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United Dish of America?

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We were in a Mexican restaurant last night eating chile en nogada, which is arguably the national dish of Mexico. England has curry, which is arguably their national dish, were it not for the fact that it's co-opted from its former colony.

Does America have a national dish? Something that originated here, and is loved and obsessed over all over the country? What are the candidates? I vote for BBQ.

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  1. Pepper Pot Soup?

    18 Replies
    1. re: shoeman

      REALLY!!! I loved it but haven't seen it anywhere since Campbell's stopped making it for some unknown reason decades ago. I had it last when I was a kid back east. Where is it still available?
      For some reason I think it was comparable to what I now know as Menudo.

      1. re: mucho gordo

        The City Tavern in Old City.

        1. re: shoeman

          Yep, just checked their website, and they do serve pepper pot soup. They refer to it as "West Indies Pepperpot Soup," so maybe not really American?

          http://www.citytavern.com/menu.php

        2. re: mucho gordo

          Mucho-looks like Campbell's still makes it:

          http://www.amazon.com/Campbells-Peppe...

          I believe both menudo and pepper pot use tripe as their base?

          1. re: gaffk

            Yep, tripe.

            1. re: gaffk

              It says "Product of Canada" on the label so it might only be available there. I haven't seen it here in about 50 years,
              I always thought there was a similarity between it and menudo.

              1. re: mucho gordo

                Except menudo tastes good.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  I loved Campbell's pepper pot when I was a kid. It is available here in the US, but the grocer has to order it (as is also the case with Scotch broth, my other favorite). It just ain't the same, though - those nice big cubes of tripe that the old recipe had in abundance are now tiny and scarce. However, living as I do now close to any number of Latino markets, and in possession of a Bookbinder's cookbook, all I need to do is get off my butt and make some.

                  Yes, Mrs. O and I love menudo too, but around here that's pretty easy to find!

            2. re: shoeman

              I've never heard of Pepper Pot soup. Grew up near New York City and live in So Cal now. What is it, and where is its home base?

              1. re: Professor Salt

                I believe it's a Philadelphia thing; my grandmother loved it (though she called it "peppery pot"). If I recall, it's a very thick soup made with a beef base and veggies and, of course, lots of pepper.

                I believe the City Tavern to which shoeman refers is the Old City Tavern in the historic section of Philly that is known for its menu of colonial Philadelphia foods--it would make sense you can find it there.

              2. re: shoeman

                I think more of the nation would have to be familiar with Pepper pot soup and I for one am not.

                1. re: melpy

                  Never heard of it from Montana, to Michigan, to Illinois, to Missouri, to Texas. Never heard of it at all.

                  1. re: FoodChic

                    As I pointed out, it's a Philadelphia thing.

                    Here's a link from the ever-esteemed wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadel...

                    1. re: gaffk

                      So in that sense it probably wouldn't qualify as a "national" dish...

                  2. re: melpy

                    Born and grew up in Pennsylvania, lived in Arizona, Georgia, SC, and Texas and never heard of it until now.

                    1. re: alliegator

                      i never heard of pepper pot soup growing up in sw florida, except when i was a teenager i'd look at the cans of campbell's soup in the grocery store. there it was, pepper pot soup!

                  3. re: shoeman

                    I live in Seattle and have never had pepper pot soup, or even seen it anywhere.

                    1. re: Teknotic

                      Yup... born and raised Canadian... now in SoCal. Pepperpot sure is tripe, and the 'pepper' aspect was to add flavor to something that generally had none.

                      And it got us kids to eat one more layer of the beasts we raised on the farm. Nose-to-tail... it's all about the best utilization of our beasts.

                  4. Hamburgers?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: gaffk

                      Probably although I don't know if obsess is the best way to put it.

                      1. re: gaffk

                        this would be one of my guesses. what a shame.

                        1. re: justdorkin

                          Shame???

                      2. Better yet . . .Toll House cookies.

                        1. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

                          1. Meatloaf and mashed potatos

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Eric in NJ

                              Meatloaf is from Eastern Europe. Don't get me started on mashed potatoes lol

                            2. I think the defining of a national dish can really only be undertaken by those looking at a country from outside and not by those looking from within.

                              As a Briton, I might disagree with a view that our national dish was curry (in fact, I would disagree). But, when I read posts by Americans on the UK board, it's what they want to eat when they visit London (it's always London, not the rest of the country). So, in that, our national dish is defined by others - because that's how others perceive British cuisine.

                              Therefore, on the same lines, when I think of American food, I first think hamburger. I suspect much of the rest of the world might think similarly.

                              18 Replies
                              1. re: Harters

                                I am also a Brit but live in the US so I would say it would be difficult to have a national dish because I might be inclined to break it up into areas - Southern fried chicken, hot dogs, Maryland crabs, New England chowder and so on.
                                I guess if you are an outsider thinking America I would probably agree with Harters that a hamburger is the ultimate American food.

                                1. re: Harters

                                  You have a very good point about the outsider's POV, and admittedly, the first thing I thought of was burgers too. But I have an argument for that vs. BBQ, below, and that's why I lean toward barbecue. Well, that, and I'm a contest BBQ cook, so I'm heavily biased, lol.

                                  1. re: Professor Salt

                                    Well, Prof, I sort of find it hard to disagree with you. My earlier comments excepted, when I visit America, what I want to look for is BBQ. We can get good burgers in the UK but we just don't *do* BBQ at all, in the Amercan sense. Love it.

                                    FWIW, "BBQ" is a multi-purpose word for us as in "Would you like to come for lunch on Sunday, We're having a BBQ. I'm going to BBQ some steaks on the BBQ".

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      Some parts of the US consider bbq exactly the way you just put it...as a verb. In other parts of the US (especially actual bbq territory) the term BBQ is a noun...and has nothing to do with steaks or burgers.

                                      1. re: JayL

                                        That's true. I'm a native New Englander and around where people say they're going to a Barbeque they generally just mean they're going to cookout -- an event where there will be some kind of protein cooked on an outdoor heat source.

                                        The whole Barbeque (I don't even know how to spell it) thing, with the sauce and the specific kinds of grills and the rubs and stuff is not really done here except by people who have tasted it elsewhere, like the south and imported it.

                                        As for the United Dish of America, I'd have to go with hamburgers.

                                    2. re: Professor Salt

                                      As a native American who has traveled to the UK, I would never think of curry as England's (or the UK's) national dish. I do seem to remember the "typical English breakfast" making quite an impression on me, however.

                                      I grew up in the Northeast, and I would argue that barbecue is not a national dish. At. All. Hamburgers and/or chocolate chip cookies seem closer to the mark for me. But really, this is such a large and diverse country, I'm not sure this question is answerable.

                                    3. re: Harters

                                      how about an English breakfast for the UK? (Scottish, Irish and Welsh of course added to this)

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        I'm a Yank and the first thing I thought of was a hamburger. And I suspect most Americans--as opposed to most Hounds--would also nominate the burger.

                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                          And I'm, as you once called me me, a Yankee (and now, once again a New Mexicano). And I must agree with the burger and fries, in all its incarnations, as the most popular "Merican food.
                                          How can "Over 12 Billion Served" be argued with?

                                        2. re: Harters

                                          I've never been to England myself, but if I was to say what I think the national dish is there, I would go with meat pies. Would you say I'm close? And while I would really like to go to the UK, I don't think I'd spend much time in London. I'm much more interested in Cornwall, Manchester, Scotland, etc.

                                          1. re: Teknotic

                                            Teknotic - Manchester is my metro centre and I agree folk could have a good holiday in the north west - and get some good eating in as well.

                                            As for meat pies, much as I love them, I don't think they hit the OP's definitions which includes the "obsession". I still go for fish & chips - there are national competitions over them (last year's regional winner was only 10 minutes drive away from me)

                                            1. re: Harters

                                              What fish do they use, since depletion of cod?

                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                Still mainly cod or haddock. There are regional differences - cod is generallly preferred in the south and haddock in the north (although in my area, it's also cod). You do see an increasing number of chippies just selling "fish" - presumably they are buying whatever white fish they can at market.

                                                (My apologies to the OP - my contribution here seems to have sent the thread off on a tangent about British food. Not my intention.)

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  Tangents are fun =D

                                              2. re: Harters

                                                Oh yeah, fish and chips for the UK. Definitely.

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  This.
                                                  I think of Fish 'n Chips when I think of food in Britain, followed by "THe Full English" (meaning THAT breakfast).

                                                2. re: Teknotic

                                                  I would also vote for Shepherds Pie as the national food of England.

                                                  1. re: taos

                                                    I think of Shepherds Pie when I think of English PUB food...and also Steak & Kidney Pie.

                                              3. Turkey, gravy, and all the fixin's (especially all the fixin's) and pumpkin pie for dessert.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: scarmoza

                                                  Yeah, that's a good candidate. Hard to argue with turkey and fixin's.

                                                  Wanna hear something odd? I learned recently from a Brit (English reporter for BBC) that his family celebrates Thanksgiving with pretty much the same roast turkey and gravy. I think of T'giving in the context of the Puritans escaping England and thought it was odd that the English celebrate the same holiday with the same main dish as their social outcasts. Harters, can you verify that T'giving is celebrated in England with roast turkey? Does pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce also show up on the table?

                                                  1. re: Professor Salt

                                                    Prof - We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here. The reporter will be pretty much a "one-off" in doing so.

                                                    Turkey is the Christmas lunch meal. Cranberry sauce features - but only in fairly recent years. It's not at all traditional. Jarred sauce has been around for a while but it is only in probably the last 10 - 15 years that we've seen fresh or frozen cranberries available.

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      That's what I thought, thanks.

                                                    2. re: Professor Salt

                                                      Turkey dinner with all the fixings is a pretty good nomination.

                                                  2. Thanksgiving Dinner for holidays
                                                    Pot roast
                                                    Meat loaf
                                                    Smithfield ham

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Floridagirl

                                                      I'm a native American (though not American Indian) and I don't think I've ever eaten a pot roast. I've had ham exactly once. In a little (cough) over three decades.

                                                      1. re: guilty

                                                        ham once and never pot roast. wow.

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          Kind of surprising.

                                                    2. All the above are imported foods.The real American meal would have to include native foods like turkey, corn, chiles, pinto or Lima beans, pumpkin and other squashes and peanuts. Try living overseas and try finding all of the above.
                                                      I suggest, not based on popularity, but on real American authenticity, a turkey mole w/ a side of pinto beans and a squash dessert.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                        collard greens go in there somewhere, I'd imagine [yeah, they're imported, but still!]

                                                      2. The country's good dish is good ole' Brunswick Stew. From the original colonies of both Carolinas.

                                                        It implies the inflow of leftover BBQ. Hickory fired from those eastern-side forests.

                                                        It's got limas and corn from aboriginal succotash.

                                                        And okra from African Americans.

                                                        And good canned tomaters from those down-under Incans.

