American Cuisine - Determining the real staples of American Cuisine

Pie is pretty damn American I think. I wouldn't know really since I haven't been to any country outside of the U.S.
The most universal parts of American cuisine tend to be the desserts, I don't think there is an American out there who hasn't had an Apple or Pecan pie, or Cookies or Brownies. Hell, Pumpkin pie, Key Lime, Blueberry, Rhubarb, the half dozen or so different types of cream pies, or even cobblers. Then you've got Banana Bread, Blondies, German Chocolate Cake, the infamous Fruit Cake, Gingerbread, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Buckeyes, or even Doughnuts. A shitload of sweets are universal, quite a few from Europe, but taken and made our own so to speak.
Lamb. In 2017, 150 millions pounds were produced compared to 80 million pounds of veal. https://www.meatinstitute.org/index.php?ht=d/sp/i/47465/pid/47465 Gator meat is too regional to be considered a staple of "American" cuisine. Florida or Louisiana sure, but virtually unknown in Idaho, Maine, or Alaska. Gator production would be measured in the tens to hundreds of thousands. The only number I found was 800,000 pounds produced globally.

For veggies you need to include peppers. Bell peppers are a top 10 veggie on any list and jalepenos are included as toppings on burgers, chili, nachos, hot dogs, and burritos to name a few.
I'd include a lot of regional stuff, as long as it falls within the US. A lot of Cajun cooking, Tex-Mex too. Honestly, strange as it is, I don't get a lot of lamb around here. Definitely should be on the list though.

Peppers and Jalapenos are two other big screw-ups. Too obvious! I'm curious about how popular turnips are. My family never touched them, but they're everywhere.
 

Hongourable Madisha

You see, some of us don't know English properly.
Pumpkin and other squash, beans and maize are very American ingredients. I think of American food a lot like British food, overall it's shit but there's a lot of regional specialities and cuisines that are really good, and lots of immigrant cuisines that have become their own beast and nothing like the originals (eg we have things like tikka masala, kedgeree and coronation chicken that are unheard of in India but clearly Indian-influenced British food). Lots of red meat, part of what makes Italian-American and Chinese-American food different from the original dishes that inspired them is that they have more meat. There seems to be a lot of steak and ground meat, and organ meats are either for sausages or local delicacies like prairie oysters or soul food, I haven't seen anything like a steak and kidney pie or casserole where they're all mixed together. Preserving things like making jerky and pickles or dried and canned produce too, natives and frontiersmen used to preserve food a lot for travel, shipping and winter, it's similar to Korean food in that sense in that there's loads of barbecued meat and preserved things. Most American food I see in the supermarket here comes in a tin or a jar anyway, though it's possible they're not sending us their best food.
 
I would add Okra, Lima beans, peanuts, and maple syrup to the list. Cheddar cheese also originates in America and is used commonly. You should consider various types of greens from dandelion to collard. Squash has been used in American cooking for hundreds of years.
Wild Rice was grown and eaten by native Americans long before settlers arrived.

If you're strictly talking pantry items things like deviled ham are almost exclusively consumed in America.
 
It's pretty regional. I can't think of many foods that are "American". Each region has it's own specialty or something that none of the rest of us have or are familiar with. If you ask someone from the south what their idea of clam chowder is and share that with someone from the northeast they'd be back slapped. If you make chili literally anywhere in the country and tell a Texan the recipe, you'll get back slapped. Hell, there are several different regions of styles of barbecue who will fight you over the recipe. If I could classify typical American food it would just be the bastardization of all the world's dishes made to our particular tastes. Oh, and hamburgers.
 
Is Hawaiian food American cuisine?

But yeah, American food is really hard to classify because there isn't just one American "culture"-this is a massive country with over 300 million people, most of which can trace their lineage back to immigrants from other parts of the world. Thus, not only does each region (or even specific states and cities) of the U.S. have its own culinary culture, but they all have traceable influences from other parts of the world. Of course, that doesn't actually mean anything because every place's culinary cuisine has traceable influence from some other region or culture-"pizza", then, is just as American as it is Italian, same with bacon, hot dogs, hamburgers, chipotle, and "chinese" food.
 

