The American culinary tradition is today very influenced by ethnic food (Asian and Latinos food). Nevertheless, some typical American dishes that are staples in many restaurants are chicken tenders, burgers, hot-dogs, barbecue, ranch-filled salad, soups and roasted meat and poultry. Moreover, each part of the US has, obviously, its own culinary traditions. Chicagoan food traditions, for example, include deep dish pizzas and Chicago-style hot dogs (http://www.hotdogchicagostyle.com/).
One true manner of experiencing the American culinary tradition is by attending an American family dinner for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the holiday that commemorates the first meal eaten by the pilgrims, the first American settlers from Europe, that was shared by the Native Americans. As such, the meal is supposed to consist of foods the same as, or similar, to what was served that day in November hundreds of years ago. Typical dishes include ham, roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, cranberry-pear relish, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie, pumpkin cheese cake. To get more of an overview of what is American cuisine, check the following websites:
- For American food history, check the website Key Ingredients America by food: http://www.keyingredients.org/default.asp.
Finding international food in the US and especially in Chicago is rather easy because a lot of international communities have been living in the city for years. Some neighborhoods specialize in Asian, Latino, German, Swedish, and Polish food, as well as many others as well.
One of the biggest health problems in the US is obesity among adults and children. The food is sweeter than in Europe and other parts of the world because of the extra sugar that is added in the food processor. It is very easy to buy only processed food in supermarkets and order food deliveries from restaurants that are everywhere. The risk is to put on weight very easily and quickly. The advice here is to try not to change your diet too much. Avoid the temptation of eating every day in a fast-food or local restaurant, take your own food to work, if possible, and drinking plenty of water. Drinking water may seem like strange advice. It is worth noting, however, that water is not the main daily drink in the US: sugar-filled juice, enriched water, and sodas are more common even for children. Moreover, candies and sweets are everywhere, even at the cashiers in electronic shops! It is tantalizing! American people have become self-conscious of this problem and healthy eating has become very trendy. It is now very easy to find organic vegetables and meats: there are organic open-air markets as well as supermarkets that specialize in this field.