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The Top 10 Foods Only America Could Have Invented

Posted by on July 2 2008 in Bacon, Cheese, Desserts, Fowl, Holiday, Lists, Red Meat, Sandwich

american-eating.jpg
Photo: Emdot

When it comes to food, America gets a bad rap. It’s a common refrain that America has no cuisine to call our own. We’ve got apple pie and hot dogs, but that’s about it. (And when you really get down to it, the Germans invented hot dogs, and the British were eating apple pie like 1,000 years ago.)

But the truth is, America does have a cuisine to call it’s own. Over the past 232 years we’ve invented some of the most creative, daring, and yes, downright craziest dishes the world has ever seen. Sure, they can be overly greasy, a little too cheesy, and sometimes fried a few times too many. But they’re ours. So to celebrate Independence Day, we’ve put together this list of the best foods that only a country with just the right combination of greed, grit, and gluttony could have possibly dreamed up.

The Top Ten Foods Only America Could Have Invented:

10. Corn Dog
corn-dog.jpg
Photo: Intangible Arts

In 1942, at a beautiful place called the Texas State Fair, an industrious young man named Neil Fletcher came up with a way to make his hot dogs sell quicker: dip them in corn meal, deep fry ‘em, and pop ‘em on a stick. And so an American tradition was born. Every year, as the weather turns warmer and state fair season comes around, Americans say to themselves: what can we deep fry next? We’ve deep fried twinkies, oreos, hamburgers, even coca-cola. But all of these wondrous achievements owe a debt to the original food that really didn’t need to be battered and fried but just had to be: the corn dog.

9. Philly Cheesesteak
cheesesteak.jpg
Photo: x-eyedblonde

Only Philadelphia, the most American of all cities, could invent an iconic sandwich and then vehemently insist that there shall be no attempts to make it good. Crappiest ingredients only, please. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell explained problems non PA-ers have when trying to make cheesesteaks: “First, they use good meat. You need the fattiest, stringiest meat to get a proper taste.” The second mistake, of course, is that you’ve got to use Cheese Whiz; no real cheese allowed. Rendell insists this is became “real cheese doesn’t melt,” which is of course a lie. But never matter. The Philly Cheesesteak is delicious. Would it be more delicious if it were made with thinly slice Kobe steak and melted Gruyere? Of course it would be. But it wouldn’t be as amazing.

8. “Chinese Food”
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Photo: VirtualEm

One of the great things about American cuisine is that when we come up with something so outrageous that even we can’t stand behind it, we figure out a way to pin it on someone else. Case in point: “Chinese Food.” All across America, Chinese buffets offer endless arrays of beautiful, deep-fried, grease-soaked food. General Tso’s chicken, chop suey, egg rolls, chow mein, fortune cookies. What do all these dishes have in common? They were all invented in America. Seriously people, do you really think Chinese people eat this crap? No. They eat rice. With vegetables and maybe a little meat. And it’s not battered or fried, or double fried, or double battered, and it’s certainly not filled with cheese. I mean, crab rangoon? Come on, that stuff has imitation crab meat and cream cheese. It could only have been invented in one place, and I think you know where that is.

7. S’mores
smore.jpg
Photo: Phil Hawksworth

It’s difficult to say exactly how s’mores became so popular throughout America. Graham crackers are not particularly well-liked, and neither are marshmallows. We generally do not enjoy eating things that were cooked on a stick our little brother just found in the dirt, nor do we usually like to burn our food to a crisp before dinnertime. Yet somehow, s’mores just work. Despite their cutesy contraction of a name, and the fact that we have to actually cook and assemble them ourselves, rather than order them from a fast food window, I’ve yet to meet a person who does not love s’mores. Except for foreigners, who will look at you like you are the craziest person ever if you try to explain what a s’more is.

6. Reuben Sandwich
reuben.jpg
Photo: kimberlykv

This fully-loaded sandwich may seem like an international delicacy, but the reuben is as American as it gets. Start with pastrami–a meat so infused with spices that it has more flavor in a single bite than most full meals. Pile this sky-high, preferably using at least a pound of meat per sandwich. Add on some “swiss” cheese–a bland, hole-y cheese that no actual Swiss person would ever touch. Top it off with “Russian dressing,” a beautiful orange mayonnaise concoction that–you guessed it–hasn’t a thing to do with Russia.

