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What "typical American Foods" would you serve to foreigners?

If you had to serve a dinner of typical American foods to French people, what would you serve? What if they were Italians? Or Chinese?

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  1. To the French, a Dungeness Crab Louis with an Oregon Pinot Gris.

    3 Replies
    1. re: GH1618

      Dungeness Crab Louis is a typical American food?

        1. re: carolinadawg

          Where I come from, it is. If you must serve something which is typical everywhere, I suppose you are stuck with meat and potatoes. I would rather serve some regional thing which is an American version of something familiar to them.

      1. Depending on the season...bbq, fried chicken, shrimp, cornbread, collard greens, peach cobbler, tomatoes, corn on the cob, ham biscuits, brunswick stew...

        27 Replies
        1. re: carolinadawg

          Damn you said everything I just thought of except for Gumbo.

          1. re: carolinadawg

            Buttermilk Pie, Chili, Mac and Cheese

            1. re: carolinadawg

              Well, we each have our regional bias. (Southern food is great, but it's not the only "American" food.)

              1. re: pikawicca

                Never said it was...the question was, what would you (meaning me) serve.

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    I didn't "question" it, I simply asked about it because I wasn't familiar with it. Chill.

              2. re: carolinadawg

                There is also here in the Midwest, pork tenderloin sandwich, fried biscuits with apple butter, and wonderful corn and tomato dishes. Many of us also love grits.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Tell me more about this pork tenderloin sandwich. I've made pork tenderloin burritos and sandwiches each once. The meat was too tender, did not really enjoy it. How do you guys do it out there?

                  1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                    In Iowa, I believe the pork is breaded and deep fried before being sandwiched. Here in Northwest Wisconsin, pork shoulder is slow cooked, shredded with a fork, seasoned with BBQ sauce mixed in and served on a bun with a side of cole slaw or potato salad. You see it at every pot luck, graduation party, etc.

                    1. re: elegraph

                      Yep, here in Iowa the pork tenderloin sandwich is pounded out, dredged in breading and seasoning, and deep fried. It's usually served with french fries. Jonesy's in Solon, IA serves absolutely the best I've ever had but that was nearly 20 years ago. What we fix at home is pork tenderloin slow cooked in a crock pot, shredded, and has barbecue sauce mixed in and served on a bun with potato salad on the side but coleslaw is great with it too. We, probably incorrectly, refer to it at home as pulled pork.

                    2. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                      The tenderloin is sliced thin and then run through a tenderizing machine that stretches the meat to epic proportions. It's then breaded and deep-fried and served on a hamburger bun which is about 1/4 the size of the meat. A totally insane concept, but everyone loves it.

                        1. re: DebinIndiana

                          Woderful indeed. And it's even better and more flavorful if made with sliced pork shoulder butt rather than loin.

                          When I lived in Iowa, that's how I always had it.

                        2. re: pikawicca

                          I googled: "midwest pork tenderloin sandwich,"
                          I NEED one of those. I literally laughed out loud when I saw it. Never seen anything like that. Totally epic! Why has that not migrated out west, those would be a hit I'm sure.

                          1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                            My husband loves these sandwiches. Might have to go on the menu again soon!

                            1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                              I agree. This should be everywhere.
                              I feel the same, or perhaps more strongly, about the availability of beignets outside of New Orleans.

                              1. re: EM23

                                I think that regional food should stay regional. Beignets in New Orleans, pork tenderloin sandwich in the mid-west, stone crab in Florida, etc.

                                And your regional specialties are what you should be feeding to your foreign visitors.

                                1. re: 512window

                                  I agree -- they wouldn't be special if they were available everywhere!

                                  1. re: 512window

                                    I can get a good loaf of sourdough here in NY, but I’ll still want to eat sourdough when I’m in SF. I can get a respectable jambalaya and hurricanes at a Cajun restaurant around here, but try to stop me from ordering both in New Orleans. And just try to keep your stone crabs in Florida - I got a guy on the internet who will ship them to me same day.
                                    As long as people travel and relocate, so too will the food traditions they take with them. And, borrowing from Martha,that's a good thing.

                              2. re: pikawicca

                                I had my first pork tenderloin sandwich when my sister moved to Bloomington Indiana. I helped her move and she said that we had to go to this place in Franklin, Morgantown or Martinsville and get a pork tenderloin sandwich.

                                I had no idea what it was and when the waitress served it to me I looked at her as if "where is the rest of the bun" My sister looked at me and laughed.

                                1. re: Kelli2006

                                  I live in Bloomington, and you can get a great pork tenderloin sandwich right here in town at Upland. (They also have great fries to go along with it.)

                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    I seriously cannot stop thinking about these sandwiches, I want one so fucking bad. Anyone know if I can get one near or in the following cities: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, or Denver. I'm in or near these cities frequently.

                                    1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                      In Mt. Angel, Oregon, about an hour South of PDX, there is a German restaurant that does a schnitzel sandwich that is a good stand in.

                                      1. re: jpc8015

                                        I want a schnitzel sandwich! Preferably veal but pork is okay.

                                        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                          This place does pork with lettuce, tomato, and a creamy curry sauce. I bet they would leave the curry out if that isn't your thing.

                        3. I'm with chefj on gumbo for the Italians, or jambalaya.

                          1. Is this purely theoretical or practical? Sit-down single entree dinner or buffet? There are so many regional/typical American foods to choose from: Fried chicken, chicken fried steak, Boston baked beans and brown bread with raisins, Frogmore stew, crawfish boil, New England clam bake, soul food of all descriptions, Memphis barbecue, Maryland crabcakes, chili con carne, cornbread, Fried catfish and hush puppies, macaroni and cheese, lobster roll, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, shrimp and grits, crawfish étouffée, jambalaya, The list goes on…

                            Can't decide? Not doing a buffet? Make them a Thanksgiving dinner; nothing could be more typically American. I wouldn't distinguish whether I was serving it to the French, Italians, or Chinese. Although we make them here and they've become part of our cuisine, I wouldn't serve our quiche to the French, our spaghetti and meatballs to the Italians, nor our stir-fries to the Chinese. Unless I were sure they would eat it and enjoy, I wouldn't serve anything heavy on dairy to the Chinese.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: mcsheridan

                              Totally agree. If there is one representative American dinner, it would be a beautifully-bronzed Thanksgiving turkey with stuffing/filling/dressing (depending on your background), gravy, cranberry relish, sweet potatoes and regional vegetable embellishments. Pecan, apple or pumpkin pie and a couple of good domestic wines? That will be something for them to write home about.

                              1. re: Chefpaulo

                                the French roast turkey with various stuffings (for Christmas, of course), and are absolutely mad for pecan pie.....

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  The english also do turkey dinners for Christmas

                                2. re: Chefpaulo

                                  I have to agree about Thanksgiving. Of my friends from abroad (even as close as Canada), the American meal they're the most interested in is Thanksgiving.

                                  1. re: Chefpaulo

                                    Sounds like the typical British "Christmas dinner" that I was treated to ad nauseum by vendors in the UK. Not sure the same is true in other parts

                                    1. re: Chefpaulo

                                      Very true. I made a full-dress Thanksgiving dinner here in Rome a few years ago, and my Italian guests were overwhelmed. I had recently been in Stockholm, where I bought US sweet potatoes. I had brought pecans from the US (I can find Karo here, with difficulty). I used the ancestral tablecloth and made everything as elegant as I could, another thing they weren't expecting from an American tradition. Italian turkeys are excellent, so that worked out nicely. The greatest satisfaction came later, when my cleaning lady, who had helped me stuff the turkey with my version of my Irish grandmother's stuffing, told me she had stuffed a capon similarly for her Neapolitan/Roman family for Christmas -- and they licked their chops.

                                      Then there was the terrace cookout last May. We had cole slaw and potato salad, hot dogs (which I had brought from New York), hamburgers, and barbecued ribs. Among the guests were some young teenagers, an Italian food anthropologist, and my Italian writing partner, Oretta Zanini De Vita. The young people and the food anthropologist liked everything. Oretta essentially damned with faint praise: she complimented the quality of the potatoes in the potato salad, which of course were Italian (Italian potatoes are excellent). The ribs were from our local pork butcher and were amazingly meaty and succulent, but none of the guests had ever seen them cooked slowly in barbecue sauce. They were a big hit. Dessert was homemade pecan pie. Everything was pretty much of a hit, but everything was a very high-quality, or at least homemade, version of its genre, and the person who showed the most enthusiasm was the food anthropologist.