                                                        It's composite quintessential American Stew.

                                                        With coarse cornbread, of course.

                                                        Served on tables cloaked in cloth of red-white checkered linoleum.

                                                        Those folks from Kentucky might argue that Burgoo, a more squirrely-based stew,
                                                        could claim place as the quinty American Do.
                                                        They're really quite similar, Brunswick and Burgoo,
                                                        But Carolinas came ahead of Kaintuck in their Statehood.

                                                        Would that we could give an ask to Daniel Boone,
                                                        born in Piedmont Carolina
                                                        then blazed trail to the Bluegrass.
                                                        He'd be arbiter of which it is, Brunswick or Burgoo.

                                                        18 Replies
                                                        1. re: FoodFuser

                                                          I love a good squirrel-rabbit-dove-whatever stew as much as the next guy, but burgoo and its related kin-stews are hardly national in scope. It's a local treasure and I hope more people learn about it.

                                                          I thought of hamburgers too because it was born here and it's ubiquitous. I suppose everyone has a favorite local burger ( In `n Out vs Five Guys, et al), but at the end of the day, it's a ground meat patty on a bun with minor variations. Same basic deal in South Korea as South Carolina, no? Burgers might be an American invention, but they've spread globally (especially the fast food variety) and they belong to the world now.

                                                          Burgers don't evoke the partisan passions of BBQ fanatics. BBQ has huge differences in regional styles from coast to coast, north to south. When's the last time you heard a Texan say "oh, I went to North Carolina and ate a burger, and man, those people wouldn't know a good hamburger if it bit them on the ass?" You will hear that kind of passion about BBQ. And unlike burgers, localized legitimately distinct BBQ styles thrive, even in this era of corporate uniformity of chain food.

                                                          Lastly - smoking meat is an age-old method of preserving meat found all over the world. But BBQ is a dish and a cooking method that evolved in the USA (hat tip to Mexico and the Caribbean for cooking over smoke, but barbacoa and jerk aren't the same thing). You really won't find American BBQ in other countries, and when you do, it's gonna be identified as American BBQ.

                                                          1. re: Professor Salt

                                                            Agreed, evidential,
                                                            that these stews be provincial
                                                            But they pulse with a heart-race that burgers don't have.

                                                            Burgoo won't unite us.
                                                            Nor' Brunswick excite us
                                                            But they're dishes that go back
                                                            deep time in our land.

                                                            It's sad that it's burgers
                                                            and white-bunned acoutres
                                                            have become the face
                                                            of our nation.

                                                            Queuing in place at the drive-thru
                                                            ordering from people become speaker-phones
                                                            hoping the burger is properly done
                                                            the mustard and ketchup exactly in place...

                                                            We've picked up the pace
                                                            from our simpler space
                                                            where we savored the taste
                                                            of a Brunswick, or a good Burgoo.

                                                            Burgers will rule as efficient, fast fuel.
                                                            and their greasy and meaty seems perfect repast

                                                            But if question is of
                                                            our "United Dish"

                                                            I'd rather we hark back to days when the stove
                                                            was a slowly fired place and a stewpot's abode
                                                            of some Brunswick, or even some Burgoo.

                                                            .

                                                            1. re: FoodFuser

                                                              well done

                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                I LOVE it. Now back to my Brunswick stew....

                                                          2. re: FoodFuser

                                                            Sorry the quintessential American stew is posole. Seven hundred years of real red-blooded "Mericans can't be wrong.
                                                            ps ain't Brunswick in Germany?

                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                              Pass', your post gives me pause to consider
                                                              the role that Posole might play as the National Dish.

                                                              First, the hegemony of a good slake-limed hominy
                                                              made from carefully cultivated dried and stored corn

                                                              Posole most certainly has claim on this continent
                                                              of being much older than upstart Brunswick stew.

                                                              Both the P and the B have good merits.

                                                              As to OP's first Q of our national dish,
                                                              the tide's building here of the Tsunami swish
                                                              of the white-bunned easy greasy Hamburger.

                                                              I'm one of those recalcitrant lads
                                                              who wishes this culture still had
                                                              more links to traditions when food was hard fought.

                                                              But it seems that today, as petrol we waste,
                                                              queued up at Mc'USA's drive-thru windows
                                                              in line to ingest that factory farmed feast
                                                              that drips grease from our chins to our SUV's seats.

                                                              We can't singlehandedly restore
                                                              the love of food lore
                                                              that delights in the lineage of Brunswick or Posole.
                                                              .... But we can, and yea always must, Wish.

                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                There once was a man named Stromboli
                                                                Who reveled in a dish called posole
                                                                But when pressed for time
                                                                He'd gladly stand in line
                                                                At a McDonald's in suburban Albuquerque.

                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                  I met old Stromboli
                                                                  as he was rolling up pizza
                                                                  to be baked in a loaf, then sliced, now bears his name.
                                                                  He was also the author of a really good Calzone.

                                                                  His smile and his voice rang through a kitchen
                                                                  that reeked of tradition
                                                                  so much that I've serious doubt
                                                                  that he was one, slurping 'pon bun
                                                                  and greased meat at his local McDonald's.

                                                                  But hey, who am I to be judge
                                                                  of places where personal integrity might fudge?
                                                                  But with his reputation, tell me please, please,
                                                                  he was wearing a trenchcoat and hat and sunglasses?

                                                            2. re: FoodFuser

                                                              cornbread without the eggs is divine! I love it ranch style (Cherokee style, to tell the truth)

                                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                                Cornbread without eggs
                                                                parts through the haze
                                                                to days we just ate of necessity.

                                                                We ate batter poured
                                                                on griddle, or skillet
                                                                or even the blade of a hoe.

                                                                Be they Johneycakes, or Journeycakes,
                                                                simple preps of ground corn
                                                                can still be well savored
                                                                as gifts from the past.

                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                  you can make cornbread without eggs?! Is that like a hoecake?

                                                                  1. re: just_M

                                                                    not at all. baked, way less sugar than generally called for (that'd make it too cakey), plenty of oil/fat. about half and half, flour to cornmeal.

                                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                                      I'll have to try this - maybe with cream and of course bacon fat :-)

                                                                      1. re: just_M

                                                                        cornmeal, water, salt : mix it to a thick slurry consistency and let it sit at least 5 minutes. then pour into a hot skillet (with bacon grease and oil heated, too) and cook like a pancake. that is the BEST thing to eat with field peas and snaps, bar anything else in the world.

                                                                        (thank you aunt martha!).

                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                          Love so much the many, many ways things can be prepared! This sounds simple and delicious. Thanks for another mind opener.... ah the possibilities! Love it :-D

                                                                          1. re: just_M

                                                                            if you make it a little thinner it gets "lacy" and crispier (because the oil bubbles up to create holes).

                                                                          2. re: alkapal

                                                                            Isn't this a Johnny cake?

                                                                            1. re: guilty

                                                                              yes, but aunt martha called it corn pone (though "technically," pone is baked). i think "technical" distinctions really came about when cookbook writers or food ehtnographers took one regional variation in name over another -- and then that became "the" technique or preparation.

                                                                2. Drive across America, what will you find? Hamburgers. Cheap burgers, expensive burgers, mass produced burgers, hand formed patties cooked on charcoal. But it's hamburgers hamburgers hamburgers from sea to shining sea. Great pizza in chicago, chowder in the northeast, bbq in the south, fusion out west, and plate lunch in Hawaii. But hamburgers everywhere.

                                                                  21 Replies
                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                    I take issue with your localization of BBQ as a southern thing. Santa Maria tri tip is smoked over red oak in Central California and has a long tradition here. Southern California has a ranching tradition that's not as well known, but it's a historic fact that Californio (i.e. Mexican) settlers of the 19th century threw massive earth pit BBQ feasts. There's the kalua pig of Hawaii, which is related to the pit pig of the southeast.

                                                                    Obviously, there's the better known styles of BBQ of the South and Texas, and the nation's heartland of Kansas City and Chicago. North to South, coast to coast, you'll find people who cook meat over smoke with skill and passion.

                                                                    1. re: Professor Salt

                                                                      I don't doubt that one bit, but the cue joints are, I suspect, far heavier on the gound in CenTex, KC, Memphis, Alabama and the Carolinas than any other spots in the US.

                                                                      1. re: Professor Salt

                                                                        I don't necessarily disagree with you Professor, but don't forget California is culturally a part of the southwest. And yes, people bbq everywhere across the country, and it is an important american dish, as is fried chicken, and beef stew, and many other things. I think that BBQ probably deserves second place. It is definitely as American as a hamburger - largely for the same reason. American's love beef. And while you can bbq chicken (and goat, and deer, and just about anything else that walks, flies, slithers, or swims) bbq is primarily a beef dish. Including bbq'd hamburgers.

                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                          Few people love cue more than I, but I just don't think it has saturated all 50 states enough to warrant the title American's Dish. And actually, come to think of it, BBQ is a method, not a dish, which makes it even more problematic to award cue the title. Hence, which cue dish would it be? Texans love brisket and Carolinians love pulled pork. BBQ ribs, perhaps?

                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                            KM, I don't know that you can say BBQ is primarily a beef dish. In Texas and the southwest it seems most BBQ is beef. In the Carolinas, Virginia and the south, it's primarily pork. In Pennsylvania it is a mix of beef and pork, with a generous portion of chicken thrown in.

                                                                            But I agree with Perilagu . . .it is more a style of cooking than a dish.

                                                                            I would still say hamburgers--you can get them from McD's to Village Whiskey's burger with foie gras and the whole gamut in between.

                                                                            (Still don't know why no love for my Toll House cookie suggestion--definitely American. And who doesn't like a chocolate chip cookie?)

                                                                            I believe potato chips also originated in the US?

                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                              Barbecue isn't just a verb, it's a noun. It's most certainly a dish.

                                                                              1. re: Professor Salt

                                                                                Prof, I'd respectfully disagree.

                                                                                When I hear hamburger, I think beef patty. I know it can be a turkey burger, veggie burger, etc., but it's always a patty of protein. Plain or adorned with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion . . .the list goes on. But it is always a patty of meat\meat substitute on a roll.

                                                                                BBQ, on the other hand, can be beef, pork, chicken, wild game, wild fowl, etc. It can be served as steaks, burgers, sandwiches, ribs, flanks,, anything really.

                                                                                BBQ is how you cook a meat. It can be whole animals (pig roast) or taking an every day item like hot dogs and grilling them.

                                                                                Where I grew up BBQ was whole chicken breasts drenched in butter, thyme and rosemary served with fresh corn on the cob. As I got older I realized that was not the norm . . . just had an uncle who grew up on a Missouri chicken farm.

                                                                                BBQ is a style of cooking, not a dish. (And don't even get me started on the accompnaying sides in the regions.)

                                                                              2. re: gaffk

                                                                                Yes, on the chips.

