The Top 10 things That Are As American As Apple Pie!
- Popcorn. Popcorn was first discovered thousands of years ago by the Native Americans. It became more widely popular in the United States during the Depression because of its low cost--and today, from movie theaters to our pantry shelf, it is an iconic American food.
- BBQ. BBQ is not an American Invention, but we sure did take the idea and run with it! For those of you who are into BBQ, we won’t be able to give the history justice, but BBQ has become a great American cooking tradition--encompassing four distinct cooking types: smoking, baking, braising and grilling, with world-famous techniques and styles originating from Texas, Memphis, Kansas City, and North Carolina to name a few.
- The Family Vacation. There is nothing more American than piling the family into the station-wagon (ahem...we mean SUV) or camper, throwing the luggage in the trunk and hitting the road. This innately American ritual saw a boom in the 1950s as Dinah Shore sang, “See the USA in your Chevrolet,” but the national habit probably has its roots in the early 1900’s when new highways, like the famous Rt 66, helped propel automobile travel. So you could say that more reliable vehicles, coupled with growing highway systems, helped to bring about the family vacation and we’ve been taking them ever since.
- Hamburgers. Hamburgers are an international phenomenon with simultaneous and debated origins in various countries, but as far as the American burger, Texas historian Frank X. Tolbert attributes the invention to Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas. Davis is believed to have sold hamburgers at his café at 115 Tyler Street in Athens, Texas in the late 1880s, then brought them to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. The sandwich was made an icon by McDonald’s, and today, burgers continue to hold a special place in the hearts (and stomachs) of Americans both young and old.
- Mickey Mouse. Mickey was created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks in 1928. He has gone on to star in movies, lead a club, rule his own World and Land, and is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. Here in America he represents the child in all of us!
- Coffee. The British may have invented tea-time, but the Americans pioneered the coffee break! Coffee has an extremely long and ancient history, but here in the states we can fondly recall the drink as the nectar of the great American cowboy, and as a drink made popular by returning G.Is from WW1. In fact the term “cuppa Joe” comes from G.I. Joe, who always had his coffee. Soldiers brought their affinity for coffee (a typically three-cup-a-day habit) back home with them and thus began the age of the coffee house, which lead to lunch counters and the soda fountain!
- Muscle Cars, Pick-Up Trucks and the Open Road. Americans love the open road and our cars. In the beginning Henry Ford made sure we all had one. Then in the 20s we hit the pavement on new highway systems, like RT 66. Later came Eisenhower and the Interstate Highway system--and we were off!
- Baseball. Take me out to the ball game! The history of baseball in the United States can be traced to the 18th century. It’s probably the one sport that evokes the most nostalgia in Americans and was dubbed, “the national pastime.” We all know names like Babe Ruth or Jackie Robinson--when it comes to baseball, players became icons and the game itself became a piece of American history.
- Blue Jeans. The men and women who built this country did so in Dungarees, and soon, whether we were doing manual labor or just relaxing at home--everyone was wearing them.
- Homeownership. Owning a home has often been seen as one of the symbols of the promised prosperity of the American dream. From log cabins and prairie homes of the old west to the catalog homes of Sears Roebuck and Levittown of the 1950s, throughout history, homes and homeownership have become a staple of the American way of life.
Apple Pie. According to the book, America in So Many Words: Words That Have Shaped America by Allen Metcalf & David K. Barnhart, “Since the earliest colonial days, apple pies have been enjoyed in America for breakfast, for an entrée, and for dinner. Colonist wrote home about them and foreign visitors noted apple pie as one of our first culinary specialties...We cannot claim to have invented the apple pie, just to have perfected it." The expression "as American as apple pie," the authors say, “is not that old. It was only in the twentieth century, apparently the 1960s, that we began to be 'as American as apple pie.'
So there ya go. A little American trivia and Happy 4th of July everyone!