Can You ID These Ridiculous Things Precious to Americans?



By: Ashley Linkletter

7 Min Quiz

Image: Fuse / Corbis / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Ah! America, land of the free ... and the weird (and the "must be seen to be believed.") Despite the very American nature of the items mentioned in this quiz, the fact that they're universally recognized (and replicated) in pop culture around the world proves they've become cultural icons in their own right. From a Canadian perspective, the United States is home to many things that, in one way or another, mirror our own culture. Both countries look superficially alike in plenty of ways, but they're also incredibly different from each other. Our governments are incredibly different (hello, constitutional monarchy), and our histories, though intertwined, are also significantly disparate — and, at times, in opposition.

When it comes down to it, Americans like to do things bigger and more extravagantly, but definitely not better (at least when compared to Canadian standards.) The food is richer — and there's a whole lot more of it. The patriotism is as extra as extra ever was, evidenced by the excessive presence of American flags and bald eagles on everything from cowboy hats to knick-knacks. But while we as Canadians might find some of the items in the following questions ridiculous, the truth is, we have a particular fondness for America's enthusiasm for the United States (well, most of the time.)

Grab the largest serving of pop you can get your hands on. It's time to identify some of the most uniquely American things you can find this side of the border!

Part condiment, part food-engineering ingenuity and part ... aerosol spray can? To which only-in-America product does this question refer?

Easy Cheese, also widely known as spray cheese or cheese in a can, might seem like an abomination to Canadians, but this classic American product first made its appearance on grocery stores shelves in 1965 under the name Snack Mate — in 1984 the product was relaunched under its current name.


What is the name of the ultra-sweet Thanksgiving dish seen in the picture?

We have a 1917 PR campaign for bagged marshmallows to thank for the invention of sweet potato and marshmallow casserole. Store-bought marshmallows were a relatively new product when the manufacturing company released a recipe book featuring the first-ever appearance of the infamous casserole.


It may seem normal to our neighbours south of the border, but for Canadians, this TV phenomenon is beyond strange. To what is this question referring?

If direct-to-consumer drug ads seem strange to Canadians, we're not alone — the United States, along with New Zealand, is one of only two countries in the world to allow prescription drug advertisements on TV.


Canadians and Americans both have a fondness for this beverage, but it's much cheaper to buy in the U.S. Can you guess which sugary drink it is?

Whether you call it pop, soda or soft drinks, these fizzy beverages are, generally speaking, much cheaper in the United States than in Canada. There are many factors driving the difference in price, including taxation, subsidization and profit margins.


Despite its name, this American activity has nothing to do with either animals or fences. What is it?

Barbecue, beverages and bonding over a favourite sports team? Count us in! Tailgating is the art of pre-partying in the parking lot before a big game. Tailgate parties often involve grilled meats, coolers full of cold drinks and plenty of hype and enthusiasm for the upcoming game.


Canadians love to eat salad, but this salad isn't on the top of our list. Would you be able to identify a serving of this American invention?

What do you get when you combine pineapple, canned mandarin oranges, mini marshmallows and coconut? Ambrosia salad, of course! If that list of ingredients wasn't enough to get you excited about ambrosia salad, some recipes also call for mayonnaise, Dream Whip, sour cream and/or maraschino cherries.


This very patriotic person wants you, but do you know he is?

More famous for his presence in posters on Canadian dorm room walls — the line "I Want You for U.S. Army" replaced with "I Want You To Party" — Uncle Sam is not an actual historical figure but an invention of the U.S. Federal Government (of which Uncle Sam personifies).


Canadians appreciate a good display of these on state holidays; Americans seem to think they're an all-occasion thing. What are they?

There are fireworks, and then there are American fireworks — the latter of which is exponentially more extra than any other pyrotechnic display around. Fireworks are so common in the United States that only the state of Massachusetts has banned the sale and use of all consumer fireworks.


Which much-praised American fast food restaurant can be seen in the picture?

Survey a room full of Americans on why Chick-Fil-A is so amazing, and the answers will inevitably include: super-friendly customer service, tasty food and a pleasant — and clean! — dining atmosphere.


This is one U.S. "holiday" to remember if you're always hunting for great prices. What is it called?

If you aren't a fan of crowds, it might be a good idea for you to skip Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving and America's "busiest shopping day of the year." In the true spirit of commercialism, the following Monday is now known as Cyber Monday — where shoppers can browse sales without leaving the comfort of their home.


Which superhero do those living south of the Canadian border tend to idolize more than other countries?

