And maybe nowhere more so than in Maine, which provides 80% of the clawed creatures, and where lobster shacks and lobster bakes are culinary institutions. Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/Getty Images. The avocado-crab-cucumber roll became a hit, and from that SoCal beachhead, sushi conquered the country. From $1 street tacos, to organic, locally-sourced vegan tacos, there is a taco in LA to feed everyone’s taste. Who would think that a flat chunk of leavened dough fried or deep-fried could be so addictive? Immortalized in "Pulp Fiction" and "Swingers," the L.A. institution got the soul-food seal of approval when Obama himself related to Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" that he'd popped in for some wings and waffles and downed them in the presidential limo. -- the Florida Keys, from whence come the tiny limes that gave the pie its name. It's not a cookout, potluck, or the end of a long day in the saddle without a bubbling pot full of them. Whatever the color and secret ingredients, you can be sure of one thing when you sit down with friends to a big bowlful: son of a gun, gonna have big fun on the bayou. We have the third president of the U.S. Thomas Jefferson to thank for this cheesy treat. The traditional Louisiana sub is said to have originated in 1929, when Bennie and Clovis Martin -- both of whom had been streetcar conductors and union members before opening the coffee shop that legend says became the birthplace of the po' boy -- supported striking streetcar motormen and conductors with food. The chef's salad originated back East, but American food innovators working with lettuce out West weren't going to be outdone. Either way, they came from Buffalo, which, by the way, doesn't call them Buffalo wings. If you'd been one of the Grigg brothers who founded Ore-Ida, you'd have wanted to come up with something to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes, too. Consider Kit Carson, whose dying regret was that he didn't have time for one more bowl. People who didn't grow up eating them wonder what the heck they are. American biscuits are more akin to European scones. Apple pie is a stalwart of American culture. Scott Olson/Getty Images North America/Getty Images. Baked beans popularity in Boston lead to the nickname 'Beantown'. Every Fourth of July since 1916, the very same Nathan's has put on the. "Whenever we saw one of the striking men coming, one of us would say, 'Here comes another poor boy. Almost as iconic (and if you ask most kids, as delicious) is the turkey TV dinner, the 1953 brainchild of a Swanson salesman looking to use up 260 overestimated tons of frozen birds. Jambalaya, crawfish pie, file gumbo ... what dish could be so evocative that it inspired Hank Williams to write a party song for it in 1952 and dozens more to cover it (including everyone from Jo Stafford to Credence Clearwater Revival to Emmylou Harris)? Jerky is so versatile and portable and packs such nutritional power that the Army is experimenting with jerky sticks that have the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee. It's American food the way we like our wilderness grub -- tough and spicy. The ultimate comfort food, macaroni and cheese is also the salvation of many a mom placating a finicky toddler. They added some flour and seasoning and shaped the mash into tiny tots and put them on the market in 1956. Or the mysterious "La Dama de Azul," a Spanish nun named Sister Mary of Agreda, who reportedly never left her convent in Spain but came back from one of her astral projections preaching Christianity to Indians in the New World with their recipe for venison chili. Today the name most associated with the killer cookie might be Mrs. Fields, but we actually have Ruth Wakefield, who owned the Toll House Inn, a popular spot for home cooking in 1930s Whitman, Massachusetts, to thank for all spoon-licking love shared through chocolate chip cookies. A little more than 50 years later, America is eating about 32 million kilos of these taters annually. The Twinkie forsook its original banana cream filling for vanilla when bananas were scarce during World War II. Our favorite rendition might be the way they do cheeseburgers in New Mexico: with green chilis, natch. The Thanksgiving Turkey is a staple of the American holiday. The Chesapeake Bay yields more than just the regatta-loving suntanned class in their sock-free topsiders. A persnickety customer sends back his French fries (then highfalutin fare eaten with a fork) for being too thick. The sweep-up-the-kitchen cousin of Spanish paella, jambalaya comes in red (Creole, with tomatoes) and brown (Cajun, without). Throw in the throwaway cuts of meat as part of the hands' take-home pay, and let cowboy ingenuity go to work. Courtesy jonobacon/Creative Commons/Flickr. Use red cedar (it has no preservatives), and cook slow, for that rich, smoky flavor. Beef, turkey, chicken, venison, buffalo, even ostrich, alligator, yak, and emu. Latin American restaurants have stayed largely consistently over the last 15 years. We know you're going to want to throw back. With your fistful of oyster crackers ready to dump in, you might stop to wonder: What were the Pilgrims thinking when they fed clams to their hogs? Hiroko Masuike/Getty Images North America/Getty Images, Fast, junk, processed -- when it comes to American food, the country is best known for the stuff that's described by words better suited to greasy, grinding industrial output. We like it anytime -- so long as the Hatch chiles are roasted fresh. Favored on the frontier for being cheap and portable, chuck wagon, or cowboy, beans will forever live hilariously in popular culture as the catalyst behind the "Blazing Saddles" campfire scene, which you can review in unabashed immaturity on. Fannie made hers with slices of salt pork laid over the top and served it with brown mushroom sauce. Courtesy Tomasz Stasiuk/Creative Commons/Flickr. 1. After leading the charge for the sushi invasion of the 1980s, the California roll now occupies grocery stores everywhere. We have a high-maintenance resort guest to thank for America's hands-down favorite snack. Even the most modest chili has legions of fans. The soul, you might say, of soul food. Courtesy Larry Hoffman/Creative Commons/Flickr. Ground rules: acknowledge that even trying to define American food is tough; further acknowledge that picking favorite American items inevitably means leaving out or accidentally overlooking some much-loved regional specialties. Just be sure to store in a bear-proof canister because suspending from a branch in a nylon sack isn't going to do it. The answer might be important for dictionary etymologies, but the better part of the secret to the Reuben is not who it's named after but what it's dressed with. Kind of makes you crabby, doesn't it? However you take your jerky -- caf or decaf; in strips, chips, or shreds -- prepare to chew long and hard. Boardwalk style (mixed with fillers and served on a bun) or restaurant/gourmet style; fried, broiled, or baked, crab cakes can be made with any kind of crab, but the blue crabs of Chesapeake Bay are preferred for both tradition and taste. Who would have imagined when the recipe for "Cannelon of Beef" showed up in Fannie Farmer's 1918 "Boston Cooking School Cook Book" that every mom in America would someday have her own version? However, the Library of Congress in New Haven, US state of Connecticut was the birthplace of hamburgers. Guys risk life and limb fishing for this delish superfood. New England creamy clam chowder -- accept no subsitutes. Twinkies are known for their durability and shelf life -- rumour says they could survive a nuclear attack. Barbecue ribs -- the sticky fingered classic. Mouth-watering enchiladas -- are you hungry yet? Crum makes a second, thinner, order. Simple and cheap, grits are also profoundly satisfying. We love blueberries for how they sex up practically any crust, dough, or batter, maybe most of all in cobblers and that other all-American favorite, the blueberry muffin. The pie council's John Lehndorff explains: "When you say that something is 'as American as apple pie,' what you're really saying is that the item came to this country from elsewhere and was transformed into a distinctly American experience.".

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