Jan
18
2009

What foods really are All American (New World)?

17 lbs of Perfection - courtesy davitydave - CC-BY

17 lbs of Perfection - courtesy davitydave - CC-BY

Well, there are many foods which are considered all American, such as apple pie and chop suey.  However, it turns out they are not.

But just what foods really are ‘all American?’  By all American, I mean those which came from the New World and are now part of the entire world’s diet.

You may be surprised not only at the number, but at their also becoming world dietary staples.

Just what percentage of the world’s sweets would we lose without chocolate and vanilla, both of which originated on the North American continent?

Throw in peanuts, pineapples and tapioca with those sweets too.

And maize (corn, whether sweet corn or field corn) is now a staple for both animals and humans most everywhere on the planet.  And don’t forget, the movie industry would be a different scene without popcorn.

Then there is the lowly bean.  Beans are even mentioned in the Bible. But there were no true beans anywhere in the ‘Old World.’  The Old World had chickpeas, lentils and fava beans.  But, none of these are true beans, they are all vetches (peas).  The haricot bean, a wide ranging family that includes runner beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, butter beans, navy beans, great northerns and lima beans are all New World plants.

Sweet and hot peppers (chilli peppers) now used around the world are New World as well.

The turkey arrived in Europe about 1523 or 1524 and then in England shortly after that (why are turkeys called turkeys?). The white potato reached England at some point in the late 1500s.

Just to round things out a bit, throw in allspice, amaranth, artichoke, avocado, blackberry, blueberry, cashew nut, black cherry, cranberry, concord grape, guava, huckleberry, papaya, pecan, pumpkin, squash, raspberry, wild rice, sassafras, sunflower, sweet potato, and the tomato.

Now, those are real ‘all American foods.’

Bean soup and cornbread along with fresh sliced tomatoes anyone?  It is as American as…

And maybe a chocolate bar for dessert?

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  Need research? Quezi's researchers can answer your questions at uclue.com

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