                                  2. A traditional summer cookout - apparantly hotdogs are a novelty to many countries (don't bother to serve a US cookout to Australians, it's pretty much the same as an Aussie BBQ except with hotdogs instead of sausages)... or a clambake if they like seafood... or bbq with the fixins...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Kajikit

                                      +1 on the cookout. I have an acquaintance from Italy who was in the States for grad school. He says that one of his favorite "American" eating traditions is the cookout, even if it is just burgers and hot dogs. Sure, the Italians do it, but at places like the beach or on a camping trip, but not as a standard meal. Perhaps this is because Americans tend to have large back yards.

                                    2. Most of our International friends, regardless of nationality, are interested in a typical New England lobster boil when they come to visit so thats what we usually do. The next days it is lobster rolls for lunch.

                                      Other than that I don't really think about. I usually choose to cook what I do well and what I looks good at the time.

                                      1. We served sloppy joes to a group of guests from South Africa and Zimbabwe. They circled around the table a few times before one of them dared to ask, "What is this and how do we eat it"

                                        1. Big Ol' American Beefsteak. When my company entertained people visiting from overseas they always wanted to go to high end steak houses like Morton's Bern's & Capital Grille. Most can't get good beef @ home.

                                          1. Mexican . I guess typical American foods are a plethora of immigrants who brought their recipes to America and cooked with the ingredients available . There is a large influx of great Mexican food here in California. We would have to go out for that. I would leave cooking their cuisine to the pros. I never came across Mexican food in Italy.

                                            1. Real Tex-Mex in Texas the farther south the better. Certainly nothing north or northeast of Oklahoma.

                                              1. I would do what I think they won't have: our wonderful cheeses and artisan breads, salad of our native greens, lobster pot pie, Hudson Valley apple cobbler, our local hard ciders.
                                                Edit: cheeses and artisan breads from the Valley and Vermont. Vermont has some real bad-ass cheeses! Yum.

                                                19 Replies
                                                1. re: breadchick

                                                  do you really think bread and cheese would be novel for the italians or the french?

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                    Not bread chick but the cheese and bread you find in VT is very different than the local ones you can find in CA, MI and for that matter Italy or France, etc. It's not about it being novel, its about sharing local goodness.

                                                    Same with my example of a classic New England Lobster boil. Can any of those folks get lobster, clams, etc back home? Maybe, but there is something special, albeit not "novel", to eating ones caught right out your back door.

                                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                                      Agreed. There are some very great and unique cheeses being made in the US.

                                                      1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                        american cheesemaking is in its infancy and while there are some good ones, they don't hold a candle to those locally produced in france or italy. sorry.

                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                          I definitely that foreign cheeses are better, but there are some very good cheeses here as well. This country is still in its infancy compared to Europe.

                                                          1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                            and most Europeans, IME, are at least curious to try what is being produced in other countries.

                                                            They don't expect one of the lesser-known Bries...but they're quite interested to try (and often impressed by) cheeses produced in the US.

                                                            Same with wine - French wines are terrific, but French buyers have to access to things like a good-quality California zinfandel, so they're quite happy to drink California wines, as it's something different and new to explore.

                                                          2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                            there is some absolutely fantastic cheese coming out of Lancaster County, PA and I am sure other places like VT - much of it holds up very well to fine European cheese, the quality of dairy from these regions is outstanding as is the craft - it would definitely be on my list to share with visitors. There is a great variety and many of the cheeses being produced are quite different than those that may be available in europe - it's like saying you would never share a California or Oregon wine with a Frenchman - silly. Its not about who is "better" it is about enjoying food and drink that has terrior. It is about enjoying the differences not making 1:1 comparisons.

                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                              Does the best milk in America hold a candle to the best milk in France?

                                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                                haven't had a glass of milk in decades, so no idea. :)

                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                  It depends.

                                                                  It's all but impossible to buy unpasteurized and/or unhomogenized milk in the US, so you have to restrict it to supermarket milk.

                                                                  Yeah, I'd say that supermarket milk is pretty much the same in both countries.

                                                                  But...when you throw in the ability to buy a glass bottle of whole, unhomogenized milk (yes, you have to shake it so the cream is dispersed back into the milk) -- oh baby, there's no comparison.

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    Like hell it is. The radioactive milk from Utah is horrid. I'd run the best milk in America against the best milk in Europe.

                                                                    You can buy unpasteurized milk around here, I think they just got that law changed. Or maybe it's still under the table.

                                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                                      It's by State - here in PA you can buy whole raw milk - the product that comes out of Lancaster County is outstanding - I would put Lancaster dairy against any in the world.

                                                                      I am not a milk drinker always found milk sort of gross - the raw milk here was a revelation - definitely the way it was meant to be.

                                                                      1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                        Lancaster County milk is the third best in the Western Hemisphere...
                                                                        (Hershey's now Sucks because they're using mexican milk. blech).

                                                                      2. re: Chowrin

                                                                        If you already knew the answer, then why did you ask?

                                                                        Laws about pasteurization vary widely by jurisdiction.

                                                              2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                Seriously, you're missing the point. I'll break it down for you: this isn't a contest about what country produces the best bread, cheeses, and so on. It's about highlighting exceptional regional foods.

                                                                Folks that have been working hard at their craft and have been baking, growing produce, and creating wonderful cheeses deserve recognition.

                                                                Would Thomas Keller refuse to serve CA wine, bread and/or cheeses if foreign guests were to book a table at The French Laundry - assuming that hell, they've already HAD this stuff so why bother?

                                                                Safe to assume not.

                                                                  1. re: breadchick

                                                                    Well said. A person who limits the food they serve to what they think of as "the best" production is really limiting themselves. If one is a cheese/bread/beer/seafood/etc lover I would think they would love to try something new.

                                                                    It's one of the reasons why I said earlier that I wouldn't really think (or over think) what I would serve to my European friends. I would prepare food I love and that I prepare well. Usually that means taking advantage of what fresh and local.

                                                                    Your Keller example is a wonderful one too. Imagine the American food scene if there were no innovative folks willing to expand the offering and instead insisted on importing everything?

                                                              3. I used to have Japanese clients. They were offered beef (this is Austin, Texas) but balked. They really wanted lighter fare, preferably seafood. We ended up with shrimp al mojo de ajo and beer followed by flan.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: tim irvine

                                                                  When we entertained clients or co-workers from out of town, the one thing they each requested was our deep-fried cheese curds. Sheesh. Award winning cheeses in Wisconsin, not to mention the best German sausages and beers but no, they really wanted to try the cheese curds. There's no accounting for taste. :>)

                                                                  1. re: elegraph

                                                                    I'd hit that, partly because cheese curds are a big part of poutine, one of Canada's few culinary inventions. I'd also keep an open mind to whatever else you suggested, but I have to admit 'German food and beer' wouldn't super excite me. Now if you said 'local craft brew and sausages' I'd probably be more immediately interested.

                                                                2. I'm tempted to say well done steak with ketchup, but I'll resist.
                                                                  My first thought was a Juicy Lucy and a milk shake since many Europeans I've met think Americans eat burgers from styrofoam trays on a daily basis, but that might not be haute enough. A clam bake is a good idea since French lobsters and clams pale in comparison to our Northeastern ones, as well as fresh sweet corn. Spuds are spuds, so no ground gained there.

                                                                  1. Since much of the world is very interested in how Americans live, I'd ask my guests what American foods sound like things they want to try. It might vary from one country to another.
                                                                    Heck, Americans themselves are curious about the signature foods of regions other than their own!

                                                                    Hot dogs and apple pie are quintessential American favorites but I'll bet a Ugandan would find them more exotic than a German would.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                      that would be the best start -- ask!

                                                                      Most of my European visitors request steak, buffalo chicken, and barbecue -- things that are very, very different flavor profiles.

                                                                      All of Europe has hot dogs and apple pie...

                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                        Same here. I have had had several "batches" of European visitors this year. All have asked for steak & BBQ....as well as Mexican food, pizza -and most have been fascinated with all the variety and quantity of fruit here (West Coast).

                                                                    2. Me, lengua or carnitas tacos, pinto beans, fresh corn tortillas, and cold beer.

                                                                      1. I would be more inclined to adapt the menu to the seasons than the nationality of my guests. Italians recognize delicious food no less than the French or Chinese.

