Oh, I love living in a melting pot! With our mobile society, the regional pockets are leaking into each other. Even though current American food is a mixture of regional, ethnic, and just plain convenience, to me, "traditional American" means food native to here. Maple syrup. Turkey. Squash; zucchini, acorn, butternut, pumpkin – this time of year, we throw pumpkin into just about everything; cookies, muffins, cakes, ice cream, pie. Roasted, salted pumpkin seeds, anyone? In previous centuries, pumpkin was used as just another squash, or sliced, dried, and used as sweetening.
Potatoes, tomatoes – those two have really traveled the world. (You’re welcome, world.) Sweet potatoes. Several different beans, including lima beans for succotash, and navy beans used in baked beans.
And corn; sweet corn, popcorn, cornmeal. For corn muffins, johnnycake – great with maple syrup! Then there’s corn on the cob, an all-American favorite seen at just about every picnic. We’re so used to this that we don’t realize it’s not everywhere. During the 1970s, some family friends greeted their European exchange student with an American spread complete with corn on the cob. She ran crying from the room, insulted. Eventually she forgave them for treating her like a barnyard animal… Then there are some things that are rarely eaten nowadays; squirrel, opossum, groundhog. Or at least not widely admitted to – I have made Brunswick stew - but somebody else caught the squirrels. I know there are more foods native to North America...Anyone?