Autumnal Equinox

Let's rock!
Classic cheeseburger. The most American version has the following.

lettuce and tomato
Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes
Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer
 

stupidpieceofshit

Panzer Vor, Motherfuckers
True & Honest Fan
Mustard is practically a staple condiment. Most sandwiches use it in one way or another. It's a decent substitute for mustard powder too.

Bison is harder to get, but it's definitely a part of the palate so to speak. Makes good burgers though. Boar, Venison, and Bear are pretty easy to get in most rural communities. Just need to look for a local butcher, one that hunters typically frequent. They'll occasionally shave off the cost for some of the meat to sell. Ain't cheap, but it'll sell. Boars, Deer, and Bears are common pests too. Babish's issue was being in NYC, live in the boonies and you can get it pretty easily, though it's probably more regional too. Doesn't help that Bear ain't the easiest or tastiest meat either.

There's a recipe from the Old Southern Cookbook I've been trying to pluck up the courage to try : Road Kill Casserole. Said to use "road kill Possum, but if you can trap one, feed on corn or grain for 2 weeks for better flavor". Same for Raccoons. I've met enough guys in my life who grew up eating that to know it's not going to kill you, but I hate the things. My grandmother has a Squirrel Stew recipe kicking around somewhere too. Sure, most of those meats are novel now, but it's definitely something to keep in mind.

How'd that experiment turn out? Can't imagine too pleasant; I know very little about traditional Native food, but it couldn't have been fun.

Most fast food is garbage, regardless of where you go. It's definitely a big American issue though, part of why I wanted to make sure my family had a decent recipe book to go off of. Most of it is just laziness, no one wants to cook, much less cook properly. There's an interesting passage in Hillbilly Elegy that talks about how most of the younger hillbillies have no idea how to really live off the land anymore because they grew up with fast food and mountain dew. They barely even know how to cook. That's most Americans, unfortunately.
Road kill and deer/bear/boar are more of that experiment then what I was trying to say.
Most people don't think of regional foods when they think of a national cuisine, and outside of hamburgers, hot dogs, and the like almost everything in the US is regional. Where you have Chicken Kiev for Russian and Ukrainian foods, Irish Stew, Cottage/Shepard's Pie, etc.

But the Deer/Bear/Boar/Gater/et al, would be 'real' Americian food as the meats are all native and would have been used to feed the native populations.

Sadly I only learned of the experiment after my friend's death so I couldn't ask him. But based on what I read from the people who posted on the public forum (ah mid-to-late 00s how I miss you), it was well received, diets were mostly of local game/store bought meats that would be accessible to natives, mushrooms, rice, corn, beans, and other stuff, some of the things they made sounded good.

Honestly I wish deer was more accessible to non-hunters I know a place in my area that sells it (not cheap), but other wise hard to find in my area AFAIK, I want to try to make some stuff like a venison stew.
 
Do you yanks actually use mustard sauce regularly as a condiment or is that just a lie told perpetuated in American media?
I can only speak for myself, but as an American I use mustard much more often than ketchup, which I only use for fries/tater tots. I especially love brown mustard on hot dogs/cheeseburgers on a nice potato bun.

Cornbread is a big American favorite of mine. Especially when you mix the cornmeal with creamed corn and whole corn. It gives it this semi-moist texture bursting with flavor.

My region of the country has tons of wineries making sweet and semi-dry wines native to the area like Niagara and Concord. You also have the internationally renowned ice wine.
Hard apple cider and apple brandy ("applejack") were quintessential American alcoholic drinks that were replaced by beer around Prohibition. Its had a bit of a revival and now New York has tons of apple orchards getting into the business.
 
Gator meat is too regional to be considered a staple of "American" cuisine. Florida or Louisiana sure, but virtually unknown in Idaho, Maine, or Alaska.
In those places elk, moose, and caribou are the popular wild game. Far more so than bear. Bear tags are very hard to get and the menu options are pretty limited because of trichinosis making it a novelty even in the world of wild game.

However, a tenderized elk steak chicken-fried with the gravy and potatoes, that might as well be an Idaho specialty. You can keep your veal schnitzel. Elk is where it's at.
 

redcent

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus
Do americans visit the coffee shop every morning? Is it that weird ass perculated coffee or real coffee?