                                                                        Were I serving dinner tonight, I'd be highlighting the best of heartland produce. We'd start with a slice of tomato pie with gooey pimento cheese while we lazed on the porch with a pitcher of lemonade. A small bowl of chilled corn and buttermilk soup with tarragon would come out before we started on our mains: bacon wrapped trout with macque choux, fried green tomatoes, hushpuppies and coleslaw. If they still have room for dessert, a seasonal blueberry buttermilk pie should be just enough to satisfy anyone's sweet tooth.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: JungMann

                                                                          Oh... tomato pie. Is that a thing in the heartland too?
                                                                          Adding pimento cheese sounds suspiciously South Carolina :->

                                                                          I'd probably have to go with a corn and shrimp chowder w/scallions. And some fried catfish (after soaking in buttermilk) - I'm w/you on the macque choux and everything else.
                                                                          Maybe almond white pound cake with muscadine sauce or sliced fresh peaches.
                                                                          For somebody in the heartland this is sure soaked in the south!
                                                                          sounds great. where are you?

                                                                          1. re: kariin

                                                                            I'm from Illinois, but was lucky enough to have an uncle from Louisiana who taught me all about Southern cooking. Hushpuppies and coleslaw are a local favorite with fried fish, but the macque choux and buttermilk pie are all his. Oddly enough I grew up eating pimento cheese because it is popular in the Philippines where my mother is from.

                                                                          2. re: JungMann

                                                                            Exactly. I think the answer to this question is to serve whatever is seasonal and regional to one's area. Whether one's area is known for seafood, beef, game, a vegetable or fruit or whatever, make a dish with that in the way that would typically be prepared in your region, and if it's something seasonal, so much the better. It makes no sense for someone to serve something perceived as generically "all-American" to a foreigner who can probably find a better rendition of it elsewhere on his travels in America. Cook what your grandma cooked, or an updated version thereof if you prefer. That is what will be most endearing to foreign guests.

                                                                            1. re: LorenzoGA

                                                                              Well said.
                                                                              I think is is exactly what we all hope for when we are traveling. Authentic Local Dishes

                                                                              1. re: LorenzoGA

                                                                                > Cook what your grandma cooked

                                                                                My grandma was the only Jewish grandmother in America that couldn't cook. Remember the old Chef Boyardee pizza in a box kits? Grandma made them taste like ketchup on cardboard. I think she put in the box. *grin*

                                                                                1. re: Auspicious

                                                                                  Nope, that is what it tastes like.

                                                                            2. Depends on what you are comfortable preparing...........

                                                                              If I were in New Jersey......a Taylor Pork Roll sandwich
                                                                              Cincinnati.............Getta for breakfas lunch, Chili 5 ways
                                                                              Kansas City Arthur Bryant's style BBQ and Ribs
                                                                              Minneapolis a Juicy Lucy
                                                                              New Orleans.....take your pick
                                                                              Maryland/Va. Steamed blue crabs
                                                                              Florida Stone, Crab Claws,(in season) deep water Grouper,(yellow edge)
                                                                              a "Downeast" Maine style lobster boil
                                                                              Texas Hill Country, Smoked Sausage
                                                                              NYC Peter Lugar style 64oz dry aged Porterhouse Steak.

                                                                              and on and on.......

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                If you're going to lay a regional food on Minneapolis (or Minnesota for that matter) pleqse make it walleye and wild rice. The juicy lucy really is not ubiquitous in Minneapolis let alone the entire state.

                                                                              2. Potato skins. I *think* they are the most purely American food out there. If somebody knows of a different or shared origin, I'd like to hear about it.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                                  A baked Idaho potato is a very American food and need apologize to no one. Likewise corn on the cob.

                                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                                    Oooh! Fortune cookies would be fun to serve Chinese guests.

                                                                                  2. I would want to do two things - one show off whatever was - in season, local, and quality - here in PA right now this would involve some jersey tomatoes and sweet corn with some Lancaster county dairy. Then I would go BBQ, deep south style spicy sweet thing that we love so well here - probably smoked ribs or brisket maybe fried chicken or catfish - with all the bbq sides - slaws, pickles, potato salads and baked beans etc

                                                                                    I would serve this casually make your own plate format that is so common here preferably outdoors with COLD local beer and iced tea

                                                                                    for dessert - peach pie, pecan pie and ice cream

                                                                                    and there would be bourbon somewhere in there too and probably oysters

                                                                                    The next day I would take them out to Brunch - a debaucherous mimosa fueled, maple syrup drowned, crispy waffles and breakfast sausage and bacon day killing American brunch.

                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                      Love the brunch description, so true.

                                                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                        ew, not brunch. Brunch buffets are overpriced, greasy, very mediocre food served at just barely above room temperature.

                                                                                        Eggs and sauces don't hold well under heat lamps. Blergh.

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          If JTPhilly is taking them to Parc, he's got nothing to worry about (tho I believe it's not a buffet).

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            Not to mention that the whole idea of "brunch"--a lazy meal based on hearty American breakfast foods around noontime--might not appeal to some foreigners, so be prepared. (Of course, this could be said for any of the suggestions in this thread, as not everything will appeal to everyone.) My own attempt at introducing some foreign guests to the concept of brunch was met with bewilderment. Maybe my guests just weren't very adventurous. Boo. It isn't as though they were here to learn about American customs--I was just trying to show them something we do here.

                                                                                            1. re: LorenzoGA

                                                                                              Where did your foreign guests come from that the concept of brunch was unknown to them?

                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                I didn't use the word "unknown." They speak fluent English and travel all over the world and had certainly come across the word before. However, when I took them to brunch they had never actually experienced a brunch in America. They just didn't "get" the concept.

                                                                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              I would not go to a brunch buffet - I would go to a fantastic neighborhood joint - I have mine picked out for all visitors - but everyone has one - its tucked on a row-house bock down by the river, old neighborhood blue collar types, young hipsters and suburban adventures crowd the place and the food is freaking excellent - and it's BYOB. If said foreign guest could not appreciate it's their loss. I would choose this place for the food, for the atmosphere and because it really is representational of where I live.

                                                                                              If I still lived in Houston it would be chicken and waffles or something "fabulous" in the Montrose

                                                                                        2. meatloaf with mashed potatoes rich gravy and peas topped with lots of butter, apple pie for dessert, milk.

                                                                                          fried chicken, mashed potatoes rich gravy, corn on the cob slathered in butter, chocolate ice cream, iced tea.

                                                                                          cheeseburger with fries and cole slaw, coke.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                              you're invited for any of the above, any day :)

                                                                                          1. Rib eye steak with baked potato and steamed asparagus.

                                                                                            1. Smoked pork butt, cole slaw, Hasselback potatoes... maybe. But definitely something from my smoker. Regardless of whether my guests are French, Italian or Chinese.

                                                                                              1. I'd serve what I find to be absent elsewhere but delicious here.

                                                                                                Just now: fried chicken, barbecue meats, corn on the cob, cole slaw.

                                                                                                Also, Europeans nor anyone elsewhere seem to have what we all know as pies, like plain old Apple Pie. It's not a tart, or anything like what they'd know.

                                                                                                Steaks from the grill.

                                                                                                Peanut Butter cookies.

                                                                                                Zucchini Bread.


                                                                                                20 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                  please don't tell the folks in the UK and Ireland that they don't know what an apple pie is. They do, and they're good.

                                                                                                  Blueberries are grown across many parts of Europe.

                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                    Quite right Sunshine. I had a slice of apple pie for dessert in a pub only on Sunday, not apple tart but a slice of an actual pie. Also being from London where pie and mash is an institution I can vouch for the fact the pie is alive and well in the UK.

                                                                                                    To answer the original question I'd like some good , dry Memphis barbecue ribs rather then the stuff we get in the UK that's slathered in too much sickly sauce.

                                                                                                    1. re: Paprikaboy

                                                                                                      want me to post you some dry rub?

                                                                                                      I can't help you with the barbecue equipment, but I know Weber and Charbroil both sell in the UK...I could post you a couple of bottles of rub, or there are recipes out there...

                                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                      Fair enough! I just speak from knowing an Italian and a Serb who had never seen pies as we do them in the USA. As for blueberries: I just never recall eating them or seeing them when I lived in Europe (2 years), but they are here in Indiana, quite perfect and ubiquitous, this time of year.

                                                                                                      I appreciate the information.

                                                                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                        Blueberries are really big in Poland. Oh, they are the same size, but I mean ubiquitous and popular, with blueberry pierogies being very common.

                                                                                                        1. re: Steve

                                                                                                          ...and a big Polish pottery theme ;-)

                                                                                                        2. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                          No worries -- when we lived in France, we used to head for the you-pick for gorgeous berries of all types, including fat, luscious blueberries.

