• sweet corn
  • a tomato
  • yellow squash
  • green squash
  • basil leaves cut into a Chiffonade
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • a dollop of ricotta cheese on top

(All the vegetables were raw. I diced them, except  for the corn which was just cut off the cob. I’ve been really into dicing lately, I think it makes a humble salad like this look more special and fancy.)

Succotash is a really American dish since all of it’s main components are native to the new world, and it even has an American Indian name (it means “boiled corn” in Narragansett.)  It got me thinking about other American foods. Americans are often criticized for not having a real food culture but sometimes I think it’s just buried under atrocities like the McRib and the Candwich. So I’ve been thinking  of some of the best and most uniquely American dishes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich– Peanut Butter, especially when paired with something sweet, is despised by much of the world but we Americans  love it (at least I do!) and Concord Grapes, which are the classic grapes used in jelly, are totally native to the US. To me this is really one of our national dishes.

Turkey Tetrazzini– So this ultra American in that it’s made with a native North American bird and it’s named after a celebrity (an Italian opera singer). I  love that it’s vaguely Italian, using Parmesan cheese and Spaghetti to make what is basically a modified tuna noodle casserole. It’s also super American because it’s often made with Thanksgiving leftovers.

Crab Rangoon– I’m pretty sure that these delicious fried wontons filled with crab and cream cheese have very little to do with authentic Chinese food. I love authentic Chinese food but I’m also a sucker for American Chinese food especially Pu Pu platter/ Trader Vic’s type of stuff.

Popcorn– Popcorn is one of my favorite foods. I LOOOOOOOOVE it! It’s Native American Origins and the fact that it’s served in movie theaters and at baseball games make it another Super American Food.

Grits– Grits have Native American origins and are still a totally regional dish. When I was a kid in California my southern-born  dad would make them for me for breakfast sometimes and serve them with a slice of American Cheese, some pieces of ham, and a fried egg on top. It was so good! But my California- born mom wouldn’t even get near it. She still makes a face when grits are even mentioned.

So what about you? What is your favorite American Dish???