HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

What foods have changed America?

Immigration is often the underlying force that changed what we American's eat. Could you imagine an America where college students would not be filling themselves up on lo mein and orange chicken combos along with pepperoni pizzas and burgers? Culture, along with technological innovation(cars and the drive thru lane, freezers and microwaves) steer what we eat. But what actual foods have been instrumental? My foods that changed America are the following:

hamburgers
BBQ sauce
coca cola
NY Pizza
Donuts
fried chicken
fruit smoothie

what are yours?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Ramen / instant noodle

    Tobasco

    Sriracha

    Soy sauce

    Sushi

    Sugar substitutes

    Kimchi

    Tofu

    Tortillas

    Frozen yogurt

    Starbucks / fancy coffee drinks

    5 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      These are definitely the most recent significant changes, even though some of them have been around for a while. Going back further the canned and frozen foods bbqboy mentions below.
      And while it's an appliance not a food, the impact of the microwave has been enormous as well.

      1. re: KaimukiMan

        I would add HFCS, but then I'm not sure how the OP is defining "food".

          1. re: blackbookali

            Then how about things like:

            - gluten awareness
            - Umami
            - Transfats

            ?

            1. re: ipsedixit

              im in the business of not saying no ; - )

    2. Canned soup. Frozen vegetables. TV dinners.

      1. Well, if you feel like taking the long view: sugar. It fundamentally changed American history. See Sidney MIntz's fabulous book, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Kitchen Imp

          Along with sugar you can add corn/corn syrup.

          Also, historically the ability in the US to have meat be sold at such a cheaper price than the rest of world from about the early 20th century on has changed not only "authentic" American food but also the food recipes that immigrants brought with them.

            1. re: hill food

              According to MK, cod not only changed America (among other things, it led to the rise of a middle class in New England) it was also the fish that changed the world.

              1. re: Tonality666

                whoops - typo Kurlansky. I haven't read 'Cod' yet, but the one on oysters was fascinating in how it changed the physical geography of the NYC area. and how 'Salt' fed (so to speak) the military industry and modern agriculture.

            2. HEINZ
              CAMPBELL
              BIRDSEYE
              DEL MONTE
              DOLE
              CARGILL
              MONSANTO