Category Archives: America’s Best Foods

America does food better than any other nation (shut up, France) and here are the most American of our culinary obsessions.

The American History of Clam Chowder

“It’s chowdah!  CHOWDAH!  I’ll kill you!  I’ll kill you all!”

~Freddy Quimby

clam chowder

The existence of what we generally refer to as a clam is a simple one.  They are small little mollusks that spend their whole life completely immobile until a human comes along, boils them alive, and eats them unceremoniously alongside literally dozens of its slayed brethren.  Don’t feel too bad for them, though, because they’re delicious.  Okay, fine, if that’s not enough of an excuse, uh, let’s say…all clams are racist?  Yeah, every clam is like, suuuper racist, like “you don’t feel safe when they start talking, and you’re like, Scandinavian” racist.  Better?  Yeah, fuck those guys!  That’s why we have a duty, as Americans, to slaughter them in droves and cook them in rich, satisfying stews.

Clam chowder is a dish that even people who don’t eat clams still like and enjoy.  If someone said, “I don’t like clams, they’re too rubbery, also that racist thing is still messing with my head” they would still see “clam chowder” on the menu and want to order it, despite literally half of the words in the dish being things they actively dislike.  That is because clam chowder, at its very core, is an inherently American dish—it’s not nearly as widespread as, say, hamburgers or pizza (sit down Germany and Italy we took the ball from you and ran farther with it, those are ours now) but it is one of the best soup options out there, especially for that asshole boss of yours with the shellfish allergy (just tell them that clams don’t count, and that promotion will be yours in no time!)

That’s why today we’re going to take a moment to set you aside, but a warm bowl of creamy seafoody cholesterol in front of you, and tell you about the history of one of the first American soups.

The American History of Clam Chowder

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Otto Frederick Rohwedder and the Invention of Sliced Bread

“It’s the greatest invention since sliced bread.”

~Literally every single salesperson you have ever met, every goddamn one

 sliced bread

We take a lot of the simple things in our lives for granted.  That’s just human nature—if something doesn’t look difficult, or inherently present itself as some technological triumph, we tend to assume that these have always existed.  We can marvel at the technology behind, say, a smart phone, but overlook the fact that the first calculator was made in 1959, looked like this, and was able to compute less than your smart phone’s calculator app.

We’re going about this in a roundabout way, but the moral here is that many assume sliced bread has been around since, oh, roughly the same time as bread and knives co-existed, when in reality it’s a 20th century phenomenon.  Yes, sliced bread was first packaged and sold in 1928, and it is an American invention.  Specifically, by an enterprising Midwesterner who devoted over ten years of his life to designing and perfecting a machine to slice whole loaves of bread at once to ensure that we would forever be able to take an arduous step out of the process of making toast and sandwiches.  That man, nay, that hero, was Otto Frederick Rohwedder, and this is his story.

Otto Frederick Rohwedder and the Invention of Sliced Bread

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Pizza Puff: Your New Favorite Fried Pizza Product

“I don’t care how it came to be, just gimme gimme gimme!”

~The Average American’s First Response to Hearing of the Existence of Pizza Puffs

pizza puff

America is a pretty big country, all things considered, and we’re not just talking about geographically.  Different areas have noticeably different cultures—you could probably find more differences between a small town in Texas and a co-op in Portland than you’d find between separate European nations that don’t even speak the same language.  This size and diversity makes road trips awesome, while also ensuring that no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to find and taste every single delicious local food concoction.  Think about it—there is, right now, some awesome, underground food invention in your very hometown or city that you haven’t even heard of yet.  Now just imagine that on a nationwide scale.  Every city in America has a type of food that is unique to them, and the only thing that takes away from the joy we find in that knowledge is the fact that most of America goes their lives not knowing that their new favorite food is out there somewhere.

We bring this up because we’re going to tell you about one of those local treats—the pizza puff.  Made in Chicago, but really only known to the Chicagoans who often frequent run down hot dog stands (so, you know, pretty much every Chicagoan) there’s not much history surrounding it, apart from the fact that it’s absurdly delicious, recklessly unhealthy, and, well, it’s basically like a deep fried pizza pocket, and if that doesn’t sound appealing to you, close this browser, turn off your computer, and drown yourself in a river, because you’re doing life wrong.