                                                                                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                            Pie, as understood in the US, made in a slope-sided pie pan, is unknown in Italy. The British Isles could be expected to have fruit pies similar to ours (the special relationship!), and I don't know about Germany and Austria, source of much of our excellent dessert tradition, but apple, peach, blueberry pies -- not here. Pecans don't grow here (Italy), but I have made pecan-style pies with local walnuts (and tried to evade questions that would lead to Karo syrup). Torta della nonna (custard, lemon rind, pine nuts), torta di ricotta, and the like have a crust and a filling, but they are not what we would identify as pies.

                                                                                                            1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                              fruit pies in France and Germany typically are only one crust, but that crust is the same as an American pie crust, then frequently with a crumble- or streusel-type topping, so I'll give it to the "pie" category.

                                                                                                              Then you have the French pie without a pan at all -- a galette is fruit piled in the middle of the pie crust, then the crust folded back over the fruit to contain the juices. Kind of primitive, but definitely a pie.

                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                I'm inclined to call them all tarts. There's no question that the concept of fruit and crust is well-established in Europe, and they are indeed morally pies, but just try to find a slope-sided pie pan. Certainly the word "pie" covers a lot of ground, but within the narrow definition of crust (double, single, or lattice) + filling + (crucially) slope-sided pan, I think we're talking about an American dish.

                                                                                                                In Italy, the only cuisine about which I'm qualified to make pronouncements, the crostata (open fruit tart) crust, pasta frolla, is not the same as an American pie crust. It's much thicker, more like shortbread. Pâte brisée (pasta brisa) is more like American crust (and it's what I use for my quinquennial pumpkin and pecan pies) and is used in Italian cooking. But flaky truly American crust, made with Crisco, is still different, though we are getting here into areas in which I am decidedly not expert. I made a peach pie once and my Italian guests thought it was exotic, but given my experience (lack of), anybody might have.

                                                                                                                The Italian vocabulary of cakes, pies, savory pies, and the like does not include a word specifically for anything English speakers would recognize as pie. Torta and pizza are about it, and both cover many different things, including cakes of all kinds and even a very tall cheese bread known in parts of Umbria as pizza di Pasqua. In that case you can't translate pizza as pie -- has to be bread.

                                                                                                                But I think certain specific pies, i.e., fillings, have to be considered American specialties, even if the edges of the whole genre are blurry.

                                                                                                                1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                  but will most any European guest be familiar with fruit baked into a flaky lard-based crust? Yes.

                                                                                                                  (and yes, brisee is the same as American pie crust -- brisee is usually better, though, because they haven't developed a lard phobia, so the crust is lighter and flakier)

                                                                                                                  1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                    It's a british tradition, you'd find it in scandinavia too.

                                                                                                                2. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                  england is where pies come from, for goodness sakes!

                                                                                                              2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                Apple pie, with cheese, is very traditional in northern England. Of course, I presume Americans didnt invent the pie but brought it with them when they emigrated from Britain.

                                                                                                                On the subject of blueberries, it's only in the last couple of years that the UK has grown a commercial crop. Should mean we become less depenedent on imports from Eastern Europe where there are extensive crops.

                                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                  isn't cheddar the cheese most commonly put on apple pie? (not the way i had it growing up and it still seems very weird to me, but whatever).

                                                                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                    Traditionally, in northern England, it'd be whatever your local cheese was - so Cheshire, Lancashire or Wensleydale. Cheddar comes from south west England - I'm not sure if it's traditional to have it with apple pie there.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                      *swoons at the mention of gorgeous cheese from oop norf*

                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                        I believe I saw it offered on a Menu in Cheddar just this past April. Not that that means it is typical for the area.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                      an awful lot of what is now considered traditional American food came from Europe with the flows of immigration.

                                                                                                                      Apple pie is but one...

                                                                                                                      (now if we'd jut managed to hang on to treacle tart and jugs of custard to pour over desserts...)

                                                                                                                  2. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                    Japanese love corn on the cob, just sayin'

                                                                                                                  3. Comfort foods like hamburger, fried chicken and mac and cheese but I'd use the best ingredients i can find to make them. I'd also do good quality grilled steak and grilled corn.
                                                                                                                    Of course, they love the simply grilled lobsters which are usually very expensive where they are.

                                                                                                                    1. What I'd focus on is local and seasonal food, not gimmicky tourist stuff.
                                                                                                                      Now, I'd make crab cakes (local to me) with sweet corn and tomatoes, followed by fruit cobbler.

                                                                                                                      1. As evidenced by the numerous responses offering various preparations, there is no "Typical American Food"; just as there is not "Typical Italian, nor German, French, Mexican, etc. What we see in the responses is that there is a wealth of Regional dishes that have varied ingredients, ethnic influences, and geographical considerations.
                                                                                                                        There are stereotypical preparations that are associated with different regions/countries/ethnicities, but do not reflect the true depth and richness of the cultures and their indiginous foods.

                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                          I disagree that there aren't typical foods that are well known in America.
                                                                                                                          America is really, really good at some foods, like fried chicken, apple pie, burgers and of course, que.
                                                                                                                          As a nation, we are darn proud, if not crazed, with these foods.
                                                                                                                          Of course there are regional foods, but the above I'd call American.

                                                                                                                          As American as apple pie, in fact.

                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                            My knee jerk reaction (as an American) to the list of the above three items is both strongly yes and no. Growing up in LA and Cincinnati, those were all dishes I'd have pretty rarely. Maybe this was because I had hippie health food parents - but it wasn't because I was first generation or came from a strong ethnic background food wise.

                                                                                                                            Also, I find that tourists from abroad have very different food ideas about visiting the US. I have a friend from London who's visiting me in DC with her German boyfriend and the main food request they have is Mexican and Ethiopian food.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                              Right, maybe visitors don't want American food and would prefer cultural foods that are done really, really good in certain regions of our country.
                                                                                                                              In DC, ethiopian is an example of that.

                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                I grew up in NYC. "Fried Chicken" was not a commonly eaten dish, grits were unheard of and cheesecake was preferred over apple pie, just Regional differences. I guess one could say the truly "American" dish, known everywhere Coast to Coast is .........a McDonalds Big Mac and fries.

                                                                                                                                1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                  I think most of the responses here are regional, but American food is the notion of hot dogs, burgers and apple pie.
                                                                                                                                  I'm not from the South, so fried chicken wasn't big where I grew up. Still, it's American.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                    Correct that is a stereotype. Just like all Germans eat Bratwurst, or all Italians eat pasta and drink straw basket Chianti.

                                                                                                                              2. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                Indeed, Mexican food especially is a commonplace in USA cities and a rarity in most other parts of the world. When I (an American) lived in Europe two years, I missed Mexican food more than anything else.

                                                                                                                                I've had and loved Ethiopian, but it's never been common enough here for me to get a "habit."

                                                                                                                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                  We are so lucky to live in an area (DC- Northern VA) where we have a huge variety of ethnic foods.
                                                                                                                                  I'd miss it so much, but then, I'm sure I'd learn to cook some of these things at home.

                                                                                                                                  Tonight, in fact, we're ordering Thai.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                    I've lived in many places, including a year in Alexandria City, VA. I think of Northern VA (and also the D.C. area--Ethiopian Adams Morgan) as making up one of the best multi-ethnic food locations I've ever seen. The only competition for quality and variety THAT I KNOW OF is LA, very much including the San Bernardino Valley east of LA, which has Chinese, Mexican and other things going on. God, I miss D.C. and Northern VA. And LA....

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                      I'd really miss our ethnic eats and farmers markets, which are incredible here.
                                                                                                                                      We are lucky.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                        Houston is now the most ethnically diverse city in the country and has the restaurants to represent. The nations second largest Vietnamese population is here, a sprawling Chinatown that goes on for several miles, the Mahatma Gandhi district, authentic Mexican and real Tex-Mex.


                                                                                                                                    2. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                      I think that all of this relates to what people have had, what they like, and what interests them. My friends who are visiting, I originally met them when we all lived in Jerusalem which has a sizeable Ethiopian community and some great restaurants. They have also traveled fairly extensively through Latin America, and really can't get Mexican food that they enjoy so much in Europe. Not that DC is a Mexican hotspot either, but it is compared to London.

                                                                                                                                      That being said, if I had another English and German visitor a week later, I wouldn't assume that they'd want the same things.

                                                                                                                              3. I guess my question is why you "have" to serve a typical American dinner to foreigners? Are they coming to dinner and did they ask for typical American fare?

                                                                                                                                I agree, it depends on where you live. It's August and I would go with the local foods. For me that's corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon. If they eat meat some chicken or hamburgers on the grill. If vegetarian I would do some sort of grilled pizza.

