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What is American cuisine?

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I’m prompted to post this thread because of an opinion expressed on another thread about my own national cuisine here in the United Kingdom. I inferred that the view being expressed was that immigrant minority ethnic cuisines remain separate from the mainstream cuisine. It isn’t a view I’d generally agree with, feeling that the cuisine of some immigrant communities becomes so embedded in the mainstream that it becomes part of “British cuisine”, as the community itself becomes an integral part of society. Not least when, as usually happens, dishes are adapted or created for the Anglo community.

Realising that cultures differ between countries, I wondered if Americans thought that, say, the cuisine of Italian immigrants was now American or if it remained outside the mainstream. Are there cuisines that are now so embedded in American culture that they have become American or are they, as the original remark, always outside the mainstream? Having travelled to the States regularly since 1980, it doesnt seem to be a question a visitor can answer for themselves.

I suppose the real question I’m asking is, for a nation of immigrants, how do Americans define modern American cuisine?

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  1. I'd put it exactly the way you've described "British cuisine" --

    Ethnic food from ethnicities that have been here for generations have been absorbed into the main stream -- but not in their original form. Just as Britain has made tikka masala a very British dish -- it isn't really authentic, but it's an every-day food item -- so is "American" lasagna, chow mein, Wisconsin bratwurst (which are delicious, but don't resemble German brats...) etc.

    In the US, there are still "immigrant foods" that are still very much outside the mainstream, but it varies somewhat by location and where the immigrant populations settled -- for example, food from East Asia is far more mainstream on the West Coast than it is on the East, because of the heavy East-Asian immigrant populations on the West Coast.

    Things like Indian and north African, however, are still not mainstream, because we don't have enormous populations from those regions.

    1. In the purest sense of the word - everything that was not Native American is "Immigrant" cuisine and while spaghetti and meat balls and chicken chow mein are essentially 100% American dishes they still generally come with a foreign prefix.

      There are though some cuisines that I would consider wholly American in that they are truly new cuisines born of region, climate and a mix of influences unique to place - Texas BBQ, Creole, Cajun, Deep Southern ie shrimp and grits, New England seafood etc are all cuisines really born in and from N. American experiences rather than just simple adaptations of a foreign dish.

      I would suppose the dump-a-can casserole and jello-mold is also really a true American cuisine as well reflecting post war prosperity and a heedless march to modernization and love of science.

      as for "Modern" American cuisine what's more American than a Korean Taco washed down by an artisan "German" lager made in Portland? its all about "fusion" while I hate the term diversity is what defines us.

      4 Replies
      1. re: JTPhilly

        You can hate the term, but "cuisine" in the US, even in the subcultures you note, has, fundamentally, always been "fusion".

        1. re: MGZ

          agreed, how do you distinguish the organic development of Cajun Cuisine type of fusion from the chef invented "Mole Meatball Steamed Bun" available at the new Trend-Mex place down the block -

          I would say as a broad generalization traditional American cuisines are based on those organic fusions brought by combining specific peoples and geographies while the Modern American "fusion" is based more on the vast diversity of our cities and the broad array of products, flavors and ideas brought by globalization.

          meh maybe they are the same thing in a different sized world.

          1. re: JTPhilly

            Yep.

        2. re: JTPhilly

          But, even those "wholly American" cuisines associated to specific places you mention (Cajun, etc...) did not develop in a vacuum and were subject to influences to say the least. Casseroles and jello-mold foods have their counterparts high and low all around (I'm looking at you, aspic!). They certainly like their jello desserts in Poland or Brazil, for example. Of course, those countries' cuisines are also the results of fusions, influences, and trends.

        3. "I suppose the real question I’m asking is, for a nation of immigrants, how do Americans define modern American cuisine?"

          Hell, we still haven't figured out how to define "American".

          1. I think this question goes to the heart of the matter when it comes to the issues we have with obesity, food purity, and the Monsantofication of our food. America has never had a unifiing cusine to call their own. A case could pobably be made for Cajun/Creole. I think that is why the food is so good down there. It comes down to respect for the ingrediants. I once heard never to eat anything that your great grandmother would not recognize as food.

            14 Replies
            1. re: jefpen2

              The quote about granny and her food comes, I think, from Michael Pollan's book "In Defence of Food".

              His other great quote which may be from the same book is his recommended dietary advice - "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants".

