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Taste

10 'American' Foods That Aren't American At All

In a country as young as the United States of America and built by so many immigrants, it’s hard to claim any food as being our own. Sure, some of our favorite foods ― we’re talking burgers, hot dogs and doughnuts ― feel quintessentially American, but that doesn’t mean that they originated in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

We can take claim for the invention of the unicorn latte, because that was born in a Brooklyn cafe just this year, but do we really want to? And where many other beloved American foods are concerned, we’ve been falsely staking a claim.

Here’s a list of 10 foods we often think of as being created by people from the U.S., but actually have their roots in faraway places:

1
Hamburgers -- Germany
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The hamburger's un-Americanness is evident in its name. The origin of this food is mostly credited to Hamburg, Germany -- get it? -- but of course, it's in America where the hamburger really took off.
2
Doughnuts -- The Netherlands
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Doughnuts and coffee are a beloved American breakfast treat, but the doughnut got its start across the ocean in the Netherlands. The Dutch introduced theirolykoeks-- which translates to oily cakes -- to New York City back when it was still called New Amsterdam. And the rest is glazed history.
3
Hot Dogs -- Germany and Austria
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If you look closely at the names of hot dogs -- frankfurters and Vienna sausage -- you'll see where these sausages gained their popularity: Frankfurt, Germany and Vienna, Austria, of course. It is commonly believed, however, that Americans added the bun (therefore making it great).
4
Ketchup -- China
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Yep, ketchup is Chinese in origin and it actually started off as fish sauce. British soldiers had a taste of it when overseas and began exporting it back home. It wasn't until the 19th century when people began adding tomatoes. Eventually the anchovies were taken out of the adopted recipe and ketchup as we know it was born.
5
Pickles -- Mesopotamia
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Pickles have been around for thousands of years. Even Cleopatra was rumored to love them. They are, after all, a means to preserve food during a time of bounty for months of the year when there is less bounty. Of course, Americans have come to love them on burgers, served on the side of sandwiches, and cut up into relish on hot dogs, but that doesn't mean that we're the only ones who adore them.
6
Fried Chicken -- China, Middle East and West Africa
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Fried chicken is beloved all around the world. That's evident in the number of countries it's thought to have originated from. The cooking method was first invented to soften up old hens that no longer laid eggs. This method involved first frying it and then braising it for a long period of time. But it has since evolved into one of the best meals in the world, one that is made with tender hens and a proper crisp coating.
7
Apple Pie -- England
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England is credited with the origin of sweet pies, even apple. The first recorded recipe was written there in 1381. Of course, this apple pie recipe -- which also called for raisins, saffron and pear -- is very different from what we know and love in America today.
8
Mustard -- Romans
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While the Egyptians revered the mustard seed, it's believed that the Romans were the first ones to grind them into a paste. Thank goodness for that, because hot dogs just wouldn't be the same without it.
9
Peanut Butter -- Aztecs
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Of all the foods on this list, none feel quite as American as peanut butter. Most of us grew up on this stuff. But alas, peanut butter was enjoyed by the Aztecs before us. The manufacturing process and the machinery used to make it can be credited to multiple peoples -- mostly Americans, but one also Canadians.
10
Budweiser -- Germans
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Budweiser -- the quintessential American beer -- may have been first brewed in the states, but it was done so by German immigrants. And those immigrants used a German style of brewing to produce the lager, which is so popular today.