                                                                                                                                Dessert would be some kind of fruit shortcake, whatever is good now, maybe peaches or blueberries.

                                                                                                                                1. Live in Houston, from Philly. Here I might serve tex-mex, BBQ, etouffee, gumbo, jambalaya. In Philly cheesesteaks, blue crabs, bluefish, blackfish, scrapple, soft pretzels. Not everything in one dinner though.

                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: absurdnerdbird

                                                                                                                                    We have lot's of blue crabs in Houston but with a few exceptions you have to cook them yourself. Also boiled crawfish in season.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                      Where does meatloaf w/mashed potatoes and brown gravy fit in, I have never seen that standard American family dinner anywhere else.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                        I'm not the meatloaf poster ospreycove.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                          The French put the mashed potatoes on top of the meatloaf and call it hachis parmentier.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: absurdnerdbird

                                                                                                                                        Oy, scrapple? are you trying to send them home LOL

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                          Goetta!!! That is Scrapple with a good upbringing!!!

                                                                                                                                          (A Northern Ky, Cincinnati area local product, it is Scrapple with Steel cut oats added to the mix, in place of the cornmeal(?) in Scrapple.) Not bad at all!!!

                                                                                                                                      3. ,I guess I'm a bit more plebian......"typical" America to me, at least in August, would be outside. BBQ going if necessary. Foods, depending on where you live, might include Hot Dogs, Brats, maybe Burgers.....regionally....Fried clams take out (w/Bellies!!!!!) Lobster Roll, Crab Cakes, Cheesesteaks, Ribs (might hold that on the Chinese) Fried chicken, Hush puppies,,,,and yes......definitely! Corn on the Cob, Fresh Farmers Mkt Tomatoes with Basil and maybe oil and vinegar, Coleslaw....stun them with Tater-tots. Beer wine soft drinks from a cooler.

                                                                                                                                        For dessert..eschew the apple pie, unless served NE style with Cheddar Cheese(ok for the Chinese I guess, the French and Italians..........??????). Go for what is local....Shoo fly, oreo cream, I/C sundae or banana split.....etc

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                                                          this is posted by an american teaching in china and it is hilarious.

                                                                                                                                          chinese kids react to "regional american foods":


                                                                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                            that's so funny, I wish she has posted more!

                                                                                                                                        2. I would take them someplace where they could get Americanized versions of their own cuisine. I would love to take a Chinese person to PF Chang's.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                              only if I knew them very, very well, and they understood that it was a joke.

                                                                                                                                              Used to drive me bonkers when I called on customers in the UK, and they'd proudly take me to TGI Fridays.....noooooooooooo!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                I went to an Applebee's in Kuwait City. It might have been the worst thing I have ever seen.

                                                                                                                                            2. I wouldn't vary what I. Made whether they were French, Chinese or Italian.....as long as they were open to Americanized food, I'd make:
                                                                                                                                              Thanksgiving dinner
                                                                                                                                              BBQ pork sandwiches
                                                                                                                                              My moms RI chowder and clam cakes
                                                                                                                                              Lobster rolls
                                                                                                                                              Crab cakes
                                                                                                                                              Macaroni & cheese - homemade w four cheeses
                                                                                                                                              Roast leg of lamb dinner
                                                                                                                                              Beef brisket
                                                                                                                                              Homemade chili
                                                                                                                                              Tex mex like fajitas
                                                                                                                                              Plus some all American pies like apple, cherry, peach, strawberry

                                                                                                                                              1. Referring to the OP, if you were wanting to showcase your own typical foods, why would you think that you might serve different if they were French, Italian or Chinese.

                                                                                                                                                If we had guests from those countries, America, or anywhere else, they'd be dining on seasonal local produce as that's what we'd want to showcase. OK, not the local pork for which my county is well known if they were coming from a Muslim country. But, other than thta, you'd all be getting the same great meal. I'd like to hope that if I'd been invited to dinner somewhere in America, we'd be getting the same local flavour to the meal - I'd enjoy that more than anything else.

                                                                                                                                                1. Well, if they were coming TODAY, we'd take them to the Minnesota State Fair. We'd share walleye cakes, smelt fry, cheese curds, a gizmo sandwich, a milk shake, a 1919 root beer float, corn on the cob, a pronto pup (which is like a corn dog, but the breading is wheat based), fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles, all you can drink milk, a bucket of sweet martha's choc chip cookies, the awesome turkey sandwich, elk burgers, chicken fried bacon, walleye mac and cheese, honey sunflower seed ice cream, spam bites, buttermilk mini scones with peaches, key lime pie on a stick, Dough-sant croissant style donut, and everything weird on a stick (especially tater tot hotdish on a stick). (This is a link to fair vendors who sell foods on sticks--there are many other food vendors, of course, too:) http://www.mnstatefair.org/find/food/...

                                                                                                                                                  In addition to the above, if they were Chinese we'd definitely have to stop by the Chinatown Minnesota booth and partake in the most authentically Minnesotan cream cheese wonton and maybe Teriyaki Ostrich on-a-stick and pork and cabbage egg roll on-a-stick.


                                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                    Can I come? I think a State Fair would be a very good way to show visitors a glimpse of regional fare (and lots of other stuff).

                                                                                                                                                    What is a walleye cake, BTW?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                      Please do come! And I'm not even kidding. I would show you the ropes!

                                                                                                                                                      A walleye cake is kind of like a crab cake. http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2014/...


                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                        Next year... Worldwide Chowdown at the Fair! All Chowhounds welcome! Golly that would be fun.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                          Yes! Here's your invitation everyone: Aug 27 - Sept 7 2015: http://www.mnstatefair.org/

                                                                                                                                                          And, here's the food finder: http://www.mnstatefair.org/fair_finde...


                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                            TDQ if you are serious about this email me (it's in my profile) and we can organize a worldwide Minnesota State Fair Chowdown (with other attractions and Chowdowns possible). I'll even offer up my office/2nd bedroom for any out of town 'Hound who wants to make the journey (fair warning - I'm a vegetarian with booze and leftovers in the freezer).

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                              Heck yeah! I'll drop you a note. If nothing else, it would be a good reason for you and I to get together for lunch one of these days (Himalayan on Franklin?) and discuss!


                                                                                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                      Key lime pie on a stick - now, THAT is something I would love to try. (Among all the other food you listed.)

                                                                                                                                                      I think I remember Garrison Keillor mentioning all the food-on-a-stick once on PHC.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: breadchick

                                                                                                                                                        OMG...here in Florida, they dip a piece of key lime pie in dark chocolate ganache.

                                                                                                                                                        It's enough to make your head spin. All that sweet-tart-silky going on is awesome.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                          Like sugarplums dancing in my head, thanks for the food lust. :)

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                        Why not get them one of the German Rootbeer floats? ; )

                                                                                                                                                      3. My mother's matzoh ball soup.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Some things that come to mind...

                                                                                                                                                          Beef & noodles
                                                                                                                                                          Chicken & dumplings
                                                                                                                                                          Spaghetti casserole
                                                                                                                                                          Sloppy joes
                                                                                                                                                          Potato salad
                                                                                                                                                          Iced tea
                                                                                                                                                          Apple or pecan pie
                                                                                                                                                          Chocolate chip cookies
                                                                                                                                                          Frozen custard
                                                                                                                                                          Anything I can get fresh at the farmer's market

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kagemusha49

                                                                                                                                                              Me. Gotta be from Texas or Oklahoma, gravy on the side, or my version, also from Texas.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                Naturally it has to be from OK/TX with that great white peppery sausage gravy.

                                                                                                                                                            2. General thoughts:

                                                                                                                                                              Featuring our fish and shellfish, and local seasonal (or beautifully pickled/preserved) vegetables (especially vegetables and legumes and grains that are indigenous to the New World), would be important if you lived in a part of the US with access to good sources; I would omit or go very light on the dairy for the Chinese, and be more circumspect with cheese for the French and Italians than American buffet tables would be. I would not bother with our chicken at all, period, except fried or smoked; roasted, baked or poached, it's just a pallid affair compared to what they could get in their respective countries. Consider our rich traditions of slowly smoked meats (domesticated cattle and swine, of course, but also game, which has a more local terroire, as it were), but serve more modest portions. For desserts, go with simpler, classical vernacular offerings.

                                                                                                                                                              For drink, America can offer good selections of fermented beverages (wines, beers and ciders).