              1. re: jefpen2

                I think meat is a unifying aspect of American cuisine. I'm sure there are teetotalers in France just as there are vegetarians in the US, but a meatless America seems about as right as a wineless France.

                There can be some meatless dishes in the mix as a change of pace, but a carnivorous orientation is the norm. People who try to rebel against that either don't get what America is or do get it but hate it.

                1. re: FoodPopulist

                  OK, I'll bite. What IS "America"?

                  1. re: MGZ

                    America is an emotion rather than an intellectual process. America is about the triumph of the soul over the brain. America is not something you can't really explain, just something you either feel or don't feel.

                    And you're less likely to feel what America is if you enjoy tofurky or vegetarian pho.

                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                      wait'll my kid reads this and tells his government teacher that none of it's real, and they all just have to FEEL America, rather than study it.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        That's OK. I can think of about 34 countries that "feeled" good!
                        And I'm feelin' better than James Brown..:)

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Heeeey!

                        2. re: sunshine842

                          I don't know what your kid's being made to study, sunshine, but, in essence, this ain't a bad lesson.

                        3. re: FoodPopulist

                          Fair enough, Populist, though I'd prefer to interpret your basic notion with the caveat that there is no "one" way to feel it.

                      2. re: FoodPopulist

                        why leave out potatoes?

                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                          It's much easier to eat vegetarian in the US than just about anywhere.

                          1. re: Steve

                            even easier in the UK -- you see vegetarian options *everywhere*

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Yes, and they're almost all bloody pasta and cheese. :)

                              But seriously quite starch heavy and yes, cheese heavy too.

                              Sorry, but varied and interesting vegetable-based dishes are not exactly the thing of the UK (save for in South Asian restaurants, or London, and even then...) Indeed, certain places in the U.S. (California, the Pacific Northwest, and the North East corridor) offer such a magnificent array of options that I am overjoyed to come over precisely for that. (If my village or places nearby had something even as marvellous as Herman's in Stockholm, I'd swoon.)

                              However, all that said, I've been pleased to see the introduction of meal-sized salads in some places. Over the years, the options have increased in general, and that's been welcome.

                              1. re: Lizard

                                I made no allusion as to quality -- but dishes specially marked as "vegetarian friendly" are far more common in the UK than in the US.

                      3. Going back, I'm sure the cuisine of the Huguenot French immigrants, or Norman French, or Vikings were in some way different from others in Britain--yet today they have all just become British. The same process happens and is happening to other immigrant groups. They will blend in and melt into the overall population over a few generations--historically there are only a few exceptions.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Wawsanham

                          I suppose there's also the expression "as American as apple pie" which owes its origins to British settlers who had brought their pie making skills and who imported the apple trees (or seeds)

                          1. re: Harters

                            I thought that expression referred to German immigrants making apple pies - but I could be wrong.

                            Fun fact: during a large swath of the 1800s, more German was spoken in the United States than English, and there were more German newspapers in circulation than English ones.

                        2. It's easy. Murrcans deal with that dilemma by simply hyphenating the "ethnic" part with "American" -- like American-Chinese, or tex-Mex, etc.

                          Problem solved. '-D

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: linguafood

                            This was along the lines of what i was thinking after reading Harter's initial post. As I understand it, Italian type food in the States is really Italian-American food. I think Italian and Mexican food have become mainstream. I imagine that food in the upper Midwest has stronger Scandinavian strains than elsewhere.

                            Because of so much German stock in our country, I would think that German food would be prevalent. But the only references to that that I have ever heard, is that the PA Dutch pretty much invented baking in the States. To them is credited pie, for instance, and I am sure cookies, as well.

                            I do disagree that we don't have a unifying cuisine. We recognize many foods wherever we find them. I am thinking of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, steaks, barbecue, chili, fried chicken, biscuits, strawberry shortcake, fruit pie, slow cooked green beans, green salad, BLTs, chicken fried steak, pancakes, cornbread, tacos, mac and cheese, spaghetti. I am sure there are other things. While these things are often ordinary, a gifted cook can make these things quite extraordinary. But if most of us recognize a food or dish, then to me that makes it part of our national cuisine.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              Oh, hellz yeah. A great BLT is a magical thing.

                              1. re: linguafood

                                My go to when I can't find anything else on the menu. I love them too. Especially when the bacon is good.

