foodandsociety - Zhuo Hui Hu E33.1051.002 Food and Society...

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Zhuo Hui Hu E33.1051.002: Food and Society Did the influx of immigrants into America influence American Food/Cuisine? American food has evolved over the course of the nation’s history. What it has become now is almost completely unrecognizable from what it used to be in colonial times. American food in colonial times was much simpler due to the ingredients available at the time. American society has evolved into a melting pot of various immigrant cultures and American food is no different. With the arrival of various waves of immigrants in the United States, the standard of American food has changed. Modern American grocery markets supply various ingredients, spices, etc. to cook dishes from different ethnic cuisines. It is a good indication of how countless ethnic foods have integrated into the lives of Americans. The influx of immigrants from various countries around the world has completely changed American food into what it is today. However, Americans are still able to identify regional American cuisines, such as New England shellfish dishes, or the Southern Barbecue. It is hard to find a set definition for the standardized national cuisine. It is also worthy to note that these traditional ethnic cuisines have evolved into a new form of Americanized food because the foods are constantly changing in order to appeal to the consumers. American food followed English food traditions until the late nineteenth century. As numerous groups of immigrants flooded the United States, American food began to change as contact with diverse ethnic groups increased. When English colonists first arrived and settled in the New World (present day America), they brought with them the English food and culinary traditions that they were accustomed to. During colonial times, American food was centered on meats and breads, with minimal use of fruits and vegetables. The settlers attempted to reproduce the agricultural way of life from the
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Old World in the New World. However, their attempt to plant Old World crops and grains failed. They were forced to adopt the Native American crops of corn, beans, and squash to survive and thus marked the beginning of American food. “When English settlers first came to these shores, the collaboration began. Indians introduced the Pilgrims to corn, beans, and squash, as well as the American wild turkey and lobster. Early settlers, like all immigrants since, used local ingredients in dishes that reflected their heritage: fish chowders, squash puddings, and johnnycakes made from stone-ground cornmeal” (Nathan). American food emerged from the combination of English food and traditions and local ingredients found in the New World. “Although the settlers did not easily give up the holiday meals they loved, they learned how to adapt the old recipes to new ingredients. A typical New England example for this evolution is clam chowder. Littleneck clams are so plentiful in coastal areas that they were an obvious choice for chowder that would have simmered with haddock and cod back home in England. The
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foodandsociety - Zhuo Hui Hu E33.1051.002 Food and Society...

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