America’s Favorite Foods: Some Things Never Change

Americans are an interesting mix of cultures and foodies. We love sushi, Chinese and Mexican food, Italian restaurants, and designer coffee drinks, but when it comes down to it, there are few surprises. We buy the same staples that have been around for decades, mainly because we grow with them, they are served in school cafeterias and they are just around the corner.

Overall, there are no surprises here and this list has seen little change in decades, so let’s start with the Top Ten of America’s Favorite Foods Overall (no vegetables in sight):

Burgers: Since the first Castillo Blanco opened, we’ve been hooked
Hot dogs: all-American food
French fries – not much can be done to improve these
Oreo Cookies: Chocolate Chip Cookie Lovers Will Disagree
Pizza: many ingredients, but the base remains the same
Soft Drinks – As a nation, we drink them all day (not technically a meal, but hey)
Chicken Tenders: We Know Which Fast Food Chain Started It All
Ice Cream – Thanks to Gastronomic President Thomas Jefferson for this
Donuts – Breakfast of Champions
French fries – our favorite snack, hands down
Mac n Cheese (yes, Thomas Jefferson featured this too)
Apple pie – has been around in some form for centuries

Drinks without alcohol:

Colas: Since the first soft drink fountain was opened, they have maintained their status
Lemon / Lime Drinks: Ever since Americans discovered lemons, a fizzy variation on good lemonade
Dr Pepper – First considered a medicinal tonic (similar to cola), still has a loyal following


Berries – Since man started collecting wild berries in the forest (it’s a toss, some polls will argue it’s bananas or apples)
Apples: easy to grow and transport
Bananas: no washing required
Grapes – Cost can vary, but it’s still wonderful, especially without seeds


Broccoli: serious doubts here, but some polls insist
Corn: Probably America’s First Native Vegetable, and It Still lives up to it
Potatoes – Due in large part to French fries and French fries
Tomatoes: the base of tomato sauce (our favorite condiment) and many other foods.
Green beans: how not to like it?

Candy (no wonder the top five are all chocolate based):

M & Ms quite related to
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Snickers – peanuts, caramel – nougat – best of all
Hershey’s, milk chocolate bar, can’t beat that
Kit Kats – crispy and fun
Candy corn – on Halloween for sure

Ice cream flavors:

Cookies N ‘Cream: part of the Oreo craze
Chocolate – just a continuation of America’s love story with chocolate anything
Mint chocolate chips – refreshing
Vanilla: so versatile and the base of many delicacies.
Cookie dough – relatively new compared to the original vanilla

Unlike most categories, cost plays an important role in Seafood:

Shrimp, which still tops the list, would certainly be much higher in consumption if the price were lower.
Salmon: a distant second (but by far the most popular to order in restaurants)
Tuna: beloved sandwich filling and also for dining out
Tilapia: Often referred to as “dirty”, it is still profitable, light and easy to prepare.

Best seller Cold cereals:

Cheerios – both Honey Nut and plain
Frozen flakes: sugar already added to old corn flakes
Mini-Wheats – also shredded wheat – sugar coated and smaller in size than the original
Special K: touted as a “diet” food, we can still fool ourselves if we don’t add sugar

And in Starbucks, the Frappuccinos rule:

Triple Mocha Frappuccino: You just can’t eat too much chocolate
Coffee Frappuccino: the staple that started it all
Double Chocolate Chip Cream Frappuccino – It Gets A Little Complicated Here
Caffรจ Mocha – beats lattes – I have to have that shot of chocolate

So there you have it. As a foodie nation, we are still conservative and stuck in a rut as we hold on to our old standards of convenience, cost, habit, and just plain good taste. But don’t we love to live vicariously when we watch cooking shows, devour cookbooks, and feel adventurous when we frequent ethnic restaurants? Although it is a diverse country of many origins and cuisines, the foods themselves stand the test of time. And we may not like haute cuisine, but we definitely enjoy our native foods to the fullest. And that’s fine with us.

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