American History

Page 1 of 2

American History

By | April 2013
Page 1 of 2
Key lime pie

More than 200 years old and still a national favorite.

If life gives you limes, don’t make limeade, make a Key lime pie. The official state pie of Florida, this sassy tart has made herself a worldwide reputation, which started in -- where else? -- the Florida Keys, from whence come the tiny limes that gave the pie its name.

Aunt Sally, a cook for Florida’s first self-made millionaire, ship salvager William Curry, gets the credit for making the first Key lime pie in the late 1800s.

But you might also thank Florida sponge fisherman for likely originating the concoction of key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks, which could be “cooked” (by a thickening chemical reaction of the ingredients) at sea.

49. Tater tots

We love French fries, but for a variation on the potato theme, one beloved at Sonic drive-ins and school cafeterias everywhere, consider the Tater Tot.

Notice it often has the registered trademark -- these commercial hash brown cylinders are indeed proprietary to the Ore-Ida company. 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.

They added some flour and seasoning and shaped the mash into tiny tots and put them on the market in 1956. A little more than 50 years later, America is eating about 32 million kilos of these taters annually. 48. San Francisco sourdough bread

Baguettes, U.S. style. Bigger, badder, sourer.

Sourdough’s as old as the pyramids and not coincidentally was eaten in ancient Egypt. But the hands-down American favorite, and the sourest variety, comes from San Francisco.

As much a part of NoCal culinary culture as Napa Valley wine, sourdough bread’s been a staple since Gold Rush days. Once upon a frontier time, miners (called “sourdoughs” for surviving on the stuff) and settlers carried sourdough starter (more reliable than other leavening) in pouches around their necks...