American Icons, Edible or Not

The phrase “as American as apple pie” has been overtaken by a shift in taste, to judge by a Harris Poll that asked adults to say which food on a menu of choices is “more typically American than others.” A plurality of mentions went to hamburger/cheeseburger (23 percent), with apple pie in a second-place tie with the hot dog (18 percent apiece). The only other choices garnering more than a single percentage point were barbecue (8 percent) and fried chicken (6 percent).

Despite the burger’s triumph in this part of the poll (fielded last month), few of the respondents included McDonald’s among their picks when invited to nominate the “top three symbols of the U.S.” The American flag easily led the voting (cited by 85 percent), with the Statue of Liberty coming in second (52 percent) and “The Star Spangled Banner” third (42 percent).

Chosen by 3 percent of those surveyed, McDonald’s trailed such options as the bald eagle (22 percent), the White House (20 percent), “God Bless America” (16 percent) and the nation’s president (16 percent). But the fast feeder tied with the Grand Canyon and came in a percentage point ahead of the Empire State Building.