As a locally known great cook and food history buff, I’m often asked about the best American food and the best American recipes. Wow. That’s a tough question to answer, in my opinion. American food is extremely varied. How does one compare a grilled hamburger to a perfectly cooked lobster? Both are excellent in their own right, but they’re almost impossible to compare fairly. There’s no way I can point to just one or two dishes or recipes as being the beat American food or the best American recipes. That being said, I will briefly discuss some of my favorites.
Yeah, I know fried foods aren’t healthy, but they sure do taste good, and Americans know how to fry! Most of my favorite fried foods are the ones that are battered or dredged in flour or cornmeal before entering the hot oil. These include fried chicken, fried pork chops, fried shrimp, fried oysters, fried fish, fried green tomatoes, onion rings, fried squash, fried mushrooms, fried eggplant, fried quail, fried venison steaks, and country-fried beef cube steak.
Okay, there are also a couple of foods that I like fried “naked,” without any coating. Chiefly among these are potatoes and chicken wings.
Steamed and boiled seafood
I realize this might seem ironic, but I also love steamed and boiled seafood, which is at the other end of the “healthy scale” from fried foods. Most steamed seafood is low in fat and practically devoid of carbohydrates. My favorites are steamed shrimp, boiled lobster, boiled crabs, steamed crab legs, and steamed oysters.
I love breads! In fact, I think some of the best American recipes are for breads. My favorites are yeast rolls, buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, crackling bread, hushpuppies, and sourdough bread. Other than crackling bread and hushpuppies, none of these breads is complete without a good slathering of real butter – in my humble opinion.
Grilled and smoked meats and poultry
As a true southerner, I have to love BBQ cooking. I think it’s a law. I firmly believe that you can make just about anything taste great on a grill or meat smoker. A few of my faves are barbecue chicken, pork ribs, rib eye steaks, and southern pulled pork barbecue.