Next: Top 5 Foods Only America Could Have Invented

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323 Responses leave one →
  1. Olam permalink
    November 27, 2009

    A good article, but I must interject that they are not “Buffalo” wings. They are called chicken wings, and they were first made in Buffalo, NY. We don’t have much to be proud of, so we’ll defend that to the end of time.

  2. name permalink
    November 27, 2009

    We get it. You hate America. But try and get your facts straight before you go on a moronic rant.

  3. Julian permalink
    December 1, 2009

    And you wonder why most americans can’t see their own feet….
    who deep fried coca cola? what was the dish?

  4. Jeff permalink
    January 4, 2010

    “The Philly Cheesesteak is delicious. Would it be more delicious if it were made with thinly slice Kobe steak and melted Gruyere? Of course it would be. But it wouldn’t be as amazing.”

    Than it wouldn’t be a Philly Cheesestake…It would be a Kobe steak and melted Gruyere, on a baguette, with a side of douche bag.

  5. Kris R. permalink
    January 12, 2010

    They are totally buffalo wings. :P

  6. Kris R. permalink
    January 12, 2010

    Also, I like “American Food” but It really is bad for people! Especially in huge portions. Americans do need to get more healthy and eat better food, but its okay to have unhealthy food- just in very rarely, and if someone wants to be unhealthy, that is up to them… I won’t judge.

  7. crazysquid permalink
    January 30, 2010

    What the Author has failed to mention is that almost all the items listed have some europ. heritage. Most of the fattiest foods actually derive from old slave recipes. They were only given the poorest cuts of meats and the meager of spices and flavorings. But as Americans, we just take things too damn far.

  8. crazysquid permalink
    January 30, 2010

    To Kris R.
    Some people have to be over weight and unhealthy and die at a young age. I am not being cruel and sadistic in the next point, but absolutely realistic.
    The whole economy and infrastructure of the world is based on death. Would you want to get a low paying job that there is no chance of promotion for 200 years, because nobody dies for 5 or 6 hundred years? Of course not. Thomas Jefferson wrote something to the effect that slavery will never be fully dissolved without death of the for bearers. It took until almost all the “Slave Owner Minded” peoples (Old Slave Owners and Their direct Kin) to die off before Equal Rights became a full reality in the United States. So let them eat Turducken and baked Alaska chased down with a heaping bowl of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice cream so some one else can move up the corp. ladder.

  9. crazysquid permalink
    January 30, 2010

    So now i find that I sort of have to defend the culinary virtues of my country.
    Asians do not eat any better off health wise than we do. I give you a good example. Freakin’ poisonous Puffer Fish. Come on. How is that anymore healthy for you than a Big Mac. At least with a Big mac, you have a fighting chance. Sure, it’ll kill you, but not until your at least done with desert.
    Now, if you still want to believe that the Asian People of the world shy away from our customary deep fried origins, then check out this tid-bit of a web site.
    http://www.lastappetite.com/french-fry-coated-hotdog/.
    then scroll down a few frames and check out the vendors wares. So much for chop suey being bad for you. I doubt that she fried all those gastronomical nightmares in some ancient Chinese secret oils.
    Let those without cholesterol cast the first cardiac arrest.

  10. 'Nuff Said permalink
    February 10, 2010

    I know that we’re all lard asses, but I think we need to look at the stuff they’re making in the other fatty nations. Someone needs to set up an international gastronomic nightmares page (or at least one I’ll Stumble on in the next five seconds). Although, there’s always “This Is Why You’re Fat”. . .

  11. Irene permalink
    February 23, 2010

    I’m not actually from America…I’m from Ireland and I was doing a project with my friend on America’s food so I went online to try and find something, and then, naturally, I looked at the comments. I expected to see people putting up stuff like, LOL and ROFL and stuff..but mostly it was just sour remarks. WHAT IS WRONG WITH U PEOPLE! DON’T YOU SEE THE FUNNY SIDE OF THIS WHOLE THING!? I was seriosuly laughing my head of at the food descriptions. The one about the insane Turducken seriosuly cracked me up! XD

  12. cade permalink
    March 9, 2010

    i thought some of it was amusing, and I’m from the u.s.

    it wasn’t clever enough to be quite lol funny to me though. On the flip side I was not offended either, especially since the author is American. People will always make fun of other countries, but we should really take a second to get on the right side here. Stupid fat Americans (with more scientists than any country in the world I might add), Canadians with their hockey and kraft dinner, and Europeans with there bad teeth should all be comrades. There are way worse people out there that need made fun of, you know, the ones that habitually kill members of all these areas.

