Welcome to Beyond Burgers and Bratwurst! This is an idea that has been mulling around in my head for a while. During my year abroad in Hamburg I lived in a student dorm where cooking meals for myself was a necessity to keep myself nourished. Most college students cringe at the thought, but I’ve always loved cooking and spend most days during my vacations trying out new recipes from various different cookbooks. Having grown up in a bilingual/bicultural family in Oregon, I ate a lot of German food at home. I always assumed I wasn’t in a “normal” American family because, among other things, we ate different food. But then again, what’s “normal”?
During my year abroad however, I was often asked “What do you eat in America beyond hamburgers and fries?” and all I could come up with were things like peanut butter, candy corn, marshmallow fluff, and pecan pie. Now, I don’t want to judge, however I know for a fact that despite America’s obesity epidemic, we do prepare meals with vegetables and variety. But my question is: what dishes are these? And how do the dishes vary from region to region? Everyone automatically speaks of the south’s “homecooking” but what really is this? And do other areas of the country have specialty foods as well?
I have my own hypothesis, but it’d be boring just to ponder this on my own. I’d like to know from you, the readers of this blog: are there any specific recipes you grew up eating that you’d like to share? I’m looking for family recipes, recipes you’ve come across or developed personally over the years, or even just a dish you ate once at X restaurant that jumped out at you as an American dish. Of course, the question is: what is American food? This is up to discussion as well. My own undeveloped theory? It’s any food that Americans eat. Whoever Americans may be…
I will try out the recipes you post, and hope to ultimately publish them as one half of a compilation bilingual cookbook. The other half of this project I will hopefully be able to execute next year in Germany where I will travel through Germany and speak with Germans, local restaurant chefs, and anyone who will talk with me about what their regional foods and recipes are. The cookbook will then be geared towards Americans living in Germany and will help explain how to cook American food in Germany as well as discover the diverse German cuisine. For those people with German recipes, I will develop that part of the blog at a later date. Please hold on to your recipes until then!
When posting, please post the state the recipe comes from and whether or not I may use the recipe for the cookbook. Thank you for all of your help and have fun! And please, the only way this project will work is if you share your recipes, and share this blog with your friends and family. The more recipes, feedback, and ideas, the better!