Coffee bashing aside, there's something romantic almost the way americans surround their life with trips to star bucks or diners or where ever they go these days.
 

ScamL Likely

IT'S! NOT! EVEN! HOT! OUT! SIDE~!
Do americans visit the coffee shop every morning? Is it that weird ass perculated coffee or real coffee?

Coffee bashing aside, there's something romantic almost the way americans surround their life with trips to star bucks or diners or where ever they go these days.
The kinds of coffee shops you're thinking of are more of a specifically urban thing. Most of them have regular coffee, espresso, and gimmickier things like chai lattes, as well as things like pastries or other sorts of savory or sweet snacks. They're largely a hangout for high school/college kids and THOTs, though they also tend to have wifi so some people go there to work.
 
Road kill and deer/bear/boar are more of that experiment then what I was trying to say.
Most people don't think of regional foods when they think of a national cuisine, and outside of hamburgers, hot dogs, and the like almost everything in the US is regional. Where you have Chicken Kiev for Russian and Ukrainian foods, Irish Stew, Cottage/Shepard's Pie, etc.

But the Deer/Bear/Boar/Gater/et al, would be 'real' Americian food as the meats are all native and would have been used to feed the native populations.

Sadly I only learned of the experiment after my friend's death so I couldn't ask him. But based on what I read from the people who posted on the public forum (ah mid-to-late 00s how I miss you), it was well received, diets were mostly of local game/store bought meats that would be accessible to natives, mushrooms, rice, corn, beans, and other stuff, some of the things they made sounded good.

Honestly I wish deer was more accessible to non-hunters I know a place in my area that sells it (not cheap), but other wise hard to find in my area AFAIK, I want to try to make some stuff like a venison stew.
Sorry to hear about your buddy, but that sort of "realness" is what I want to start incorporating. Another trick for the book was making it seasonal, so you know what you can get fresh and, if you're keen, cheap. I'd add Chili to that list. I always joke that Chili is just American Curry. Even in Britain, you have regional dishes, like Haggis or Eel Pie. I make distinctions, but not discrimination. I wanted to focus on stuff that you can only find within America because it's already easy to find Italian Dishes and French Dishes. A good part of what I grew up eating was Italian-American or Japanese-American food (actual, homemade food, not take out).

Venison Chili is a must to try, if you get the chance. Just make sure you get it cubed, not ground. Hunter's Stew is also really, really good if you're looking for an actual stew.

Do americans visit the coffee shop every morning? Is it that weird ass perculated coffee or real coffee?

Coffee bashing aside, there's something romantic almost the way americans surround their life with trips to star bucks or diners or where ever they go these days.
Most folks I know just do a cup of coffee in a drip coffee maker, coffee shops aren't cheap! I always preferred doing it the old Cowboy way (boiling grounds in a pot), but then again I'm a bit miserly.

I hate the way we have to schedule ourselves around store visits. I'm not sure what you're thinking of, but for most people, they don't live in a reasonable walking distance of most places. It's almost a necessity to plan your day around shopping. Most trips take on average 15-20 minutes of driving alone. It's also less like they stop in a Starbucks or McDonalds but go through the Drive-thru, which is almost always 10 minutes of just waiting. Even if you love to drive, you'll come to resent it after a few years. I don't see the romanticism in it, beyond a sort of nomadic thing. Even then, I'd take truck-driving over the day in day out situation.
 

redcent

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus
The kinds of coffee shops you're thinking of are more of a specifically urban thing. Most of them have regular coffee, espresso, and gimmickier things like chai lattes, as well as things like pastries or other sorts of savory or sweet snacks. They're largely a hangout for high school/college kids and THOTs, though they also tend to have wifi so some people go there to work.

Sorry to hear about your buddy, but that sort of "realness" is what I want to start incorporating. Another trick for the book was making it seasonal, so you know what you can get fresh and, if you're keen, cheap. I'd add Chili to that list. I always joke that Chili is just American Curry. Even in Britain, you have regional dishes, like Haggis or Eel Pie. I make distinctions, but not discrimination. I wanted to focus on stuff that you can only find within America because it's already easy to find Italian Dishes and French Dishes. A good part of what I grew up eating was Italian-American or Japanese-American food (actual, homemade food, not take out).