                                                                                It seems that the chef, that evening,
                                                                                was a little bit pissed
                                                                                'cause some diners had sent back some taters
                                                                                he'd scalloped. and offered their table.

                                                                                So he sliced 'em real thin,
                                                                                fried 'em, and then,
                                                                                began the story of tater chips, now fabled.

                                                                              3. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                bbq is a noun-- it's a pork dish. unless you're in texas, where bbq is beef, or, confusingly, a sausage.

                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                  I'm not gonna get in here
                                                                                  cuz there's no wider fray
                                                                                  than BBQ definitions
                                                                                  and traditions.

                                                                                  But I'll just one thing say:

                                                                                  BBQ is a word
                                                                                  that's both Noun,
                                                                                  and a Verb.

                                                                                2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                  Couple things here...BBQ is not primarily beef...and you don't bbq a freaking hamburger.

                                                                                  1. re: JayL

                                                                                    ah but in some areas ANYTHING cooked on the grill over charcoal (or gas) in the back yard is barbecuing. i understand that half the readers of chow hound have just dropped to the floor, but indeed hot dogs and hamburgers are barbecued in backyards all summer every summer. Some prefer the word grilled, and I'm not interested in a semantic discussion, it doesn't alter the fact that people, many many people, do call it that.

                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                      Oooooo, you're gonna get it! The correct word is grilled. Tut. Tut.

                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                        No really; in some parts of the country, "barbecue" is synonymous with "grill."

                                                                                        1. re: guilty

                                                                                          I was taught the BBQ Bible and converted. Arise from the depths of BBQ Hell!

                                                                                          1. re: guilty

                                                                                            Only in area's without true BBQ. I've lived in both. If it's not real BBQ, it's grilled.

                                                                                  2. re: Professor Salt

                                                                                    I am now on a crusade. I've lived in several places along the eastern seaboard. Barbecue is regional. And of course, NC barbecue is different from TX barbecue, which is probably different from St. Louis barbecue. Sorry.

                                                                                    Growing up in NJ, barbecue was something you (we) did maybe once or twice during the summer. The only barbecue restaurant I can think of coming across was Cracker Barrel. Which hardly counts. And I'd imagine that it is not ubiquitous in Maine or Vermont, either.

                                                                                    1. re: guilty

                                                                                      But NC, SC, TX and KC cue, along with Memphis and Alabama, is all slow-smoked over indirect heat. That is the common denominator. Folks in Vermont or Oregon might chuck a burger on a grill and call it BBQ, but that doesn't make it so.

                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                        Agreed.

                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                          As an Oregonian, I can vouch for that comment. BBQ is used more as a verb than a noun.

                                                                                          The local historical food would probably be planked chinook salmon. Though currently could be anything... the apple cider here is phenomenal.

                                                                                    2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                      burgers is it!

                                                                                    3. I don't think it's possible to argue for anything besides a hamburger. It's the most pervasive, recognizable and classic american food. Just about every restaurant that's not focused on ethnic cuisine serves a hamburger. BBQ is probably a close second.

                                                                                      1. Depends on the region and what you're going for, really....

                                                                                        We have corn-derived substances in nearly every product out there (including virtually all meats) so I'd say corn first of all.

                                                                                        After that, perhaps all the industrialized food products out there.... think jell-o, boxed mac & cheese, kool-aid, condensed canned soup, spam.

                                                                                        Then there's the various ethnic cuisines that undergo major changes here.... pizza, sushi, burritos.

                                                                                        And true new-world foods.

                                                                                        My personal vote would be for a grilled cheese sandwich with cream of tomato soup. Maybe some collards done in a skillet. And molasses cookies, pie or a cupcake for dessert. Maybe some potato salad.

                                                                                        1. How bout fried catfish/hushpuppieis etc?

                                                                                          1. Yup, hamburger with fries. BBQ, while very American, just isn't synonymous with all parts of the country. What makes it so hard to answer this question is that the U.S. is so much bigger and more populous than most other countries. If you look at the other big countries, it's hard to pin down one national dish for them, too (except the generic term "curry" for India...maybe borscht for Russia?).

                                                                                            Hamburgers can, indeed, be found everywhere (good ones, bad ones, mediocre ones) and it's pretty standard in its preparation and ingredients (not toppings, but what goes inside the meat and what meat is used). BBQ is just too diverse and has too many regional variations.

                                                                                            Fried chicken might be a close runner up, but there are versions of fried chicken from other countries, as well.

                                                                                            Oh, and for the UK, I would've suggested fish and chips...

                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                              "and for the UK, I would've suggested fish and chips..."

                                                                                              So would I. Or roast beef.

                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                Yep, although beef Wellington also springs to mind, as do the meat pie and mushy peas.

                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                  Mmmmm mushy peas :-)

                                                                                                  Im going with the hamburger vote on this one though...that and fried chicken came to mind

                                                                                                2. re: Harters

                                                                                                  +2 on fishnchips for england

                                                                                                3. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                  "BBQ is just too diverse and has too many regional variations."

                                                                                                  Exactly my point. Who said a national dish should be uniform or standardized? Adobo is the national dish of the Filipines yet every cook has a different twist on it.

                                                                                                  BBQ is as diverse as the American population, and that's something we should celebrate.

                                                                                                  1. re: Professor Salt

                                                                                                    Everyone in Spain does paella differently too

                                                                                                    1. re: Professor Salt

                                                                                                      But it's because it IS so diverse AND does not cover all 50 states in its prevalence or even meaning that makes the case for it being a "national" dish harder to sustain over the case for Hamburger w/ Fries.

                                                                                                  2. Mac and cheese!

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Pia

                                                                                                      i am with ya Pia mac and cheese would be the national dish of at least children

                                                                                                    2. I vote for the hamburger. It's popularity has permeated all parts of this country, and it is undeniably an American dish. Every region, restaurant, and individual in the nation has their preferred burger - it has adapted to all tastes and cultures that comprise America.

                                                                                                      That said, I totally agree that BBQ is a technique that America truly revolutionized, and it is found and cherished across the nation. I just don't think it is nearly as ubiquitous domestically or exported internationally, as the classic American hamburger.

                                                                                                      I am a little surprised, though, that nobody has mentioned pizza. Sure, pizza may have been developed, and many say perfected, by the Greeks and Italians, but American-style pizzas are extremely popular nation-wide, and most major international cities offer American-style pizza. Pizza as it is generally known and eaten today may trace its heritage to foreign orgins, but it has become an entirely American food.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                        Now the next question where was the hamburger invented? I hear Hamburg, NY, some place in CT; why I hear even the Rooshin's invented it!

                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                          'Twas invented in Texas, of course. ;)

                                                                                                          http://www.texasescapes.com/TRIPS/Eas...

                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                            Of course! So silly of me.

                                                                                                      2. i agree that the basic hamburger, perhaps topped w american cheese, would be the obvious.

                                                                                                        i'm just sort of shocked nobody's suggested chili? unless i missed it?

                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                          yummm... chili burgers...LOL. and no, i don't think you missed it.

                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                            Not a bad suggestion, actually, although what passes for chili up north would cause the average Texan to blow a gasket.

                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                              It's hamburg bean stew please.

                                                                                                            2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                              Chili is from portugal

                                                                                                              1. re: Teknotic

                                                                                                                The chili I have in mind sure ain't.

                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                  LOL!

                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                    Yeah, I'm a bit confused—what type of chili are you referring to, Teknotic?

                                                                                                                2. re: Teknotic

                                                                                                                  The frugal Gourmet said it's from America.

                                                                                                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2QLTZ...

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                                                                                                    I just read an article that claims chili is a purely American invention.

                                                                                                                    http://thefastertimes.com/meat/2010/0...

                                                                                                              2. I would say it's not so much a dish, but anything grilled over a flame could be considered traditional American, because it was a technique used by Native Americans. That being said, if you are asking what "dish" is synonymous with present day America, I'd have to say the hamburger. I'd guess to say that on any given day it is the most eaten item in the U.S. BBQ, in my opinion isn't as American as people think, because many cultures use pits or other vessels to slow cook meats and they've been doing it a lot longer.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                                  But do they slow-smoke large cuts of meat over indirect heat? That is the essence of true American cue.

                                                                                                                  And was American cue BORROWED from other peoples? Just because different people cook similar things in a similar way doesn't mean that those foods/methods aren't autochthonous. And if they are, then one could make a case for their being the "national dish" of whatever nation you're talking about.

                                                                                                                2. Even though burgers don't ring my chimes as much as they do for others, I'd have to cast my lot in with The Burger as the "American" dish. But I'd like to propose a lady-in-waiting: the American Breakfast. The truck-stop breakfast. Fried potatoes, eggs, some fatty, crispy meat. Toasted breadstuffs of your choice. It's everywhere: we go out to Breakfast All Day! diners, we reinvent it in sandwich form in every fast-food chain offering a morning meal, we make it for our families on weekends. Denny's Grand Slam and Perkins' Tremendous Twelve. The cheffy spins on hash towers topped with free-range basted eggs oozing yolk, sprinkled with frizzled meat bits. A brunch casserole that has all-the-breakfasty-tastes-in-one.

                                                                                                                  I think the American breakfast is at least in the running.

                                                                                                                  Cay

                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                    totally! when we've had visitors from abroad stay with us, they are fascinated by the concept of "american breakfast" and have to experience pancakes w maple syrup at home, and the diner breakfast w eggs over easy, toast & bacon out at the diner. i will always remember a young french guy commenting "incredible!" on a plate of eggs, sausage and hashbrowns, served to him on a big buffalo china oval plate, with coffee on the side. he said the same thing when he observed americans ordering fast food at a drive thru and proceeding to eat while driving to work. it seems like "american breakfast," unlike a burger, is 1) *not* commonly available outside of the country and 2) offers some sort of real insight into the culture, for better or worse.

                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                      <<2) offers some sort of real insight into the culture, for better or worse.>> Yes! Totally, right back atcha! To me, it fits with the idea of American expansionism as agrarian, that Manifest Destiny, bustin' up the sod, movin' West sort of ideal. The folks plowing virgin prairie in Nebraska weren't eating delicate breakfasts of fruit and croissants, but the old-fashioned farmhouse breakfast that could keep you going when walking behind a plow. It's got a similar romantic streak to, say, the bopping burger drive-in of the 1950s - and in my opinion, as firmly entrenched.

                                                                                                                      1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                        We also have to remember that the original farmhouse "breakfast" was really an earlier midday meal - the farmer in question had already been several hours at his chores. He'd probably actually broken his fast at 4 am or so with some cold cornbread and buttermilk, or maybe a slice of pie out of the pie safe, and by 7 or 8 o'clock was ready for some real food. Unfortunately, we are now in the habit of getting out of bed and then eating too much. Mea magna culpa there...

