Traditional American Foods

America is big and American food tends to be adequate too! Here we outline a few traditional America dishes. Like all great nations American food expresses a lot besides just providing carbohydrates!

For many, a dish like 'Meatloaf' is a classic, honest and old-fashioned dish. It is usually made from ground beef but is often substituted for cheaper cuts of meat. The meatloaf is all about the method of baking the ingredients in a loaf pan. It is a delicious family meal that has been made immortal by various references to it in popular culture.

It is usually carved and served with vegetables, potatoes and gravy. This is pure comfort food and like so many similar dishes can be tweaked to produce something very special.

Cornbread is integral to Southern Cooking and can be seen as a great staple of soul food culture. It is made from a finely leavened cornmeal that is ground and then cooked in the oven with baking powder. It has a great history accompanying Thanksgiving dinners and

New England Johnnycakes!

The somewhat more exotic dish of 'Jambalaya' is as fun as the name suggests. Jambalaya is a classic one pot dish of rice, shrimp and sausage from the Cajun and Creole kitchens of Louisiana. The word itself equates to 'mish-mash' and chefs are quite free to interpret this kind of dish in myriad ways. The base of the dish is the so-called 'holy trinity' of onions, bell peppers and celery.

Since the 1800s, when it first appeared in the 'Virginia Housewife’, the staple of 'Macaroni and Cheese' became a family favourite. This is surely one of the greatest ways to eat what is otherwise a fairly bland pasta. It can be served as a side dish or as a main meal. This, like so many American dishes, is very Mom and Pop food.

A very special place in the heart of fine eating is of course 'Wild Alaska Salmon. The fish, unlike most that are farmed, can eat freely, producing a quality of salmon that is quite exquisite. In fact, it is so essential to sustain healthy stocks that State authorities ensure numbers are carefully maintained. With fish of this quality, a chef can be very inventive and it can be served in a variety of mouth-watering ways.

It's hard not to mention 'Peanut butter and Jelly' at some stage as it seems to be so very much a part of the stars and stripes culture. This is sweet and savoury to a tee and is a food you either love or hate. One extraordinary fact is that sliced bread was available from the 1920s, while evidence suggests that this classic filling sandwich has been around longer. There is a wonderful reference to this in the Boston Cooking School Magazine from the 1910 edition. Like so many edibles, if you use good quality peanuts and homemade strawberry jam, it becomes a real taste sensation.

One other uniquely American invention is 'Biscuits and Gravy' and has to be tried and tested in a diner of your choice. This is another delight from the South and is carbohydrate heaven. The biscuit itself is made from lard or buttermilk and then smothered in a gravy enriched with pork sausage and black pepper. There is a wonderful quote about this type of soul food cooking. This quote from the Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook say it all:

 "The Southern way with gravies was born of privation. When folks are poor, they make do. Which means folks make gravy."


Although 'Apple Pie' is seen in so many variations throughout the globe, America has made apple pie a part of modern popular culture. The expression "as American as apple pie" is a challenging notion as it is thought that this humble dish was brought over by European immigrants and has slowly been digested into native culture. Delicious and best served with lashings of fresh cream!