                                1. re: sueatmo

                                  Bacon in Mexico used to be SO good - thick, smoky, often crunchy, the real deal. Now it's like processed deli cold cuts. Bummer.

                          2. I think the country of the United States of America is simply too large ( both geographically and ethnologically ) to have ONE cuisine.

                            Modern American Cuisine depends on where the cook/consumer lives and eats.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: pedalfaster

                              I think you may be expressing what was at the back of my mind, pedalfaster. Particularly about the food of (recentish) immigrant groups.

                              If I interpret you correctly, you are saying that in parts of the country, there may be a large ethnic grouping with its cuisine but that doesnt make it any less American. For example, communities of German origin in Ohio. Apologies if I interpret you incorrectly.

                              1. re: Harters

                                exactly -- because those traditional German recipes have been adjusted to reflect different ingredients and cooking vessels.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  Thanks. That's helping me to rationalise what was said on the other thread as being that person's particular opinion, rather than a cultural difference between British and American attitudes towards immigrant food.

                            2. American cuisine had its recorded start in 1796, when American Cookery by Amelia Simmons was published. I am sure scholars are at work comparing the development of American cuisine and music...

                              Music:
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of...

                              Cuisine:
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisine_...

                              1. Cheap, plentiful, easy to prepare, easy to eat while driving, and relatively bland. Sweetened everything. Cheese melted on top. Or deep fried. If it's not sweetened and there is no melted cheese, it's been deep fried. And heavily salted. Fat in everything. Fat in vegetables.

                                24 Replies
                                1. re: Steve

                                  you need to get out more.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    Oh, I don't do badly for myself - but these generalizations are generally true of what Americans eat and enjoy.

                                    1. re: Steve

                                      Certainly not *all* Americans, and certainly not traditional.

                                      But thanks for a clear specification of an ugly stereotype that bears no more truth than any other stereotype.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        All stereotypes are based on grains of truth.

                                        And I hafta say -- cheese on everything, massive portions, and heavy on the salt, fat & sugar is pretty much what you get at most US chain restaurants -- they're not popular with the average American for nothing.

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          I didn't say it was true for all Americans. But what I said goes for the way a vast number of Americans eat and typifies the diet and interests. Which is the subject of this thread.

                                          1. re: Steve

                                            Actually, Steve, I was hoping that, as my OP, the subject of the thread was about the integration, or not, of immigrant cuisines into the "mainstream".

                                            1. re: Harters

                                              Oh, we like deep fried and sweetened immigrant cuisine.

                                              With cheese melted on top.

                                              1. re: Steve

                                                Big portions ?

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  You have to tire of eating the food before you finish it.

                                                  Do they have those hideous eating contests in England? You know, how many tamales can you eat in 5 minutes - I believe the record is 24.

                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                    'Fraid so, Steve.

                                                    The've always been around in some form - often connected to Guinness World Records challenges. It appears to be growing in popularlity since "Man v Food" started appearing on our TVs - and the food challenges now seem to be more related to American type food, than the originals (like how many Jaffa Cakes can you eat in a minute - 13). Just another example of how our culture is becoming more Americanised.

                                                    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandsty...

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      "Just another example of how our culture is becoming more Americanised."

                                                      No good deed goes unpunished . . .

                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                        Damn. I forgot.

                                                        I shoulda written "Americanized".

                                                        And zee is the new zed, apparently.

                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                          Who's Zed?

                                                          Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead.

                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                            Don't feel so bad. I've had a couple of Australian bosses and they always used "zed." I use it when spelling out words here in the states, and not many understand why.

                                                            1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                              Zed is an old-fashioned term in the U.S. It's not that we don't use it here; it's that it has been used in the past and gone out of fashion....

                                      2. re: Steve

                                        Maybe you should get out and *mix it up* a bit? Get your wallet out and dine at some slow food/local food venues. Get to some farmers markets and start eating some of the luscious foods in America.

                                        1. re: MamasCooking

                                          There are a lot of farmer's markets where I live, and I go to all of them.

