This was twenty years ago, so why I thought of this now is a mystery.
I was visiting some friends from Denmark, and dinner time was getting close. I saw a bowl of cooked and chilled tiny little salad shrimp; always an unusual sight outside of a Denny's. I looked for the bottle of Thousand Island, but there was none to be seen.
"What are you making?" I asked.
"You'll see," he teased.
I watched as some tomato was diced. Soon, a bowl of chilled white rice was pulled from the fridge, along with a jar of mayonnaise. ...and the layering began.
They looked at me expectantly.
"What?" I asked.
"It's American Salad!"
"We thought since you're coming, you'd probably enjoy some American Salad again!" They continued to spoon the stuff into it's three layers: white rice, shrimp and mayo, and tomatoes. Again?
I ate it, of course, but it's pretty close to an Addams Family combination of ingredients, and certainly not what I would call "American Salad." We scraped the bowl clean. They, likely nostalgic as they ate the American Salad that they loved back in Denmark, and I, now marveling in this newly discovered combination of textures and flavors!
If there was an American Salad–which there isn't–it should be the Cobb Salad. That's a salad to be proud of! On the tongue in cheek end, I'd say an American Salad could be iceberg, shredded red cabbage and carrots, topped with a couple of cherry tomatoes and Ranch dressing. Just because all those ingredients can come from a bag, box, and bottle in the fridge.
I'm sure every country or culture has foods that aren't theirs; they either don't exist as a dish or simply aren't called by that name. German Chocolate Cake and Black Forest Cake in Germany, Chop Suey and fortune cookies in China, etc. I'm sure the list goes on.