5 Iconic Recipes that Define America

Here are recipes that define America. Here are recipes that define America. One of the greatest things about food is how it has the ability to define us. Whether it's a family dish that's been passed down for generations, a recipe that's used to celebrate our religion, or something that's indicative of our culture, food has a way of tracing our roots back to their beginnings and defining who we are.

Food not only defines us as people, but it's also telling of where we come from, too, especially within America's borders. Visit Chicago and you'll immediately become familiar with their pizza specialty: deep-dish; there's no question as to where a Boston cream pie recipe came from; and you're unlikely to meet anyone who doesn't know that a classic cheesesteak comes from Philly.

In their newest cookbook, Recipes Across America, Taste of Home pays tribute to some of America's most defining dishes, with more than 700 regional recipes that span the country, all the way from Maine to Arizona. The collection, which will be available in early September, was compiled from Taste of Home's readers' recipes and diligent research as to which recipes are the most defining of particular areas, which are the highest quality from their database, and which receive the most feedback from users on their site.

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"I like to call it our contribution to the local food movement. All of our recipes come from readers from around the country," Taste of Home's editor-in-chief Catherine Cassidy tells The Daily Meal. The recipes are not only indicative of a particular region in the country, but some go as far as representing a particular neighborhood within a city. Like how the Cobre Valley Casserole recipe, which there are "hundreds of versions of," on the site, says Cassidy, was chosen based off that particular reader's method and choice of ingredients, and therefore is a great representation of that reader and her specific neighborhood.

The book is "almost like a social studies book, too," Cassidy explains, because it includes the great folklore behind each recipe; why it's called what it is, quotes from the readers and their experiences with the recipe, and additional twists that can be used to add to each recipe. "The book really provides so much richness around each of these recipes," says Cassidy, because "it's as much about the story behind the recipe as it is about the recipe itself."

Paging through the book not only gives you a history lesson on our country's various regions, but it also gets you inspired to get into the kitchen. Each recipe was carefully chosen and tested by the editors of Taste of Home, and they're representative of that certain level of trust Taste of Home has with their readers. Some recipes were chosen because they're a particularly easy version of that dish, others for their ingredients, like with the Cobre Valley recipe, and some were chosen because they came from the source of the original, iconic recipe itself. For example, the Philly cheesesteak recipe from Pat's King Steaks isn't just a local Philadelphian's take on it - it was actually given to Taste of Home from one of the founder's grandsons and is included in the book (and here) for you to try an authentic and close-to-perfect recipe of the classic sandwich.

Taste of Home's Recipe Across America is like taking an American road trip in your kitchen, and they've shared 5 definitive recipes with us today for you to get a taste of what American cooking is all about. Buckle up and join us to see which recipes define America.

Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza Recipe

"Since I live near Chicago, I've managed to sample more than my share of deep-dish pizzas. This recipe lets you recreate the best of my town - right in your town!"

- Lynn Hamilton, Naperville, Ill.

Click here to see the Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza Recipe

Cobre Valley Casserole Recipe

"We live in southeastern Arizona, in a part of the state known as Cobre Valley. 'Cobre' is a Spanish word for copper, which is mined here. Variations of this recipe have been enjoyed in this area for many years."

- Carolyn Deming, Miami, Ariz.

Click here to see the Cobre Valley Casserole Recipe

Sweet 'n' Smokey Kansas City Ribs Recipe

"Tender and juicy, these ribs are packed with a big smoky punch. You won't believe how quick they are from grill to plate!"

- Gloria Warczak, Cedarburg, Wis.


For the ribs:

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon minced basil
1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary
1/2 teaspoon minced sage
1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
2 racks baby back ribs, about 5 pounds
2 cups soaked wood chips (optional)

For the sauce:

1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced basil, crushed
1 teaspoon minced marjoram, crushed
1 teaspoon minced rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon minced dill
1 teaspoon minced sage
1 teaspoon minced cilantro
1 teaspoon minced chives
One 18-ounce bottle barbecue sauce

For the ribs:

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, bouillon, seasonings, and herbs and rub all over the ribs. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect heat, using a drip pan. Add 1 cup of soaked wood chips if desired. Place ribs in a disposable foil pan. Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 30 minutes. Remove ribs from pan and place on grill rack over drip pan. Add remaining wood chips. Grill 30 minutes longer, turning occasionally.

For the sauce:

In a small saucepan, sauté the onion in oil and butter until tender. Stir in the brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and herbs and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the barbecue sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Baste the ribs with sauce and grill for 10-15 minutes or until meat is tender, turning and basting occasionally.

Recipe Details
Servings: 8
Cuisine: American

Texas Pecan Pie Recipe

"This ooey gooey pie's luscious and creamy filling offers that good old familiar flavor so many have come to love!"

- Laurel Leslie, Sonora, Calif.

Click here to see the Texas Pecan Pie Recipe

Pat's King of Steaks Philly Cheesesteak Recipe

"This ultimate cheesesteak, an icon sandwich in Philly, is a best-seller at Pat's King of Steaks Restaurant. Patrons praise its thinly cut beef and crusty Italian rolls."

- Frank E. Olivieri, Philadelphia

Click here to see the Pat's King of Steaks Philly Cheesesteak Recipe

-Anne Dolce, The Daily Meal

Click here to see more of the recipes that define America