For those of you still dry and alive, however, let’s talk about pizza puffs.

Pizza Puff:  Your New Favorite Fried Pizza Product

more pizza puffs

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American Sandwich Series: Sandwiches Oddities of America (Savory Division)

“What’s that?  This is the last one?  The no more sandwich articles?  FREEDOM!  FREEDOM!”

~AFFotD’s Recently Over-Taxed Research Department

the last sandwich

Several weeks ago we embarked on a dangerous mission—to write about every kind of American sandwich that we hadn’t previously covered in our four-part Submarine Sandwiches of America series from over a year ago.  Some thought it couldn’t be done.  Some resigned in outrage.  The rest of us got drunk and decided, “Fuck it, we’ll probably miss a few sandwiches, but whatever” and got to writing.  Since then we’ve talked about American classics, regional favorites, and way more open faced sandwiches than we expected to have to cover when we shruggingly decided to count random piles of shit on a single piece of bread as a sandwich.  But we’ve finally come to an end to our journey, and we’re going to take things out the only way we know how.

By telling you about extremely strange sandwiches that have been created by America’s culinary know-how and disregard for convention.  Well, not like last time when we talked about sweet ones.  This here’s the savory division, y’all.

American Sandwich Series:  Sandwiches Oddities of America (Savory Division)

big ass sammich Continue reading

American Sandwich Series: Sandwiches Oddities of America (Sweet Division)

“What?  You don’t think that’s a sweet-flavored sandwich?  It’s got fruit in it, for God’s sake.  Yes, cranberry counts as a fruit, I don’t give a shit if it’s tart!”

~Inter-Office Debate Among AFFotD Staffers

sandwich fool

For the past few weeks, we’ve been shouting at you about various sandwiches that originated in America, using a list of arbitrary rules that, frankly, we’ve ignored more often than not in deciding what sandwiches warrant inclusion in our Sandwiches of America series.  We’re now in the homestretch, where we talk about what we’ve deemed to be the oddest sandwiches in America.  Admittedly, most entries in the open faced sandwich article, and some regional entries, definitely qualify as “odd” but we needed to limit this article’s length so we just kind of played fast and loose with our definitions of regional sandwiches and just general oddities.  Deal with it, this is already published, and there’s nothing you can do to fix it.

For the rest of you who don’t particularly care about what sandwich shows up in which article, we’ll delve into our second to last article, where we tell you about strange sandwiches that we’ve decided to arbitrarily place in the “sweet” category.

American Sandwich Series:  Sandwiches Oddities of America (Sweet Division)

god this looks fucking delicious Continue reading

American Sandwich Series: Lesser-Known Regional Sandwiches of America (Mountain, West Coast and Southern Edition)

“No, we’re not going to do EVERY Southern barbecue sandwich, we’re not insane.”

~AFFotD Editor-in-Chief Johnny Roosevelt

 sandwiches

So, we’ve been writing about sandwiches a lot lately, and we’re going to keep that train going.  Okay, listen, this is the sixth article out of eight about how bread is a thing that can taste better when you put random shit in it, so at a certain point you just run out of ways to introduce the damn topic.  “Hi, AFFotD here.  As you’ve surely noticed, we’ve decided to take on the daunting task of telling you about every sandwich that’s unique enough to warrant discussion, outside of submarine style sandwiches that we covered in a four part series a year ago.  After telling you about classic sandwiches, open face monstrosities, regional sandwiches of the East, and the unhealthy bread monsters birthed by the Midwest, we’re going to cover the rest of the nation, focusing on the South (and Miami, which doesn’t really count as the south), the Mountain Time Zone region, and the West Coast.”

Huh actually that was a decent way to set up this article.  We’re not really sure why we put it in sarcastic quotation marks, come to think of it.  Anyway, let’s talk sandwiches!

American Sandwich Series:  Lesser-Known Regional Sandwiches of America (Mountain, West Coast and Southern Edition)

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American Sandwich Series: Lesser-Known Regional Sandwiches of America (Midwest Edition)

How do Midwesterners ever live past 40?  Are their hearts made out of Adamantium?” 

