What Makes a Food Truly American?
This is the question that eaters, restaurant owners, and food producers are asking themselves in the wake of another regrettable example of American extremism. A terrorist group identifying itself as True American Eaters recently claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on eateries and other food-related businesses deemed ‘Un-American’. To date, an upstate New York brewery (whose products include Rauchbier, Hefeweizen, and Münchner Helles) has been bombed, sustaining significant damage but no casualties; a New Albany (OH) restaurant called World of French Fries has been burned to the ground, again without any casualties; and, in what proprietor Frediano Padovano Castiglione has described as “absolutely the most devastating catastrophe imaginable,” an Italian eatery incautiously named Il Vino e il Formaggio Italiano è il Migliore in Ogni Mondo Possibile has been completely covered in American cheese food.
Food professionals and anti-terrorism experts have been speculating on what what limits, if any, this organization will draw. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza seem like typical American foods these days, but all of them have foreign origin. Wheat, too, is of Middle Eastern origin. Even toilet paper is not American, originating in China.
“Of course,” says Jonathan L. Kaufmann, renowned expert on food terrorism, “the alternatives to toilet paper are either not very attractive or, like the bidet not very American. So one of the biggest unanswered questions about this group is how they clean themselves up, while not violating their strict principles. Perhaps they use Lincoln Logs™.”
“Misawa takoyaki,” U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marie Brown. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Detail.