                                                                                                                        We have too many diverse regions to claim a National Dish, I think. Even leaving any borrowed or imported dishes behind and concentrating on purely native-grown foods, we have corn and molasses, tomatoes and clambakes in New England, cornbread and fried chicken, burgoo and field peas in the Southeast, posole and green chiles and beans in the Southwest. We have the rich bounties of the ocean on three sides, the lakes to the north, the forests, mountains and prairies in the middle. To simply stop at the Great American Cheeseburger is like cutting the Gordian Knot: yes, it answers the question accurately, but evades it at the same time. It is the one American invention that can be found absolutely everywhere, but it's a damn SANDWICH, people! Not that I'm complaining...

                                                                                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                          Will, I'd spend some time agreeing with you, but I'm too consumed by the delightful thought of pie and buttermilk at 4 a.m. to think clearly.

                                                                                                                        2. re: cayjohan

                                                                                                                          There's a wonderful description of farmhouse breakfast in Michener's "Centennial". The Pennsylvania Dutch Mom of the family Zendt had to feed about 6 hungry lads, and each morning she would have a spread of, as I recall, "six sweets, and six meats." His abundant description really captured the rhythm of the way that those farm folk started their day.

                                                                                                                          Reading that book back in the late 70's, when I too was a hearty hardworking young buck, my roommate and I would about once a month plan a spread that called a "Zendt breakfast." We'd arise before dawn, and holler at the top of our lungs "Zendt Breakast!!!", awakening the chickens, and thump hard on our chests, while feeding some wood to the stove. We'd spend about two hours cooking and laughing, and then we'd sit down to the greatest repast.

                                                                                                                          They're more infrequent now, those huge breakfast feasts, reserved for the winter and maybe just twice a year. And the sweets and the meats are down to two or three each. But when I set out to partake of the ritual, the picture of bouncing young bucks fills my mind.

                                                                                                                          I'll cast one of my votes for the American Breakfast.

                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                            Making it this morning, with memories.

                                                                                                                    2. It doesn't seem to me that the question of a national dish is fair, if one of the requirements is that it originated here. After all, we're an immigrant nation. Everything came from somewhere else, unless you limit yourself to native American dishes: anything with corn, squash, chiles, tomatoes, chocolate, turkey, etc., all of which originated in the Americas. I think that if it is a common American dish, then you should be able to count it as a national dish.

                                                                                                                      If you want a dish that uses lots of native American ingredients, then I'd suggest turkey mole, with a sauce made of chocolate and chiles, etc., poured over the native American bird, the turkey. The problem is that this dish is Mexican, not U.S.A. American.

                                                                                                                      Professor Salt's BBQ suggestion is good, but again, it originated in Mexico, not the U.S.A. You could pick something like fried Boston scrod with brown bread and baked beans, but, once again, the recipes for brown bread and baked beans probably originated in England and came over with the Puritans. Besides, can we really designate as a national dish a food or combination of foods that most Americans have never eaten or have eaten only on rare occasions?

                                                                                                                      Based on my criterion of what Americans actually commonly eat, I'd say that the BBQ suggestion is a good one, along with hamburgers, pizza, steak, and hot dogs.

                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                        I believe you're the first person to mention the dawg. Mos' surprisin'.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                          nope I mentioned dogs a few days ago!

                                                                                                                          1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                            Hosannahs to smartie!

                                                                                                                            **cue (but not barbecue)--a bit of foodfuser's hot doggerel**

                                                                                                                        2. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                          gfr, you obviously are not from New Mexico. Deer or elk meat posole is about as "Merican as one can get. Or succotash from the Mid-Atlantic states. Salmon from the Northwest?

                                                                                                                          1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                            I'm pretty sure you can't grow cacao beans in the US. Except in Hawaii. And really, we just let them call themselves a "state" to take advantage of their surfing ;)

                                                                                                                            1. re: guilty

                                                                                                                              Where in Jersey, Dude?
                                                                                                                              What kind of food in Ironbound?
                                                                                                                              What is White is Manna?
                                                                                                                              What's a Grease Truck?
                                                                                                                              An Italian Hot dog?
                                                                                                                              Pannzarotti?
                                                                                                                              Taylor Pork Roll?
                                                                                                                              A butter roll?
                                                                                                                              Just checkin'.
                                                                                                                              Bon Jovi & MEkeg

                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                That damn near brought a tear to my eye.

                                                                                                                                Blimey.

                                                                                                                          2. I'd vote for corn on the cob.

                                                                                                                            It's a native food, that was enjoyed by the natives and now by everyone else who came here. It's a food that's best eaten fresh, so that we obsess with getting the freshest ears and consuming them as soon as possible.

                                                                                                                            No 4th of July picnic is complete without it, and you can't get more American than that holiday.

                                                                                                                            I grew up on Army bases overseas and good corn was the one thing that *everyone* lamented that they couldn't get. It was the food that they missed. You could get a hamburger, you could buy meat and barbeque it yourself, but you couldn't make corn on the cob without good corn.

                                                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                              I think you're the winner! Every "furriner" I've ever met, both here and in his native habitat, has been surprised by the fact that we Americans eat corn on the cob. I'm guessing we're the only ones who do. That, and the fact that it originated here, are enough to qualify it as our national dish.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                I was actually surprised to see how much corn is now grown in China, and they do eat corn on the cob, although also on a stick. But it's an oddity there, not a national dish.

                                                                                                                                1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                  That's interesting. How do they season it?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                    It's often grilled and served without much of anything on it, at least as far as I've seen.
                                                                                                                                    I think corn on the cob is the closest to a uniquely North American thing as it gets, but please remember NA is not just the USA. Canadians and Mexicans enjoy it too.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                      Corn on the cob is now international. I found some in China. But they do it wrong!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Teknotic

                                                                                                                                        They've been eating it in China for ages.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Teknotic

                                                                                                                                          In the UK, it was almost the height of early 1970s sophistication as a starter. Mrs H & I had it in the restaurant of the hotel where we spent out wedding night.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                            Now that's romance....two people gnawing on corn cobs, hahaha! No I'm sure it was cut off the cob right? Did the restaurant do it for you as they might create a cesar salad table side? Really my imagination is just all over the place right now. Please tell me and make it stop ;->

                                                                                                                                            1. re: just_M

                                                                                                                                              In the early 1970s, we'd never heard of Caesar salad. And I dont think I've ever eaten one. :-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                They really only hit my part of Canada in the early '90s. Down to small roadside caffs in the countryside.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                          I've had it grilled, dunked in butter and sprinkled with salt in Transylvania. Unfortunately, it wasn't very good. Could have been old. Definitely undercooked. Not sweet at all.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                            definitely old, then. fresh corn is crazy sweet.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                              Was probably field corn. A lot of places don't grow sweet corn, field corn can be tasty IF you get it at precisely the right stage of development.
                                                                                                                                              Off topic, those Romanian food mags sound fun.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                It may very well have been field corn. No way to know, but it was terrible.

                                                                                                                                                "Off topic, those Romanian food mags sound fun."

                                                                                                                                                They are fun! I tell my husband I'll learn to speak the language one food word at a time. We just hit up the MIL to send us more.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                  I love buying food mags when I travel.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                I'm guessing the corn oozed a red fluid directly you hung your fangs into it.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                  Haha! Phoenix would be a very dangerous place for a vampire to live. Last time I checked, I didn't turn to dust (or sparkle) in the sun. ;)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                    Actually, I was referring to the Transylvanian corn.

                                                                                                                                                    Mwwwwaaaaaahahah!

                                                                                                                                    2. Mcdonalds would be our national food group.

                                                                                                                                      1. the snarky voice in me wants to say genetically modified foods, but i'll let it rest.
                                                                                                                                        i was leaning towards hot dogs through out the hamburger/breakfast rants, which are good....
                                                                                                                                        i was thinking hot dogs or corn dogs, but then i read corn on the cob.
                                                                                                                                        it has my vote. i crave good corn, i haven't REALLY fresh corn in years.
                                                                                                                                        and, it is a new world crop.

                                                                                                                                        1. It must involve corn. Corn is to America what rice is to much of Asia.

                                                                                                                                          Cornbreads, in all their glory. Basic Amurkan types. about which there is much passion:

                                                                                                                                          1. Southern cornbread (white cornmeal, in lard or bacon fat, in a hot skillet, little or no flour/sugar)

                                                                                                                                          2. Northern cornbread (yellow cormeal, in oil or butter, in a pan, flour and sugar in varying degrees)

                                                                                                                                          3. Jonnycakes (southeastern New England, an ur-cornbread using white flint cornmeal and no flour/sugar in the batter - but they can be put to savory and sweet purposes, the latter commonly with that very American condiment, maple syrup) and hoe-cakes

                                                                                                                                          Honorable mention: Spoonbreads (where cornmeal goes to heaven; two different kinds - ones with separated eggs and ones with non-separated eggs) is arguably a pudding not a bread.

                                                                                                                                          Grits, btw. is porridge, not bread.

                                                                                                                                          * * *
                                                                                                                                          Honorable mention for a complete and indigenous approach to a feast: the clambake (in New England, that means a firepit in beach sands, with rocks, rockweed, lobsters and clams, corn on the cob, et cet.). Done well, there is nothing quite like it, especially on late summer evenings at the ocean's edge.

                                                                                                                                          * * *
                                                                                                                                          And popcorn would be the national snack: an indigenous food, still largely made at home (though fewer and fewer people make it outside a microwave, sad to say).

                                                                                                                                          1. the hamburger is clearly the national dish. it is ubiquitous, and loved by (almost) all!

                                                                                                                                            1. "Arguably" is the operative word. Pueblans might say it's the national dish; I bet Mexicans outside Puebla wouldn't necessarily.

                                                                                                                                              National dishes are marketing tools, not a true reflection of the pinnacle of a nation's cuisine. As soon as you name one, someone's going to come up with another that's just as legitimate.

                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                Well, then, we need a national dinner party rather than a national dish. :)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                  But pinnacality need not be the sine qua non of the national dish. Ubiquity and general appreciation across all sectors of society would seem to be better identifiers. And by those lights, the humble burger takes the fig.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                    I hear you, PK, although even if you use ubiquity and general appreciation as your criteria, there will still be a number of legitimate candidates. I like lsolda's idea.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                      i'm totally stealing "pinnacality."

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                        I advise against using in mixed company.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                          i guess i'd better be careful how i pronounce it, huh?

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                          Careful. Don't let that word get out. The TV networks are looking for a word to rev-up the now static "reality TV"

                                                                                                                                                          It's not that I'd object to the term "pinnacallity TV"... heck, I just watch PBS. But to know that we're up there at the apex of the needle... gosh, perhaps I should lay in some Survivalist supplies.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Overall, I'd have to jump on the hamburger bandwagon.

                                                                                                                                                      But, as I was thinking about all the food we have here, one thing came to mind and I thought, "Only here would we serve that." The Deep-Fried Twinkie. No other nation is obsessed as the U.S. is with dipping both good and bad food in hot fat.

