14 Beloved Ethnic Foods That Are Actually American

I absolutely love cultural diversity and the various intricacies associated with different ethnicities. One of the things I feel brings many of together is food. Often it is our first foray into a different culture and it can be so new and exciting. Little did I know I’ve been fooled all-along. Here are 14 Beloved Ethnic Foods That Are Actually American.

One of my favorite cuisines, especially late at night on the weekend, is Chinese. Combination platters full of egg rolls, chicken balls, gooey sauces and chow mien. I also love the fortune cookie at the end of the meal and thought it was quite ingenious of the Chinese to have included this with their menu. But, as it turns out, the fortune cookie was actually invented by David Jung in 1918… in Los Angeles. He started handing out the cookies with uplifting biblical messages in them to the homeless. Speaking of Chinese food, General Tso’s chicken really doesn’t belong to the General. Tso was long dead by the time his chicken dish was created in New York by Chinese immigrants who found that, by adding some sugar, their spicy Hunan cuisine was more popular with Americans.

Mexican food is another of my favorites. Every time I go to a Mexican restaurant I always order nachos. I love, love, love them! Spicy peppers, delicious salsa, creamy sour cream. I honestly thought I was enjoying crispy pieces of Mexican heaven. I was wrong. Nachos are a Texas dish. It all started with the El Zarape Tortilla Factory who cut up their misshapen tortillas, fried them and then sold them as chips. Cheese topping came later on, but the point is, they aren’t authentically Mexican.

Spaghetti with meatballs is definitely an Italian dish, though. At least that’s what I believed. This dish, however, was not created in Italy so resist the temptation to order it when vacationing in Italy to avoid possible disappointment if you are expecting “traditional” spaghetti. It Is another New York creation and you’ll have a really hard time finding your much-loved over-sized meatballs anywhere outside of North America.

Everyone thinks that garlic bread originated in Italy. But the truth is that when World War II ended, soldiers who spent time overseas were hungry for food they had enjoyed while there. So when the soldiers got back home to the United States they demanded imitation foods similar to the ones they had enjoyed while in Europe. Soldiers missed the taste of Italian Bruschetta, so in Michigan they came up with toasted white bread with garlic and margarine, similar to bruschetta, but with an American twist called garlic bread, and restaurants and homes have been serving it ever since.

Don’t be fooled by names like Cuban Sandwich or English Muffin. They may not have originated where you think. Check out the other foods on this list to see if, like me, you’ve been fooled all along!

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