No one else can do it the way Americans do and most people are just wrong. Many countries start producing food that is grilled hot and fast and call it barbecue, forgetting that real barbecue is low and slow and always contains smoke. This is something that many people seem to forget.
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But this fake passport isn’t just for non-Americans, as many parts of the state can’t tell the difference. How many Americans use the terms barbecue and barbecue interchangeably as if they were the same thing? How many Americans think that just slathering on a sweet, sticky sauce will do
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