                                                                                                                                                      I'll proudly say that the hamburger is our national dish. But, the deep-fried x probably says "America" (It's gluttonous, questionable, but curiously satisfying and demanded) more than anything else.

                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ediblover

                                                                                                                                                        the Scots do deep fried Mars bars! (never tried one mind you).

                                                                                                                                                        What about deep fried brie or camembert, and Scotch eggs to name more types of fried fat?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                          Actually, it's likely that the Scots started to deep fry Mars bars after the joke about their frying them started. When it comes to a nation that loves its battered foods, I'd say Scotland over USA, at least for the relatively uniform love of the fried-- and because it was only once I moved here that I encountered battered sausages, battered hamburgers and battered pizza, to name a few items regularly dipped in hot oil.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                            Lizard is right. The deep fried Mars bar dates back to 1995 and is claimed to have been invented, as a joke, by the Haven chippy in Stonehaven, near Aberdeen.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: ediblover

                                                                                                                                                          Lots of cultures around the employ deep frying as a major cooking technique. It's just that Americans have an abundance of food types that have historically been dear (such as lots of meat, refined sugar, et cet.)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ediblover

                                                                                                                                                            the uk does serve deep-fried twinkies, too. looks like our greatest food innovations get exported. <cough, cough>.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Smores

                                                                                                                                                            43 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: funniduck

                                                                                                                                                              national dessert is another subject, isn't it? i'd have to go with american apple pie. cherry pie and fruit crisps would place, as would choc chip cookies.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                For sweets, Toll House cookies--the original chocolate chip cookie never disappoints. And of course, nothing is so American as apple pie. A toss up.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                  i'd have to agree.

                                                                                                                                                                  favorite cookie: toll house
                                                                                                                                                                  favorite pie: apple

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                    pecan pie definitely American - where else has pecans?

                                                                                                                                                                    ditto Key lime pie

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                      Er, Mexico too. Remember the American Southwest, even Texas (!) was once part of Mexico.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                  Is one of the criteria for "national anything" that the dish be invented in the country? Because I don't think a lot of the desserts (fruit pies of any type, for instance) would qualify?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                                                                                    That something be totally indigenous is a mighty tough standard to prove, let alone achieve, because no matter what dish you mention, somebody will claim it was invented somewhere else. This goes a fortiori for a nation such as the US, which is almost constantly innundated by immigrants.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not talking about "remote origins" (such as steak tartare vs. hamburger), but "actual origin", like with the apple pie (it's British, and that's how it made its way to the States). Certain cookies like chocolate chip would still apply as American in origin, as would foods like cornbread, bbq from any region, you get the idea.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I hear ya', but I guarantee somebody will claim (perhaps with some justification) that chocolate chip cookies, cornbread and BBQ first appeared elsewhere than America and that we just "borrowed" them. You just did the same thing with apple pie, which many people regard as the ultimate American dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                          The apple pie that came over with early colonists did not have the flaky crust we associate with American apple pie. It had a much firmer and less palatable crust, designed more for preservation than eating pleasure. A lot of European foods changed when confronted the very different climate range in North America (colder winters, hotter/muggier summers, much sunnier, et cet.), not only in terms of crops and animals but also in terms of preservation issues.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                            The main point of my initial apple pie argument is that it's not JUST ubiquitous in the States because there are countries with their own versions (pies, tarts, other stuffed pastries). There's really only one "version" (so to speak) of the hamburger: Ground beef patty between two pieces of bread, and that is seen as quintessentially American in any country. I WASN'T saying that a hamburger is basically a sandwich, and sandwiches were invented in England, so hamburgers could be claimed by the English, blah blah blah. I was talking DIRECT origins.

                                                                                                                                                                            Karl S, in its essential form, apple pie is the same as it was when it was invented by the English, despite not having any added sugar when it was first documented:

                                                                                                                                                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_pie

                                                                                                                                                                            It's the pastry that's changed, and changes regionally, not the pie or the method of baking and assembly itself. It's still a pie.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                                                                                              But pies are not unique to the English. Italians have apple crostatas, which are much closer to what modern Americans eat in terms of crust than early modern English crusts were.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                                                                                                If McDonald's has apple pies, it has to be 'Mericun. Deep fried no less.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not sure particular desserts are any more ubiquitous than particular savories. Take even the hamburger--I'm pretty sure patties made of spiced ground lamb have been topped with yoghurt-based spreads and shredded vegetables and eaten between flat breads in the Maghreb/Middle East for centuries. One could make a respectable case that there is little substantive difference between that dish and a hamburger. But that is why I would argue that a dish need not be indigenous (or nationally unique) to qualify as the national dish. The burger is as American as it gets.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                    Fair enough, which is why I asked the question in the first place! :o)

                                                                                                                                                                                    Karl S - That wasn't my argument at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought hamburgers were invented in Germany?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                      In Hamburg, not Frankfurt or Vienna; they were a bunch of wienies!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                        If I remember correctly, named after a "Hamburg steak", but not put between a bun or bread until it reached the New World, I believe? It's hard to even pinpoint the origin of the American hamburger, as there are a bunch of people and places claiming its invention in the United States alone.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                                                                                                          I believe you're right. The fact that the origins are hard to pinpoint only adds to my uncertainty about this whole exercise.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Which begs the question as to why I'm contributing to the thread at all. Just to be a pain, I guess! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                  That's why I specified "Toll House cookie" rather than just chocolate chip cookie. Everyone understood "toll house" meant chocolate chip, but it's a recipe with a true American provenance.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                    I feel pretty confident that no other country will ever try to take credit for smores.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: funniduck

                                                                                                                                                                                      Or the corndog.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                                                                                                        Corndog: Texas State Fair, circa 1945, and dang proud of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                          Not really.

                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodmeats...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                                                                                                            So sorry if my timing might have been wrong
                                                                                                                                                                                            of corn batter encrusted
                                                                                                                                                                                            then deeply fried dong.

                                                                                                                                                                                            While absurd, if pulled from the frozen compartment
                                                                                                                                                                                            of your average everyday grocery store,
                                                                                                                                                                                            A Dog well delivered from.
                                                                                                                                                                                            those deep State Fair Fryers
                                                                                                                                                                                            melds into memory
                                                                                                                                                                                            irregardless of timeline..

                                                                                                                                                                                            They gain Majesty from being dipped so Majestically
                                                                                                                                                                                            into the fresh prepared batter, where Corn meets of Dog,
                                                                                                                                                                                            .
                                                                                                                                                                                            But still, Mea Culpa,
                                                                                                                                                                                            that I didn't get gulp of
                                                                                                                                                                                            sweet history of battered-fried cornbread-encrusted,

                                                                                                                                                                                            They are recent, but timeless.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Duly dipped in the fryer" Majestic Corndog.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm a hot dog junkie for 50 + years, chile dogs, kraut dogs, Chicago dogs, Mexican dogs, Norwegian dogs, Finnish dogs, Bolivian dogs, but I have never eaten a corn dog. Some things just seem unnatural.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                I was with you until "Norwegian dogs, Finnish dogs, Bolivian dogs." What are they? And no, I've never eaten a corn dog (nor have I felt tempted).

                                                                                                                                                                                                Damn, now I have a craving for a Texas Tommy . . . I haven't had one for
                                                                                                                                                                                                years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Texas Tommy in Asbury Park?
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry, I went international dog. I forgot the curry wurst.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Holly is my hero.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, Texas Tommy in Philly. I guess on the grand scale, not far from Asbury Park, but we Phillyufians are more South Jersey associates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Don't get the Holly reference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And still want to know what Norwegian, Finnish and Bolivian dogs are. (I'd hate to think I'm missing some good options.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Holly Eats.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.hollyeats.com/Philadelphia...
                                                                                                                                                                                                      A Norwegian dog has a mayo shrimp topping.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      A Finnish dog is inside a ground beef and rice deep frid pastry (liha pirraka).
                                                                                                                                                                                                      A Bolivian dog has kraut, avacado and mayo.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      South J, the land of the panzarotti.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Used to geyt my It. sagsage on 9th St.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Go Muhlenberg!

                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                  why is it a separate subject? it's still a dish, isn't it? even if it isn't savory.
                                                                                                                                                                                  You're probably right that apple/cherry pies and chocolate chip cookies are more recognizable American sweets, but every time I break out smores at a BBQ with international friends/students, they are fascinated when I hand them a marshmalllow on a stick to toast and then make into a sandwich with chocolate and graham crackers. That and wet bottom shoofly pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: funniduck

                                                                                                                                                                                    "wet bottom shoofly pie"

                                                                                                                                                                                    A dessert of constant sorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                      Perilagu Khan, where have you been all my life?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dingey

                                                                                                                                                                                        Watching the same movies as you, but in different theaters.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                        Am I missing something? Why sorrow?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: funniduck

                                                                                                                                                                                          it's a movie reference. or song, more like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: funniduck

                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree, dessert totally qualifies.

                                                                                                                                                                                        And smores are pretty great and definitely distinctly American, though I suspect plenty of American have never tried it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        And really, shoofly pie is also distinctly American, but very regional. I'm going to have to try making one soon . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: guilty

                                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't know desserts qualified too! Strawberry shortcake!! I hope nobody already said that.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                            If they did, I'll beat 'em up for ya', mama. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, PK - and then you and me will go stuff down at Beard Papa's or Tartine! We got a date?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm grabbing my lid, my shades and my jacket. If you arrive before I do, please order me a large, black coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                              i had a dream with strawberry shortcake last night, except the base was made of zwieback with sesame seeds (which were quite tasty little cracker treats in any event). now THAT'S what happens when you read too much chowhound -- and are up too late! ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                It sounds like a much much better dream than one of being chased by that horrible little strawberry shortcake doll.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I think we should consider
                                                                                                                                                                                      the simple meat pie,
                                                                                                                                                                                      folded in half moon,
                                                                                                                                                                                      and crimped on it's edges.

                                                                                                                                                                                      It's a favorite food of dear Sammy Sosa,
                                                                                                                                                                                      the baseballer who hails from American Samoa.
                                                                                                                                                                                      If named after him, it would be a tonguetwister:
                                                                                                                                                                                      the "Sammy Sosa Samoan Samosa."

                                                                                                                                                                                      Then his most classic utterance could be re-refrained:
                                                                                                                                                                                      "Samosas, like baseball, have been bery good to me."

