The Food That Built America
The Food that Built America: You don’t need a TV show on History Channel to embrace the best food dishes in American cuisine. Yes, there has been an amazing movement for organic, artisan, and other advances in food in America, but we can’t forget the classics. Whether these food were invented in America, or if we just put our own spin on it, certain food are synonymous with American culinary tradition.
The Food That Built America: The Reuben
The Reuben sandwich is an American grilled sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread. It is associated with kosher-style delicatessens, but it is not kosher, because it contains both meat and cheese. Definitely a key food that helped build NYC and one of our favorite food that built America.
The Food That Built America: The Coney Dog
A Coney Island hot dog (or Coney dog or Coney) is a hot dog in a bun topped with a savory meat sauce and sometimes other toppings. It is often offered as part of a menu of dishes of Greek-American origin and classic American “diner” dishes and often at Coney Island restaurants. It is largely a phenomenon related to immigration from Greece and Macedonia to the United States in the early 20th century.
The French Dip
A French dip sandwich, also known as a beef dip, is a hot sandwich consisting of thinly sliced roast beef (or, sometimes, other meats) on a “French roll” or baguette. It is usually served topped with Swiss cheese, onions, and a dipping container of beef broth produced from the cooking process (termed au jus, “with juice”). Beef stock, a light beef gravy, or beef consommé is sometimes substituted. The sandwich is an American invention, with the name seeming to refer to the style of bread, rather than any French origin. LA’s Reuben in many respect and a key food that build America.
A slider is an American term for a steam-grilled sandwich, typically around 2 inches (5 cm) across, made with a bun. The term primarily refers to small hamburgers, but is sometimes used to describe any small sandwich made with a slider roll.
The term was originally used to describe the onion-steamed small burgers at White Castle restaurants. White Castle trademarked the spelling variant “Slyder” and used it between 1985 and 2009.
The Food That Built America: Cobb Salad
The Cobb salad is a main-dish American garden salad typically made with chopped salad greens (iceberg lettuce, watercress, endives and romaine lettuce), tomato, crisp bacon, boiled, grilled or roasted (but not fried) chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, chives, Roquefort cheese, and red-wine vinaigrette.
A po’ boy (also po-boy, po boy) is a traditional sandwich from Louisiana. It almost always consists of meat, which is usually roast beef or fried seafood, often shrimp, crawfish, fish, oysters or crab. The meat is served on baguette-like New Orleans French bread, known for its crisp crust and fluffy center. Perhaps the great Southern sandwich, and key food that built America.
A cheesesteak (also known as a Philadelphia cheesesteak, Philly cheesesteak, cheesesteak sandwich, cheese steak, or steak and cheese) is a sandwich made from thinly sliced pieces of beefsteak and melted cheese in a long hoagie roll. A popular regional fast food, it has its roots in the U.S. city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A Caesar salad (also spelled Cesar and Cesare) is a green salad of romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with lemon juice (or lime juice), olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, garlic, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. In its original form, this salad was prepared and served tableside.
The Food That Built America: Prime Rib
A standing rib roast, also known as prime rib, is a cut of beef from the primal rib, one of the nine primal cuts of beef. While the entire rib section comprises ribs six through 12, a standing rib roast may contain anywhere from two to seven ribs.
It is most often roasted “standing” on the rib bones so that the meat does not touch the pan. An alternative cut removes the top end of the ribs for easier carving.
Rib eye steaks are cut from a standing rib, boned with most of the fat and lesser muscles removed.
While often referred to as “prime rib”, the USDA does not require the cut to be derived from USDA Prime grade beef.
The Food That Built America: Chicago Style Pizza
Chicago-style pizza is pizza prepared according to several different styles developed in Chicago. The most famous is deep-dish pizza. The pan in which it is baked gives the pizza its characteristically high edge which provides ample space for large amounts of cheese and a chunky tomato sauce. Chicago-style pizza may be prepared in deep-dish style and as a stuffed pizza.
Detroit Style Pizza
Detroit-style pizza is a style of pizza developed in Detroit, Michigan. It is a rectangular pizza that has a thick crisp crust and toppings such as pepperoni and mushrooms.
The rectangular-shaped pizza is the result of being baked in a square pan, which is often not a pizza pan; industrial parts trays are often used, which were originally made to hold small parts in factories.
The crust of a Detroit-style pizza is occasionally twice-baked and it is usually baked in a well-oiled pan to a chewy medium-well-done state that gives the bottom and edges of the crust a fried or crunchy texture.
The difference between Detroit-style pizza, Chicago and New York styles is the crust, which is extra thick and very crispy on the bottom. Some parlors will apply melted butter with a soft brush prior to baking. The resulting pizza has a chewy texture.
The Food That Built America: Nachos
Nachos is a Tex-Mex dish from northern Mexico that consists of heated tortilla chips or totopos covered with melted cheese (or a cheese-based sauce), often served as a snack or appetizer. More elaborate versions of the dish add other ingredients, and may be substantial enough to serve as a main dish. Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya is credited with creating the dish around 1943; the original nachos consisted of fried corn tortilla chips covered with melted cheese and sliced jalapeño peppers. One of the great Tex Mex dishes, so embedded in American cuisine, and a key food that built America.
