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Does America Have a National Dish?

Does America Have a National Dish? by Jessica M

If you live in America, you don’t need to be told that whenever possible, Americans will figure out a way to introduce food into a celebration. And, depending on the occasion and where it is being held, certain foods just seem to “fit” certain occasions. However, there really is no National dish, or drink.

For example, spring and summer picnic or cookout menus almost always include hot dogs, burgers, potato salad and coleslaw, and of course some cold beer.  Thanksgiving holiday (national feast), Christmas, and other winter holiday celebrations are the time for mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, and hams or turkeys (sometimes both) followed by pumpkin, pecan, or apple pie. On New Year’s Day, a traditional meal of pork and black-eyed peas is eaten almost everywhere in America.

But, does America actually have a National dish like it has a national anthem, national flag, national symbol (the bald eagle) and, of course a national pastime? That’s really hard to say. However, when Americans do think of a national dish, a hamburger and apple pie may be the first one to come to mind, although technically, it has not been declared such, and neither has any other food.

That’s probably because there are so many regional foods that to give one certain one that designation would probably bring a protest on the White House that would make many of the others seem like Sunday school parties. Think about it. Louisiana Cajuns might want it to be jambalaya, the residents of Memphis, North Carolina, Kansas City, and Texas would vote for barbecue, while those in  Southern states might insist it be fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens. And in the New England states lobster, clam chowder, and fried seafood would get the nod.  This might cause a stir among the vegetarians who might want a wholesome vegetable medley named the national dish.

And, it probably wouldn’t be a big surprise if younger Americans (and some U. S. adults, too, for that matter) wanted pizza, or fast foods proclaimed the national dish, which would open up another entirely different can of worms. Even if they settled on hamburgers, whose hamburgers would it be? McDonald’s, Burger Kings, Wendy’s? So, it’s probably best just to let everyone have their local favorites. That way, all Americans can have what they as individuals like best.

What is your favorite regional or local dish?  What should be our National dish?  Send us a picture of your own version of some American food, and we’ll post the best creations.