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                        fuser, you are itchin' for a new thread, my friend!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                          A Life lived with simplicity
                                                                                                                                                                                          comes down to complicity
                                                                                                                                                                                          with the crisply crimped edges
                                                                                                                                                                                          of the humble Meat Pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The wafting aroma
                                                                                                                                                                                          of a well made Samosa
                                                                                                                                                                                          can cause tears to well in the eyes.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Fried chicken and apple pie?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. OK....I'm torn between burgers and corn. So can we have both like fish and chips??? I grew up eating both. To this day, popcorn is my favorite snack. I've rediscovered burgers thanks to places like Ray's Hell Burger here in NoVA. Don't make me choose!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rHairing

                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, caramel corn...that can be an American thing, right? :o)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                                                                                                              Good point, haven't seen caramel corn anywhere outside of North America, and it's more popular here than in Canada.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                i love the kettle corn. is that just a new variant on caramel corn?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Does seem to be a fairly recent thing, a woman I knew started talking about how much she liked it around 2005 or so. We had candy popcorn when I was a kid (in Canada) - sort of like frosted mini-wheat sugar coating, colored pink. It was mainly consumed by girls. No caramel popcorn except from the States - Poppycock in tins was my first experience of it. maybe the Kraft people had recipes for it on the shows they advertised on (remember the sepulchral voiceovers and disembodied hands? used to freak me out when I was little) but it didn't really catch on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pretty sure kettle corn is not a "new" phenomenon. It's been around for a very long time. My mom loves it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    we always had sweet popcorn in the UK at the cinema - the salty version was not in my childhood in the 60s and 70s and I don't know when it was imported from the US. It was not caramelized just sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds like what we had, although it was the salty stuff in movie theatres - the pink stuff was sold in individual snack bags.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                        it wasn't pink I don't think so anyhow. Used to be in bags then in those machines but always sweet for years and years.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Since we are "In God We Trust" (all others pay cash), the UDA must be the (un)Holy Trinity, Hamburgers, Pizza and Hot Dogs!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. What about the good old American hoagie? Known far and wide and loved by all and sundry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I know it goes by many names, but are you a Philadelphian? It's the only place I know it as a hoagie

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Heh heh. I'm from Lubbock, Philly's kindred spirit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hoagies in Lubbock? Who'd have thunk it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hoagies, by whatever name (subs, heroes, grinders, torpedoes, etc.) are found all across the US and that's one of the things that should put them in the running for the UDA. But I believe the classic American hoagie has ham, bologna, American cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and oil and vinegar on a long, white roll.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                            all across the country? all across the country, where? i've never heard of the thing you're talking about, and it sounds vile, to be honest. like something at a subway chain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                              And what is more 'Merican than chains? "money talks, nobody walks"...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oooooh, Subway! Evil, evil,evil! Pfffft...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed . . .evil. And Quizno's . . .pure evil!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    what is most evil about quizno's is their bizarre ad creatures. someone is doing some bad drugs at that ad agency.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    """These characters come from a man named Joel Veitch, who makes television shows for Britain's Channel 4* (according to his Web site, www.rathergood.com). On his site, you can see these creatures in a January 2003 video clip, in which they sing about loving the moon, marmots, cheese, dirigibles, and several other nouns. The clip, which calls the characters "spongmonkeys," seems pretty clearly the basis for the Quiznos ad. (Quiznos says a guy from their ad firm received the clip in an e-mail from a friend and decided it was perfect for a new campaign.)""" http://www.slate.com/id/2095868/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    oh, that explains it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nope. Classic hoagie (here in philly): provolone, cappicola, genoa salami, shredded lettuce, whole tomato slices, onions, salt, pepper and oregano with oil (never vinegar) on a long, crusty Italian roll.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think that's what's called an Italian hoagie. The American is basically the same but with ham and bologna instead of cappicola and salami, and American cheese instead of provelone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    no really, not trying to pick a fight or anything, but i live in america, and i've seen what Gaffk describes, and you call an "italian hoagie" for sale regularly in italian-american joints and corner delis/sandwich places, pretty sure dh has ordered one a few times. . . but i've never seen what you describe and dub the "american" hoagie/grinder/sub/whathaveyou. i wouldn't bet money that the sandwich you describe would have any legs beyond a limited local area. uh, a local area populated by elderly depression-era survivors in search of a $2 meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    oh crap, please read this post in a light and kidding tone. it's about a baloney sandwich, and i don't have my panties in a knot about it, just sayin'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What PK is describing is a Maine Eyetalian Sandwich; they even put 30 weight motor oil on it wrap in in tar paper and set it on the dashboard of the cah to let it age a bit; wicked good, Chummy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My favorite billboards: We serve Italians
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Eat a Fresh Italian today
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Really!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That sounds as bad as: "Take home a Large Hawaiian!".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I did that once and he wouldn't go away until I dropped him back off at the mall where I found him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          did he at least give you a lei?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not that kind ;-). But he did flatten the tire on my scooter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nothing against Large Hawaiians, of course, I lived with a different one for a couple of years and got to learn tons about various foods from the islands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      True, it is an Italian hoagie, but that's the standard here. I don't recall ever seeing an American hoagie and certainly have never seen one with bologna. (Maybe they have them and I just blocked the memory; I've certainly never been with anyone who ordered one.) Of course, there are also cheese hoagies, turkey hoagies, tuna hoagies, etc., etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's certainly not unknown in the western US, but it's not beloved. We'd go for tacos or burritos, and I bet the South would go for barbecue sandwiches long before we would look at a hoagie as food that defines the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Okay, I'll concede that the American hoagie may not be America's ur-dish, but the Italian hoagie may well be. And let's not kid ourselves here, the "defining" dish is not going to be high-tone fare. The burger is not exactly something that would reduce Escoffier to stupefication.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The American hoagie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            served up by Subway
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            was a cheap way to eat while in graduate school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oscillation between the "Tuna" or "Meatball"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            was a way to get Veggies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            as I chomped in my starving student stall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Memories of those days
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            has lessened the crave
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and it's been quite a while
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Since I've done Subway at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But they offered a niche
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            allowing of which
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I could cram down day's serving
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            of carbs and of protein
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and olives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                                                                                                                              From Philly to Me. w/ different meanings, ingredients and means of consturction. In Maine an hoagie is a hot melted hame and cheese and the cold cut abomination is an Eyetailian.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              My intermural team in College in Penna. was George's Hoagie Shop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am from southern IL and we called them a hoagie too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. the KFC double down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Campbell's chicken noodle soup and a PBJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Campbell's Tomato Soup and a toasted cheese sandwich (which I have not eaten in 50+ years).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Campbell's chicken noodle soup & saltines with butter. Takes me back to my childhood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not Philly Pepper Pot Soup?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No, one must be very healthy for "peppery pot."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chicken noodle & saltines were for sick days (although it varies . . . my sisters were tomato soup and rice people.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have to admit, I still have 1 or 2 days a year of chicken noodle & saltines. And 1 or 2 days a year of pepper pot. Everything is relative ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Campbell's c.o.t and a grilled cheese was my favorite rainy-day meal of all time, Pdk. But I do remember Campbell's Pepperpot soup, and I enjoyed it as a child in Ohio. I remember it had little bits of barley and carrot and tomato and I think lamb. Haven't seen it in maybe 30 years though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think that's Scotch broth, dearie. Canned Pepper pot has a very strong and distinctive smell. Scotch broth is much nicer, as far as I'm concerned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You're so right, bt. It was Scotch broth. Gawd I'm getting olllllld.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh wait, can I change my vote (again) for PBJ? Though perhaps with all those fatal peanut allergies, this one is already obsolete . . . I never ate it with chicken noodle soup, though. Ick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Chicken and dumplings, perhaps? Strikes me as one of the most quintessentially American comfort foods, and as far as I know, it is enjoyed in all 50, to one degree or another. On top of that, I love it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      34 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yankees don't eat dumplings, that's why they are so taciturn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If not for my reticence, I would agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Whatevah.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              """If not for my reticence, I would agree.""""

