11 Points

11 Most Popular Foods in America
written by Sam Greenspan

You often hear "there's no such thing as American food," and there's something to that -- we've just picked and chosen the best foods from all of the world's cultures. Then deep fried them and served them on sticks. And I say that with nothing but love and admiration, by the way.

A company called Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs just released the results of a nationwide survey to figure out America's 50 favorite foods. And you know you can trust the results since eggs finished 34th. That's seriously the most credible result they could've hoped for. (Like when my hometown Cleveland came in second in my list of 11 most tortured sports cities.)

There are some surprises on the list (ice cream only 21st, oysters somehow 23rd, rice pudding 50th?) and it's an interesting read. But this is a top 11 site, not a top 50 site. If it were a top 50 site, I would've given up about halfway through my first list six years ago.

So... here are the 11 most popular foods in the U.S.

  1. I gave up on the show before they revealed the meaning of the pineapple. I think. I can't actually remember.
    Pineapple. Pineapple did better than any other fruit on the list (unless you want to get into one of those debates about whether avocado is a fruit, and no one ever comes out a better person from a "So you THINK that's a fruit but not so fast, my friend..." debate). It's also one of the fruits that's closest to being candy and can work as a pizza topping or a cottage cheese not-terriblizer, so it's quite versatile.

  2. Pasta. I love that they just lumped all pasta together. There are some people who would be outraged over that. Not me. When I'm carbo loading (not before a big race, just before any average day), I'm fine with whatever pasta may happen to pass in front of my gaping mouth hole.

  3. Avocado. This feels like a development of the past decade or so. And I don't think it's just because I moved to California around a decade or so ago and they put avocado on/in/beneath/around everything. I feel like avocado's made a big jump in "there are fats that are good for you?" America. I believe it's also the only vegetable that's regularly described as "creamy" without someone having to actually add cream, like you do with corn or spinach.

  4. Corned beef. I'm shocked to see corned beef came in 8th while ham came in 22nd. Anytime something like that happens, I feel like I have to jump in as a representative of the Jewish people and promise this isn't the "Happy Holidays" thing all over again. People just like corned beef, man. No hidden agenda. And if you're not buying that, please blame the Irish.

  5. Bacon. Bacon has had a huge push on the Internet and now there's bacon everything (including flavored lube). You'd figure it'd be the highest-ranked breakfast food, but it's not. (Stay tuned...)

  6. Mozzarella cheese. So this list includes something as broad as "pasta," and something as narrowly specific as a type of cheese. This feels like an endorsement for pizza more than an endorsement for mozzarella; I love a good Caprese salad as much as the next guy, but it doesn't have top six muscle.

  7. Beef. Various beef-related items are all over the top 50... this generic "beef" entry may've done more harm than good and just split the vote for various items. (Hamburgers only finished 13th, for example.) Although, I guess, that theory will be invalidated shortly as another form of beef finished first. (I am being quite guarded about spoilers on this list so far, which is fairly disproportionate to the actual amount of suspense one can build during a single-page 11-item list.)

  8. Waffles. Waffles are great but I didn't know they had this kind of following (at least outside of Pawnee, Indiana). Pancakes only finished 15th, and, again, eggs finished 34th despite the survey being sponsored by an egg company. Buy low on waffle stock now before people find out they're the hottest breakfast food around.

  9. Pizza. Pizza is the prototypical ethnic food that's been absorbed into America's food blob and really, had it finished first, I wouldn't have been surprised. Which, by the way, is much higher than it would've finished on this survey had they done it in Italy. (Also, if they did it in Italy, I'm thinking they wouldn't have lumped all pastas together as "pasta." Or they'd be getting a lot of people gesturing angrily at them.)

  10. Chicken. Last year, for the first time ever, Americans ate more chicken than beef. Now, that doesn't mean we like chicken more -- we just think it's healthier so we choke that chicken down. The average American now eats approximately 60 pounds of chicken per year, or almost three ounces a day. That's a tremendous amount of chicken.

  11. Steak.

    Yes, money's too tight for steak, and that probably makes us like it more. While there are many people who eat chicken daily, there can't be that many people eating steak every day. (At least not people who are still with us -- because of all that steak.) And that mix of deliciousness plus moderation is really the key. Can't believe this list ended with a thought on the power of moderation. What a buzzkill.

You can see all 50 most popular foods here.

This post was originally published on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 05:00:00 AM under the category Food & Drink.

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