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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 September 16, 2019

                      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                      You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                      We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                      The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                      Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                      1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                      Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                      For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                      • (1) Research
                      • (2) Deciding the topic
                      • (3) Creating the outline
                      • (4) Drafting the content
                      • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                      • (6) Revision
                      • (7) etc.

                      Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                      2. Change Your Environment

                      Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                      One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                      3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                      Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                      Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                      My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                      Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                      4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                      If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                      Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                      I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                      5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                      I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                      Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                      As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                      6. Get a Buddy

                      Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                      I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                      7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                      This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                      For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                      8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                      What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                      9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                      If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                      Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                      10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                      Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                      Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                      11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                      At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                      Reality check:

                      I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                      More About Procrastination

                      Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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