Sure, Captain America may be the embodiment of American patriotism in the form of a butt-kicking supersoldier, but how would he fare against the virtually unknown Captain Canada? A relic of the early 1980s, Captain Canada was published in the Newfoundland Herald and later in the Atlantis series of graphic novels.


Non-Americans are always taken aback by this very U.S.-centric restaurant phenomenon. What is it?

Everything from appetizers to entrees come in jumbo-sized portions in American restaurants (enough to take home leftovers for your next several meals). While the reasons for large portion sizes are myriad, this cultural phenomenon took off thanks to marketing and lobbying efforts that took place in the 1950s.


Canadians know about this yearly event thanks to pop culture references — and MTV coverage. Which break is the best break, according to American college students?

Spring Break, whoo! MTV broadcast its first Spring Break special in 1986, although the event has been traced all the way back to 1928 when Florida's first outdoor Olympic-sized swimming pool was built in Fort Lauderdale (the pool proved an attraction to serious swimmers and serious partiers).


What is the name of the beloved American spice blend that's more autumnal than spicy?

As soon as the faintest whiff of autumn hits the air, Americans love to break out the pumpkin spice — from candles to baked goods to cereal and perfume, nothing is safe from the revered seasonal blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.


Vroom vroom! Which form of racing is well-known across the United States — but not so much in Canada?

You might see the odd NASCAR race on Canadian TV if you're a race car enthusiast (or flipping through the channels on a Sunday afternoon) but generally speaking, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing has more cultural relevance in the United States.


You might actually have to look in a hidden valley for this type of salad dressing. What is it?

Ranch salad dressing, ranch dip and ranch chicken — in America, nothing is off-limits when it comes to the zesty flavour of ranch! First invented in the 1950s at a dude ranch named — you guessed it! — Hidden Valley, ranch has gone on to become the No. 1 selling salad dressing in the U.S.


Which extracurricular aspect of university life can be found in Canada, but on a much smaller scale than our American neighbours?

Whether you call them fraternities, sororities or Greek letter organizations, "Greek life" is a long-established tradition closely tied to the American college experience (the first American fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa, was founded in 1775).


What do the United States, Liberia and Myanmar all have in common?

You won't find any centimetres, grams, kilometres or millimetres in these countries — unless, of course, you're a scientist. Canada officially dropped the imperial system in 1971, but its units of measurement can still be found in cookbooks where cups and ounces are still commonly used.


This very American emblem is said to embody a team or institution's "fighting spirit." What type of puppet-like pep is this question referencing?

While it's true Canada has its fair share of mascots, they don't even come close to the wildly acrobatic, stunt-performing mascots found all across the United States. From small businesses to national sports teams, everything is mascot-worthy in America!


It's not that Canadians don't appreciate this activity, but Americans take it to the next level. What is the name of this national pastime?

To say that American football is a favourite amongst its citizens would be an understatement! A 2018 Gallup poll found that 37% of U.S. citizens preferred watching football over other sports (in comparison, basketball came in at 11% and baseball at 9%).


What kind of dog can be seen in the picture above?

A perfect example of a "meal on a stick," corn dogs are usually made from hot dogs that have been coated in a cornmeal batter and deep-fried. If you're looking for the equivalent in Canada, they can be found in the frozen food section labelled as "Pogos" (and at fall fairs).


In the United States, you might need one of these if you plan on paying cash for an item that's under 5 cents. When you reach in your pocket to pay, what are you looking for?

Although they are still being minted in America, pennies are no longer made from copper but rather copper-plated zinc. Canada officially stopped minting pennies on February 4, 2013, with the nickel now being the Canadian coin with the lowest monetary value.


You might recognize this morbid-sounding casserole if you've spent any time in the American Midwest. Do you know what its called?

Funeral potatoes, which are also called hash brown casserole or party potatoes, were given their name by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints due to the fact that the casserole is traditionally brought as sustenance after the funeral of a loved one.


Which type of patriotic bird can frequently be seen as part of official American imagery — and on tchotchkes?

A historical symbol of power and strength for thousands of years (the use of eagle imagery can be traced back to the Roman empire), the bald eagle is an instantly recognizable symbol representing the American people, its government and its military.


No one knows how to throw one of these revealing parties like Americans do! Can you guess what these parties are called?

Gender-reveal parties, wherein an unborn baby's gender is revealed via a pink or blue cake, were first written about in 2008 on the parenting blog, "The Bump." Thanks to social media, these parties are now a semi-regular part of American tradition (although the idea isn't without its detractors).


