American Cuisine

Primarily of Western origin, American cuisine has been significantly influenced by many other cultures and traditions, including native American Indians, African Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders, reflecting the diverse history of the United States. Though some American cuisine is a “fusion” of Western cuisine with specific other global cuisines, such as Mexican-American, Italian-American, and American Chinese, many regional cuisines have their own deeply rooted ethnic  heritages, such as: 

  • Algonquian (Southern New England) – a blend of Native American cuisine with the foods of the Pilgrim and Puritan settlers
  • Cajun/Louisiana Creole – which blends West African, French, Spanish, and Amerindian influences
  • Native American
  • New Mexican – a unique blend of cuisines from the indigenous (Pueblo, Apache, and Navajo), Mexican, and Latin (Spanish, French, Italian, Mediterranean, and Portuguese) cultures 
  • Pennsylvania Dutch – which reflects its German heritage
  • “Soul” Food – which originated with the enslaved black peoples on Southern plantations during the Antebellum period
  • Texan – which has been influenced by a wide range of cultures, including: Southern American, German, Czech, British, African-American, Creole/Cajun, Mexican, New Mexican, Asian, Jewish, Native American, and Italian
  • Tex-Mex” – which derives from the culinary creations of the Tejano people (current residents of Texas who are culturally descended from the original Hispanic settlers)
  • Tlingit – the food of the indigenous people of Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon, heavily reliant upon salmon, seal, and game animals such as deer, rabbit, goat, bear, moose, and beaver (and occasionally whale)

Early Native Americans utilized a number of cooking methods in early American cuisine that have been blended with the methods of early Europeans to form the basis of what is now American cuisine. The Europeans also introduced a number of new foods, spices, herbs, and cooking styles, a practice which continued to expand throughout the 19th and 20th centuries with the influx of  non-European immigrants.

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