Help build an "American Food" menu

I guess this is really about what is uniquely American food (I’ll include our brethren and sistren to the north, so this is about North American food). I brought this up one night when we were at an Ethiopian restaurant waiting for our food. I asked “What truly [North] American foods could we put on a menu for an American Restaurant somewhere in the world?”

We came up with:

Chili (a stretch, but Texas is still part of the US at last check)

What else could be put on our menu?


Go get yourself a copy of the 1938 Rex Stout novel Too Many Cooks.

In an early chapter Nero Wolfe delivers a short lecture on the magnificence of indigenous American cuisine that has yet to be equaled.

Also, let me move this to Cafe Society for you, where you will get better answers.

Fried chicken
Turkey and stuffing
Tuna casserole
Broccoli/rice/cheese casserole
Grilled cheese sandwich
Macaroni and cheese

Reuben sandwich
Waldorf salad

Think in terms of regional things or traditional holiday things, and that might help…
Almost anything else made with corn (cornbread, muffins of all sorts, hush puppies, and loads more that I can’t think of right now)
Roast turkey
Beef jerky and its distant relative, pemmican
All the components of a New England lobster boil: lobsters, clams, mussels, etc.
Zillions of pies: not just apple, but how about pecan, shoofly, black-bottom, Derby, or cranberry?
Anything made with sweet potatoes or pumpkins or peanuts

Mmmmm…I just had dinner, and you’re making me hungry!

Don’t forget chocolate chip cookies!
Bourbon drinks
Anything made with maple syrup

Rice Krispie Treats
Cherry Jello with fruit cocktail
Beanie Weenies
Slim Jims

How is salmon a uniquely American food. I know it’s very popular in Scotland.
Things Suburban Plankton and I came up with:

Corn Dogs
Green Bean Casserole (that horrible dish with canned gr beans, cream of mushroom soup and those awful french fried onions)
Fortune Cookies
Breakfast cereal (in as much as it was invented here)

Most people have listed what i would’ve put (hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, etc).

Coke & pepsi
Spicy chicken


Pumpkins; sweet potatoes; potatoes; sunflower seeds; and, I think, buffalo are all indigenous to North America so anything invovling them to any great extent.


Potatoes aren’t unique to North America, though.

Most of the things listed in this thread aren’t.

With modern transportation networks, hardly anything listed is unique to America. But most of the things listed are indigenous to America.

If you want to be anal, tomatoes aren’t indigenous to Italy, nor potatoes to Eastern Europe.

Apple pie, see “as American as”

Fluffernutters and ice cream cones. Not together, though:D

Cheese curds! Wonderful, salty, Wisconsin cheese curds. drool Especially deep fried in beer batter. Yum.

I’m not sure about this, but maybe the Friday night fish fry? Beer battered cod, fries, and coleslaw in a little paper cup. Not the food itself, but the tradition. Visitors from other Midwestern states seem to think that eating fish on Friday night is the weirdest thing ever, but most small town bars in Wisconsin rake in the cash on Friday nights when it comes to hot oil + fish.


I’ll second Ukulele Ike’s recommendation of Too Many Cooks. Wolfe’s speech is great!

Others have mentioned a lot of good things (although some are directly derived from other cuisines) so I’ll just add Nanaimo bars and poutine to the list.

And according to my sources from Quebec, Miss McK, their cheese curds are immeasurably better. Of course they might be biased. :wink:

BTW, the original recipe, the One True Way to make Nanaimo bars, is here.