What's orange and spicy and rarely seen north of the border?

Flamin' Hot Cheetos were invented by Richard Montañez, a janitor at a Frito-Lay manufacturing plant who sprinkled ground chili flakes on plain Cheetos — and then pitched his idea! Montañez's invention proved so lucrative, he's now the executive vice president of multicultural sales and community activation for PepsiCo in North America.


Canadians crossing into the U.S. are frequently accused of trying to steal what from Americans?

Passport, please! Any Canadian attempting passage into the United States at an official port of entry has been asked at least once whether they plan on "stealing" jobs from hard-working Americans (when all we really want to do is take a vacation in Hawaii).


Mascots! Corn dogs! Fried butter! Where can you find all these very American things in one place?

State fairs have their roots in the agriculture business, having been used as a means to show off livestock beginning in the 19th century. Today's state fairs still have an agricultural angle — only now it's also served with a side of deep-fried foods, rides and live music.


You might see this in Canada occasionally, but it's usually at American-owned restaurant chains. Which phenomenon is this question asking about?

Americans have the low, low cost of fountain pop to thank for the common restaurant practice of offering free refills, particularly for restaurants where pop isn't the main source of income (with some profit margin estimates being as high as 80% to 82%.)


If you're making an Excel spreadsheet for an American audience, you'll need to remember to double-check the formatting on which basic type of entry?

Americans are virtually alone when it comes to the way they write out the date — mm/dd/yyyy instead of dd/mm/yyyy. While almost every other country in the world uses the latter when writing out the date in shorthand, the American style is based on how the date is said out loud (for example, May 1, 2020).


What kind of band is huge in the United States — and not so much in Canada?

American marching bands are bigger and more bombastic than marching bands found in Canada. Canadian marching bands are fewer in numbers and are primarily based in the military. High school and university marching bands in the United States perform competitively as well as before sporting events.


If you're a non-American, you need to be extra careful counting this if you want to pay the correct price. What is it?

Because Canadians are used to colourful banknotes, it can be momentarily confusing when trying to pay for something using American currency. At the end of 2011, the Canadian Mint began to release new banknotes made of polymer, a thin type of plastic which allowed for durability and extra security features.


Which of the following morning school routines is mandatory for Americans (but not Canadians)?

Every morning, children across the U. S recite the following, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Talk about a patriotic mouthful!


When you're hungry at 2 a.m., there's a good chance you'll find one of these nearby — if you're in the U.S. What is it?

Where can you get a milkshake with a side of meatloaf in the middle of the night? At a 24-hour diner, of course! While these establishments exist in Canada — especially in more urban areas — they're a much more common sight in America.


This popular state fair snack takes a cue from cave people of the past. Which of the following super-sized foods is this question asking about?

Fried or smoked turkey legs, also referred to as "caveman pops" by food bloggers, make chicken drumsticks look absolutely quaint by comparison! Turkey legs aren't found only at state fairs — Medieval Times, Renaissance fairs and Disney World are just some of the venues selling this portable snack.


You can find this pattern on everything from bikinis to baseball hats in America. What is it?

Americans love their flag — and they aren't afraid to show it to the world! In a country with so much divide among its citizens, the American flag symbolizes unity and togetherness (especially when it's on a beach towel or waving in someone's front yard).


Which of the following aspects of pageantry is largely an American practice?

In the U.S., child beauty pageants begin in the age group of 0-11 months and go all the way to 16-18 (after which contestants enter beauty pageants for adults). The first official child beauty pageant began in Miami, Florida, in the 1960s and has gone on to become a multi-billion dollar industry.


This type of U.S. roadside attraction can often be found embellishing highways — and judging drivers. For what should you keep your eyes open?

Evangelical Christian billboards are big business in the United States — between 2010 and 2015, the Christian Aid Ministry's billboard spending grew by over 400%. But you won't find these billboards in Hawaii, Vermont, Alaska and Maine, where they're banned by law.


For what type of cooking method is the United States most famous?

You're not convinced deep frying is the official cooking method of the United States? Check out these real-life examples of deep-fried foods across the country: fried bubblegum (from Texas), fried ice cream cheeseburger (from Florida) and fried Kool-Aid (from California.)


Americans pronounce this letter differently than the rest of the English-speaking world. Which letter is it?

Even though the rest of the English-speaking world pronounces the letter Z as "zed," if you're reciting the alphabet in the United States, you should be pronouncing it "zee" (because the alphabet song is from the U.S., it rhymes with the rest of of the verse.)


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