America is a nation built upon immigrants. There was a time when everyone was a first-generation American, but centuries have passed since then and traditions have been established. Most notable, food traditions -- like burgers on the Fourth of July, turkey on Thanksgiving and peanut butter and jelly in school lunches.
When you're living in this country as a first-generation American -- born into a family that hails from elsewhere -- no matter how "American" you might look, or how perfect your English is, there's always something that's going to give away your status as a foreigner. And that "thing" usually shows up on your plate. As a kid who just desperately wants to fit in, the differences in what and how you eat can be hard. We know, we've been there.
Here are nine times what we ate (or didn't eat) as children gave away our foreignness -- no matter how hard our parents may have tried to hid it.
1. Peanut butter and jelly was a joy you weren't acquainted with until adulthood. And if you're smart, you're making up for lost time by eating as many as you possibly can now.
2. Actually, all your sandwiches were different from other kids' at school (if you were lucky enough to get sandwiches at all). The bread was hard and crusty -- Wonder Bread was never understood in your house -- or the contents were anything but Oscar Mayer bologna or American cheese slices.
3. Having friends over for dinner was the most horrifying experience of your young life. Especially when your parents decide to cook up a "special" dish, like steak tartare (or the equivalent of) for the occasion, not understanding that your new friend would rather die than eat raw ground meat and will probably never speak to you again for having to do so at your house.
4. On the flip side, eating at your friends' houses was even worse. The food made at your house may have been foreign to all of your friends, but it wasn't foreign to you. The meals they ate, however, were -- and you had to shovel them down as politely as possible.
5. The Fourth of July was sadly devoid of hot dogs, burgers and flag cake. Truly a great tragedy.
6. A burger made at your house in no way resembled what a burger was supposed to taste like. It may have even tricked you into thinking burgers were nothing to get excited about. (By the way, they are.)
7. Delivery was not a thing. Not even pizza. Ever.
8. Breakfast at your house was largely inferior to breakfast elsewhere. No matter how good the morning meal at your house was, it wasn't pancakes with eggs and bacon. And even if no one else you knew was eating that Monday morning either, it was all you could think about as you ate your non-American [fill in the blank] before heading out to school.
9. Your Thanksgiving meal -- if you were lucky enough to have parents that delved into this quintessential American holiday -- was missing the sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and possibly even a turkey. It was a valiant effort from your family, but usually a massive fail. As a result, you didn't understand why anyone really cared about this holiday. That is until the day you had the good fortune of eating a proper Thanksgiving meal as a guest at a friend's house. One bite of pecan pie and you were quickly converted -- and finally a true American.
Related on HuffPost: