What is American food culture? This is something that I had to take a long time answering when I was asked before. America is a giant pot of other cultures placed next to each other.
The history isn’t as long as other countries and it can be hard to pinpoint what is distinctly American and what was brought over from other places. But, I will say that America definitely does have its own food culture.
Even if the food has come from somewhere else originally, America has taken some foods and made them their own.
The first thing to keep in mind is that America is a big country and the food that is famous or popular in one place may not be so popular in others. But, one food that you can find anywhere in America is Hotdogs.
If you asked anyone what was in a hotdog, I’d bet that most people couldn’t tell you and neither can I. But, that’s not the point. Americans love hotdogs. You can find them in every grocery store and at almost every BBQ. They’re sold at baseball games, on street corners, at carnivals covered in bread, street fairs, and at the beach. There’s not a city in America that doesn’t have hotdogs.
Now, when talking about hotdogs there’s a few places that need to be mentioned. The first is New York and the Second is Chicago. There’s a long standing rivalry between these two cities about who has the best hotdogs.
Seeing as I spent a few years of my childhood in Chicago I think you can guess which I prefer. But, let me tell you the difference and you can make your own decision.
New York style hotdogs focus on the idea that simple is best. These are natural all beef hotdogs served on a plain bun right out of the cooker. For toppings, the most common is some mustard, no ketchup, and sauerkraut (a topping that takes its roots in Germany). That’s it. Simple, tasty, and easy to enjoy.
I myself am a big fan of sauerkraut so this does sound quite appealing to me. But, everyone has their preference and the competition between New York and Chicago is generations old.
While the New York hotdog is a classic, the Chicago style hotdog is a show stopper. These beef frankfurters are a bit different from New York’s all beef hotdogs. After the difference in type of dog comes the bun, where Chicago opts for a poppy seed bun.
Next, when New York aims for simplicity with toppings, Chicago goes all in. Toppings are the crowns that decorate their short delicious life.
The ‘Chicago Seven’ are the toppings of choice. These are, yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear (one 4th of a pickle cut lengthways), tomato wedges or slices, pickled sport peppers, and celery. Now you know. Which one sounds better to you?
As much as you might think we’re done, we can’t end the discussion of hotdogs here. I’ve talked about the two most famous types of hotdogs in the US, but there are popular hotdogs in every major city in America. I could spend days talking about it, but we need to mention another thing that keeps hotdogs as a firm part of American food culture, baseball.
There’s nothing quite like sitting at a baseball game with your friends and family enjoying a beer and eating some hotdogs. Americans have been keeping this tradition alive since the start of the MLB. Hotdogs and baseball just go together. Having baseball without hotdogs, in my opinion, just wouldn’t be right.
But, I also mentioned BBQs at the start. Did you think I forgot? Nope, it needs to be said that BBQs are built around hotdogs and hamburgers. Hotdogs are at every home BBQ, every city birthday festival, every 4th of July event, and any event that involves a grill and is outside.
There are no events in the USA that don’t include hotdogs. Hotdogs are a staple in the States, so if you go for a trip to America, you need to have some.
This is especially true if you’re going to either New York or Chicago, you’ll regret it if you don’t. So buckle up and bite into some delicious foods.