                                          The number of people there are dwarfed by the lines at the drive-thrus, the pizza delivery call centers, the Chinese-American takeout, the chain restaurants, the processed food aisles, the convenience stores, the hot dog carts, the arena or movie theatre snack stands, the check-out counters at stores (drug stores, hardware stores, toy stores, gift shops, home furnishing stores, etc - is there a type of store that doesn't sell candy?) shopping mall food courts, and the number of ice cream shops, donut shops, and coffee shops (in case you want dessert with your frappucino). Every gas station in America has been turned into a fast food store. The gas is there just to lure customers into buying oily pastries, pepperoni pizza, and boneless chicken wings. Or all three.

                                          Go to a football game in America, and you don't even have to get out of your seat, they will go up and down the aisles with hot dogs, sodas, chips, etc. Not the case with a soccer match in most of Europe or South America.

                                          Go to a movie theatre. Get a huge tub of popcorn. Not enough butter? There is a stand where you can drown it in more 'butter' yourself. Unlimited.

                                          Casual restaurants offer free refills on soda. Literally, an unlimited amount of soda.

                                          But what about just going to a real restaurant, Steve? You know, not TGIF?

                                          Well, every Thai restaurant has been serving heavily sweetened food, Italian-American restaurants often put sugar in their tomato sauce, American pizza places load up with cheese, many people are ordering bacon cheeseburgers, and cheese melted on seafood, and sandwiches with cheese.

                                          It can be avoided, but that is only the way a few people eat.

                                          1. re: Steve

                                            I forgot state fairs and local carnivals.

                                            1. re: Steve

                                              Steve, in South America you'd don't have to get out of your seat to have snacks at public events (concerts and such). A concesion guy comes around with all kind of junk food (cookies, chips, hot dogs, etc...)--in fact Mexico and Chile (not to mention other parts of South America) are in the process of overtaking the US in obesity rates. I believe Mexico already has.

                                              1. re: Wawsanham

                                                The US is tied with Mexico for obesity. A major Mexican problem is sugared beverages in place of scarce potable water. 53% of Mexican daily caloric intake is corn tortillas.

                                                1. re: Wawsanham

                                                  Have you been to a professional sporting event lately? They come to your seat and take your order and then deliver it.

                                              2. re: MamasCooking

                                                If you look at Steve's profile, you'll see he's no stranger to all sorts of great food! We had our first Ethiopian food with him in DC a few years ago.

                                              3. re: Steve

                                                I think you're talking about Scotland. And also will second what Sunshine just said.

                                                1. re: Steve

                                                  I'd say not bland at all but more on the side of strong, even overly strong flavors. Lots of sauces, lots of melted cheese, lots of flavors competing with each other (even in the same dish)--I think that's a very American characteristic.

                                                2. Growing up in a Mexican American home , we ate my mom's cooking and that was Mexican everyday. As we got older mom worked more so we had to make our dinner at times.
                                                  American food to us was things we saw at friend's homes or things we ate in school.
                                                  Pizza, spaghetti, meatloaf, pot roast, fried chicken, tuna casserole,tuna salad sandwiches(mom hated mayo)tacos yes tacos . Those u shapped taco shells were nothing like my mom's tacos.
                                                  American food to me at least, is borrowed from all the people who came or were brought here.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: itsmejessica

                                                    that: "American food...is borrowed from all the people who came or who were brought here"

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      Borrowed and modified, given an American imprint.

                                                      Authentic food is fine, but there's nothing inherently wrong with Americanizing foreign foods. It's that process of Americanization that makes American food "American".

                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                        Other cultures do it, too...you have to adapt "traditional" and "authentic" (whatever those mean) to locally available ingredients and cooking methods.

                                                        it's just that the discussion here was specifically about the integration of foreign foods into *American" culture.

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          I am just sticking up for the idea that Americanization of foreign foods is not a bad thing. People with an authenticity fetish (you can appreciate authentic foreign dishes without having a fetish) who look down upon Americanization of ethnic cuisine are un-American (you can be un-American without being wrong).

                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                            Yes, other cultures definitely adapt foreign foods to their taste--it's totally normal human nature. There's Brazilian German food that's heavier on the meats in little puff pastries (which I don't really know from Germany, except there are Maultaschen). Then, you should try Chileanized Chinese food--talk about sweet (and a tiny bit of sour)! It's heavy on the beef with green onion or broccoli dishes, not to mention deep fried "wantán" or "arrollado primavera" (spring rolls deep fried).

                                                  2. This reminds me of the old favorite question of PhD students in History in General Examinations: "Who are the three (or five..whatever) most important Americans of the 20th Century?" there is no right answer of course but it is a fun conversation feeder.

