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Foods that originated in the United States?
February 3, 2009 11:23 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find a list of foods that originated in the United States?

Wikipedia has this list, but it's more of a list of "commonly consumed" foods in the US, rather than strictly ones that originated here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_dishes
posted by wastelands to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think your problem in finding this kind of list might be down to two conflicting forces:

1) the habit Americans have of claiming authenticity of foods that are bastardised versions of foods in the Old Country... or are completely American creations that have never to be seen elsewhere. The identity politics involved can make for some interesting contortions, particularly when it's a dish grandma used to make.

2) the habit of people in the Old Country to point out that the foods in question are, in fact, American and bear little resemblance to the dishes of the Old Country as people who actually live there recognise them.

Add a heavy dash of "but my family is one eighth Italian/Irish/German/Scot!" and stir.
posted by Grrlscout at 11:37 PM on February 3, 2009


What do you mean by "originated"?

Do you mean recipes which were developed in the US? Or do you mean original foodstuffs which came from this territory? Because if it's the latter, the list is surprisingly short. Basically there's turkey and there's cranberry, and that's the lot.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:03 AM on February 4, 2009


blueberries, too

Thinking about this during my morning ablutions, I'll give a few:

Cajun food
Tex Mex food
eating pasta as a main course
pizza
fortune cookies
peanut butter

If you're defining American to include South and Central America:

tomatoes
potatoes
bananas
guava

Is this the kind of thing you're after?
posted by Grrlscout at 12:17 AM on February 4, 2009


The Wikipedia article on the Columbian Exchange has a handy table for which foods traveled from the New to the Old World and vice-versa, but it's not broken down by country; you'd have to click on each food's article to find out its original range.
posted by mdonley at 12:20 AM on February 4, 2009


Also several kinds of peppers were developed in Central America.

And they were responsible for the really big one: maize.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:21 AM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here is a list of foodstuffs and where they originated based on the hemisphere (east and west). Most of the links on that page don't work, but you can google or wiki them.
posted by robtf3 at 12:23 AM on February 4, 2009


And bananas were native to Southeast Asia. They did not originate anywhere in the Americas.
posted by robtf3 at 12:24 AM on February 4, 2009


<>Also several kinds of peppers were developed in Central America.

Central America isn't part of the United States, last time I checked.

posted by dhammond at 12:25 AM on February 4, 2009


How is pizza an American food? Or eating pasta as a main course? I would second corn, however.
posted by bystander at 2:34 AM on February 4, 2009


Toll house cookies, and according to their own story, chocolate chip cookies in general, appear to have originated in the US.
posted by amtho at 3:29 AM on February 4, 2009


I'd just like to point out the obvious that the United States does not equal the Americas. That puts corn, potatoes, most beans and peppers right out as South or Central American or Mexican.

Cranberries, blueberries, and turkey would still list. You could throw in wild rice, pecans, pumpkins, tapioca, and green beans. You could also throw in poi and mooseburgers since last I checked Hawaii and Alaska were included in the US of A.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:22 AM on February 4, 2009


As a Brit, I can't really think of too many think that would count as "United States". Most of the original "Americas" foods seem to be Central American in origin. Ok, here's my list..

- Deep pan pizza (not pizza itself, the Italian's safely lay claim to that)
- Blueberry pie (and probably anything with blueberries in it)
- Anything with cranberries in.
- "Filled" chocolate bars (milky way, mars bars)
posted by BigCalm at 5:52 AM on February 4, 2009


How is pizza an American food

The modern pizza is far more American than Italian. For example This monstrosity bares little resemblance to its Italian ancestor.
posted by missmagenta at 6:03 AM on February 4, 2009


The modern pizza is far more American than Italian. For example This monstrosity bares little resemblance to its Italian ancestor.

Interestingly it's not that far from the lamb baked onto flat round bread enjoyed by the Uighurs and the inspiration to Italian traders. Oh, yeah, pizza and pasta are Chinese food, not Italian.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:56 AM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Oh, yeah, pizza and pasta are Chinese food, not Italian.

