What does it mean to love American cuisine and the culture it follows? In my humble opinion, it means being able to enjoy a lot of really cool and interesting food. We are very fortunate to live in a country that embraces the melting pot of food culture. Other countries have their own unique flavors but it is only here where they all come together so wonderfully.
When I was in high school, I always brought my own lunch. That lunch usually consisted of a peanut butter sandwich on 7-grain bread, an apple and a diet Snapple. I think that is what I ate every day from 5thto 12th grade. However, I also explored vegetarianism and on certain days, when I had made hummus, I would take that for lunch instead. I hate to give away my age but at the time, no one in my school knew what hummus was. Hard to believe, but true. I was always so proud of my truly American heritage which includes a variety of Western European ancestry on my and Italian and Lebanese on my mother’s.
My father’s side of the family has been here for centuries. And when I say here I mean Monroe County, PA. My maternal grandparents, however, were first generation American of Italian and Lebanese descent. Of course there was only one way to immigrate to this country back then. And my great-grandparents encouraged their children to only speak English. No Italian or Arabic allowed. So my grandparents assimilated. They worked hard to build the quintessential American success story. I love that I am a mix of both of those types of cultures – both meat and potatoes daughter of the American Revolution and kibbeh nayeh first generation American. I am both proud and profoundly grateful to be an American while still being able to appreciate the different cultures of my ancestry.
What, you may ask, is American cuisine? Well…it’s complicated. It includes everything from a McDonald’sHamburger to a Peter Luger Steak; everything from a New England Lobster Roll to a Maryland Crab Cake. New American cuisine, which is what we are currently experiencing, refers to a type of fusion which assimilates flavors from the melting pot of cultures we enjoy. How much fun is it that it’s totally normal to have tacos on Tuesday, a classic American burger on Wednesday, English fish &chips on Thursday and an Italian pizza on Friday? It’s the differences that make it interesting. I mean, it’s sad to think that we may no longer be able to sit down and break bread together if we disagree. That safe peanut butter sandwich worked for me in high school. But how boring would it be to have the same thing for dinner every night? I think very.
(AN HOMAGE TO MY ADOLESCENT ALTERNATE LUNCH)
- 2.5# Carrots, peeled and halved
- 1/4 cup + 3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/3 cup Tahini
- 1 T Sea Salt
- 2 T Mrs. D’s Seasoning (available at Pocono ProFoods)
- 2 T fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/4 cup Water
- 2 T Everything Bagel Spice
- Preheat Oven to 350 F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots with the 2 T olive oil and 1 T sea salt. Roast for about 45 minutes until tender and starting to brown.
- In a food processor, combine the warm roasted carrots with the tahini, lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil, water and Mrs. D’s seasoning. Process until smooth. Season with salt. Garnish with 1 T olive oil and everything bagel spice. Serve with toasted pita wedges.