Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

There are certainly foods that we think of as American staples. When you think of the good old U.S.A, you may think apple pie, hamburgers, pizza or clam chowder were all invented here. And you would be right…about one of them. Here, you will discover 5 seemingly all-American foods that were invented in other countries.

The history of food is a rich and deep as the history of our existence. With Thanksgiving coming up, we turn to the traditional foods of our country’s history. Our plates are filled with squashes, corn pudding, turkey and cranberry sauce,  thanks to the influence of Native Americans.

Over the years, many other influences crept into our food. All the travel and our European history played a major role in our diet. As mentioned in Digital History, food is much more than just a substance. The article says, “it is filled with cultural, psychological, emotional, and even religious significance. It defines shared identities and embodies religious and group traditions.” 

But here, I am to keep it simple. Tapping into a few myths about a few foods we consider to be American. With the help of Ranker, I’ve put together a list of 5 seemingly all-American foods that were actually invented in other countries. There’s much to consider when you bite into that burger. And hey, this Thanksgiving when you express your thanks, you can add a few countries to the list, who helped influence the food on your plate.

  • 1. Pie

    Could there be a more American food than apple pie? Yes, they could, like clam chowder. “As American as apple pie” is not a factual saying. This is cruel irony. The fact is apple pie was invented in England, our country’s former rulers.

    Apple pie can trace its roots to England in the 14th century. In a recipe from 1381, the pie called for apples – along with saffron, pears, and raisins.

    Yet these pies often weren’t made with sugar, and the crust wasn’t meant to be eaten; it was more of a baking container for the fruity innards to cook.

    Ranker explained the connection to apple pie, here in the U.S., “might have taken off in the latter part of colonial history, when colonists often had to show some improvement of land to maintain ownership of it, and fruit.” Still, nobody says as “English as apple pie.” They came up with it, but we own it.

  • 2. Hamburgers

    With a name like “hamburgers” we should have all guessed, they aren’t an American invention. Even though we all love to celebrated our country’s birthday by throwing hamburgers on the grill. The “foundation of the burger, was in fact, imagined and implemented first in Hamburg, Germany.

    The original meal was simply a beef patty served with gravy, onion, and potato. However, we can take credit for making it a sandwich. According to Ranker, the sandwich we now know was actually created in the US Midwest, when several different state fairs decided to put the “hamburger steak” on bread, to make it more portable to eat.”


    Getty Images

  • 3. Pizza

    According to Streets of New York,

    the origins of pizza go back as far as ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans. But the pizza we know today, as a flatbread with tomato, cheese and toppings has roots in Naples, Italy.


    Getty Images


  • 4. French Fries

    Brace yourself for this one. French fries weren’t created in the U.S. or France! Shocker, I know. French fries were invented in Belgium. Did you know the word “french” as a verb means to slice food into strips for frying? As the story goes (Ranker), sometime in the 17th century, Belgians came up with the idea to fry up thin strips of potatoes when they couldn’t catch fish. It was simply a fill-in that later became an American sensation. 

  • 5. Peanut Butter

    Say it ain’t so! The classic American sandwich we all grew up on was only half American? Peanut Butter, according to research done in Ranker, was invented in Canada! PB does have quite a history here, in the U.S. But, it was Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Canada, who created a peanut butter paste, and got the first patent for his invention. The, in 1895 that John Harvey Kellogg (yup, that Kellogg of the cereals) filed a patent for a peanut paste process. Back then it was made to “treat ailments at the Battle Creek Sanitarium.” It was a wellness spa for the famous.


    Peanut Butter

    Getty Images

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