Venison Chili is a must to try, if you get the chance. Just make sure you get it cubed, not ground. Hunter's Stew is also really, really good if you're looking for an actual stew.


Most folks I know just do a cup of coffee in a drip coffee maker, coffee shops aren't cheap! I always preferred doing it the old Cowboy way (boiling grounds in a pot), but then again I'm a bit miserly.

I hate the way we have to schedule ourselves around store visits. I'm not sure what you're thinking of, but for most people, they don't live in a reasonable walking distance of most places. It's almost a necessity to plan your day around shopping. Most trips take on average 15-20 minutes of driving alone. It's also less like they stop in a Starbucks or McDonalds but go through the Drive-thru, which is almost always 10 minutes of just waiting. Even if you love to drive, you'll come to resent it after a few years. I don't see the romanticism in it, beyond a sort of nomadic thing. Even then, I'd take truck-driving over the day in day out situation.
There's usually some kind of shop within walking distance everywhere here. Then again I've lived my life in suburbia. Even the more rural places I've been to are now getting built up.

Edit : Anyways, I thought diners were a thing in the US. Or maybe it's just all the movies I've watched.
 
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Fliddaroonie

I'm a spooky ghost! Whooooo!!! Ectoplasm!!!!
Can I piggyback in on this please? I love me a good breakfast. I tend to to my grocery shopping early, like first thing when the store opens, and I fancy doing an American style breakfast. Any suggestions would be awesome please. I love eggs, can make US (Ie, real, none of that crepe faggotry) pancakes, and will eat anything at least once. If anyone fancies throwing some suggestions my way I'd appreciate it!
 

XYZpdq

fbi most wanted sskealeaton
True & Honest Fan
burgers, fried chicken
gator is kinda neat but even in Florida it's more of a gimmicky thing than anything anybody normally eats
bison is dank as fuck but it's like triple the price of normal ground cow so I can never work up enough fucks to buy any, since by that time I can get a steak or something
most bbq styles are pretty unique to USA
there's probably a case to be made that the menu at a Cracker Barrel and Golden Corral is probably a decent cross-section of things
also buffalo wings
 

ScamL Likely

IT'S! NOT! EVEN! HOT! OUT! SIDE~!
Edit : Anyways, I thought diners were a thing in the US. Or maybe it's just all the movies I've watched.
They still exist but coffee shops/starbucks have largely taken over their role in cities. If I had to guess, they were probably more popular from the 50s through the 80s or so. In general though frequently going out to eat is considered to be one of those decadent/wasteful city rat habits.
 
Can I piggyback in on this please? I love me a good breakfast. I tend to to my grocery shopping early, like first thing when the store opens, and I fancy doing an American style breakfast. Any suggestions would be awesome please. I love eggs, can make US (Ie, real, none of that crepe faggotry) pancakes, and will eat anything at least once. If anyone fancies throwing some suggestions my way I'd appreciate it!
Well depends on what you're in the mood for. If you're itching for Eggs, there's Huevos Rancheros, if you're feeling a bit Tex-Mex. Not strictly American, but Scotch Eggs are also really good. British Cuisine and American are pretty similar. My sisters would kill me for forgetting about Eggs Benedict! Benedict Casserole with Potatoes O'Brien has been an Easter staple in my family for years. Steak and Eggs is a simpler, but good breakfast. French toast, bacon, and scrambled eggs are a lazy Christmas morning. Chicken and Waffles are great if you have some leftover fried chicken.

If you're asking for a simple breakfast, Fresh Corn Bread and Milk is by far the greatest thing you'll ever have. It's surprising how something so simple is so fucking tasty. My late grandfather grew up in West Virginia, and that was something he always loved having, any time of the day. Breakfast was always a bit slim for me growing up, mostly just Oatmeal or Cereal. Having a full breakfast is a treat, mainly because it takes some time to make and eat. Usually got to be up and out by no later than 0630, and you don't go to bed til 10 at night, no naps in between. Big breakfasts were a weekend or holiday affair.