                                                    I think of what was defined as "French food" in American in the 1950s and 1960s. It was largely represented by the Big restaurants in New York and a few other cities. But then read AJ Liebling who said that French cuisine "is not one cuisine but a score regional in origin, shading off into one another at their borders and all pulled together at Paris." He goes on to say that someone who professes an admiration of French Cooking is an idiot since he makes no distinction.

                                                    He cites his friend Waverly Root, author of the "Food of France" and the expositor of the domains of butter, oil, and pork fat as the essential founding blocks of French foods. Root, he says, would not likely write a book on the food of Britain (although he did) because while he first thought the English cooked as they did because they didn't know any better he discovered to his "stupefaction" that they cooked as they did because they liked it.

                                                    When I was young, it was often said that Creole Cooking was America's only "indigenous" cookery, incorporting all manner of Spanish French,Native American, African etc. And you still get arguments in New Orleans over the local Italian style versus NY's Itlaian (versus Italian Italian). Mencken said that in 1900 there were only three American cities worth eating in: New Orleans, San Francisco and, of course, Baltimore.

                                                    For the longest time, most of the country was a wasteland of really good food but there were isolated local delights. We used to drive constantly between New Orleans and the Northeast and once out of New Orleans there were only two restaurants---oddly enough both in Mississippi---that we'd top at for good food. After that it wa a gird your loins affair through Alabama,Georgia etc. Fried chicken and greens, both often good, were the acme. There were exceptions..county ham/red-eye gravy in North Carolina for example(but not EVERYWHERE in NC).

                                                    Then we had the renaissance--there had been earlier bursts of interest--in the latter part of the Century and more people took an interest. I attribute this to more people with the money and time to explore.

                                                    And so it is all fusion..as I think all cooking is anyway. Hell, the Spice Road, the Silk Road, the Whatever-you-want Road always brought something back. That "apple Pie" that is so American got its start in Alma-Ata. And of course potato and so forth, all brought in from elsewhere.

                                                    I think it was the confinement of the immigrants in seaports or, sometimes inland, that created the cuisnes but they were localized until easier travel allowed export. Look at cookbooks of even forty years ago that direct importation of ingrediants. Roy de Groot was a great in-season eater 75 years ago and he argues for the local fresh stuff. But not everyone could get shad roe in season, or crawfish. So these were hard to incorporate into any National Cooking. So, in effct, we are back to Liebling talking about local cuisines shading off again.
                                                    In the end, I agree the country is too big to generalize but I suppose there are some unoversals(hamburger will ever be thought American although I am sure cooking everywhere has some version--like gnocci, ravioli, pelmeni, meat pies...same thing for practical purposes. You can generalize about Salvic cooking and you'll be right but a Pole or a Czech won't like be lumped in with the Russians.

                                                    Well, just a starting point of throwing firecrackers under chairs.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: hazelhurst

                                                      Edison, Ford (Henry), FDR, James Beard, and Chuck Berry

                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                        British perspective here (and only for the second half of the century):-

                                                        George W Bush, Elvis, Ronald McDonald.

                                                        I jest not.

                                                    2. Worms, meet can opener.

                                                      But your question answers itself. For a country of immigrants---for a state not defined by a nation---the national food is inherentltly the food of immigrants (voluntary or not) in all its messy polyglot pastiche. Anyone who says otherwise more than likely obscures other (usually exclusive) motives.

                                                      1. All I know is when I think of American cuisine I think of things I don't see anywhere else. Like Texas toast, biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak.

                                                        1. Would "California Cuisine" be considered "American Cuisine"?

                                                          1. I've got to agree with Steve - American food is meat centered with cheese on top, or fried, or with added sugar. American food is overly sweet with lots of syrupy cinnamon, heavy cakey donuts and pastries, syrupy coffee or chocolate milkshakes and variations on cappucino. It is large portions and overstuffed sandwiches. There is dairy produce in a lot of American food or added in the form of whipped cream or ice cream, or cheese.
                                                            I'm not saying that living in the US we can't get beautiful fresh produce and proteins because of course we can but to me, as a Brit living here, I see more of the former.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: smartie

                                                              An artfully arranged plate of colorful fruit for breakfast in Mexico is a beautiful thing. It's a shame the custom hasn't migrated to the US.