  13. April 3, 2010

    YUM!

  14. Katy permalink
    April 18, 2010

    So… How can CHINESE food be “American” food??? It originates in CHINA and I can tell you that every Chinese restaurant I have been to, that has people so Chinese I can barely understand what they say when you order anything, and I see them eat that food. Not everyone in America eats a Turducken, you can only get them in certain places unless you make it yourself. Who the hell actually makes s’mores on a regular basis??? NO ONE. They are made when you are having a campfire and it’s cold outside… AND that’s the only Cobb Salad I have ever seen in my life that doesn’t have any lettuce under it. I could make a better list of awesome American food, in my sleep.

  15. shelby permalink
    May 22, 2010

    yum!!!!!!!
    The food is all delicious!!!!!

  16. Jess permalink
    June 21, 2010

    Ha, this is great! I don’t care what the other reviewers have to say, I think this is hilarious and fits a lot of the ridiculous American-made foods to a T!

  17. Sasha permalink
    July 4, 2010

    american food is the best tasting by far. it may be the unhealthiest but for most people, taste is more important anyway. my father lived on steaks, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, coffee, ice cream, sodas and some beer and he lived until the ripe old age of 92 without a wheel chair and with a smile on his face. I have also seen people who eat very healthy and exercise who died young due to health issues. live a good decent life, eat moderately and have fun, and your chances for a long life are improved.

  18. Carmen permalink
    July 6, 2010

    People love to make fun of American food but they sure are gobbling it up around the globe. We have some of the best foods around and have invented lots of great dishes here. You can eat smores, turkunken, twinkies, doritos, baked alaska, etc. if you want but you can also eat grass-fed bison burgers, home-made mashed potatoes, sauteed organic vegetables and ice-cream too. That’s also American food.

  19. JianYun permalink
    July 7, 2010

    Katy: I believe you missed the point about the Chinese food being invented here in the United States.
    The author is correct when he says that the Chinese food you’ll find in American Chinese restaurants has very little to do with actual Chinese cuisine. There is a great book about the subject called, ‘Chop Suey: A cultural history of Chinese Food in the United States’ which details exactly how and why Chinese immigrants to this country changed their rich and diverse cuisine to suit their ‘American’ neighbours’ tastes. Also, while you may see some Chinese workers eating the buffet food from time to time, more often than not you are not seeing the real Chinese food they are cooking for themselves after the restaurant has shut down. I would encourage you to make a few friends at one of the better Chinese restaurants and ask them if you could try some ‘authentic’ Chinese food. Depending on where you live, and how long the local Chinese have been there…you could be in for a real treat!

    I am not saying that all Chinese food is healthy, but as a rule, it is healthier than most American food. One of the saddest things I have witnessed traveling in Asia is how quickly American franchises such as McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken are popping up everywhere, and how quickly Asian children are growing fatter and less healthy as they gobble up all of that deep fried goodness.

    Anyway, great article.

  20. Jerrod permalink
    July 8, 2010

    I remember when Chinese food was named the unhealthiest food of all because of the copious use of MSG and other flavor enhancers and all the deep frying. It was a Japanese professor who identified this fifth flavor resulting from all the flavor enhancers used in Asian cuisine. They are still widely used in Asia where it was invented and introduced to Americans by the Chinese. I remember when a study came out about it and it explained why I would often get headaches and bad dreams after eating at a Chinese restaurant. That was a kind of running joke too. Now Chinese restaurants go out of their way to advertise no MSG and some try to use less oil for frying to cater to those trying to avoid all the excess oil and flavor enhancers. Most Americans can handle small amounts of it but not the large quantities that are often used. Considering China has the highest incidence of stomach cancer in the world I wouldn’t assume that it’s healthy one way or the other.

  21. July 25, 2010

    Baked Alaska was invented at Delmonico’s Restaurant – opened by Swiss immigrants – in New York City in the 1870s.

  22. Eloka permalink
    August 8, 2010

    Why do Americans wonder why they are fat? That Turducken? How fucking greedy are these people? FUCK!

  23. August 13, 2010

    It’s obvious you didn’t read any of the previous posts and chose instead to degrade an entire country based on one dish that less than 1 percent of the population eat. By the way, many countries have fat people and more greed than Americans who are the most generous people on Earth. What a racist and hateful remark. If you think so poorly of America feel free to either leave or stay out. No haters wanted here.

