what is "American dining"
I had a good laugh at the recent Ruby Tuesday description, "simple fresh American dining."
While Ruby Tuesday is a whole different conversation, what is American Dining?
When I was a kid I remember someone asking my mom if we were going to take the Japanese student that was staying with us for "ethnic food." She said yes--we went to the local greasy spoon cafe.
Given the rich ethnic mixture in this country, I'd think "American" food would be a bit hard to pin down. Just about everything we consider to be American favorites has roots in some other cuisine, mixed and shaped and adapted.
That said, when I saw the term "American dining," the first thing that leapt to my mind was going to Murphy's for a hot hamburger with gravy over all. The next thing that came to mind was taking Nahoko to Reta's for "ethnic food."
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Good question! I have a different take on the definition...anything served in the US of A. We have now have such diverse cultures that Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Japanese, Soul Food, German, Argentinian, Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch can be considered American Dining.
Another definition may be plain meat and potatoes with no seasoning other than salt and ground black pepper. Mac and cheese with no flavor at all may also fit in here. For the life of me, I cannot see that latter glob as nourishment.
I'm a fusion cook when I'm not making chili. For example, my breakfast this week consists of 'orzo e fagioli con verdura e doufu.' Don't laugh...I've lost 20 pounds since 18Mar07 eating some form of barley (orzo)and beans (fagioli) with vegetables (verdura) and doufu (Mandarin for soybean cakes) for breakfast, and it does taste good.
BTW, lunch is farina d'avena (oatmeal) with craisins and cinnamon. Works for me. Do you get the idea that I'm learning how to speak Italian?
eating salad as a starter
calling the main course an "entree"
huge "appetizers" (like a massive order of wings or potato skins)
cold cereal with milk for breakfast
the way utensils are used
sweet/unsweet tea (try that in Canada!)
There are lots of things that are typically American that have nothing to do with particular cuisines or ingredients but that do constitute relatively unique dining patterns in the US.
re: John Manzo
My wife, of 47+ years and of Italian heritage, would agree with your assessment. Her family always ate salad last. We also have salad last at our family gatherings. Also, bread is on the table at home, but not offered before any other food arrives as is done in restaurants.