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              well done, gaffk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I feel sorrow for them
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                never plowed into dumplings,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                thickened broth,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                shredded chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is ultimate eats
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If done well in rendition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Plowing into dumplings--that just about catches the spirit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This dish, I feel sure,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    was done in those times
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    before dear John Deere
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    gifted sharpened steel plow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The texture of dumplings that encourage a grunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    takes us back to those times when instruments were blunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    and we labored in sweat as the soil we peeled
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    to plant seed, and cultivate grain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "The Stew", of whatever composition, rendition,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Is something once cooked in a hole in the ground.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Before there was metal to provide a real pot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    that had mettle to take dancing flames from a fire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In our old atavistic aboriginal days
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    we dug a deep hole and lined it with leather.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Then water was poured in the pouch.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And from nearby hot fire people transferred hot rocks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    from the coals to the pouch, to give simmer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There was no other way to bring things to a boil.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Creation of stew was surely a toil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hot rocks, leathered pits,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A fowl of some kind,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dumplings made from a freshly ground grain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I give thanks, in these good modern days,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    that cooking up sumptin'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    of good Chicken n' Dumplin'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    can be done in Crock Pot, and not Pit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "The texture of dumplings that encourage a grunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      takes us back to those times when instruments were blunt"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LOL!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What is the word favored by the li'l sparks--"epic"? Epic it is. Epic poetry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am speaking cook's truth, because sometimes the texture
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        of dumplings in mixture
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        are a solid thick chew that engenders a grunt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But it's always a good grunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        to calibrate whether
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's more Pasta or Biscuit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        or what the hell ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The simplicity of stew, now named Chicken and Dumplings,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        of simmered old fowl, and best ground-grain concoctions,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Has been with us a very long, very long while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Though I'd say it reached Apex and arched toward it's Apogee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        when my Auntie both showed me, and wrote down the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll not claim a Zenith,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        nor dish most Promethe-ish,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But Gosh Darn my Aunt made good Chicken n' Dumplins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You do speak the truth. My dumplings have a texture closer to beef jerky than matzoh ball. A great, dense, silky chew, if I may be so bold to say that so early in the morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Flour balls? Really? Or is it nostalgia? I think I'd prefer bulls's balls. I guess I'm just not the muffin man ( who lived on Druey Ln.). Being an open minded liberal, however, I will order chicken and dumpling at my next available opportunity. Can ya get 'em in menudo or posole?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There's gotta be some kind of Messkin' dumplin'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, there does. I Googled it but I'm only finding Mexican-themed twists on chicken & dumplings—anyone?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Honestly, I have never had chicken and dumplings. I'm not sure I've even seen it on a menu. I've had chicken, I've had dumplings, but never the twain have met.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've seen it on menus in the south and southwest, but have never eaten it either!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bloody hell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ethnocentrism is a blinding disease. Heh, heh, heh.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mr Dumkeg, his students ask, "What do you mean that the rest of the world doesn't eat a lot of beef?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Proudly ethnocentric and taking it all in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ps I am looking forward to eating chicken and waffles, some time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Salt fish with pork scraps over mashed potatoes is the real 'Merican meal say a daughter of the Mayflower.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Argument ended.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not to yuck someone's yum, but thank god our food sensibilities (not to mention storage and preserving abilities) have evolved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My elderly neighbor in Maine makes me salt fish and potatoes w/ pork scraps. I really enjoy it a few times a year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's like a big Newfoundland and other maritime provinces traditional thing, reversed: salt pork and cod cheeks/throats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love pan fried cod tongue and cheeks. Very Norwegian too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Too bad the Atlnatic cod has nearly gone the way of the passanger pidgeon.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Read Marc Kurlansky's Cod.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  coming in from the 50th state.... what's a dumpling? nope not a common dish at all here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wait, I'm from the northeast, and for me "dumpling" is Chinese (or maybe American Chinese). What am I missing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: guilty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's a dough similar to baking powder biscuits, dolloped on top of a stew of some sort, covered and simmered until done. Sorry boys but me dear old Canadian mum raised me on those.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        quite right. soup w dumplings would be no thang where anybody of british isles, german, eastern european ancestry settled. chx & dumplings is on the home meal rotation plenty of places north of mason-dixon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My Peoria born and bred BIL's specialty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, that's fairly close to the way I learned to make it from my mom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          First thing I do is make a chicken broth spiced with bay, rosemary and black peppercorn. Tear the chicken into bits with my fingers and return to the broth. Make a fairly stiff dough out of milk, egg, shortening, salt and lots of flour. Roll into quarter-inch sheet and slice dumplings roughly 2 inches by 1 inch. Reheat broth and chicken to near boil and add dumplings. Cook for approximately 10 minutes and serve in bowls with S & P.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is a soupier version than you'd find up north, I imagine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just got done wishing "Dogracs" a happy birthday and confessed that I had never eaten dumplings. He said he'd make me some just like his mother in Elgin, next time he comes out. Making yellow corn bread to go w/ my pumpkin and green chile soup. Now that's an all American meal!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Peoria one is quite soupy. My mother's varied according to the stew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is what I grew up with in Wisconsin, too. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                oh what i'd give for a pot of my mom's chicken and dumplings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                but, PK, your version sounds about right. i like it with lots of black pepper shaken on at the table, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                your dumplings must be smaller than those made by mom, as hers took longer than 10 minutes, iirc. i couldn't wait for those little puffy clouds to be done! i'd almost burn my tongue to eat the first one as soon as possible. http://food.thefuntimesguide.com/2008...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Remember well BTS (Burnt-Tongue-Syndrome) occasioned by wolfing down steaming bowls of fresh chicken and dumplings. Never has a medical condition been so delightful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Fish cakes and beans for breakfast, the original American food from the cradle of American Liberty; New England. Wicked good, Chummy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. While hamburgers do win the title, for one day every year there can be no doubt that Turkey rules the roost. North, South, East, West and everywhere in between. Alaska to Florida, Maine to Hawaii and even in far off Guam and American Samoa, on Thanksgiving the Uniting Food is Turkey. Baked, Roasted, Barbequed, Grilled, Smoked, Fried, or baked in a pie (even if its mock turkey) it's still turkey day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              25 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Turkey mole! I'm not a fan of the GENETICALLY ALTERED SUPER TURKEY! I'm not sure we'll have one this year. I'm thinking an elk roast w/ juniper berries and a tart red chile "gravy". Pintos and corn bread on the side. Last year was lobsters and scllops. Both are very American, just not corporate American.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ya gotta be a Dumkeg to be a lefty today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Turkey doesn't taste any different in 2010 than it did in 1970. This is nothing more than a bugaboo conjured up by the anti-corporate scare-mongers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You, as usual are correct. Turkeys don't taste any different than 1970; they were tasteless crap back then too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was in college in Pennsylvania Dutch country and the landlord of our farm house (No hippie jokes, we were being Hemingwayesque.) and I got to see how badly turkeys were raised even back then. I admit I am spoiled by wild turkey, the bird, not the bourbon, but I do not like turkeys that can't walk much less fly! Bland corporate meat. I'd rather at a chorizo burrito. And give a lot of thanks that it wasn't turkey!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I hate to break it to ya', old buddy, but we can't all get out in the sticks with our Savage Stevens and blow away a bird for dinner. For the vast, vast majority of us that is just not feasible. And that being the case factory farming is a necessity. It is a necessity to feed a nation of 200 million or whatever the population is these days. Now maybe the food doesn't taste exactly like the stuff the pioneers and the Indians ate, but I'm not complaining. Contrariwise, I'm grateful that we all have a wide variety of generally high quality food to eat. I suppose that is part of what Thanksgiving is all about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or maybe instead we could all learn to eat less meat. Especially considering that the American diet consists of much larger proportions of meat than is medically necessary. If you're really concerned about being able to get enough protein (even though most Americans consume much more protein than they need), you could eat beans. They have a larger protein content with less fat, calories and cholesterol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Teknotic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Or maybe we could remain a relatively free nation where people eat whatever the hell they want without governmental minders inserting themselves into our kitchens. And incidentally, I don't eat what is "medically necessary" (how's that for a soulless term?), I eat what makes my life pleasurable. If that means a few fewer months in the nursing home at the end of my rope and a few more disgruntled left-wing activists, so be it. I'll not lose any sleep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lard is misunderstood!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ps I do agree w/ you on your BBQ defination. {:0]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pass the pertatas and praise the Lard, I always say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It also means horrific "lives" for the factory animals you consume. But I guess you don't care about that, as long as it tastes good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ethics go a long way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry, but I'm not wealthy enough to buy "ethical" meat (and most people are far poorer than I), and I'm nobody's vegetarian. If my ethics don't rise to your lofty standards, I'll not lose a single moment of sleep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You don't have to be wealthy to buy happy meat, if you can live without having meat every single fucking day. I'm far from wealthy, but the idea of a creature suffering for my dining pleasure makes me lose my appetite, and yes - perhaps even sleep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's your prerogative not to. After all, we both live in a country where to do or eat whatever you like seems to be the epitome of 'freedom.'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actually, given that eating is about the most personal thing one can do, this is the essence of freedom. But if you value your "ethical superiority" to such an extent that you are willing to cede away your essential freedom and indeed impose your version of ethical superiority upon others, so be it. You're better suited to an ideological autocracy such as the late, unlamented USSR than a liberal democracy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    PS--One could make a very powerful case that producing a superabudance of cheap food which allows the poor and destitute masses to eat reasonably well is far more ethical than transfiguring a load of bovines and having those people go hungry. But you go your way, pal, and I'll gladly stay as far away as possible from you and your ilk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                """"Or maybe we could remain a relatively free nation where people eat whatever the hell they want without governmental minders inserting themselves into our kitchens."""""

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                oh PK <swoon> i knew why i love you so much!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I eat neither farm-raised nor factory-farmed animals. And somehow I survive. And eat happily. With pleasure. And with less impact on the environment (including square footage used for farming) than a meat-eater. Weird.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not saying you should eat like I do, but the word "necessity" doesn't really apply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: guilty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                don't feel guilty....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                your generosity has allowed me to take up that "environmental footprint" you ceded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've got dibs on Linguafood's ceded enviro-trampling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    lingua has ceded some trampling? dang, i didn't know! you snooze, you lose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      very cute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, actually, my parents don't remember the turkey of the 1920s, 30s and 40s fondly. It was expensive and not to their liking. Soldiers in WW2 who were not on canned rations got a slice of turkey and the rest was veal covered up in gravy, because veal was cheaper (it was a byproduct of dairying that was later managed down in scope, shall we say).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Authentic didn't always taste better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But.....I think that if it only pertains to being One Day Every Year, it can't really be in the running as a National dish?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How about the snacks that accompany the T-giving and weekend football games! They must be "real 'Merican". What are they; I haven't a clue. But I feel we are getting to the crux of the issue.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              About to go hiking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Spinach Dip in a Bread Bowl, then, qualifies just as well. And speaking of getting to the crux of the matter.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Communion wafers?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Funny, I generally see football game snacks of nachos, wings, chips & salsa, etc. I don't think I ever saw anyone bring communion wafers ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    spinach dip in bread bowl, spinach dip in bread bowl, nah nah nah nah nah nah -- it's ALL MINE, bwaaahahahahahahaaaa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I would say maybe the National Dish of the USA (Canadians and Mexicans find the term "American" for those of us living here to be extremely offensive, and rightly so) is anything that you can purchase premade in a plastic container at the grocery store. In order to qualifls y though, it should contain maltodextrose, high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin and monosodium glutamate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I would say that (as depressing as it is) these processed foods are far more common to the average US citizen than even some of the common staple food items that have otherwise been suggested. Most Americans eat more Kraft Mac n Cheese, Cheetohs, Hamburger Helper and grocery store deli food than they do hamburgers, BBQ, roasted turkey, etc. Although hamburgers are probably a close second =P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Teknotic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As an United Statesian, I eschew processed junque food, but like my meat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As a registered Commie Pinko Liberal, I eat what ever I want.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                PK, sometimes times the far left anf the far right go so far as to actually meet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Perhaps we were seperated at birth. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Teknotic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  so lemme get this straight. . . according to you, heritage food has no value. one example: the french should no longer regard cassoulet as a ntl dish, because the average french citizen eats other things on a daily basis?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was only joking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Teknotic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So glad I am not an average US citizen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Teknotic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      """"""I would say maybe the National Dish of the USA (Canadians and Mexicans find the term "American" for those of us living here to be extremely offensive, and rightly so) is anything that you can purchase premade in a plastic container at the grocery store""""""

