In many ways this post is both an easy and a hard one. Easy because it’s on my country’s foods and hard because there is no such thing as strictly defined “American” food. The United States is a massive country, home to many distinct regions and as a result of this, each region is home to its own unique cuisine. It was hard to pick just “five” especially since the American Southwest is a region I have never been to but know the food there would be amazing.
New England Clam Chowder
My experience with New England is limited to just the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut and even then I have not been to either since I was in the single digits. I would love to return one day for a trip that would include both the famed Atlantic coastline as well as the gorgeous fall foliage of the interior parts of the states. But back to the “chowder” (Boston, New England accents are very recognizable and to hear someone say this word is always a fun time). Clam chowder is a rich soup containing clams, diced potato and onions which sometimes are sautéed in the drippings from bacon. It’s the ultimate comfort food especially on a cold winter’s night, something New England is famous for. I myself could eat clam chowder year round provided that during the summer it was somewhere inside in air-conditioning.
Well, I could not feature a food post of the United States and not include something from my hometown of Philadelphia. While the city is known for so much more (history, the arts for starters), when someone says Philadelphia, for many people cheesesteaks are the first thing that come to mind. It’s simply a sandwich made from thinly-sliced pieces of steak and melted cheese served in a long roll, nothing fancy but decidedly delicious. However, throughout the country places have sprung up claiming to serve authentic Philly cheesesteaks-they are not when they are allowing you to have toppings like mayonnaise (disgusting) and peppers. You can add onions (this is acceptable) and the correct Philly way to order is to say the word “with”; alternatively if you don’t want onions, you simply say “without.” With=onions, without=no onions. And as for cheese, as gross as it may sound, cheese wiz is THE cheese.
I grew up eating pizza all the time but it was always “New York-style”, i.e. the flat/thin crust kind. So it wasn’t until I visited Chicago for the first time in 2008 that I finally got to try the much talked about Chicago-style pizza, otherwise known as deep-dish. It has a crust up to three inches tall at the edge (making it slightly higher than the ingredients) and includes large amounts of cheese and chunky tomato sauce. I’m not going to lie, if you’re like me you may feel full after having only one or two slices of the stuff, it’s that much richer and more filling than the thin crust pizza. But it’s the most unique type of pizza you’ll ever have and something you want to try at least once.
Pulled Pork BBQ
One of the things I enjoyed most about my trip to the Asheville, North Carolina area was the pulled pork bbq I got to eat on a couple of occasions. Pulled pork is a method of cooking what otherwise would be a tough cut of meat slowly at low temperatures, thus allowing the meat to become tender enough so that it can be “pulled” off. Although multiple states are known for their pulled pork, in North Carolina, parts that are commonly used include a pig roast/whole hog, mixed cuts of the pig/hog, or the shoulder cut. The pork is served with or without a vinegar-based sauce.
Key Lime Pie
It’s well known that summers in Florida are brutally hot. However, one way to cool off is to have a slice of the refreshing dessert, Key Lime Pie. It’s made of Key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk baked in a pie crust. The name comes from the small Key limes that are native throughout the Florida Keys. They’re considerably more tart and aromatic than the common Persian limes sold year round in most grocery stores in the United States. Key limes are also considerably smaller than Persian ones. I was lucky enough to have a slice of this delectable treat when I was in Key West at Sloppy Joe’s, a famous restaurant and watering hole that dates back to when Papa Hemingway drank there.