Great thing is, you can just mix and match most of your dishes on what you want. Just make sure it always includes a Starch/Grain, an Egg, and a Meat. Anything that mixes them can count as both! My suggestion for a full breakfast is the classic Southern Breakfast; Biscuits and Gravy with Scrambled Eggs and Hash Browns

Buttermilk Biscuits
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (~480 g)
1 tblspn Baking Powder (~21 g)
1 tspn Baking Soda (~5 g)
1 tspn Salt (~5 g)
7 tblspn (~105g) Butter (or, preferably 6 Tblspn (~90g) of Lard) (It's recommended to freeze and cube the butter or lard; I'm on the fence about freezing it, but cubing is definitely a help)
1 Cup of Buttermilk (~230ml) (If you're European, don't use your Buttermilk. American Buttermilk is different, it contains an added Enzyme that helps leaven it I believe. If you can't get American Buttermilk, just mix 1 cup Whole Milk (~230 ml ) with 1 tablespoon (~15ml) of either White Vinegar or Lemon Juice, let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or until it curdles slightly)
(Optional) 2 tspn (~14g) of Honey or Sugar (I wouldn't recommend this if you're going for "authenticity")
Melted Butter for brushing

Preheat oven to 450F (~230C)
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl until combined. Cut in the Butter or Lard with a pastry cutter or two forks until the mixture is crumbly. Form a well in the bowl and pour in the Buttermilk (and Honey) and stir until just mixed, it should be wet and lumpy. Roll out onto a floured surface, and, with floured hands, pat down the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness (~1 cm), then fold both ends into the center. Repeat the process about 6 times. Your dough should be about an inch thick (~2cm) at this point, get a biscuit cutter (or a decently sized glass, something about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter or 6 to 7 cm). On either a greased Large Cast Iron pan or a parchment paper lined baking sheet, arrange all the biscuits in a tightly packed, hexagonal pattern. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Take out and immediately brush them with the butter, then let stand for 10 minutes. Don't feel bad if they come out a little wonky, biscuits are tricky to get right, and it's mostly something you learn from trial and error. Even a bad biscuit is pretty good.

Sausage Gravy
1 lb of Breakfast Sausage (450 g)
1/2 cup of All purpose Flour (~120 g)
2 1/2 cups of Whole Milk (~550 ml)
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Scramble the sausage into bits in a medium sized pot and cook on medium-high heat until brown, then lower temperature to medium-low and add half the flour to the pan to crisp the sausage bits. Then slowly incorporate the remaining flour and milk alternating, and whisking constantly. Low and slow is the key for good gravy. You want to whisk constantly on low to prevent flour clumps from forming. Make sure to add a lot of pepper to the gravy as it thickens. Once thickened, it's ready. Keep on the lowest heat possible until it's time to eat! (If it thickens too much, thin it out with a little milk and whisk until incorporated ; if it's not thickening, add a little flour and whisk.)

Scrambled Eggs
4 large eggs
1 tblspn of Butter (~14g)
1/2 cup of Whole Milk (~115 ml)
1/2 lb of grated cheddar cheese (~225 g)
Black Pepper, Salt, Paprika, Cayenne Powder

In a medium sized bowl, crack the four eggs and mix with the milk and cheese until runny, spice with ground black pepper, salt, paprika, and cayenne powder. In a medium sized pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat, pour the eggs onto the pan and gently push the egg mixture around until light and fluffy. Serve with a splash of tabasco sauce and a strand of ketchup.

Hash Browns
3 large russet potatoes
half a large yellow onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tblsp of Butter
Salt, Pepper, Paprika

Using a cheese grater, grate the 3 unpeeled russet potatoes (washing before hand is a given). Dice the yellow onion into small cubes, and mince the clove of peeled garlic. In a large pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat, then add the onions until just sweating. Then add the garlic, and quickly afterwards add the shredded potatoes. Mix the ingredients together, adding the salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Once mixed, spread evenly across the pan, pressing down on the potatoes, and let cook for about two minutes. Then stir again and repeat the process, occasionally flipping in sections. Do this for about 8 minutes or until golden brown.

Additionally, if you want, pan cook bacon before you make the Hash Browns and use the Bacon Grease instead of the butter.

Hope it's helpful! I usually wing those recipes, and had to tweak the ones I have to be more like I do. I'm not sure if you're Euro or not, but those measurements are the best I could get.
 
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