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10 “American” Foods That Are NOT American Inventions (I’ve Been Fooled My Whole Life)

10 “American” Foods That Are NOT American Inventions (I’ve Been Fooled My Whole Life)

We like to think of ourselves as being pretty original here in America, but unfortunately some of our favorite “American” foods, are not even ours. Here are 10 foods you might have thought came from America, but don’t.

1. Apple Pie

    I hate to break your heart right off the bat, but yes, the phrase “as American as apple pie” is a lie. The first recorded apple pie recipe was written in 1381 in England and it has been a popular dessert there ever since.

    It’s possible that, other than our own egos, Americans have come to think of apple pie as our invention because back in the day when we were just “the Colonies”, apples were much more abundant on America’s east coast than in England, and we were therefore able to make it much more often over here as a result.

    2. Hot Dogs

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      Another “American classic” that is a total, food-stealin’ lie. The sausage itself comes from Germany (though the exact region or city is still disputed), and the whole putting the frankfurter in a roll thing was brought to the U.S. by a Polish guy named Nathan Handwerker. Just because frankfurters in buns became wildly popular in America doesn’t mean we actually invented the thing, but since Handwerker did immigrate here, you can pretend it was all us.

      3. Macaroni and Cheese

        There’s an old rumor than Thomas Jefferson’s many accomplishments included the invention of macaroni and cheese — again, false. He did, however, encounter the delicious dish while abroad in Paris and northern Italy and promptly began importing it when he returned home to America. At a state dinner, Jefferson served the cheesy concoction, and the association stuck.

        4. Chicken-Fried Steak

          You would think that something that sounds like one animal deep-fried inside another animal would be a purely American invention, but much like the beloved hot dog, chicken fried steak was brought over by immigrants, specifically German and Austrian ones in Texas. Of course, today’s version is a bit modified, but the original idea was from our Germanic brothers and sisters across the Atlantic.

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          5. Gummi Bears

            Another German invention: gummi bears. A man by the name of Hans Reigel, Sr., started the Haribo company in Germany in 1920, and by 1922 he had come out with Gummibärchen, aka “gummi bears”. Haribo also makes a variety of other gummy/jelly treats, including “gummi worms”. Americans just eat a ton of gummi bears, we didn’t come up with them.

            6. Chocolate, in bar form

              The chocolate bar is another food that the Motherland actually invented, not us. Fry’s Chocolate Factory in Bristol, England, made the first chocolate bars for mass consumption in 1847. Even the next version of the candy bar, which most resembles what we see today, was invented in Canada, not the U.S.

              7. Bacon

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                Bacon has been around in some form or another since way before the American craze hit. Ancient Romans ate a dish called “petaso” that somewhat resembled what we consider bacon, but the actual term “bacon” was the popular Middle English word for any pork back dish, starting around the 12th century. Eventually, “bacon” came to refer to the food we know today in the 17th century. Bacon isn’t a new food in the slightest, and most definitely not an American concoction.

                8. Mayonnaise

                  While mass-produced jars of lardy goop might seem American, the French can take credit for this one too. Mayonnaise started selling in France in the mid-18th century, thought the name “mayonnaise” has disputed origins. France’s claim to mayonnaise is shaky itself, since the French sorta took the general idea from Spain, and if the Greeks were mixing oil and garlic, could they have been mixing oil and eggs before the French or the Spanish? Either way, America can’t claim it.

                  9. Ice Cream Cake

                    Nope, ice cream cake isn’t a Baskin-Robins original. This is one of those dishes that evolved over time, starting with a popular Renaissance dessert of cream and biscuits. By the Victorian era, frozen cream aka ice cream had made its way to Europe (after the Chinese had been eating it for centuries, possibly millennia) and the popular ice cream “bombe”, ice cream in special shapes from pre-made molds, often had biscuits and cakes added to them. Recipes for something more closely resembling today’s ice cream cake appeared in the 19th century, and that’s how the cake that every American kid had on their birthday in the 1990s came to be.

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                    10. Dinosaur-shaped Nuggets

                      America did invent the chicken nugget, but it’s the Brits who shaped them into dinosaurs for our childlike delight. Bernard Matthews, of the food brand by the same name, was the first to sell mass-produced turkey nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs in the late 20th century.

                      Featured photo credit: Apple Pie/Muhammad Shahmeer Athar via flic.kr

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                      Last Updated on March 25, 2020

                      How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

                      How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

                      When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

                      So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

                      1. Exercise

                      It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

                      2. Drink in Moderation

                      I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

                      3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

                      Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

                      4. Watch Less Television

                      A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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                      Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

                      5. Eat Less Red Meat

                      Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

                      If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

                      6. Don’t Smoke

                      This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

                      7. Socialize

                      Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

                      8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

                      Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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                      9. Be Optimistic

                      Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

                      10. Own a Pet

                      Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

                      11. Drink Coffee

                      Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

                      12. Eat Less

                      Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

                      13. Meditate

                      Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

                      Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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                      How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

                      14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

                      Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

                      15. Laugh Often

                      Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

                      16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

                      Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

                      17. Cook Your Own Food

                      When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

                      Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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                      18. Eat Mushrooms

                      Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

                      19. Floss

                      Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

                      20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

                      Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

                      Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

                      21. Have Sex

                      Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

                      More Health Tips

                      Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
                      [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
                      [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
                      [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
                      [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
                      [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
                      [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
                      [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
                      [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
                      [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
                      [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
                      [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
                      [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
                      [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
                      [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
                      [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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