                                                            2. thinking about this on my drive this weekend I believe " Modern American Cuisine" at is most elemental level has two things in common: Irreverence and Plenty.

                                                              Irreverence meaning being unbound by tradition, willing to combine ideas, ingredients and methods from all of our cultures without fear of impinging "purity"

                                                              Plenty in the sense that there is a celebration of abundance - no need for stretching "precious" proteins, no apologies about serving a thick slab of meat or a massive bowl of salad - a reflection of a prosperous and productive land which is key to the American ethos

                                                              Both of these concepts are apparent at the basest chain feeding troth like applebees and your local seasonal farm to table bistro, even in fast food joints. It is common to see a mix of Eastern, Native and European influence on a single menu, often in one dish and portion sizes, in particular of the main protein (weather it is a thick heritage chop or Sysco chicken fingers) are typically generous.

                                                              Diversity and Abundance - USA at its best and sometimes its worst

                                                              1. On one level, there's an American instinct to take something and reinvent it to make it our own so plenty of family tables are laden with goulash, lasagna or stir fry that owes nothing to Hungary, Italy or China. But there are times when dishes never lose their original ethnic connotations. Hard shell tacos are a staple dinner for plenty of Americans, but get an invitation to such a dinner and you're likely to show up for "Mexican Night" or "Taco Night," whereas a tailgate party of beer and bratwurst would rarely get that kind of ethnic designation. Meanwhile there are mainstream and American-born dishes like General Tso's chicken and crab rangoon which never shake their ethnic connotations and rarely show up on a home menu.

                                                                Such ethnic distinctions tend to disintegrate regionally where large, assimilated immigrant populations may retain both traditional recipes but American identities which results in tortillas becoming a fixture of Southwestern cuisine or Yakamein moving out of the Chinese restaurant and into the mainstream of New Orleans cuisine. Culinary assimilation is definitely a driving force behind American cuisine, but different elements affect our perception of specific foods and dishes.

                                                                14 Replies
                                                                1. re: JungMann

                                                                  Good points made here. To answer the OP, "American" foods are those which come from the Western Euro White people who founded the country, while "ethnic" food is from everyone else.

                                                                  Hence spaghetti, Shepard's pie and chicken fried steak are "American" while lo mein, collard greens, and pierogi will always be "ethnic". I doubt this distinction will disappear in my lifetime.

                                                                  1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                    CFS=white? Pierogi=? I think that's reducing it a bit too far. it is a bit more complex than that.

                                                                    1. re: bbqboy

                                                                      CFS has German/Austrian roots, but no one would consider it ethnic.

                                                                      Pierogy are Polish, i.e. non-western Euro, hence they are widely considered ethnic food.

                                                                      Keep in mind this is not a classification I agree with. it is merely the one I run into in food-related conversations on a daily basis, both online here and in real life.

                                                                      1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                        Interesting about the CFS origin. Was its start in Texas around New Braunfels or the other German type communities there?

                                                                        1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                          There's a difference between country fried and chicken fried. The latter is a relative newcomer. I grew up in Atlanta eating the former.

                                                                          http://americanfood.about.com/od/reso...

                                                                      2. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                        I am pretty sure Thomas Jefferson was more likely to eat collard greens than spaghetti

                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                          Considering his staff relationships and affinity for French architecture, I'm sure you are correct.

                                                                          1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                            Actually Thomas Jefferson enjoyed pasta ("macaroni") during his travels in Italy and had a machine for making what sounds like extruded pasta sent back to the U.S.

                                                                            http://www.monticello.org/site/resear...

                                                                            1. re: pamf

                                                                              Yeah but none of it matters anyway. He wasn't even born in this Country!

                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                Which country? Virginia doesn't count?

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  Awww, come on. Think this one through with a smile for me.

                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                    As a former resident of "that"country, well, it took me a minute :)

                                                                              2. re: pamf

                                                                                Very interesting Pam, thanks!

                                                                                1. re: pamf

                                                                                  LOL! So I am wrong - TJ was a bad example and I should have known better as he as all about botanical and architecture exploration - why not Macaroni at Monticello- that is a great bit of info. Certainly he considered it a foreign food though ;) His recipe is sort of a disaster no wonder his guests did not approve. From the description sounds like he may have slipped them some of that dastardly garlic