American as Apple Pie? An Index of Things we used to feel Patriotic about

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1. HOT DOGS:

As if Americans didn't have enough to worry about with baseball's murky origins (after all, the sport evolved from European games such as cricket and rounders), our national pastime's food of choice has identity problems of its own. Hardly an American innovation, hot dog"“like sausages were wolfed down regularly in Germany way back in the 17th century. In fact, the term "frankfurter" came about because the meaty treats were ridiculously popular in Frankfurt. But what about the "wiener?" We get that name from Vienna, which is why Austria also likes to take credit for the frank. Apparently, the hot dog has two mommies, and neither of them is America.

2. APPLE PIE:

Even though it's probably the only food more closely associated with the United States than the hot dog, apple pie also has foreign origins. Pies as we know them today were likely invented by the Greeks, and people throughout Europe came up with the idea of filling them with apples long before the concept moved across the pond.

3. THE AMERICAN FLAG:

The true story behind the origins of the American flag remains one of the foggier details of early U.S. history. But whether or not it really involved George Washington slapping a sketch down on Betsy Ross' desk, it's likely the design was ripped off from one or more foreign flags of the time. Prominent historian Charles Fawcett, for example, has linked Old Glory's stripes and stars to a British East India Company flag of remarkably similar design.

4. THE LIBERTY BELL:

Picture 6.png Unlike the flag, there's no question the Liberty Bell did not originate on U.S. soil. Hailed as America's greatest copper-and-tin representation of freedom (at least from British tyranny), the bell was originally cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, the same place Big Ben was made. It actually cracked the first time it was rung and had to be recast in America, where it soon fractured again. Still, Americans have grown to love the bell despite its flaw, and it's now the only crack the government happily endorses.

5. AMERICA, THE BAND:

You'll be happy to know the 1970s group America, which hit the top of the charts with tunes such as "A Horse with No Name," was comprised of U.S. citizens. In fact, they were the sons of servicemen. But, ironically, the name of the group was conceived in the United Kingdom. What's more, its first album (also titled "America") was initially released exclusively in Europe. And while the band did move to the United States to record its second album, the members later returned to their quasi-British roots by recruiting "fifth Beatle" Sir George Martin to produce Hat Trick, their third big seller.

Picture 51.pngEd. note: This article was pulled from mental_floss' scatterbrained section from vol 5, issue 4. Want more great facts? Want to please our editors? Do both by getting a subscription today!

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July 3, 2008 - 5:25am
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