Throughout my life, when I have thought of culture, I have always tied it to a specific area. However, over time I have begun to realize that there is so much diversity in the culture(s) of North America that it really isn’t all that easy to pin down.
In North America, you can find food that originated in a whole bunch of different countries. In the Southwest, you have a mix of cowboy chuck wagon, Mexican, and continental, which is usually quite spicy.
In the Northeast part of the country, you are probably going to find foods from all over the world, including Italy, France, Asian countries, and Great Britain.
Why is North American culture so diverse?
The simplest answer to this question is the fact that North America was colonized by a number of European languages. Over the centuries, these cultures converged and created something that can be seen as truly American.
Because I live in the Southwest, if I order a pizza from my local pizza joint, it’s probably not going to taste the same as it might if I got a pizza from another part of the country.
Pizza is not strictly an Italian food in the US, as you have Chicago-style and New York-style, as two examples. Chicago pizza tends to be a deep dish, whereas New York pizza tends to have a thinner crust. Interestingly, if you were to actually get a pizza in Italy, it probably wouldn’t taste the same as either of these.
Cultural aspects specific to North America
Jazz, blues, rock ‘n roll, country-western, and hip hop are just a few of the different styles of music that originated in the United States. Many of these very American forms of music are multicultural by their very nature.
Many of these styles of music have also expanded out to other parts of the world, but they are still seen as very much American in their origin.
Different cultures in Canada
When I lived in the Northwest, I found myself taking trips to British Columbia regularly. The interesting thing about going up to Vancouver was the fact that there really weren’t a whole lot of cultural differences between it and, say, Seattle.
The similarities between Seattle and Vancouver are largely due to the fact that they’re so close together. However, when I traveled to Ontario, I noticed that there was a more distinctly French culture there than there was back on the West Coast.
Again, this has to do with the colonization of North America and where specific Europeans settled.
Is North American culture really distinct?
That depends on how you distinguish it. With such a diverse mix of people of different ancestries, it would be difficult to claim that there is no distinct North American culture, but you also have to take into account that different parts of North America also have distinct cultures of their own.
Next time I take a trip across the country, I expect to also take in a culture that’s new to me.