I'm going to have to disagree with many of the fine posters here and say I don't think there is one. American has been an amalgamation of different people from the get-go. We're talking hundreds of different backgrounds and customs that all go into making America what it is. And assimilation aside, I don't think there is one particular meal or even cuisine that could encompass the variety you would get even asking 'What's for dinner' at a dozen houses in the same city.
2. Why do you feel this is the All-American meal?
Heh. See above, I guess.
3. What state are you from?
CT originally, MA now.
4. Do you think geography has any effect on what people think the All-American meal is?
Geography certainly has some effect on the idea of the All-American meal--as others illustrated above. However, I think what a person eats comes more from (as donniesgirl pointed out) ethnicity as well as economics, religion or morality, and exposure to ideas and ingredients. That is, people on food stamps or other governmental assistance, or with limited financial resources have to keep their purchases to the cheap or discounted out of necessity. This means things like beans & rice, food pantry items (canned food, boxed pasta), bulk purchases. It also means probably less 'exotic' items, like out of season fruit, produce & fish shipped across the world, fancy oils or cheese, etc. This can also mean limited transportation (don't own cars/bikes, only owns one car, relies on public transit) which means whatever grocery store is closest will be the one frequented, which can limit options as well. Religion, morals, personal beliefs can limit people's food choices--as someone mentioned above, some Christians don't eat meat during certain times, other religions limit diet to vegetarianism (I had a friend who was a Seventh Day Adventist Reformed and she'd been raised vegetarian), choosing to be vegan/vegetarian or following some other lifestyle (and I don't mean fad diets). Finally, exposure to ideas and ingredients. I grew up eating a pretty much meat 'n taters menu, but now I eat mostly vegetarian (my partner is vegetarian--and was raised such so we only cook vegetarian in the house). But growing up as I did, I didn't try things like hummus or sushi until I got to college. If you live in an area with an influential ethnic group, you'll most likely be exposed to (and think normal) their cuisine. With a large Chinese population, there are most likely going to be Chinese groceries which means access to items not usually found in typical American supermarkets. One area I lived in had a large Latino population, so even the local Stop N Shop started carrying vegetables traditionally found in Latino food--they had a separate veggie section for this produce.
I hope that isn't too convoluted. I don't always get my point across in the most eloquent way . . . .
My favorite thing to do with great northern beans (white beans in general, really) is use them as filling for calzones. I do usually throw in some mozzarella, too, but if kudos to you if you want to get your vegan on in this recipe.
I'll sautee some chopped onion and minced garlic, add herbs (basil's good, oregano, sage. Fresh is delicious, but use less then you would for dried. I usually just eyeball it.) Sautee until aromatic, drizzled in some more oil/butter/frying agent then add the beans. I'm usually working with canned because I fail at planning ahead, but ready-to-go dried (i.e. already soaked & boiled) would probably be even better. I like to let the beans fry a bit for flavor, and then roughly mash them. I use pizza dough (I've got a quick recipe (like a quick bread recipe--rises with baking soda/powder instead of yeast), roll it out, fill it up, and bake until delicious golden.
You can even throw in veggies or other fillings you like, like sautee some sliced mushrooms with the onions, or throw spinach in towards the end, or sun dried tomatoes in with it.
So, the short version of the story is, the place I used to use my torch (hothead torch with mapp gas, small container--1 lb) is no longer available to me and I need somewhere else to work.
I rent a teeny apartment with my partner (less than 500 square feet) in a former farmhouse--lots of old, dry wood and probably horsehair or newspaper for insulation. No room for a permanent setup in the apartment. Previously I was using a stripped down ironing board (all metal, cloth & padding gone) to clamp my torch on. I could fold it up when I was done and tuck it in a closet. Is it safe to work in a space like that? Does anyone else work directly inside a living space (i.e. not in a dedicated craft/glass/work room?) Any suggestions for safety? What to move out of the way, what to have on hand, etc?
If not, my budget is too tight to allow me to rent time/space anywhere, so that's out. Any other suggestions? The weather/climate wouldn't allow work outside. I don't have access to the garage, can't construct a structure (temporary or not) and the basement has a furnace or water heater in nearly every corner and is damp and full of spiders (stupid phobias) to boot.
The lampworking bug has bitten me many times over the past few years but now worse than ever. I want to play with glass again!
Totally worth the wait! I've got my pics from my swap stuff from gemusia! And it was a lovely package, too
Five delightful, aromatic teas from a place called Five O'clock: English Breakfast, Pu-er (sp?) refreshment, Assam Deflating, Five O'clock No. 2, and (the one I'm trying first!) Margharita (it smells divine).
And for the crafting--the most lovely, delicate coasters! Four mug coasters and one larger one for a tea pot. I think they're tatted (which I find wicked impressive--I don't think I'd ever have the patience for that craft) or possibly crocheted with a teeny tiny hook 'n thread.
Yay! Thanks for all the great suggestions. Sweet potato red pepper soup sounds lovely. And couscous--of course! Good ideas on how to dress it up too. Now I have more easy-to-eat foods to make for the next round of surgery.
Yikes! My partner had dental surgery on Monday and can still only chew on one side of her mouth. Plus, she still has to go back two more times in the next couple of months. I'm running out of soft food ideas. She's vegetarian and I cook vegetarian at home. Pastina(tiny star pastas), pudding, mashed sweet potatoes, ordering out for curry, sandwiches without crust on softsoftsoft bread . . . I've run out of ideas.