Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Nov 15, 2006 11:59 PM

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

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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

      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

        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

          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

            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

          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.

      2. 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. 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

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

          2. 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

              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

                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. 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