When you close your eyes and think of your favorite “American” food, what do you picture? Is it a cheeseburger or some warm Mac and cheese?
See how many of the items on this list you’ve tried, and make sure you try the other ones at least once!
This soup might look unappealing with its clumpy, white look, but you couldn’t visit Boston and not try it! Once you taste it, you’ll see what the hype is about.
It’s a mix of quahog shellfish with tender potatoes, salted pork, heavy cream, and herbs. Thank you to the unnamed genius who created it.
Fried Cheese Curds
They don’t call Wisconsin the land of beer and cheese for nothing. If you live outside Wisconsin and have never heard of it, let us enlighten you on this appetizer you’ll likely find on all their restaurant menus.
It’s basically just gooey melted cheese that spills out of a crisp beer-flavored crust. What is there not to like?
A quick history lesson on this dish: In 1937, Bob Cobb, the owner of The Brown Derby, was scrambling around at the restaurant to make a meal for Sid Grauman of Grauman’s Theater.
So he put together whatever he found in the fridge: a head of lettuce, an avocado, some romaine, watercress, tomatoes, some cold chicken breast, a hard-boiled egg, chives, cheese, some crisp bacon, and some old-fashioned French dressing. And ta-da!
Fun fact: Americans are pretty much the only ones in the world who eat this dish. But in America, you’ll find it at basically every fair and street cart. Who would have thought a hot dog dipped in batter and deep-fried would be so loved?
There is a story that goes that in 1907 in Wilmington, Ohio, restaurant owner Ernest Hazard wanted to draw in students from a nearby college. So he split a banana in a sundae.
The origin is not confirmed, but the fame spread after a Walgreens in Chicago made the split its signature dessert in the 1920s. Is the banana supposed to make it seem better for you?
“Thanksgiving” might not technically be a dish, but it is definitely one of the most traditional American meals. You sit around a table with your friends and family when everyone knows you’re really there for the turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes.
Some restaurants even offer this feast as a special on their menus!
Mac N Cheese
We all have to thank Thomas Jefferson for being the genius who decided to mix pasta and cheese and gave us this treasure. He introduced it when he brought a pasta maker and Parmesan cheese back to Virginia and famously served the dish at a state dinner in 1802.
No one’s looked back since.
Pork or beef, smoked or slathered? Take your pick. This is the barbecue meal that has traditionally brought people together since before the Civil War.
Different locales put their own twist on it, like with Memphis’ wet ribs, or North Carolina’s vinegar base. Why try one when you can try them all?
You can’t sit around a fire and go camping and not try some S’mores. They are basically toasted marshmallows with a layer of chocolate sandwiched between 2 pieces of graham crackers.
There is no denying Americans love a side of french fries but we cannot ignore their fancier cousin, the tater tots. These are grated potato mini-balls which are oval in shape and fried to be crispy. They just hit differently.
Twinkies Sponge Cake
Remember when Twinkies almost disappeared off the shelves then everyone rushed to but them so they stayed? These sponge cakes have a shelf life that goes on forever, basically.
They were invented by bakery manager Jimmy Dewer in 1930. On his way to the presentation, he saw a billboard for Twinkle Toe Shoes, which inspired the name.
Buffalo Chicken Wings
This dish goes back to the 1960s, when it was first served in the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. Today, it is one of the most popular and beloved bar foods.
Nothing quite goes with a beer like these fried chicken wings drenched in a cayenne-vinegar hot sauce (Buffalo sauce)!
Chicken And Waffles
When you can’t choose between breakfast and dinner food, why not have both? Someone, many years ago, also realized we don’t need so many rules about what to eat when, so they combined their fried chicken dinner with their breakfast waffle and gave America this great breakfast invention.
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
When you think of pizza, you might think of Italy, but deep-dish pizza is something unique to America. The Chicago deep-dish just hits different.
The pizza is literally deep, the crust rises high and is stuffed with cheese, tomato sauce, and your favorite toppings (that go inside). So it’s basically more like a traditional pie.
If you love greasy, cheesy sandwiches, you’ll love this one. It’s made of “frizzled beef” that’s chopped while being grilled in grease. The rest of the flavor is thanks to the overload of onions and cheese (American, provolone, or Cheese Whiz).
Shoutout to Harry Olivieri who gets the credit for making the first cheesesteaks. Originally, it was with pizza sauce instead of cheese, which was later recommended by one of Pat’s cooks.
Maine Lobster Roll
Did you know that Maine provides 80% of the US’s lobster exports? It’s no wonder this is where the dish originates. It’s pretty simple. It’s just chunks of sweet lobster meat lightly dressed in mayo or lemon or both, and stuffed into something like a buttered hot dog bun.
All you need with it is a side of saltwater air.
The Classic Cheeseburger
We couldn’t keep this item off the list because it’s pretty much as American as it gets. You’ve surely tried it, so we’ll tell you some fun facts instead.
Studies show that Americans eat nearly 50 billion burgers a year. That breaks down to an average of three burgers a week for every person in the United States!
Every good American meal ends with dessert, and there’s no better option than the all-American apple pie. It wasn’t always American, though. It came through British, Swedish, and Dutch immigrants, where it was part of colonial diets for more than a century because it was cheap to make.
Then, during World War II, apple pie became an American staple.
Somehow, every American household has its own family recipe twist on the classic meat loaf. But, basically, they all share the same ingredients of ground meat and seasonings.
Those are made into a loaf shape either using a loaf pan or your hands, roasted, and then topped with sauce. Some just eat it with ketchup.
We’ve already established that Americans love cheese and beef together, so why not add one more? The Reuben sandwich is like a fancy grilled sandwich made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing.
It’s usually grilled between slices of rye bread. Is your mouth watering yet?