If someone were to ask you about the most quintessentially "American" ingredients, what would you say? Well, I rounded up responses from the subreddit r/cooking and from the BuzzFeed Community. Here's what people say are some ingredients that are unique to the US and are seriously hard to get your hands on abroad.
1."Try to get your hands on some Cajun seasoning. American food is usually an evolution of other cuisines — Cajun is a mix of Native, African, French, and other influences. It's an amazing hodge-podge. Try using it to make a basic jambalaya with rice, tomatoes, okra, shrimp, ham, and spicy sausage. It's so good.
2."Peanut butter. Try one crunchy kind and one creamy varietal. Everyone has a preference and you won't know your favorite until you try them both."
3."Small-batch barbecue sauce. There are so many great regional BBQ sauces in the US, and it's definitely worth picking some up while in the States."
4."Wild rice. I've given this as gifts when I travel abroad. As far as I know, it is unique to the American Midwest, has a very distinct flavor, and a rich cultural tradition stretching back to ancient times. It's hard to find just about anywhere else in the world."
5."Old Bay Seasoning. I haven't been able to find it in Europe. I'm from Maryland, and I miss it so much that I make my own from a copycat recipe and always have it on hand in my kitchen."
6."Maple syrup. It's so hard to find outside of North America. I learned the hard way when I was trying to plan an American-themed breakfast for a dinner party in Brazil."
7."Flamin' Hot Cheetos. You can't find this snack anywhere, and even if you do happen to find them, they're ridiculously expensive abroad. I've been craving a bag for months."
8."Ranch dressing mix. Get yourself this basic mix to use for various recipes — from dip to salad dressing and more."
9."Frank's Red Hot Sauce. I used to bring back Buffalo sauce when I would visit the States, but then I realized how easy and tasty it is to make from scratch. But Frank's Red is key."
10."Bagels. I‘ve seen pre-packed bagels sold in the American section of my grocery store, but I often miss a real, freshly-baked American bagel."
11."Velveeta cheese. It makes for the absolute best macaroni and cheese."
12."Taco seasoning! Yes, you can make it from scratch, but the packets are the way to go for any Tex-Mex cooking."
13."Cornbread. My family always takes boxes of Jiffy muffins and cornbread mix home when they come over to the US. It's a rarity outside of it."
14."Kraft mac 'n' cheese. It was the one thing I couldn’t find that I desperately craved while living overseas. It’s not even like I ate boxed mac 'n' cheese that often before moving, but I would have done anything for a box of it."
15."Cereal. I miss cereal. I miss the extensive and admittedly excessive selection you find in every US grocery store. I didn't realize how much I took cereal for granted until I moved overseas. Now I ask family and friends to send me cereal for Christmas and birthdays."
16."It may sound ridiculous, but when I lived in Croatia for two years I missed cranberry products — like cranberry sauce and cranberry juice. I could get every other fruit you could imagine, but cranberry products are distinctly American."
17."Coffee creamer. Nowhere else outside of North America do you see coffee creamer. Everyone else just uses milk or cream."
18."Graham Crackers. I've lived in Morocco and am currently in the UK, and I can say with confidence that Graham crackers are nowhere to be found abroad. Every country seems to have its own version of cheesecake, but IMO no cheesecake is complete without a graham cracker crust."
19."Campbell's condensed tomato soup. The American version is just different than the version you can buy abroad."
20."My sister lives overseas, and she always complains about how hard it is to find canned pumpkin. Whenever I visit, I always load up and bring her some."
21."Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. When I lived in Switzerland, I missed them SO much. Don't get me wrong, Swiss chocolate is superior to American and I ate so much of it, it was basically running through my veins. BUT chocolate and peanut butter is a combination most countries have yet to discover. I would have my grandparents send me enormous packages of Reese's every now and then, and I'd devour them in no time."
22."As an American in Vienna right now, I miss peppermint flavored things. Peppermint is just not a flavor here, and I especially miss it around the holidays."
23."Cheesy snack foods. I miss this genre of food more than anything else (think: Goldfish, Cheez-Its, etc...). In Germany (and I think in all of Europe in general) these snacks are nowhere to be found. It’s a tragedy."
What's a distinctly American ingredient you love that is notoriously absent abroad? Tell us in the comments.