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What's our national dish?


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I'm posting from Singapore. I'm an American. August 8 is

national day in Singapore, and a holiday. (YEAH!). There's

an annual national song, parade, events;but they still can't

decide what the official national dish is. Could it be

Fishhead Curry, Laksa, Fried Chilli Crab, or Chicken Rice.

This got me thinking...what is our (USA) national dish?

What dish is soooo American, so delicious, full of historical

content and just blurts out "USA?". Maybe with 50 states

there's just too much variety to ever come to a popular vote?

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I have to agree, with the frankfurter in second place. As I recall Americans consume something like 30 billion hamburgers and 20 billion hot dogs per year. Of course the numbers don't automatically lead to designation as a national food -- the cheese sandwich and the egg salad sandwich rank quite high but aren't particularly American.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have to agree, with the frankfurter in second place. As I recall Americans consume something like 30 billion hamburgers and 20 billion hot dogs per year. Of course the numbers don't automatically lead to designation as a national food -- the cheese sandwich and the egg salad sandwich rank quite high but aren't particularly American.

How about pizza? Or french fries?

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Apple pie.

Apple pie is more American than hamburger. For one thing it's dessert. Popcorn is also a better candidate, especially as it's a snack food and can be eaten while watching television or in the movies

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Nina: I might argue for pizza as the official food of New York City -- I'm reasonably sure New Yorkers eat more pizza than burgers; though they also eat a lot of hot dogs -- but nationwide I don't think pizza keeps up with hamburgers. It's also not something anybody really makes at home. And it's not really an American food, though certainly it has become a part of our culture. French fries I don't see as a candidate. They're more of an accompaniment in most American instances. It would be like saying bread.

Bux: Apple pie is a strong candidate, yes. It seems like it might have been the winner in the 1950s, but is it really as significant today?

Blue Heron: The Thanksgiving meal has got to be the meal I'd hold out as the American meal, but it's not a dish per se.

Incidentally, for Singapore it's got to be chicken rice. Come on!

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have to agree, with the frankfurter in second place. As I recall Americans consume something like 30 billion hamburgers and 20 billion hot dogs per year. Of course the numbers don't automatically lead to designation as a national food -- the cheese sandwich and the egg salad sandwich rank quite high but aren't particularly American.

Does the hamburger and hotdog meat the historical content criteria, though? Anybody know how long American's have been eating hamburgers and hotdogs? (yikes, I hope Americans are not most well known for these 2 dishes!). :blink:

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I would say yes we are known for those two foods above all others. As for dates, most sources will point to 1893 as the year the hot dog on a bun really broke out and became an American staple. The various hamburger histories date it to the 1880s and 1890s but it's probably accurate to say that the hamburger took its big leap post-War (WWII that is) during the fast-food chain-restaurant explosion.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Bux: Apple pie is a strong candidate, yes. It seems like it might have been the winner in the 1950s, but is it really as significant today?

Well that's the thing about symbols, they tend to be more symbolic than real. It's like the presidency. How often is the office held by a significant person.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Here's a decent hot dog history:

http://www.hot-dog.org/hd_history.htm

And here's one for hamburgers, albeit a bit difficult to read:

http://www.geocities.com/NapaValley/Kitche...93/history.html

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I pondered a while over replying to this thread. Since I am not American I wonder if I have any right at all to tell you what your national dish is.

The first thing that sprung to mind like the rest of you was hotdogs and hamburgers. Then I thought nahhh .. those two things barely qualify as food based on the way they are usually prepared.

My thoughts then turned to some of the things that for me opitimise American cuisine. Biscuits and Gravy, red flannel hash, cowboy baked beans and country ham. Grits. All the wonderful spicy cujun cooking that is just mouth wateringly good when it is prepared with zest and a heavy hand on the hot stuff!

Gooey Fudgy brownies and Pumpkin pie. NY Cheesecake.. nothing like it!. Key Lime pie and those wonderful ribs that Americans do so well. Po'boys and NY Bagels.. now those are things worthy of being proud of as Americans :)

Forget the hamburger and the hotdog.. go for Blackened fish and pie that makes your hips bigger just looking at it

:rolleyes:

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The things I miss that's "American" are ....yes Thanksgiving Turkey

with stuffing;but it's not something I want as our national dish. It has

to be something that we could be proud of letting even a French person eat.

Hee.

Baked Beans? Isn't that really more of a British/English thing that stuck

around since the early days in the East Coast?

You know what I really miss eating? I miss Rice Crispies Marshmellow

treats and bubble gum.

Sad isn't it? Distance makes a person crave the oddest things.

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For popularity, you'd have to say the hamburger.

For symbolism, I'd have to go with roast turkey, stuffing and gravy as served on Thanksgiving. It conveys more of the American spirit and communal history than any other single dish.

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I'm really looking forward to the thread on the national food of Canada. (Canola oil?)

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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When I was growing up, we had a series of Danish au pairs, each for a year, for about 8 subsequent years. And we kept in touch over the years with many of them. And every time one of them would come to visit in later years, they would invariably ask to have a Thanksgiving feast made during their stay. It represented for them the quintessential American meal, and they all LOVED it.

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Why do you think nobody eats Thanksgiving dinner during the rest of the year? See, I think a really good hamburger is infinitely better than the best turkey. Given the choice between the two, I'd never choose turkey. In fact I'd choose most any other kind of poultry before I'd choose turkey. I just don't think the standard American Thanksgiving meal is particularly good. I guess the dressing can be okay, but that awful brown gravy and flavorless turkey (even the boutique/artisanal turkeys don't taste like much)? Whereas a hamburger, properly made, is one of the best-tasting things around.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Fat Guy - As much as I think turkey is bland and boring, the outrageously priced Lobel's turkey could change your mind just a wee bit. But it stiil tastes like turkey, even when it's moist and juicy. That is why we also serve some other type of roast, usually prime rib but sometimes veal or pork, for Thanksgiving dinner. I think turkey tastes better cold the next day anyway. Especially with souffle mustard and Gus's pickles. And I agree withy you about hamburger/turkey. But in general, I think red meat is better than poultry.

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I just don't think the standard American Thanksgiving meal is particularly good.

That is why it's the national dish.

In England we have chicken tikka masala.

You have turkey. It is not given to us to choose, just to eat.

Wilma squawks no more

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