Re:Ethnic Contributions to American Cuisine
I can't think of an "average" sized town I've been in that didn't have a Chinese restaurant (for better or worse).
As for Barbecue, while we may think of it as the quintessential American food, it is absolutely a product of immigrants. The name itself comes from the "Barbacoa" style of cooking executed by the Arawak natives in the West Inides. The method of attaching meat to a grid constructed out of green wood then placed over a low, open fire built in a pit was observed by Spanish explorers "discovering" the New World.
Over the years, virtually every immigrant group who settled in the U.S. brought their own form of smoking and/or grilling meats. Europeans, Asians, and Africans all had preexisting methods of Barbecue which, once landed in the Melting Pot, were shared, adapted, and adopted.
In fact, IMHO, it is that very adaptation process that makes Barbecue the definitive American cuisine: It comes from all over the world to a land of opportunity and acceptance, and succeeds above and beyond what it ever achieved in the country of its origin.
P.S. Apologies to CNW if this thread now turns into a discussion on the origins of Barbecue, the value and pitfalls of immigration, or any other divergent path my post may lead it down.