I have had the great fortune to travel around the world and sample the food of many different cultures. While there are many countries with great culinary traditions, there are others that are not so great. I truly believe that American cuisine should make us all proud.
Allow me to begin with the hamburger. I know that it technically began in Germany, but Americans have taken this culinary delight to a whole new level. Whether it is with cheese, bacon, veggies or any other combination one can think of, the hamburger is probably the most recognizable example of American cuisine, and something that, in my travels, I have observed other countries try to emulate.
Another example of American cuisine that makes me especially proud comes from my home state of Texas. Chicken fried steak is dish that I have never seen anyone walk away from disappointed.
I remember when I went to a restaurant in the heart of London called The Embassy of Texas. I noticed that every customer was ordering the “number eight” meal, and I knew without even looking that it had to be the Chicken fried steak. Sure enough, it was, and I ordered it myself.
One of my favorite representatives of the wide and diverse landscape known as American cuisine is as uniquely American as is the game with which it is most often associated. The hot dog is something in which almost all of us delight, and I had two friends from Italy who only wanted to eat hot dogs for the entire week they were visiting me in the U.S. back when I was in college.
Casseroles are also a form of American cuisine that I have seen many of my Mexican friends really enjoy. That is something that was always surprising to me, because, while I really enjoy casseroles, I eat Mexican food on a fairly regular basis.
When I am around my friends, they are always asking about whether we will have green bean casserole or tuna fish casserole, and I am always asking about tacos, or tortas, or enchiladas.
Another popular dish here in the United States is fried chicken, and it always amazed me when I went to countries in Europe how many KFC locations there were, and the fact that they were always packed to the gills. I do like KFC, but I had no idea it had achieved this level of popularity in Europe, and there again, we are talking about American fare.
When most of us think about the rich culinary traditions of the world, Italian, French, Mexican and Chinese often come to mind, but I think we Americans can hold our heads high as well. While we may not have quite the diversity of food that some other cultures have, American cuisine should make us all proud.