  24. TerryAnne permalink
    August 13, 2010

    I had a teacher from Kenya who told me that the tribes there lived on cow’s blood mixed with milk. I’ll take a reuben thank you very much.

  25. Mr P Mason permalink
    August 21, 2010

    The Turduken is actually a take on a tudor British dish:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-502605/It-serves-125-takes-hours-cook-stuffed-12-different-birds—really-IS-Christmas-dinner.html

    the rest looks like a heap of shit.

  26. Merci permalink
    August 26, 2010

    Sorry but a heap of shit is watching snakes being cut open while they are still alive and eating their beating hearts or stabbing a lobster in the balls and drinking the juice that comes out of them or eating monkey brains while they are still alive. Now that’s what I call shitty food. Eating a smore or a corn dog is sounding better and better all the time.

  27. August 28, 2010

    you guys need to stop hating on americans (not all of you) im sure if other countrys had alot of money and the same food as us they wuld be fat to…

  28. Tav68 permalink
    September 2, 2010

    Someone needs to set this poster straight.
    America is actually number 11 on the list of the worlds fattest nations.
    This is Directly from the UN web site.
    Not from some reporter who wants to bash America but from the UN who keeps statistics on this type of thing NOT used for the purpose of Nation Bashing.

    Australia is the world’s fattest nation, with 36.2 percent of adults being obese.

    Here are the Top 15 fattest nations according to Actual Data from the UN Web site.
    Not from some nation Hating Reporter who has an Agenda.

    Australia 36.2 percent
    Nauru 35.7 percent
    Federated States of Micronesia 35.1 percent
    Cook Islands 34.9 percent
    Kiribati 34.5 percent
    Germany 34.5 percent
    Egypt, 34.1 percent
    Bosnia-Herzegovina, 33.9 percent
    United Kingdom, 33.2 percent
    Israel, 31.9 percent
    U.S.A 31.7 percent
    Croatia 31.4 percent
    New Zealand 31.0 percent
    Cook Islands 29.9 percent
    Argentina 29.4 percent

  29. Merci permalink
    September 9, 2010

    Thank you Tav68, that should put an end to all the U.S. bashing on here.

  30. Kelly permalink
    September 26, 2010

    Wow this article is amazing haha! Ups to the author you should truely take your writing furthur this is genius!

  31. Catarra permalink
    September 27, 2010

    stupid article. american food is great. too many haters here.

  32. Shaniqua permalink
    September 29, 2010

    @Jerrod

    Did you know human breast milk is especially rich in MSG, along with sugar? If the sweetness doesn’t stimulate the baby to continue suckling, then the savory certainly will.

    MSG is also naturally /abundant/ in tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, and whole load of other vegetables. Does Italian food give you headaches and bad dreams? Cos Italian could compete with Asian cuisine for the amount of MSG present in its dishes, gram for gram. Parmesan cheese is especially rich in MSG, containing higher levels (per gram) than even Chinese soy sauce, and don’t get me started of Italian (or any other European) sausage and sliced meats.

  33. the history master permalink
    October 6, 2010

    Hmmmmmmm, interesting article, but not for the right reason. To me it shows that some people do not do enough research into the subjects they wish to comment about.
    The Philli cheese steak. Not a new idea to mix cheese and bad meat together. There are references to this in Roman text as far back as 250BC.
    Chinese food. ‘NOT’ invented in America at all. Although Cop Suey is widely thought to come from America, it actually comes from Taishan in Guangdong province China. Its name in Chinese means ‘to break into many pieces’
    The Sandwich. Invented in England by The Earl of Sandwich, hence the name. But even before this, as long ago as neolithic times, bread was eaten with meats. Although theres no proof, it seems almost impossible to believe that no-one at this time or after had not at some time put the meat inside the bread. Pastrami was introduced to the US by Jewish immigrants.
    Baked Alaska. also known as ‘Omelette a la norvegienne. Invented in France.
    Turducken. Ok, they have used a Turkey that origonate from the US. But stuffing animals with animals is not new and dates back over 5000 years. the Romans use to stuff a Camel with sheep that were stuffed with ducks or geese stuffed with many other ingredients. And other animals were cooked in this manner well before the Romans did.
    Please, before you publish any more articles before you have done the research.