~Non-Midwesterners Reading About Popular Midwestern Sandwiches

italian beef

Another day, another discussion of sandwiches coming long after you’ve tossed up your hands and screamed, “AFFotD, listen, I get it, there are a lot of sandwiches out there, you don’t have to tell us about every damn one!”  Well too late reader, by the time you’ve read this, they’ve all been written, and nothing can stop us from posting them, so you’re going to take your two more weeks of sandwich articles and like it!

Anyway, we’re moving on to the Midwest now in our regional portion of sandwich celebration.  As stated in the first article of the series, there will be no discussion of hot dogs, and we’ve also covered regional favorites such as the Italian Beef (though we put that picture up there because, God, how good does that look right now?).  But don’t worry, there will be plenty of unhealthy food items, even from Chicago despite our decision not to include literally every food they’re famous for, for you to stuff down your gullet before sobbingly calling your dietitian to apologize for cheating.  Westward, ho!

American Sandwich Series:  Lesser-Known Regional Sandwiches of America (Midwest Edition)

giant sandwich Continue reading

American Sandwich Series: Lesser-Known Regional Sandwiches of America (East Coast Edition)

American Sandwich Series: Open faced Sandwiches of America

“There can’t be that many distinct open faced sandwiches out there, right?  Right?  Why are you guys so mad, Research Department?”

~AFFotD Editor-in-Chief Johnny Roosevelt

open face sandwich

We’ve started on a journey here at America Fun Fact of the Day.  A journey to learn way more than we need to about sandwiches.  So far, we’ve covered classic and traditional sandwiches ranging from the BLT to the PB&J to a bunch that actually have full names that can be spelled out.  We’re on the third of eight articles on the subject, because someone once told us that you can never write too much about sandwiches, and we’re looking to expose him as the filthy fucking liar that he is.  Which brings us to a specific genre of sandwich that often gets overlooked—the open faced sandwich.  Really, this concept predates the actual sandwich, and some might take issue with a single slice of bread covered with additional food items being called a sandwich, to which we’d say you need to find more interesting things to have strong opinions of.

Open sandwiches appear everywhere, from the Scandinavian Smørbrød to the Russian buterbrod.  Okay, we just copy and pasted those, apparently a Norwegian open sandwich just takes a piece of buttered bread and puts “whatever the fuck you want…meat?  Smoked fish?  Sure” on top, while buterbrod is just tomatoes and sprat on bread which is exactly as depressing as we’d expect from Russia’s contribution to this genre of food.

That said, there are numerous American-created open faced sandwiches.  Most are served hot, and are the ideal American mix of delicious and actively trying to shorten our lifespan.  We can get behind of those, so let’s talk about how America knows how to do open faced sandwiches the right way.  Hah, Russia.  Fucking sprat.  You guys are the worst.

American Sandwich Series:  Open faced Sandwiches of America

open face 2 Continue reading

American Sandwich Series: Classic and Timeless American Sandwiches (Part 2)

 “Why are there so many sandwiches?  Why are you making us do this, Johnny?”

~AFFotD’s Research Department

sandwiches for all

Earlier this week, we set some ground rules on what will be a record-breaking (what record?  Fuck if we know, but there’s probably got to be some record out there that this breaks) eight-part article series to tell you about every sandwich we can think of that we haven’t already covered in our previous four-part section about regional submarine-style sandwiches.  So far we’ve told you about five standard classic sandwiches, all of which hit that perfect American sweet spot of being delicious but also pretty unhealthy for you.  We’ve been mainlining sandwiches ever since, trying to find inspiration through a bunch of cheese and/or bacon laden portable bread treats, and our doctor says if we don’t stop eating 10 sandwiches a day we’re going to die.  We told him to shut up, we have articles to right, and we can’t think of a better hero’s death than to die from too many ingested sandwiches.

This article series is already starting to mess with our state of mind.  It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.  Now, more classic American sandwiches!

American Sandwich Series:  Classic and Timeless American Sandwiches (Part 2)

 america sandwich Continue reading