American Food  
The United States is a rich and varied blend of peoples, religions, and cultures, and this diversity is reflected in its cuisine. Succeeding waves of immigrants, including those arriving on the United States' shores today, have brought new culinary traditions and adapted them to the ingredients, kitchens, and customs they found in their new homeland — ever expanding what is called "American food." Mexican food

Despite the rise in popularity of many other ethnic cuisines, it is Chinese and Italian restaurants that dominate this field.

Chinese cooks who arrived to cook for their countrymen working on the railroad in the West didn't have much to work with, but they threw together little bits of meat and vegetables in their large pans. As this type of cooking spread across the country, a whole new cuisine emerged: Chinese-American, replete with Egg Rolls, Wonton Soup, Fried Rice, Chicken Chow Mein, and Spare Ribs.


Chinese food

A bit later came the big one: Italian-American food. The real triumph of the cuisine is in the U.S. home - where pizza, lasagna, manicotti, meatballs, veal parmigiana, play a tremendously vital role in the everyday fare of U.S. citizens Italian food
ice-creamhamburger hotdog fries

When the Harris Public Opinion Poll asked Americans to choose foods which they think of as typically American, hamburgers and cheeseburgers (29%), apple pie (20%) and hot dogs (13%) topped the list. The only other two foods mentioned by significant numbers were barbecue (9%) and fried chicken (7%).

When asked by Food & Wine magazine and America Online what the quintessential American food was, most Americans picked a burger & fries (67%) over fried chicken (16%), hotdogs (14%) and ice-cream sundaes (4%).

apple pie fried chicken barbecue grill

food talk Food Talk

Food has provided many idioms to the English language.  Here are just a few examples:

To sow wild oats - to have a good time as a young person before settling down to adult responsibilities.
"Like many young men, John wanted to sow some wild oats after graduating from college."

From soup to nuts - everything imaginable
"The bridal shop has everything from soup to nuts when it comes to weddings"

To be a peach! - to be great!
"My friend Susan was a peach to lend me ten dollars when I found I didn't have enough money for lunch."

Peachy keen - fantastic
"All the kids agreed that the movie was peachy keen."

To separate the wheat from the chaff - to separate the good from the bad, or the useable from the useless
"The revised evaluation process was designed to separate the wheat from the chaff."

To work for peanuts - to have a low salary
"Tired of working for peanuts, Tom applied for and obtained a better job."

Sour grapes - resentment and jealousy
"Some people reacted negatively to Maureen's promotion, but she thought that it was just sour grapes."

A lemon - an automobile that is always breaking down because of poor workmanship
"Convinced that his car was a lemon when it broke down for the third time in a month, Bill decided to return it to the dealer from whom he bought it."

To have your cake and eat it, too - a desire to have something both ways at once
"Margaret, who enjoyed the convenience of living with her parents but longed for the independence of living in her own apartment, finally accepted the fact that she could not have her cake and eat it, too."

Crying over spilled milk - pointless regret over something that cannot be changed
"Nicholas was upset that he had overslept and missed his job interview, but he decided that it was pointless to cry over spilled milk."

To spill the beans - to unwittingly reveal information
"Tiffany had planned a surprise party for her husband's birthday, but her sister spilled the beans by mentioning it to him when she saw him at the market."

To bring home the bacon - to support one's family adequately
"One of the reasons why Anne's parents approved of her new husband was the fact that he really brought home the bacon."

Apple of one's eye - a source of enormous pride
"Her new baby is the apple of Marion's eye."

As easy as pie - very easy
"Nicholas had expected to have great difficulty in learning the rules of American football, but he was surprised to find that it was as easy as pie."

Cream of the crop - the best
"These puppies are the cream of the crop," said the breeder.

A finger in every pie - involved in everything, often to the annoyance of others
"The new boss irritated some employees by seeming to want to have a finger in every pie."

Cool as a cucumber - maintaining calm in difficult circumstances
"Debbie was nervous when the examination began, but her friend Sarah was as cool as a cucumber."

Cup of tea - something that appeals to one's personal taste
"Peter declined the invitation to play cards, saying that it just wasn't his cup of tea."

To use your noodle - to use your brain, i.e., think
"It wouldn't seem so hard if you would just use your noodle," the teacher told the student.

To butter up - to flatter
"When Sylvia constantly praised her supervisor, some of her co-workers thought that she was just trying to butter him up."

To go bananas - to lose one's composure
"Tony was worried that his parents would go bananas when they found out that he had put a dent in their car."

Like taking candy from a baby - an absurdly easy task
"The dishonest salesman was so good at cheating customers that it was almost like taking candy from a baby."

To bear fruit - to succeed
"The Wright brothers worked diligently on their aeronautical research for years, confident that their hard work would eventually bear fruit."

Two peas in a pod - exactly alike
"Barry and his brother Gary looked so much alike that people often told them they were like two peas in a pod."

To eat humble pie - to admit a mistake
"The arrogant scientist had to eat humble pie when his efforts to invent a better rocket fuel caused an explosion."

In a nutshell - briefly summarized
"In a nutshell, the overall position of the company has improved greatly in the past year," said the company president as he began his speech to the board of directors.

In the soup - in trouble
"Rachel knew that if she did not finish her project on time, she would be in the soup."

In a pickle - in a difficult situation
"Bob was in a pickle when his car broke down in a pouring rainstorm."

Big enchilada - an important person
"Elizabeth's election as president of her sorority confirmed the opinion of her friends that she was a big enchilada."

Cauliflower ear - an ear deformed by friction
"The wresting coach insisted that his wrestlers always wear headgear, in order to avoid developing cauliflower ears."

Flat as a pancake - very flat
"The Great Plains are often described as flat as a pancake."

Nutty as a fruitcake - very eccentric or bizarre
"The elderly man's behavior became so unusual that some of his neighbors considered him to be as nutty as a fruitcake."

Abridged from US State Department IIP publications and other US government materials.

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