  34. Kadi permalink
    October 16, 2010

    Okay Katy, no, the “Chinese food” we eat is from here it’s nothing like the food they eat in China and just becuase people are speakinging chinese in the resturaunt doesn’t make it form China! And the point is not that we eat them on regular basis the point is that America created them. Before you go on about things you don’t know actually take them time to think thank you. And I’ll bet the list you could make would be totally wrong!

  35. wow this is sad permalink
    October 19, 2010

    wow therse to meany haters on this post yes we all have unhealthy food who cares all this hating and bashing shit is how arguments start that just lead to greater fucking problems how come we cant all be friends and stop all this ng shit for good and yes i am american

  36. jennifer permalink
    November 2, 2010

    where can i find what is the most top 10 most popular foods?

  37. alyssa permalink
    November 8, 2010

    hey, what happened to the deep fried snickers bar? no other country would make it. and why is there no deep fried foods here? america’s so fat, i don’t know why they didn’t put deep fried here. i don’t trust this list ..

  38. Emma permalink
    November 22, 2010

    I’m British, and I think I speak for all of Britain, what the HELL is number 10, 9, 8, 6, 4, and 2? A cobb salad, sounds to me like a green salad, with sweetcorn. Why would you put cheese on a salad? And corns dogs? Really? Not everything can be improved by deep frying it. Lastly, the Phily Cheesesteak. Cheez Whiz (Is that that spray cheese?) and stringy steak is not awesome. Obesity is NOT awesome.

  39. December 3, 2010

    Wow, this looks like some great food. I remember trying to do a baked alaska once. Wasnt too bad but the centre wasnt hard.

    Keep it coming!

  40. December 6, 2010

    CHINESE FOOD WAS NOT MADE HERE

  41. unknown permalink
    January 18, 2011

    know wonder americans are so fat

  42. JuneCarter permalink
    January 18, 2011

    Hey “unknown”, don’t people from where you’re from know how to spell?

  43. anonymous permalink
    January 24, 2011

    dumb article, not funny

  44. January 30, 2011

    This is so funny! (Not making fun of Americans as I now live here and eat some of that stuff too, all in good humor). In my native country (guess which one?), we also went too far in “customizing” some foreign food and invented many other ridiculous formulas. Let’s see, there’s the spaghetti with ketchup and red fake hotdogs, corn dogs with waffle coating instead of cornbread (I must admit the waffle version is waaay better), cheese means Velveeta, KFC eaten with steamed rice, and many others.

  45. Merci permalink
    January 31, 2011

    Shaniqua, you need to take a food history course. Italians do not use MSG in Italy only in the US and that was after the Chinese introduced it. And I have never had bad dreams after eating Italian food. Never heard that before. The only trouble I have with it is the garlic and onion and even that never happened in Italy. Sliced meats and such are expected to have some preservatives but I don’t see MSG on any list of ingredients (where do you buy yours, China?). Typical for your post to deny the facts presented and focus on your own hatred of America instead. American food rocks and screw the haters who think otherwise.

  46. Merci permalink
    January 31, 2011

    Here is a list of really bizarre food that’s eaten around the world. Now this is what I call awful. That plate of fries is looking better and better all the time.

    http://stuffucanuse.com/strange_food.htm

  47. Danny permalink
    February 23, 2011

    Ok, everyone on here needs to calm down. We don’t eat this stuff all the time. In fact, the only one I eat off this list is the Buffalo wings and Choc. Chip Cookie Dough Ice cream, very rarely. And Emma, if youre gonna start bashing our food, might I add the British eat Marmite, the sludge left over from brewing beer?

  48. EPOC permalink
    February 27, 2011

    The Turducken is essentially a version of The Yorkshire Christmas pie. UK folks have made nested birds for some time. Try again.

  49. Uncle permalink
    March 12, 2011

    Quite a sarcastic article :( . Despite the not-very-healthy aspect of many of these foods, they are all loved, and ingenious creations. This sounds like a hate-list.

  50. krista permalink
    March 12, 2011

    Hilarious article!! I enjoyed reading each bit and seeing just how ridiculous Americans are when it comes to food! The “Chinese Food” has to be one of the best – to think we blame someone else for all that fatti-greasiness.

    I agree with another poster who said Buffalo wings were originally called chicken wings, but were invented at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY. However, these days, many places do call them buffalo wings and many recipes have surpassed the original.

    Now after reading this article, I’m going back to my usual Euro-diet.

    God Bless America.

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