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BAH! you just offended all of us on chowhound!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and the term "ugly american"? that's only for (USA) americans, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. The Hamburger as our identity as seen by others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanksgiving Turkey as our identity as seen by ourselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chinese Food is as ubiquitous as it gets, our version of UK's curry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I could make a case that it would probably be have to be a dish that appeared in Fanny Farmer's 1896 Cook Book. Like Parker House rolls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Parker House rolls - good one. Unfortunately some people are playing fast and loose with their essential nature these days - cf Tom Colicchio in this month's Saveur.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I would jump on the wagon with burgers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Both my exchange students from the past years thought that fried chicken was definitely THE american dish. I could see where they were coming from with that, even though I never picked up buckets of KFC, you do see a lot of it on tv.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Although fried chicken is said to have been brought to the States by Scottish immigrants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's interesting, I had no idea. Although after a vacation in Scotland a few years back and seeing firsthand their proficiency at frying anything to make it tasty, I can't say I'm surprised :P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To back up your point:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/hea...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was under the impression that it originated with Asian cooking. (Fried Chicken, that is.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It may well. But my understanding is that it was brought here to the US by Scots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I'm a Foodie... and I'm Canadian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've lived here in the U.S. for over 30 years. I say the BEEF is one of the great food products that this country can be proud.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For it to be EXTREMELY American, I would suggest the 'Cowboy' or 'Tomahawk' Steak is the finest example of a bit of Americana food found nowhere on the planet. Unfortunately, a REAL one will cost about $70 (just for one), but if you order it from 'Craft' in Vegas (at the MGM hotel), it runs about $250 or more on a plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This offer of a true AMERICAN dish offers up the BBQ angle, The plains and grazing, the corn and grains, the quality of the meats, and the attention to raising beef correctly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Seared over American woods (apple, mesquite, oak), fed on American grassland and finished with Plains corn in the feed-lot. Turn this baby into air-dryed aging over 30 to 40 days... French that 18-inch bone down until it looks like this photo (just saying):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Lots of suggestions and candidates, various comments about whether "origination here" is meaningful etc...but as many have proposed I would vote for Hamburger & Fries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have not read every post in detail but it seems to me that a "national dish" also ought to have the attribute of summoning up the image of the associated country...and when I hear "Hamburger with Fries" I immediately think of "America". Even though it is also found in 'local' variants elsewhere in the world, the image of a (usually) beef patty with slices of stuff like tomatoes and/or lettuce and/or onions between the two slices of a bun, deep-fried cut-up sticks of potatoes, with ketchup on the side for the fries immediately conjures up the word "American" in my mind. More so than BBQ or even Hot Dogs or even Corn on the Cob.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              [The last one (Corn on the Cob), to me, might fit the bill more if the question were to be to name a food that is widespread and common in America but basically 'not done' or 'done as a curiosity' elsewhere in the world]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Corn on the cob, slathered with butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and also some boiled green beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Along with some crispy deep fried potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and mayo embedded with sliced summer tomatoes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A salad constructed of pulled iceberg lettuce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and a sizzling spattering beefsteak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ah, hem FF. Pillsbury Crescent rolls?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've moved to the breadstuffs based on puff pastry
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    as opposed to the Pillsbury Doughboy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's an obvious shift after multiple times
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    of having your can peeled, then slammed on the counter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Tater Tot Hotdish! Woohoo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. It never occurred to me to play devil's advocate and argue with the OP's "arguable" claim that chiles en nogada is the national dish of Mexico. Isn't that pretty particular to Puebla? Even Googling "national dish of Mexico," the number one thing that comes up is mole (and that's undoubtedly arguable too).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not trying to give Prof Salt a hard time, just feeding the fire...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Isn't that because of the colors being those of the Mexican flag?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, chiles en nogada contains the colors of the Mex flag, but that doesn't mean it flies in the rest of the nation. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If we're going with colors, how many red white & blue dishes are there in the USA?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bbqboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Strawberry-blueberry shortcake, the all American desert!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's sure not on the menu of 90% percent of mexican restaurants I know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was explained that it's a dish that's specific to Mexican Independence Day season. I've only ever had it in Puebla. I think you could be right about it being the traditional dish of Puebla and not so much the rest of the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Well, according to the OP, chile en nogada is arguable the national dish of Mexico. In Mexico, tacos and tamales are ubiquitous, but not the national dish. By the same logic, hotdogs and hamburgers are ubiquitous in the U.S., but maybe shouldn't be a "national dish"? Anyway, I think there is too much regionalism to food in the U.S. to just have one national dish. Being a Minnesotan, the foods I would consider to be great American foods are things like wild rice soup, blueberry pancakes with chokecherry or maple syrup, tater tot hotdish, deep fried cheese curds, turkey with stuffing, gravy and cranberry relish, sweet corn roasted on the grill with the husk on and then the husk peeled back and dipped into a vat of melted butter, corn pudding, smoked thick cut bacon, and so on. I guess if I was forced to pick a national dish I would go with turkey with all the trimming. If I was forced to pick a Minnesota dish, it'd probably be something different.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fun topic, thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Suzlynnj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            umm, and I can't forget walleye fingers and anything the church basement ladies made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Suzlynnj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To find the full answer of national dish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              we must search to our memories to them were delish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There is pulse in the image of "church basement ladies",
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              whose array of fried chicken and their best deviled eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and their standing in pleated and neat cotton dresses
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              drew us into the feast which cool basement behad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              After each trip through that great serving line
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We rested, we burped.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              but then strode back in place
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              to do the whole thing maybe just one more time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I submit that the question of "National Dish"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              is bestly be strained through a loose cotton dress
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              so that any consensus agrees with the senses
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              of open-armed marms in those gently cooled basements,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What language do they speak?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For me they gooeroo Russian.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Spanish for Catholics in the southwest
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And at my students' churches,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ancient Navajo, and Keresan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But as a history buff,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fat ladies in kitchens
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just ain't enough.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's the foods that were here
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                When when the English & Spanish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Forgot green cards, oh dear!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Food grew form shore to shore,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Under purple mountains majesty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Deer, posole, chile & beans,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Are the all American foods for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  After reading that, I had to stop, close my eyes and think for a few minutes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Then I read it again, and then once more, quite slowly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Such a great poem, Passadumkeg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Deer, posole, chile and beans --- indeed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For me, okra fried in coarse corn meal is the real American deal, but I read someplace that okra came from Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My understanding is that okra was one of the plants brought over from Africa during the slave trade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Suzlynnj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              > wild rice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Northern Wild Rice is the one food crop that can't really be grown anywhere else except the marshes of Canada and Minnesota, correct? It is harvested by knocking the seeds into your canoe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Is there any other produce item so endemic to North America?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wild cranberries? Harvested in the same manner in the northeast, but not nearly endemic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have returned to NM, where I began teaching, many many moons ago. What affects me now is the ancient nature of the Acoma Pueblo, of which a large minority of my students reside. Acoma or Sky City is over a thousand years old, continually inhabited since the late 700's; the time of Charlemagne & Mohammed; English and the Romance langues did not yet exist. What I found profound, is that in many ways, the basic traditional diet has changed little. The traditonal foods are still based upon what was grown and hunted over a millenia; corn, pinto beans, chiles and deer or elk meat. Food for thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, actually, the 3 Sisters (beans, corn, squash) would be another good candidate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Deep fried squash blossoms????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      At the restaurant of the National Museum of the American Indian, I had a dish called "salad of the 3 sisters." It was sensational, and I've managed to recreate it at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Northern Wild Rice is the one food crop that can't really be grown anywhere else except the marshes of Canada and Minnesota, correct? It is harvested by knocking the seeds into your canoe. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    GAAAAAAH!!!!! this is actually one food issue that will send me thru the roof every time. *deep breaths* yes, REAL wild rice is just so, mr. GraydonCarter, but sadly--no, the majority of so-called "wild rice" sold and consumed in north america is a horrible, inferior, travesty of a product. it's "johnson cultivar 'wild rice'" bred for its non-shattering characteristics, to make it into a cultivated paddy rice product rather than a foraged wild food. mostly it's grown in california, where the rice has to be put into artificial damp cold-storage for a period of months in order for germination to occur. normally something called great-lakes area winter would take care of that :( blech. uniform dark grain needles, hard as a rock, ridiculously long cooking time, muddy flavor. just disgusting, a completely different and inferior food-substance. real wild rice is one of the world's most perfect foods, and it's a shame that many people are eating an uncle ben's "wild rice" blend and thinking that they are experiencing it, cuz they are *not.* double frowny face, double phooey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What you say, together with its limited/localized true habitat, then renders this a less persuasive candidate for a UDA or even an ingredient for a UDA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Interesting. So what are good brands to look for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          thanks for your interest. sorry for the late response, and in advance for long-windedness. the galling thing is that afaik there is no nationally distributed "brand" of real wild rice in existence. i have heard that the eden company sells real wild rice but i have never seen this product in stores, perhaps it's more available elsewhere. for the most part, corporate agribusiness has taken to the johnson cultivar paddy rice in order to control the crop's prices, and pretty much shut *actual* wild rice, and the first nations and local foragers who have historically been dependent on the harvest for their livelihoods, completely out of the commercial picture. these folks now sell locally to people who know the difference between the two very different "wild rice" products (and who are willing to pay a premium for the foraged real deal)-- but i'd be willing to bet that the average american doesn't have a clue. something like 95% of "wild rice" consumed is actually this cultivated paddy product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          what you will buy in the supermarket labeled "wild rice" is a cultivated paddy product. if you look at it you will see thick, uniform-color dark grains. the package will tell you to cook the grains for 30 or 45 minutes! LMAO! real wild rice of course has thin and delicate multihued grains indicative of genetic diversity, cooks quickly, "pops" properly, and is tender and flavorful. some folks can tell by tasting real wild rice which lake it comes from. it should properly be labeled "hand harvested wild rice," and perhaps also: "hand parched/wood parched." the faux product will be evasive about the harvesting method to obscure the cultivation method, perhaps saying "airboat harvested" as i've seen on some canadian farmed "wild rice" products lately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          in the great lakes region you can buy real wild rice directly from native american harvesters, and at farmers markets, etc. where i live it's very easily purchased in bulk at co-ops, which are more common here and everyone shops at them. because real wild rice is a foraged product it is more expensive than the faux article, and like many foraged products there are good years and bad years. this past harvest was not great because the area had a lot of wind and rain-- the grains fell directly off of the plants into the shallow lake ecosystems, as nature has designed them to. the price of wild rice went up due to limited supply. . . you see what the commercial cultivators of the faux, "non-shattering" product are trying to avoid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          if some hounds had an interest in buying or tasting real wild rice they could visit the area to get it (making sure to avoid the thick black grained faux product, which is misleadingly also sold here as "minnesota wild rice" to trick tourists into paying a premium for an inferior product). they could also search for "hand harvested wild rice" online-- there are many reputable tribal sources and harvesting companies who will ship the real deal. if i had to rec one source, i'd say you could do a lot worse than through winona laduke's white earth land recovery/native harvest site, where proceeds go to a nonprofit org which works to preserve traditional native foods and community health and nutrition:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://nativeharvest.com/node/173

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I get my wild rice from Bemidji, it's very good, but as a kid my parents got their wild rice directly from the Native Americans. The Native Americans smoked the rice to preserve it. We had to soak it and rinse it to get the smoke flavor out, but it was so very very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A few more to slide into sleek canoed bushel:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Those guardians of ages who took Teosinte to Corn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - The Peruvian perspective as husbands of taters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Lycopene legends who gave us tomaters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Come on guys, it is clearly General Tso's Chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It is deep-fried and sticky-sweet, two huge bonuses for the American palate. Every American I know likes or is able to tolerate General Tso's to some degree. I mean how could you not, it's fried chicken in sweet sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It has been altered far beyond its Chinese roots (if any actually existed), another longstanding American food tradition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It is pretty much the same from coast to coast. Walk into any mom-and-pop Chinese neighborhood greasepit and order General Tso's, and you know what you are gonna get. Can't say the same about burgers or barbecue, where even moving one state over might get you something totally different. Every little small town, even if it doesn't even have a McDonald's, probably has a sad little shack of a Chinese restaurant which will produce a version of the General which while it may not be good, will at least be recognizable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There you have it, General Tso's chicken is clearly the united dish of America.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Except in some areas of the country it's called General Gau's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Heh, I was just going to say the same thing. I've seen General Xiao, General Tsao, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. thanksgiving menu?