America's food abundance continues to be one of the wonders of the world. Coupled with this abundance is the incredible variety of food products that are available to us in our supermarkets and in our restaurants.
When I think back to my childhood (not that long ago, I swear!), I'm struck by the memory of the limited dining-out opportunities we had then compared to now. I grew up in a medium-sized city. There were several restaurants and a couple of cafeterias, but their menus were depressingly similar to one another.
Today, that same city, as with most cities and even small towns everywhere you go in the U. S. , offers just about every kind of dining experience you could want, from traditional “down home" fare to international cuisines and a bewildering variety of ethnic food. Eating out several nights a week is a common practice for many families.
The chain restaurants, in particular, have responded to America's 21st-century dining-out culture by trying to out-compete each other in every area from decor to price to menu variety. In particular, they have pulled out the stops to develop signature dishes that will turn occasional visitors into loyal (and repeat!) patrons.
Thus, we have the phenomenon of a country with nationally known and loved restaurants and their special dishes. People return to familiar eateries over and over again for those dishes, and many go so far as to find ways to get hold of the recipes in order to make them at home.
America's favorite restaurant recipes are helping to define our culture these days as much as our top professional sports teams or most popular television shows do. Indeed, eating out has come a long way in a scant few decades.
Sarah Sandori is the food and entertaining columnist for the Solid Gold Info Writers Consortium . Have you ever wanted to be able to exactly duplicate a favorite dish from a favorite restaurant? Check out Sarah's article where she reveals her source for the most mouth-watering secret restaurant recipes in America: http://www.solid-gold.info/most-wanted-recipes.html