A cheeseburger is a hamburger topped with cheese. Traditionally, the slice of cheese is placed on top of the meat patty, but the burger can include variations in structure, ingredients and composition. The cheese is usually added to the cooking hamburger patty shortly before serving, which allows the cheese to melt. As with other hamburgers, a cheeseburger may include toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, bacon, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard or other toppings.
Southern Fried Chicken
Southern fried chicken, also known simply as fried chicken, is a dish consisting of chicken pieces which have been coated in a seasoned batter and pan-fried, deep fried, or pressure fried. The breading adds a crisp coating or crust to the exterior of the chicken while retaining juices in the meat. Broiler chickens are most commonly used.
The first dish known to have been deep fried was fritters, which were popular in the European Middle Ages. However, it was the Scottish who were the first Europeans to deep fry their chicken in fat (though without seasoning). Meanwhile, a number of West African peoples had traditions of seasoned fried chicken (though battering and cooking the chicken in palm oil). Scottish frying techniques and West African seasoning techniques were combined by enslaved Africans and African-Americans in the American South.
The Food That Built America: Chimichanga
Chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito that is popular in Tex-Mex and other Southwestern U.S. cuisine. The dish is typically prepared by filling a flour tortilla with a wide range of ingredients, most commonly rice, cheese, beans, machaca (dried meat), carne adobada (marinated meat), carne seca (dried beef), or shredded chicken, and folding it into a rectangular package. It is then deep-fried and can be accompanied by salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or cheese.
A Buffalo wing, in the cuisine of the United States, is an unbreaded chicken wing section (flat or drumette) that is generally deep-fried then coated or dipped in a sauce consisting of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and melted butter prior to serving. The Buffalo wing was allegedly invented in 1964 at Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York by Teressa Bellissimo. They are traditionally served hot, along with celery sticks and carrot sticks with blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing for dipping. Locals refer to them merely as “wings”. Besides being an important food that built America, we also have a post on making the perfect Buffalo Wings.
General Tso’s Chicken
General Tso’s chicken is a sweet deep-fried chicken dish that is served in North American Chinese restaurants (it is also seen with other variants, such as General Tse’s chicken). The dish is named after Zuo Zongtang (also romanized Tso Tsung-t’ang), a Qing dynasty statesman and military leader, although there is no recorded connection to him nor is the dish known in Hunan, Zuo’s home province.
Potato skins are a snack food or appetizer made of unpeeled potato halves, hollowed and dressed with bacon, cheddar cheese and green onions. They are commonly found on the menus of casual dining restaurants such as T.G.I. Friday’s, which is known for serving them. While commonly eaten in restaurants, these snacks are also commonly made at home.
Chicken and Waffles
Chicken and waffles is an American dish combining chicken with waffles. It is part of a variety of culinary traditions, including soul food and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, and is served in certain specialty restaurants in the United States.
Pecan pie is a pie of pecan nuts mixed with a filling of eggs, butter, and sugar (typically corn syrup). Variations may include white or brown sugar, sugar syrup, molasses, maple syrup, or honey. It is popularly served at holiday meals in the United States and is considered a specialty of Southern U.S. origin. Most pecan pie recipes include salt and vanilla as flavorings. Chocolate and bourbon whiskey are other popular additions to the recipe. Pecan pie is often served with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or hard sauce.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
A chocolate chip cookie is a drop cookie that originated in the United States and features chocolate chips or chocolate morsels as its distinguishing ingredient. Circa 1938, Ruth Graves Wakefield added chopped up bits from a Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar into a cookie.
The traditional recipe starts with a dough composed of butter and both brown and white sugar, semi-sweet chocolate chips and vanilla. Variations on the recipe may add other types of chocolate, as well as additional ingredients such as nuts or oatmeal. There are also vegan versions with the necessary ingredient substitutions, such as vegan chocolate chips, vegan margarine, egg substitute, and so forth. A chocolate chocolate chip cookie uses a dough flavored with chocolate or cocoa powder, before chocolate chips are mixed in. These variations of the recipe are often referred to as ‘double’ or ‘triple’ chocolate chip cookies, depending on the combination of dough and chocolate types. Is there a more American dish on here of this list of foods that built America than the Chocolate Chip cookie?
The Food That Built America: S’mores
A s’more is a campfire treat popular in the United States and Canada, consisting of a marshmallow and a layer of chocolate placed between two pieces of graham cracker or cookie. The favorite among children in our list of foods that build America.
A lobster roll is a sandwich native to New England and the Canadian Maritimes. It is made of lobster meat served on a grilled hot dog-style bun with the opening on the top rather than the side. The filling may also contain butter, lemon juice, salt and black pepper, with variants made in some parts of New England replacing the butter with mayonnaise. Other versions may contain diced celery or scallion. Potato chips or french fries are the typical sides.
A chocolate brownie (commonly referred to as simply brownie) is a square, baked, chocolate dessert. Brownies come in a variety of forms and may be either fudgy or cakey, depending on their density. They may include nuts, frosting, cream cheese, chocolate chips, or other ingredients. A variation made with vanilla rather than chocolate in the batter is called a blonde brownie or blondie. The brownie was developed in the United States at the end of the 19th century and popularized in the U.S. and Canada during the first half of the 20th century. Perhaps the yummiest of the food that built America.