                                                                                                                                                              1. I really have no real reasons for these just thought it might be fun.
                                                                                                                                                                French - Fried Chicken with Mac and Cheese and cole slaw

                                                                                                                                                                Italian - Bacon Wrapped jalapeno poppers with pulled pork sandwich

                                                                                                                                                                Chinese - a platter of New York Pizza and a platter of Chicago Deep Dish

                                                                                                                                                                Greek - Hot Chicken Wings with blue Cheese Dressing, celery and fries

                                                                                                                                                                Mexican - Spaghetti and Meatballs with garlic bread

                                                                                                                                                                Japanese - Chicago style Hotdogs and onion rings

                                                                                                                                                                Indian - Vegetarian Lasagna

                                                                                                                                                                African - Meatloaf with mash potatoes and corn

                                                                                                                                                                1. No matter where in the US I was living, I'd serve a nice grilled porterhouse, corn on the cob, roasted baby red potatoes and a mixed green salad with a variety of cold beers. That's the meal that screams "America" to me.
                                                                                                                                                                  Oddly enough, my Thai exchange student from a few years ago took home a deep and abiding love of Buffalo wings and rice krispie treats. The burger never really caught on with her.

                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                    I could see why a Thai exchange student would love buffalo wings. Their cuisine is quite spicy it makes so much sense and so does the rice krispies. Without trying to sound like I'm generalizing rice is a staple to them and this would be a cool new take to her.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                                                      A lot of her new favorites did make quite a bit of sense to me. Unfortunately, the poor kid was lactose intolerant so a lot of America's dairy goodies were out. When she visited last year, she took home several bottles of Frank's Red Hot :)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                        My Brother in law is allergic to dairy although he can tolerate small amounts of butter or sub in margarine. But one of his favorite desserts is rice krispie treats as well. I think it gives him the feeling he's eating something dairy a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                        What about candy He always loved sweet and sour candies since he couldn't indulge in chocolates.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                                                          She loves candies, and other salty snacks like popcorn. She could tolerate some butter but we found out about pizza and cheeseburgers by trial and error. I'll visit her for the second time over Christmas, and a cooking class is planned. Should be fun :)

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                      At a carry-in for computer science graduate students, rice krispie treats were a big hit with our foreign students as well. Other happy choices included Chex Mix, oatmeal cookies and some cookie with corn flakes, leading one Indian student to ask if the use of breakfast cereal in Christmas cooking was traditional.

                                                                                                                                                                      Apparently it is.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DebinIndiana

                                                                                                                                                                        In India they are a ingredient in many savory/sweet/spicy snack Mixes called Namkeen Corn Flakes and Crisped Rice in particular.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chefj

                                                                                                                                                                          I would love them -- the Chex Mix was my contribution.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DebinIndiana

                                                                                                                                                                            We have some at right now that are Crazy Hot

                                                                                                                                                                    3. burgers, baby back ribs, cornbread, hushpuppies, fried shrimp & grouper.

                                                                                                                                                                      not all at once, of course. we'd make it a "country house" weekend!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. We've often hosted international visitors. Some we know and others are strangers to us at the onset. I always ask about dietary restrictions as well as likes and dislikes.
                                                                                                                                                                        A teenager from the Republic of Georgia would have eaten *anything* and was a delight to feed. We had a rather picky young man whose face lighted when I announced steak for dinner. Another from Beijing loved blue cheese burgers which I found odd but was happy to comply. A Russian man ate Cheddar cheese by the pound - 2 pounds at one sitting!

                                                                                                                                                                        You can see that the answers are all over the place. Since we live in the SW of the USA, I assume that many visitors would like to sample Mexican food. Some yes, some no. Fried chicken? Again, some yes, some no, thank you. Ask.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Also Desserts

                                                                                                                                                                          French - Key Lime Pie

                                                                                                                                                                          Italian - S'mores

                                                                                                                                                                          Thailand - Rice Krispie Treats (Thanks Alligator)

                                                                                                                                                                          African - Banana Pudding

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                                                            Everybody is getting barbecue. Ribs, pork steaks, mac n' cheese, slaw, cornbread, maybe some corn on the cob if it is in season. Strawberry shortcake for dessert. Looks like I'm hosting my international guests in late June...hope it isn't too hot outside, and remind me to spray for mosquitoes.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. A friend from Germany who is in the food biz, (Master Chef Title) visits here often,another person said "OH there is a wonderful German deli here where they have fine German wines and beers, their own sausages, cured meats, blah, blah blah". My friend replied "Hey, when I am in Florida I want Bud Light and Red Snapper!!"

                                                                                                                                                                            17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                              In my experience, chefs everywhere want Bud Light and Snapper in their time off, or just any good, common chow on hand.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                                                I think that goes for the Beer as well. We want good and/or local Brew not mass produced Swill/Piss Water.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                  A German *chef* who asked for Bud Light? I don't know what part I find most appalling in that sentence.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                    LOL I think, my friend, Heinz is just a "I want to fit into the local culture food fanatic."

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                      Germans. Always trying to fit in '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                      I dunno - if you go abroad, you see Germans drink all sorts of dubious local beers…..

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                        I am one of those Germans, but a bud light has never crossed these lips.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                          there's a reason it rhymes with sh1te

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                        a German engineer who was a customer liked drinking ice-cold Bud Light when he was visiting my company in Florida in the summertime, because it was refreshing and ice-cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I never did opt to join him in his indulgence -- there are just some places I'll never go.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                          With so many drinks available that could be both ice-cold and refreshing, I will always pass on piss beer.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                            I wholeheartedly agree with you -- it was always sort of a horrid fascination to watch the guy order crappy beer.

                                                                                                                                                                                            If I go to a party and the only adult beverage available is a keg of piss beer, I simply won't drink.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                              That is what fascinated me about my friend Heinz, a Master Chef by training, now the V.P of restaurant ops. for a pricey boutique hotel chain in Germany. When in Fl it is always Bud Light and local fish!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                                  not really -- Bud Light doesn't exist in Germany (AB can only sell any of their beers as Bud, as Budvar in Czech Republic owns Budweiser in Europe)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  So since these guys were here on short trips, it's not all that likely that well-educated professionals could be swayed that easily (i.e., within days) by any marketing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm even with him on the local fish!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Have you introduced him to J. Dubs?

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Wood-Smoked BBQ
                                                                                                                                                                                        Masterful WINGS
                                                                                                                                                                                        SOUL FOOD, inc. Southern Fried Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie
                                                                                                                                                                                        Fabulous Hamburgers off The Grill (Icon of the U.S.)
                                                                                                                                                                                        Chesapeake crabs
                                                                                                                                                                                        Clams & Oysters from different regions
                                                                                                                                                                                        New England Clam Chowder
                                                                                                                                                                                        TURKEY is native to the U.S. (Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner anytime of the year)!

                                                                                                                                                                                        (NYC-Based Chowhound)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. The most common typical American food I'd serve is fried chicken.
                                                                                                                                                                                          If I lived in California, I'd serve visitors Crab Louis or Cobb Salad.
                                                                                                                                                                                          If I lived in NYC, I'd serve Balthazar's sticky buns.
                                                                                                                                                                                          If I lived in Maine or Massachusetts I'd serve lobster rolls.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Most of the American foods I'd want to serve are regional or started off regional.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. America is the land of plenty. I'd highlight the wines of California, oysters from both coasts, lobsters from Maine, crab, in season, from both coasts, line-caught salmon, whiskey from Tennessee or Kentucky, seasonal fruits from the best providers, produce from the best California providers. Game has always played a roll in our history. Quail?

                                                                                                                                                                                            At the end of the day, you're not going to wow your guests. You should, however, be able to neutralize pre-conceived ideas if you source the freshest stuff that's in season.

