One thing that makes me proud to be American is the FOOD! My cousin once looked at me like I was insane when I said this. Actually, I believe her response was, “ Processed. Fast Food. Ick.” What a shame because there are plenty of classic American food gems amongst us. Here are five of my many favorite All-American foods along with my favorite recipes and tips for each.
In my book macaroni and cheese is the epitome of comfort food. This hot, cheesy and downright amazing dish is well-loved by both adults and kids alike! There is just something magical about curling up with a bowl of creamy mac and cheese that makes everything feel…right! Thomas Jefferson had a cheese and noodle dish in Europe and came back and served “macaroni pie” at a state dinner. It’s been popular ever since. Tip: For the BEST macaroni and cheese, use a bold and flavorful quality cheese, like Cracker Barrel’s award-winning sharp cheddar cheese. That’s what I’ve been using lately to give my mac and cheese more flavor and the perfect cheesy texture.
Buffalo wings are one of the most popular appetizers in the U.S. What party is complete without a tray of good ol’ buffalo wings? These spicy, flavorful chicken wings drenched in butter and hot sauce were first served in Buffalo, NY. I would get some serious dirty and confused looks if didn’t serve these at a Super Bowl party. Tip: For juicy, tender buffalo wings, use fresh chicken wings and marinate them in buttermilk and hot sauce for an hour prior to seasoning and cooking.
Whether you prefer yours crunchy or chewy, chocolate chip cookies are America’s favorite cookie. We have Ruth Wakefield who owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts to thanks for this cookie creation. I seriously love you, Ruth! Tip: If you prefer a crunchier chocolate chip cookie, use more white sugar than brown sugar, for a chewy, soft cookie use more brown sugar than white sugar.
When I think of meatloaf I automatically get an image of a 1950s housewife pulling this ketchup-topped dish out of the oven. Don’t ask me why, maybe because it’s such a classic, homely dish that every mother seems to know how to make. Or maybe it’s because it was one of the first dinners I made for my hubby when I got married and was trying to be all domestic. The meatloaf recipe made its appearance in Fannie Farmer’s 1918 cookbook, “Boston Cooking School Cookbook.” So many variations have been birthed from this simple, comforting dish. Tips: Most of us have made a shrinking meatloaf before. To prevent this, use a high grade of ground meat like ground chuck.
Being a southern girl you better believe this dish was gonna be in my top 5 favorite American foods. Made from ground corn and served as a hot breakfast porridge or a savory dinner side dish, grits are extremely versatile, filling, easy to make and cheap. I grew up eating butter grits for breakfast and fried fish topped with cheese grits for dinner. Good eatin’ there. Tips: For a unique twist on cheese grits try using Cracker Barrel’s affordable cheddar and jalapeno cheese.