"You are what you eat." Nutrition experts often use this sayingto promote better eating habits. What we put in our mouthsdoes become a part of us. But we can look at this statementanother way. What we eat reflects who we are--as people andas a culture. Do you want to understand another culture? Thenyou ought to find out about its food. Learning about Americanfood can give us a real taste of American culture.
What is "American food"? At first you might think the answer is easy as pie. To many people,American food means hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken and pizza. If you have a "sweet tooth,"you might even think of apple pie or chocolate chip cookies. It's true that Americans do eat thosethings. But are those the only kind of vittles you can find in America?
Except for Thanksgiving turkey, it's hard to find a typically "American" food. The United Statesis a land of immigrants. So Americans eat food from many different countries. When people moveto America, they bring their cooking styles with them. That's why you can find almost every kindof ethnic food in America. In some cases, Americans have adopted foods from other countries asfavorites. Americans love Italian pizza, Mexican tacos and Chinese egg rolls. But the Americanversion doesn't taste quite like the original!
As with any large country, the U.S.A has several distinct regions. Each region boasts its ownspecial style of food. Visit the South and enjoy country-style cooking. Journey through Louisianafor some spicy Cajun cuisine. Take a trip to New England and sample savory seafood dishes. Travelthrough the Midwest, "the breadbasket of the nation," for delicious baked goods. Cruise over tothe Southwest and try some tasty Tex-Mex treats. Finish your food tour in the Pacific Northwestwith some gourmet coffee.
Americans living at a fast pace often just "grab a quick bite." Fast food restaurants offerpeople on the run everything from fried chicken to fried rice. Microwave dinners and instant foodsmake cooking at home a snap. Of course, one of the most common quick American meals is asandwich. If it can fit between two slices of bread, Americans probably make a sandwich out of it.Peanut butter and jelly is an all-time American favorite.
Americans on the go also tend to eat a lot of "junk food." Potato chips, candy bars, soft drinksand other goodies are popular treats. Many people eat too many of these unhealthy snacks. Butothers opt for more healthy eating habits. Some even go "all natural." They refuse to eat anyfood.