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America’s Favorite Foods: Some Things Never Change

Americans are an interesting mix of cultures and foodies. We love sushi, Chinese and Mexican food, Italian restaurants, and designer coffee drinks, but when you get to the bottom of it, there are few surprises. We buy the same basic products that have been around for decades, mainly because we grow up with them, they are served in school canteens and around every corner.

In general, there are no surprises here and this list has changed little in decades, so let’s start with the America’s Top Ten Favorite Foods (no vegetables in sight):

Burgers – Ever since the first White Castle opened, we’ve been hooked
Hot Dogs – American food
Fries – can’t do much to make these better
Oreo Cookies: Chocolate Chip Cookie Lovers Will Disagree
Pizza: many ingredients, but the base remains the same
Soft drinks: as a nation we consume them throughout the day (technically not a food, but oh well)
Chicken Tenders: We know which fast food chain started it all
Ice Cream: Thank enthusiastic President Thomas Jefferson for this
Donuts – breakfast of champions
French fries: our favorite snack, hands down
Mac and cheese (yes, Thomas Jefferson introduced this too)
Apple Pie – Existed in Some Form for Centuries

Drinks without alcohol:

Colas – since the first soda fountain opened, they have maintained their status
Lemon/Lime Drinks – Ever since Americans discovered lemons, a fizzy twist on good old lemonade
Dr Pepper – First considered a medicinal tonic (similar to cola), it still has a loyal following.

Fruit:

Berries – since man began to gather wild berries in the forest (it’s nonsense, some surveys will argue that they are bananas or apples)
Apples: easy to grow and transport
Bananas – no washing required
Grapes – cost may vary, but still wonderful, especially seedless

Vegetables:

Broccoli: there are serious doubts here, but some surveys insist
Corn: Probably America’s First Native Vegetable and It’s Still Right Now
Potatoes – Due in large part to French fries and French fries.
Tomatoes: the base of ketchup (our favorite condiment) and many other foods
Green beans: what’s not to like?

sweet (No wonder the top five are all chocolate based):

M&Ms pretty tied with
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Snickers – peanuts, caramel – nougat – the best of everything
Hershey’s – Milk Chocolate Bar – can’t beat that
Kit Kats – crunchy and fun
Candy corn – on Halloween for sure

frozen flavors:

Cookies N’ Cream: part of the Oreo craze
Chocolate – Just a continuation of America’s love affair with chocolate.
Mint Chocolate Chip – Refreshing
Vanilla – so versatile and the base of many delicacies
Cookie Dough – a relative newcomer compared to the original vanilla

Unlike most categories, cost plays a big role with Seafood:

Shrimp, which still tops the list, would certainly be much more consumed if the price were lower.
Salmon: a distant second (but by far the most popular order at restaurants)
Tuna: beloved filling for sandwiches and also for dining out
Tilapia: Often criticized as “dirty,” it’s still cost-effective, light, and easy to prepare

Best seller cold cereals:

Cheerios – both Honey Nut and plain
Frosted Flakes – sugar already added to old fashioned cornflakes
Mini-Wheats – also shredded wheat – sugar coated and smaller in size than the original
Special K – Touted as a “diet” food, we can still fool ourselves if we don’t add sugar

and in starbucksThe Frappuccino Rule:

Triple Mocha Frappuccino – You just can’t have too much chocolate
Coffee Frappuccino – the basic that started it all
Double Chocolaty Chip Creme Frappuccino – It’s getting a little complicated here
Caffè Mocha – beats lattes – you have to have that shot of chocolate

So there you have it. As a foodie nation, we are still conservative and stuck in a rut as we cling to our old standards of convenience, cost, habit and just plain good taste. But we don’t love living vicariously when we watch cooking shows, devour cookbooks, and feel adventurous when we frequent ethnic restaurants. Although it is a diverse country of many origins and cuisines, the same foods stand the test of time. and we may not be into haute cuisine but we definitely enjoy our native foods to the fullest. And that’s fine with us.

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