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What's a good American Recipe to share with an Italian Family?

deweyweber54 Nov 15, 2006 11:59 PM

Hi All - My 21 year old daughter is off to Italy tomorrow to visit her boyfriend spending a college semester in Florence.
Our assignment is to share an 'American Dinner' recipe that she and her boyfriend can prepare in Florence for their host family.
I'm stumped, mainly because I like to cook like they do in Italy.
Any thoughts on how to prepare an awesome 'American Dinner' that the boyfriend's host family would appreciate?

Many Thanks in advance....


  1. m
    ML8000 Nov 16, 2006 07:12 PM

    I vote for fried chicken, mashed potatoes, a simple veggie (string beans) and APPLE PIE for dessert...or peach cobbler.

    1. m
      mr.chorizo Nov 16, 2006 07:04 PM

      My personal advice here comes from only one italian named Gianluigi who is my sister in law's brother. When he came to America the guy could not stop eating hamburgers...I think to the tune of one per day. The italians can be quite finicky about their food so I would be a little careful ie I made some balsamic mushrooms and used some dijon (that was a nono). I studied in Flo and think you can get some hamburger meat at the Centro Market which was located by where I used to live. If you are facing the Duomo facade walk around the left side and take a left on Via Ricassoli this changes names a couple times but walk down this street for a good mile and eventually you will find it. I am pretty sure they sell ground beef, buns (not great ones) and condiments. This is the biggest supermarket I saw in Flo. Good luck...

      1. Andiereid Nov 16, 2006 05:54 PM

        I vote fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and greens. With apple pie for dessert.

        1. d
          dfrostnh Nov 16, 2006 09:31 AM

          Nice list, zebcook ... I'd like to vote for chicken and dumplings!!! Or a nice chicken pot pie with biscuit topping.

          1. z
            zebcook Nov 16, 2006 01:38 AM

            There are a lot of American foods that don't show up elsewhere that much. The trick is they are "ordinary" to us, so we don't see the uniqueness of them as much or they are regional things.

            A proper pot roast with brown gravy, carrots, and mashed potatoes
            Southern fried chicken, greens, biscuits, and white gravy
            A pot of real chili with cornbread and fried okra
            Navy bean soup, succotash, and hard crackers
            Tuna-noodle casserole
            Ham slice with red-eye gravy (sausages and red-eye gravy) and home fries or hashbrowns
            Fried clams with coleslaw and french fries
            Tamale pie
            Roast ham with Dr. Pepper glaze (and pineapple!), waldorf salad, cheese crisps
            Pecan pie, sweet potato pie, apple pie, blueberry pie
            Berry cobblers, apple crisp
            Chicken and dumplings
            Lobster Roll
            Carrot Cake (don't know if it's American, but never ran across it in any of my travels)
            All-Bran muffins
            Sweets like rice crispy treats, popcorn balls, fudge
            Peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, molasses cookies

            I'm sure there's a lot more, but I can't vouch for ingredients in Italy

            1. d
              deweyweber54 Nov 16, 2006 12:42 AM

              Thanks Robert; As it happens, I have sent her off to Italia with a pint and a half or so of real fancy Vt. Maple Syrup to introduce the host family to Americanisms. Hoping the family could run with that?
              I'll let you know.
              Pancake supper?

              2 Replies
              1. re: deweyweber54
                Adrienne Nov 16, 2006 03:48 AM

                If she has good syrup and you're thinking in a breakfast direction, what about fried chicken and waffles? I don't know if she'd have access to a deep fryer, but I think pretty much whatever cut of chicken you can get would work with this... and it's definitely a unqiue (Southern) American dish.

                1. re: deweyweber54
                  rockridgechow Nov 20, 2006 09:05 PM

                  Well that sounds like a great option. I wasn't able to connect with a trusted source until Saturday (my aunt, an incredible cook who lived in Italy for 20 years and still spends every summer there). But I felt compelled to post. Her take was to send a dry rub or marinade recipe for something universal like a pork tenderloin. She has really blown Italians away with rubs and marinades, she said they generally will just put the meat on the grill straightaway. She likes to do a dry rub on a pork tenderloin and brown it on all sides in a pan, then bake it while making a red wine reduction in the searing pan. Her other suggestion, represented well in the posts here, was desserts. She said we kill them in nearly every category and they simply can't believe that food so tasty could be American. (!) I hope your daughter enjoyes her visit.

                2. r
                  rockridgechow Nov 16, 2006 12:37 AM

                  Ok, my last parting idea since I think you need this tonight. What about hamburgers with brie and sauteed mushrooms? Or any cheese and mushrooms? And bacon? Good luck!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rockridgechow
                    deweyweber54 Nov 16, 2006 12:45 AM

                    Burgers with brie? Shrooms as well? Bacon and Cheese?
                    But can one buy real hamburger meat in Florence?

                    1. re: deweyweber54
                      Robert Lauriston Nov 16, 2006 05:55 PM

                      No, Italian beef is too different.

                  2. r
                    rockridgechow Nov 16, 2006 12:27 AM

                    Oh gosh, that's a tough one! Maybe it's OK to show them that "real" American cooking draws from all over the globe? (In other words maybe one of your favorite recipes is OK) Another option would be to go with what we deem "homestyle" such as macaroni and cheese. Ina Garten has one that has been recommended on this board and also a penne with 5 cheeses that I have made with incredible results. Another "homestyle" option: meatloaf (maybe other chowhounds can post fabulous recipes). Tomato soup and grilled cheese?! Fried chicken? My sister in law is from Spain and I usually impress her with Asian-inspired dishes. I am just one voice and I am sure you will get lots of responses. I would love to share our culinary abilities over in Florence without being limited to what the original settlers might have been eaten!

                    1. Robert Lauriston Nov 16, 2006 12:23 AM

                      When we lived in Italy, cookies and brownies were always a big hit.

                      Doing a whole dinner is tough, since most good American food depends on ingredients that they don't have. Good homemade hamburgers, for example: they don't have the right beef, or even the right kind of flour for the buns.

                      Pancake supper? She could bring some mix and good maple syrup. You can get smoked bacon there in larger supermarkets.

                      Biscuits and gravy?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        yayadave Nov 16, 2006 12:52 AM

                        I think most of this is correct. I wonder if more than one brownie recipe and more than one chocolate chip cookie recipe wouldn’t be the way to go. My off-hand thinking is that these are both things that came from here, not "the old country."

                        The idea that fixing an American meal for foreigners is easy was really beaten up in a previous heated thread.

                        Maybe pack some packages of various chocolate chips.

                        1. re: yayadave
                          deweyweber54 Nov 16, 2006 01:07 AM

                          Thanks yayadave...any way you could provide a link to the previous 'heated thread' regarding American meals for foreigners thread....

                          Thanks. Much Appreciated.

                          We are really looking for a recipe that could be prepared in Florence using local ingredients.


                          1. re: deweyweber54
                            yayadave Nov 16, 2006 03:34 AM

                            This is that to which I referred. Notice 170 replies. You could print them all up for daughter to read on the 'plane. It would keep her reading at least to the other side.


                            1. re: yayadave
                              Robert Lauriston Nov 16, 2006 05:52 PM

                              That's just a general topic on "what is American food." I skimmed it looking for possibilities, but most of the dishes mentioned can't be made in Italy unless you bring all the ingredients with you.

                          2. re: yayadave
                            Robert Lauriston Nov 16, 2006 05:57 PM

                            Italians generally find peanut butter as horrifying as say Inuit fermented seal guts.

                            We made peanut-butter cookies for Italian friends and they were astonished that something good could be made out of the stuff.

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