                                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the reminder -- American whiskey! Every one of our visitors from Asia has asked for Bourbon. "Enthusiastic consumers" would be my description of some of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yep. My wife and I lived in South Korea for three years. It went without saying that we would bring a bottle of whiskey when dining at someone's home.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Both coasts? The Gulf and the Atlantic. A lot of the blue crabs consumed in the east comes from the Gulf. Of Mexico. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Mexico, to be specific.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Amen to that. The best crab I ate this year was sourced off Florida's Amelia Island. Not to mention shrimp. I was being expedient but I stand corrected.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                                                                    There are a lot from North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey making up almost 50% of the total US Blue Crab Fishery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefj

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jersey crab cakes were a revelation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        For me there are none better than MD

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chefj

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm an omnivore. My wife and I are both sailors. I used to work for Times Mirror so I spent a lot of time at the Baltimore Sun. As sailors, Deb and I would leave our home port in Stamford, Connecticut and sail along the coast. Lots of good eats along the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds lovely, My folks also Sail out of (as well as reside) Annapolis. No doubt the whole Coast has great Seafood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I left off line caught red snapper from The Gulf of Mexico and Gulf and bay shrimp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Several years ago, I was getting on a small plane on a flight from Baton Rouge to Memphis and a young lady was struggling with getting her bag into the overhead compartment. I jumped up to help her -- and almost got knocked down by the weight of her bag. Together, we managed to get it into the bin with some difficulty. She thanked and sat down in the seat next to mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It turned out that she was a Swiss girl going home from spending her senior year in high school as an exchange student in a Baton Rouge suburban high school. I asked her, "If you don't mind my asking, what's in that incredibly heavy bag?" "Oh, Bisquick, I love American biscuits, and you can't get this stuff in Switzerland. I love American food ... We NEED Sonic in Switzerland. But I have gained 25 pounds this year."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    At the risk of overgeneralizing from a sample of one, I'd feed my foreign visitors an American breakfast: Homemade biscuits slathered in butter and then returned to the over to brown, thick-cut bacon and sagey pork sausage patties, hash browns and grits, eggs sunny-side up, over easy, and scrambled, fresh squeezed orange juice, homemade pear preserves, strong coffee and Barry's tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It might seem routine and boring, but I've found in traveling around the world that breakfast is often the meal that is the most different and challenging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The above spread would also serve very well as my choice for my final dinner before my execution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mississippi Snopes

                                                                                                                                                                                                      A few years ago a German friend (exchange student) visited us with his wife. He had jet lag and got up early and ate some cold cuts and bread (a typical German breakfast). He of course had eaten a year's worth of American breakfasts but his wife had not. She had never before eaten pancakes with maple syrup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Fresh homemade donuts are what I would serve, or else hamburgers and grilled corn on the cob.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. the French houseguests who just departed thoroughly enjoyed the thick, juicy t-bones that I grilled for them at their request.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I do think that, if possible, you should keep in mind what nationalities you are cooking for. It would be so sad to cook or procure something you love and find they dont like it at all. For example, no French person I know likes pumpkin pie, peanut butter or Jello. They also think cinnamon in apple pie is odd and abundant portions turn them off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Just imagine if the shoe were on the other foot, and a typucal American was presented with a typical French dinner of snails, and sweetbreads or calf's head. Or grilled octopus by the Italians, or stinky tofu and hundred year old eggs by the Chinese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: vgorgue723

                                                                                                                                                                                                            They don't like the **idea** of pumpkin pie -- if they try it, they like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Peanut butter -- funny how every French supermarket carries peanut butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Jello? check the refrigerated case -- there's gelatin in cups with whipped cream....then head over to the baking aisle -- yep, there's powdered, flavored gelatin!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Abundant proportions? You've apparently never ordered cassoulet or mousse au chocolat in a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            escargots, sweetbreads, and tete de veau are absolutely NOT typical French meals. Couscous is one of the most common meals in French homes, according to recent surveys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I gotta say, I absolutely loathe pumpkin pie (tho I am not French) and cannot fathom peanut butter on bread, let alone with jam/jelly -- savory applications are a whole other animal and don't have much to do with "typical American food" anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              And you have to admit that in the average US restaurants, the meal portions are larger than in average French or German restaurants. That's why the idea (or necessity) of a doggy bag is such a strange concept to many Europeans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Agreed...just pointing out that large portions aren't exactly an unknown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I can find plenty of US-born Americans who don't like pumpkin pie, either --just like I found French folks who like the stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Reese's cups and peanut-butter cookies were pretty hot commodities when we lived in France...curiousity fueled the first bite, adoration fueled the rest of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Reese's and peanut butter cookies are their own food group :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They can't enter my house, save for Halloween :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ah, avoidance tactics!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For trade shows, I always filled the everpresent candy dish with Reese's. Made us very popular with the neighboring stands, and once the word got out, definitely drew people to the stand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agree, although I gotta say (taking this thread on a tangent), the portions in Munich were/are extremely generous, as generous as typical American restaurant portions. If I ordered a main, I didn't have room for soup, salad or dessert. So, I learned on my last visit, if I want to save room for dessert, I'll be remembering to stick with soup, salad or some sort of Kleine Gerichte as my main on future visits to Bavaria. This is why I'm always tempted to travel with spare Ziplocs in my handbag, as a gauche Canadian tourist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's likely true for more traditional or "bürgerliche" restaurants than it is for more modern places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In either country, you're not likely to leave the table hungry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think that restaurant portions aren't exactly the best way to surmise what works as a standard portion. I lived for a summer in Germany with a family, and on days when we'd eat lunch or dinner in a restaurant (where servings were large), the mother wouldn't eat for the rest of the day and would serve the rest of us small snacks for other meals. I was 13 at the time, and never put together if this was standard or just this family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Similarly, portion sizes in sit down Israeli restaurants can be huge - truly Cheesecake Factory large. But there's an implication that dishes will be shared.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So just because in a restaurant a salad is served on a platter fit for a Thanksgiving turkey doesn't necessarily reflect consumption patterns.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That being said - I guess thinking about this if I was hosting a meal where there would be guests from abroad attending who I knew very little about other than their country of origin and perhaps a sweeping generalization ('they eat everything!', 'they like American food!')- I would err on the side of preparing a meal to serve either buffet or family style so that individual diners would have more control over portion control. And in case any dish ended up being the proverbial pumpkin pie-peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it would be easier for a guest to avoid or take a very tiny serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In the four years since I'd been in France, I was astonished this year to find the portions in French restaurants to have grown substantially. I was also astonished to see a number of very heavyset French men and women providing camouflage for Americans like me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Discerning1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          that is sadly true -- at least they're aware of it (it's a constant topic in the press)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Discerning1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In a recent trip to France I had the opportunity to discuss the rising incidence of obesity with a doctor. What I got out of our discussion is that it is not my imagination that portions--and Frenchmen--are growing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Garrison Keillor once said (paraphrasing) that pumpkin pie is the epitome of mediocrity because the best pumpkin pie you've ever had is pretty much the same as the worst pumpkin pie you've ever had. I actually like pumpkin pie, but I kind of think Garrison is right. Usually even the ones where people slave over them and do them from scratch and add all kinds of spices aren't really that much better than the Libby's from the can. Except for the crust. A great crust always makes a huge difference.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't agree with that at all -- although I've found that the quantity of eggs is what makes the biggest flavor difference IME, followed by how "wet" the pumpkin is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, I agree that good eggs matter a lot. But, honestly, I really haven't found that fresh pumpkin makes much of an improvement, and it usually makes it worse because the pie ends up too watery.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                not *good* eggs -- the quantity -- 2 eggs lets the pumpkin flavor shine through and produces a pie that is far more popular in our circle. Most recipes call for 3, which gives a thicker filling, but softer and less-pronounced flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And yes, how "wet" the pumpkin is will affect the flavor, as I said. Draining it through a fine-mesh strainer will fix the issue. I prefer making the pumpkin myself, because I roast it in the oven, which gives a deep flavor to the pumpkin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have no doubt that any pumpkin pie you made, Sunshine, would be way better than the worst pumpkin pie I ever ate, but until I have a chance to try it for myself, I'm mostly going to back Garrison on this one.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: vgorgue723

