Delve into the diverse and flavorful world of traditional foods in the United States. From the smoky barbecues of the South to the hearty stews of New England, the USA offers a tantalizing array of culinary delights. Indulge in iconic dishes like Southern fried chicken, Tex-Mex tacos, and New York-style pizza. Discover the cultural tapestry and regional variations that make American cuisine a true melting pot of flavors.
1. Apple Pie
“American as apple pie” is a saying for a reason: this sweet treat is a part of American life. Don’t believe anyone who says pecan or key lime is better. They are lying. When you mix sugar, buttery dough, and tart slices of apples, you get a treat that is so good that people have spent their whole lives trying to perfect it. Try the apple pie at the Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town, New Mexico, that has green peppers added to it. This is a great example. Kathy Knapp, who calls herself the “Pie Lady of Pie Town,” will save you a slice if you call ahead.
2. The Burger
Every American will have a different idea of where to get the best burgers in the country, from fast food on the West Coast (In-N-Out Burger) to fine eating in New York (The Spotted Pig). But the Library of Congress says that New Haven, Connecticut, is the only place where hamburgers were first made. In the year 1900, a man named Louis Lassen ran a place called Louis’ Lunch. Today, the ship is run by his great-grandson, Jeff Lassen. It still serves burgers made from a five-meat blend and cooked on a cast iron grill that is 100 years old.
3. Clam Soup
If you go to Boston,you can’t avoid having New England clam chowder. The soup smells great and is sold everywhere. It looks awful, though, because it is white and thick. But you only need one taste to fall in love. Whoever thought to put quahog crabs with soft potatoes, salted pork, thick cream, and herbs is a genius. There are many ways to eat it, but you might as well go all out and get a bread bowl at the Atlantic Fish Co., where the cooks cut a hole in a fresh boule, fill it with the delicious juice, and then put the top back on. Edible plates.
4. Bagel With Lox
It would be silly to try to pick just one type of food to reflect New York. A hot dog from Nathan’s? Pastrami from Katz’s? A bad cup of coffee at a diner? As a nod to the city’s large Jewish population, let’s go with bagels and lox, which is a common weekend meal in Manhattan. Scientists have tried to figure out why the New York bagel is the best, and legend says it has something to do with the water. No matter what you’re feeling, go to Russ and Daughters on the Lower East Side and ask for a variety of smoked fish, cream cheeses, and, if you’re feeling fancy, caviar.
5. Deep-Dish Pizza
Pizza in Chicago is different in both look and taste. As the name suggests, the dish is deep, which means that the crust rises high and can hold a lot of cheese and tomato sauce. It makes sense that they call it a “pie.” It’s not for the faint of heart, and you should only try it in the dark or with a big napkin. Pair the pie with a sugary soda for a meal that feels more like home. You could do this at an Uno Pizzeria, which claims to have invented the Italian-American fusion dish in 1943.
6. Drop Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
In America, a biscuit is a fluffy scone that is usually made with fat and buttermilk. People in places like Montana, where they work hard on horse farms, eat biscuits for breakfast that are covered in a thick white gravy with bits of sausage in it. It’s a good way to wake up in the morning. For a fun twist, try a singing version at Biscuits and Groovy in Austin, Texas. Names like “The Aretha Franklin” (maple bacon, colby jack cheddar cheese) give you a hint of what you can expect.
7. BBQ in Texas
Aussies might like to fire up the barbecue on the weekend, but Texans can’t live without it. People are often obsessed with mesquite-smoked meats and tenderizing rubs. It’s not unusual to go to a football game and see people with full ranges worth five or even ten thousand dollars in the parking lot. This is called “tailgating.” Go to the Dallas Farmers Market, wait in line for a while, and then sit down at Pecan Lodge for some great beef. The pork links, pulled pork, beef ribs, and collard greens are all good, too. Pretty much everything.
8. Grits with Hominy
Southern food seems to be in a world of its own, and you could write a whole list just about fried chicken and waffles (yes, you read that right). So it might be best to stick with one of the basics, like hominy grits, which are basically corn that has been ground into a coarse powder and then cooked with butter or bacon grease. It sounds rough, but it’s wonderful. Try the Geechie Boy grits with shrimp and andouille sausage at Blossom Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, to see for yourself. Add brussels sprouts and sweetened iced tea to it.
In Los Angeles, there is a taqueria on almost every street block. With so many people who speak Spanish, you can find anything from greasy nachos to delicious goat soups from Michoacán on Venice Beach. For a good taster, skip the chains and go to El Huarache Azteca, a small, no-frills restaurant in the Highland Park neighbourhood. The menu has everything from fajitas to mole verde to “flautas,” which are taquitos filled with chicken and fried until crisp. (Guacamole just makes sense.) Remember that Mexican food and Tex-Mex are not the same thing at all.
So “Thanksgiving” isn’t really a food, but it’s such a famous date on the American cuisine calendar (the fourth Thursday of every November) that it needs to be mentioned. Officially, the holiday is about friends and family, but everyone knows that it’s really about turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, and bellyaches. Even though the recipes and most of the other things on this list seem like they were made to give you a heart attack or diabetes, they’re all tasty, and together they make for one of the most ridiculous and fun feasts you could ever go to. There are menus at many places, but the best choice is always a friend’s house, even if they burn the turkey.