U.S. Culture — страница 6

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suburban areas have added other kinds of housing in response to the needs of single people and people without children. As a result, apartments and townhouses—available as rentals and as condominiums—have become familiar parts of suburban life. For more information on urbanization and suburbanization. Food and Cuisine The United States has rich and productive land that has provided Americans with plentiful resources for a healthy diet. Despite this, Americans did not begin to pay close attention to the variety and quality of the food they ate until the 20th century, when they became concerned about eating too much and becoming overweight. American food also grew more similar around the country as American malls and fast-food outlets tended to standardize eating patterns

throughout the nation, especially among young people. Nevertheless, American food has become more complex as it draws from the diverse cuisines that immigrants have brought with them. Historically, the rest of the world has envied the good, wholesome food available in the United States. In the 18th and 19th centuries, fertile soil and widespread land ownership made grains, meats, and vegetables widely available, and famine that was common elsewhere was unknown in the United States. Some immigrants, such as the Irish, moved to the United States to escape famine, while others saw the bounty of food as one of the advantages of immigration. By the late 19th century, America’s food surplus was beginning to feed the world. After World War I (1914-1918) and World War II, the United

States distributed food in Europe to help countries severely damaged by the wars. Throughout the 20th century, American food exports have helped compensate for inadequate harvests in other parts of the world. Although hunger does exist in the United States, it results more from food being poorly distributed rather than from food being unavailable. Traditional American cuisine has included conventional European foodstuffs such as wheat, dairy products, pork, beef, and poultry. It has also incorporated products that were either known only in the New World or that were grown there first and then introduced to Europe. Such foods include potatoes, corn, codfish, molasses, pumpkin and other squashes, sweet potatoes, and peanuts. American cuisine also varies by region. Southern cooking

was often different from cooking in New England and its upper Midwest offshoots. Doughnuts, for example, were a New England staple, while Southerners preferred corn bread. The availability of foods also affected regional diets, such as the different kinds of fish eaten in New England and the Gulf Coast. For instance, Boston clam chowder and Louisiana gumbo are widely different versions of fish soup. Other variations often depended on the contributions of indigenous peoples. In the Southwest, for example, Mexican and Native Americans made hot peppers a staple and helped define the spicy hot barbecues and chili dishes of the area. In Louisiana, Cajun influence similarly created spicy dishes as a local variation of Southern cuisine, and African slaves throughout the South introduced

foods such as okra and yams By the late 19th century, immigrants from Europe and Asia were introducing even more variations into the American diet. American cuisine began to reflect these foreign cuisines, not only in their original forms but in Americanized versions as well. Immigrants from Japan and Italy introduced a range of fresh vegetables that added important nutrients as well as variety to the protein-heavy American diet. Germans and Italians contributed new skills and refinements to the production of alcoholic beverages, especially beer and wine, which supplemented the more customary hard cider and indigenous corn-mash whiskeys. Some imports became distinctly American products, such as hot dogs, which are descended from German wurst, or sausage. Spaghetti and pizza from

Italy, especially, grew increasingly more American and developed many regional spin-offs. Americans even adapted chow mein from China into a simple American dish. Not until the late 20th century did Americans rediscover these cuisines, and many others, paying far more attention to their original forms and cooking styles. Until the early 20th century, the federal government did not regulate food for consumers, and food was sometimes dangerous and impure. During the Progressive period in the early 20th century, the federal government intervened to protect consumers against the worst kinds of food adulterations and diseases by passing legislation such as the Pure Food and Drug Acts. As a result, American food became safer. By the early 20th century, Americans began to consume