They're probably chinese and italian, wheat flour flatbread has been present in all of the mediterranean basin, extending way east and south, since well before the trade with the east began along the silk route, and the name itself shares a common (indoeuropean?) root in various areas, such as "pizza" in Italian (but an entirely different type of flatbread exists in parts of northern Italy and is called "piada"), "pita" in Greek, "pide" in Turkish, and so on; on the other hand flatbreads such as the east-african injera or the aztec maize tortilla (without mentioning of course the huge indian variety) show that they may have evolved independently in different areas.

More or less the same goes for pasta (gr. λάγανον, làganon -> lat. laganae -> it. lasagne), and so on. If all you have is flour and water, you can only go so far.

And please, keep in mind that 90% of what is known as "italian" in the US is a bastardization of regional recipes (mostly from southern italy), word of mouth, ill-recorded grandma recipes, local taste and cuisine (and having to make do with local ingredients, too), and restaurant cooks who, before emigrating to America, were probably more used to the pitchfork than a cooking fork.

ok, I'll shut up now



posted by _dario at 7:43 AM on February 4, 2009


Cranberries, blueberries, and turkey would still list. You could throw in wild rice, pecans, pumpkins, tapioca, and green beans. You could also throw in poi and mooseburgers since last I checked Hawaii and Alaska were included in the US of A.

Well, yes, but that gets a bit tricky because most of the foods you list could just as equally be called Canadian or Mexican (excepting tapioca, which is South American).
posted by ssg at 7:49 AM on February 4, 2009


If you have a decent library nearby there is an excellent set called The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America that would probably meet your needs.
posted by cbp at 9:04 AM on February 4, 2009


There is an excellent site called the food timeline that lists "new world" foods.
posted by scubbadubba at 10:14 AM on February 4, 2009


The ice cream cone was introduced in the United States. I believe the hot dog, as it is commonly served in a bun, is also unique to the US. Same thing with the hamburger. The Reuben sandwich also originated in the US. The cheesesteak originated in the US.

There are plenty of sandwich combinations that may or may not have a specific title that are unique to the US. For example, you'll rarely find someone in Italy putting pesto on a sandwich, but it is commonly done here.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:30 PM on February 4, 2009


Yeah, the more I think of it, the more I think sandwiches are the way to go. Subs, Hoagies, Po' Boys, etc. are all American.

And actually among the wikipedia list of United States dishes, at least a majority of them did originate in that form in the US. For example cioppino indisputably has US origins but is closely related to other preexisting fish soups and stews.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:40 PM on February 4, 2009


Here's some guesses. I bet someone will debunk them however.

-The California roll and Philadelphia roll sushi are American inventions.
-Caesar salad, although that originated in Tijuana, not the USA.
-Root beer perhaps?
posted by sleepytako at 6:49 PM on February 4, 2009


The modern pizza is far more American than Italian. For example This monstrosity...

Lots of places that have pizza would call that 'American pizza', distinguishing it from the real thing.
posted by pompomtom at 12:34 AM on February 6, 2009


Well, yes, but that gets a bit tricky because most of the foods you list could just as equally be called Canadian or Mexican (excepting tapioca, which is South American).

You are right about tapioca, and it's not even what I was thinking about (I think I was thinking of cattail root?), so 'll withdraw it from my list and add bison pemmican.

As for distiguishing between Canadian and USian foods, well, there is definitely a pretty blurred line, then again the people that lived there had a pretty blurred line nearly up until there actually was a Canada and USA. Even now Canadians for the vast majority live along that line, so it would be natural that the line would still be blurred. There is very, very little that one could say is native Canadian food (Poutine, sadly excepted) that couldn't also be argued to be Northern USian by someone or vice versa.

The line between what originated in South America, Central America, South or Central Mexico and what is now the US and Canada is not so blurry though. Corn, squash, and most beans may have been eaten nearly all the way to the Arctic Circle, but they certainly weren't invented in the US or Canada, not even New Mexico or Arizona.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:17 AM on February 6, 2009


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