America is a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines, but that doesn’t mean that everything in the United States is borrowed from somewhere else. While many of the most popular dishes in America originated elsewhere (pizza from Italy, sushi from Japan, tacos from Mexico, etc), there are some staples of American cuisine that are 100% home-grown in our diverse cultural landscape. From the simple, hearty meals of Midwestern cuisine to the rich and flavorful soul food of the South, there’s something in America for every taste.

Today, we’re taking a look at five of our favorite all-American foods. If your mouth is watering by the end of the list, come and visit JJ Fish & Chicken in Lakewood! Our American restaurant is Washington’s premier destination for all your favorite comfort foods, including:

1. French Fries

Ah, the French fry: beloved sidekick to America’s favorite dishes. What is a burger without a fry? As the name suggests, the French fry is a descendant of foreign cuisine, but its country of origin is somewhat disputed. Some claim that in the 1600s, poor Belgian villagers were the first to eat sliced and pan-fried potatoes, and that American soldiers brought the dish to the States after World War I. Others believe that French street vendors first sold fried potatoes in the 1780s, and that Thomas Jefferson introduced them to the States after serving as the American Minister to France.

Whether the original French fry is Belgian or French, why have we given it a place on our all-American foods list? Because, in its modern form, the common French fry is a uniquely American invention. We may not have been the first to fry potatoes, but we were the first to cut them into their familiar strip shape, deep-fry them, douse them with ketchup, and launch them to global popularity through fast food chains.

Today, Americans enjoy a side of fries with burgers, fish fry, crispy fried chicken, and more. Check out our online menu to decide what you’d like to order with fries tonight!

2. Seafood Gumbo

Seafood gumbo is a classic staple of American Southern food. With its origins in Louisiana (a cultural melting pot of French, Spanish, African, and Native American influence), it makes sense that this popular stew itself is a melting pot of flavors from different cuisines. Combining French roux, German sausage, Nigerian “Ki Ngombo” (okra), and a blend of popular Southern seafoods, gumbo is an irresistible American-made dish. And you don’t have to be in Louisiana to enjoy it — you can order online to have it for dinner tonight, right here in Washington state!

3. Macaroni & Cheese

The ultimate comfort food. Americans love macaroni and cheese — be it boxed, baked, or fried in bite-sized bits (as we like to serve it at JJ Fish & Chicken).

Apparently, Thomas Jefferson came across what he called “macaroni pie” during a European trip, and liked the dish so much that he took notes and had a version of it served back at home. In an 1824 cookbook released soon after, the first recipe for “macaroni and cheese” was published. Since then, the dish has been widely popularized, and today, mac and cheese is a universally beloved American staple!

4. Fried Catfish

This popular and versatile fried fish comes from Arkansas, whose freshwater bodies practically overflow with catfish. While the dish was likely popularized at first by sheer abundance, today, fried catfish is a delectable staple of Southern food, and the demand is so high that Arkansas state authorities set daily fishing limits.

At JJ Fish & Chicken, you can order delicious fried catfish fillets or catfish nuggets! They go great with many of our menu items, including hushpuppies, cheesesticks, or fried mushrooms.

5. Spicy Chicken Wings

The Scottish were the first to eat crispy fried chicken wings, but the Americans were the first to deep fry them and coat them in spicy, flavorful sauces. In the 1960s, Teressa Bellissimo, owner of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, tossed her chicken wings in a buttery cayenne pepper hot sauce, and the buffalo wing was born. Today, the best fried chicken wings come in a variety of spice levels and flavors, but they can all be traced back to that patriotic moment in 1964!

Order Delicious American Food From JJ Fish & Chicken

If this list has you eager to dig in to some all-American comfort food, then swing by JJ Fish & Chicken in Lakewood! We pride ourselves on offering the best fried seafood and crispy fried chicken in the area, and you can find every item on this list on our online menu. You can enjoy them at the restaurant, at the restaurant, or while hosting your next event with our world-class food catering services! Order online now so you can dig in for dinner tonight!