American Food

What does this phrase mean to you?
Offshoot from the latest authentic thread.
Are any American foods authentic?
Or traditional.
To start:

:innocent:

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if i’m being honest it means absolutely nothing. has as much value as using the term ‘asian food’.

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:thinking: Head scratch. I can probably come up with a few things I think of as

Southern (corn bread, hogmaws, and chitterlings…awww beep beep! Macaroni and cheese, (shrimp) and grits), or
Californian (Mission burrito, Dungeness crab), or
New England ( lobster roll, chowder) or
Pacific Northwest (grilled salmon), or
New Mex (fajitas?) .
Maybe NYC (pastrami on rye, bacon and cheese sandwich, pizza by the slice).
Bar B Q? Texas, North Carolina, or South Carolina,Kansas City…and others.

Maybe burgers? I’m at Sacramento airport, and got a squeeze burger

“Hot dogs”?

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Most British tourists restrict their visits to Florida’s theme park areas or to short breaks to New York City. I am in the minority in that, over several decades, my holidays in the States have generally been away from those hotspots (I’ve visited every state on the east coast and several that adjoin them) It does mean that I have a wider (if not necessarily better) experience on the country’s food than many of my compatriots. And many of those fellow Britons return from Florida to recount their meals at fast food places, or chain restaurants where they will tell you that the portions were enormous and the prices. So, to them, that is American food. And it’s certainly part of my own experience.

“Authentic” is, IMO, a poor choice of word. All food is authentic - except if one has started with the original recipe for an original creation and then adapted it. “Traditional” is better but can be difficult -how far back in history do you go, particularly in this case of a country largely formed by immgrant communities.

But, to answer the question posed. BBQ in the southern states. Seafood in New England.

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It’s like pornography.

I know it when I see it (to quote one Justice Potter Stewart)

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I have this book.

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From a furrner’s perspective: buffalo wings, bacon cheeseburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, deep dish pizza, crab cakes, lobster rolls, seafood boils, TX bbq, tex-mex, potato chips, nachos, pastrami, NOLA food, jalapeño poppers, s’mores, southern fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, sausage gravy, melted cheese on everything.

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When I visited India, I realized how much Americans LOVE cheese … I could only find paneer there. I couldn’t find cheese in Morocco either.

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Odd. Where were you in India?
India has many native Cheeses available (they are rather regional) that are not Paneer as well as western style Processed Cheeses in Slices or Blocks. I remember seeing Mozzarella and Sliced Gruyère as well.

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The hamburger , and barbecue.

I went to India 4 times, 1st time 1996, last 2009. I was in many different areas. Maybe it’s changed now?

I had cheese every day and had also bought from cheese/dairy shops.

(Crumbly feta-like. Young and very soft. Pretty palm leaf baskets. Woven baskets. Dairy shop I bought from. A tiny dairy shop.)

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That should have been “and the prices were cheap”.

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I’m utterly overwhelmed by this list, but delighted by the stories, and particularly the complications around determining what exactly is “American” when the dishes have so many origins from elsewhere, and how American is then very much a process of “becoming”. At the same time, there are promises, as in this screenshot of “authentic” recipes.

It’s fun, because I imagine this serves as another reason why “authentic” means so much to some. It’s an occasion to get away from the lack of authenticity produced by being American as well as-- if I draw on Dean McCannel’s work on Tourism-- the inauthentic life of those bound up in capitalism; and sorry I’m simplifying terribly). It also makes me think of Renato Ronaldo and “Imperial Nostalgia”.

What then also emerges is how very much people holding to “authenticity” as a standard want to avoid how much other nations are also dealing with flows of people, culture, and food-ways that challenge the idea of stasis of dishes in other places.

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I refer to the genre as Americanized Ethnic Diner Food. It’s probably my favorite category of “good eats”, the type of dishes I’m most likely to make for myself (and which, no doubt, fall in the "non-authentic category).

By David Rosengarten:

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I love this book! He is a fine recipe writer, and it’s a fun book to read/browse.

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Lobster rolls, New England clam chowder, Boston baked beans, crab cakes, Philly cheesesteak, southern BBQ, mac & cheese, Cobb salad, Key lime pie, sourdough bread, cornbread, jambalaya, boiled peanuts, spiral ham, meatloaf, southern grits, sausage gravy, fortune cookies, PB&J sandwich, and chocolate chip cookies.

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Is that like, um, Olive Garden?

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Unsure. I’ve never been to an Olive Garden.

I’m thinking more along the line of Mom & Pop Chinese restaurants, family owned Greek diners, and that small Italian joint around the corner where the owner-operator seemed to be having a fit every other night.

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Not unless there’s an Olive Garden somewhere that serves spanokopita, patty melts, lemon meringue pie and Denver omelets.

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