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree with sunshine842. I don't think a dinner of snails, sweetbreads or calf's head would be too typical in France these days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you've got guests coming, better to go over the typical American specialties you've selected to make sure they'e ok with them, if you're going to be disappointed if/when they're not into whatever you purchased. When I've had French and German guests, sometimes they've liked what I've selected, other times they haven't. It's easy to include the guests while shopping, to see that they choose things that will appeal to their taste buds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In the past, some of my German guests did not like the idea of fresh corn on the cob, whereas I know at least one German expat Chowhound who likes fresh corn on the cob a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My most recent European guests seemed to like greasy spoon bacon & egg breakfasts, zucchini fritters and apple pie the most out of the fairly common foods we ate while they were visiting Ontario, Canada. I'd say apple pie was the food they sought out the most (which is as Canadian as it is American, if you ask any Canadian ;)).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When I visit California (I'm Canadian), all I really want to eat is crab, artichokes, Tri-Tip and Mexican food. My friends understand this, but for some reason, my Californian cousins believe everyone wants to eat Cal-Ital or California-style contemporary/continental food when visiting California. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think breakfast is dicey--it could go either way, with them loving it or hating it. Some Europeans I've encountered don't seem to care for the idea of a heavy meal to start the day. They appreciate the novelty, but in the end they admit they don't find it appealing. Of course, these are just a small sampling of people I've met, and your guests apparently loved "greasy spoon" breakfasts. Also, we shouldn't forget that the American breakfast is not unlike the English breakfast, with which some Europeans are already familiar, so it may not be a novelty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LorenzoGA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A full English breakfast and a pint to start the day is wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love it. Or an Irish breakfast. But it's my American bias.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I make a prawn version of a lobster roll for French guests (California, so no good lobster here). I serve some kind of sautéed greens...kale or beet greens or whatever is in season. It's astonishing how few greens the French eat, aside from salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Deep-fried chicken is always a hit, as is popcorn with truffle oil. American whole grain pancakes with caramelized fruit and real maple syrup has been a breakfast winner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My basic approach is to serve American dishes with a contemporary and whole foods twist. "American" food is so broad now and incorporates our tapestry of cultures, so a good huevos rancheros is as American as you-know-what kind of pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Discerning1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the French eat spinach, both cooked and fresh, chard, endives, tons of cabbage in multiple forms and cooking methods, mache (especially in winter), various Chinese veggies (bok choy is quite common)-- and the variety of lettuces they consume as salad would make the average US consumer's head spin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I guess my French friends who are astounding gourmets and cooks have different habits than those you know. In my experience, an average French restaurant has rarely seen a leafy green.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Discerning1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              where have you been eating? or shopping? Is it not possible that my French friends could also be outstanding gourmets and cooks?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              all of those things are pretty common in all the French restaurants we ate at, the French homes to which we were invited, and the markets (both plein-aire and supermarkets) that I shopped in while we lived there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Discerning1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's difficult to generalize about the eating habits and/or tastes of 65.7+ million French people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My cousin is a French vegetarian, and she likes greens. I'm not sure if an Expat French vegetarian's likes or dislikes should be included as an anecdotal evidence to support whether French people in France or elsewhere like to eat greens (or not).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  kinda goes along with the comment above about not extrapolating upscale restaurant meals to reflect everyday family fare, as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In fact, I have eaten these things in French homes, not restaurants. Not all in the same meal, I admit, but I was talking about a hypothetical situation. In Catalan country it used to be common to grill snails on grapevines and serve them with large slabs of butter slathered with aioli. I have eaten sweetbreads and tete de veau at family meals in the Loiret.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: vgorgue723

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      they exist, but they're special-occasion meals (like for a foreign visitor...), not everyday fare.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Well, I am going to be hosting a British friend of mine in about three week's time. He has asked for me to have a BBQ with my charcoal Weber grill. We will be having rib eye steaks grilled over lump charcoal, grilled corn on the cob, three bean salad and a peach cobbler for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mwk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Great idea. We Brits love a BBQ - but the weather is so shit, it's rare we can cook or eat outside with any reliablity. My BBQ hasnt been used in the last 3 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not that I'm that fussed. I am useless at that sort of cooking - eat at a Harters BBQ at your own risk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                a friend from Yorkshire was supposed to visit -- he specifically asked if I would grill fish, as he (in his words) is shite at the grill, but wants to know how to grill something other than burgers and sausages.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unfortunately, his flight was delayed and his time schedule didn't allow a re-do. Pity, as the fish was lovely!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. If you really want to give your guests the "American Dinner Experience" you should dash home after work, cram everyone into the mini van and head to soccer practice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Dinner" is picked up on the way home (McDonalds or whatever) and is eaten in the car/in front of the TV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Shower. Bed. Done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Who did you half Quote?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sounds like your experience is a sad one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chefj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just an observation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My experience is indeed sad...but for other reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. There is very little that I think is "typical American food," since American cuisine is a melting pot. I would serve something that is characteristic of my region of America, even if it happens to be similar to something that is not American in origin. Although Americans increasingly embrace locavorism, in many places in the world it's firmly entrenched. If someone in France serves an American guest a homecooked meal, it will very likely be a regional dish or feature local products.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here in the state of Georgia, I would serve foreign guests local products rather then fret over whether a dish is American or Southern or whatever. We have access to quality farm-raised pork, for example.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LorenzoGA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  when I taught English in France, I tried to have a "word of the day" pulled from the tv or newspaper that day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  One day the word was "locavore". When I explained what it meant, I was met with puzzled looks and the question of "but, Madame, doesn't everyone eat like that?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Typical american food? Something that came out of a drive through window. :p

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or cornbread and baked macaroni and cheese. The dinner of champions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Oh how funny would it be to serve Italians baked ziti

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      only if you didn't like them and never wanted t see them again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually, we once found ourselves at a large Christmas Eve party prepared by the Italian-American in-laws of my Irish-American cousins. I'm pretty sure baked ziti were on the buffet and my Italian-Italian (Roman) husband, after a couple of weeks of American-American food, enjoyed himself thoroughly and had only good things to say about the food (and the company).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thankfully, not all Italians are food snobs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No doubt. It's like assuming Mexicans would sneer at California-style burritos or, for that matter, Taco Bell. It may not resemble food from home, but a lot of people of all kinds of origin seem to think it tastes good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. As a junk food junky I'd take them to the Target snack, drink and candy isles and let them loose to buy and try whatever they want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In the coming weeks it's time for booya (a stew that feeds hundreds and can take up to two days to prepare). It's a little weird, but very Upper Midwest USA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Real (not cultivated) wild rice, wild blueberry anything, but pie is best, and chockecherry jelly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And of course, we'd have to serve them hotdish at some point. If they were still not sated with Minnesota-ness, we could offend them with Ole and Lena jokes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I would take them to a Chinese buffet. I think it can be argued, that the Chinese buffet is the quintessential American restaurant. First of all, they are ubiquitous. There are small towns all over this country where you will not find a single hot dog stand, independent burger joint, ice cream parlor, pizzeria, soda fountain or diner, but you're sure to find at least one Chinese buffet in the nearest strip mall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Second, nothing served in a Chinese buffet is found in China. In fact you won't find General Tso's chicken, beef and broccoli, crab rangoon, sugar-crusted fried biscuits, or those bright red chicken kebabs anywhere but the USA. These are all truly American dishes of pure American origins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Third, the gluttony factor. Overeating is our national pastime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fourth, and most important of all, I love Chinese buffets. I grew up eating at these places and I have many great memories of Chinese buffet meals. I even have affection for the shitty ones, but when I find a good one it's like Christmas morning come early. So basically taking a foreign visitor would be my excuse to go to one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chinese buffets are pretty common in France -- and some of them are really, really good. (some of them are utter crap, too, just like here)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Might be interesting on a "we're too tired to cook because we've been touristing all day" night, though, because the items on the buffet are definitely different. (oh, how I miss light little Vietnamese egg rolls served with nuoc mam and lettuce leaves)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You know, when I was in Paris for a wedding last year I saw some of those Chinese buffets. The food was held cold in deli-style trays behind a glass window and they charged by the KG. I must admit that even for a buffet aficionado like me it looked pretty disgusting. But I will take your word that there are good ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Can you imagine crab rangoons filled with a blend of fine French cheeses?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL -- actually, they fill them with Philly. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. A little Googling will result in White House menus through the last several administrations for visits of foreign dignitaries and for state visits. Interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I just spent the past week with a group of Israelis, English, Germans, and Canadians (who currently live abroad) and were in the US for a Cape Cod wedding and traveling. Based on this experience - many fruit/vegetable side dishes and something without meat as a main feature of the main course. And nothing fried.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think it may be that for many travelers, getting "restauranted out" is fairly common. It's not as though any of these countries don't have plenty of deep fried and starchy foods (especially in restaurants), but after a few days the "why can't I just get a good salad" whining got pretty loud.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Because we were on the Cape, and had a limited number of cars/drivers and lots of wedding events to be available for - taking the time to prepare more normal home cooked meals didn't work out very often. But to speak on behalf on that crowd - lots of salads, lots of veggies, lots of fruit, minimal meat and frying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That makes sense for well-traveled visitors to the US, but my understanding of the premise of this thread is that the host wishes to introduce the visitors to some "typical American foods" they might not be familiar with. But I could be wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LorenzoGA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    True - but I think this automatic assumption that 'typical American food' is limited to fried meat and starch isn't true. Sure, it's a huge part of American comfort food, but isn't the whole story of great American food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I mean, you could serve a bean chili that has some meat in it with corn bread and a variety of vegetable sides and it'd still read to me as a very American meal without it being fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree. My understanding of the "premise" underlying the original post being the idea of introducing something new to a foreigner may be reading too much into it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. My ex often entertained Italians visiting for work. What did they want? Panda Express. Dead serious. I have had 2 years to let this sink in and I still can make no sense of it. He took them to some really good Chinese places, but it always came back to the Panda 0_o