Ask any American which foods they consider to be ‘American’ and the answers will be the same. But which of these do we inaccurately consider our own? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers.
The All-American, the most popular breakfast in America by far, is a dish consisting of eggs, breakfast meats, fried potatoes, toast or American biscuits and occasionally waffles or pancakes.
Traditionally, this fare was enjoyed only by the European elite or the gentry.
Traditionally, this fare was enjoyed only by the European elite or the gentry. Eggs and bacon, for example, go back to the Greeks and Romans in ancient times. Most people broke their fast with tea and a grain like rice or oats, which prepped the body for the day.
As time passed, vegetables, fishes, meats and grains were added to the meal. The English, for instance, enjoy their bacon, sausage and eggs with baked beans, fried tomatoes, fried mushrooms and sometimes leftovers from the night before.
Typical breakfasts the world over include soft or hard boiled eggs, meats, cheeses, bread with butter and jam and a drink like coffee or tea. So, unfortunately, America can’t claim this one.
Pancakes and waffles are considered inherently American. But, such a notion probably has the Greeks of the 5th century BCE, who devised the pancake, turning in their graves.
As for the waffle, we can thank Denmark for this delicious breakfast item.
As for the waffle, we can thank Denmark for this delicious breakfast item, which was first concocted by the Danes during medieval times.
Lunch & Dinner Foods
Hamburgers are definitely considered to be an American invention, but it actually originated in ancient times with the invader Genghis Kahn. He and his men rode their horses for months at a time and their foods had to be held in one hand, so they could guide the horse with the other.
The meat was first tucked beneath the saddle to be tenderized and then eaten raw with one hand.
One of the lands they conquered had developed ground meats of lamb and mutton (sheep at different stages of maturity). The meat was first tucked beneath the saddle to be tenderized and then eaten raw with one hand, similar to what we now consider steak tartare.
Only when brought to America by German immigrants was the meat placed between two slices of bread and called a hamburger for Hamburgh Steak.
Hot dogs, or sausages, are one of the oldest foods in the world going back to the 9th century BCE. They were called dachshund sausages or little dog sausages, for what reason, no one seems to know, and were brought to the New World by German immigrants and sold at roadside stands.
They were called dachshund sausages or little dog sausages, for what reason, no one seems to know.
How did they become known as hot dogs? A reporter at a ball game in New York couldn’t spell dachshund, so he just printed the words “hot dogs”, because vendors shouted to “get your dachshund dogs red hot”.
Pizza is another American favorite thought by some to have been invented in Chicago during the 19th century and by others, in New York during the 20th century, but they’d all be wrong.
When it came to America, pizza morphed over the years into what Americans know and love today.
The flatbread with things on top of it has existed since around 500 BCE. Egyptians, Indians, Persians, Greeks and Romans all made flatbread with toppings to form what we today call pizza.
As with all things, when it came to America, pizza morphed over the years into what Americans know and love today.
Food and a specific method of preparation may have been born in a certain country, but the end results are always personalized by the cooks preparing the dishes. After all, the same foods are used all over the world. Americans celebrate their food by finding new ways to combine and cook their ingredients in an imaginative manner, and this is what truly makes it American.
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