17 delicious foods you can thank immigrants for.

Immigrants are in the spotlight lately. And not in the good, Patti LuPone/Audra McDonald duet kind of way.

LuPone (left) and McDonald (right). Photo by Drama League/Flickr.

As promised, the Trump administration is advancing its plans to boot millions of immigrants from the United States — and reviving its order to stop them from coming here in the first place.


To hear all your Sean Spicers, your Stephen Millers, and your Kellyanne Conways tell it, the measures are necessary to stop, well, pretty much everything bad currently happening in America — from job-stealing to crime to terrorism.

Convincing Americans that immigrants are more than the sum of their worst stereotypes means winning back some hearts and minds, but these days, it can feel futile to appeal to America's heart or its brain.

But perhaps — perhaps America's stomach is still willing to listen.

Immigrants don't only make America great; they make it delicious. The people who risk their livelihoods and occasionally their lives to come here are often more than happy to share their secret recipes with us. Without them, we'd have nothing to eat ... nothing good, anyway.

Here are 17 of the top contributions to America's culinary scene by refugees, ex-pats, and immigrants.

Try not to drool on the keypad.

1. You wouldn't know about pretty much all the Chinese food you like if it weren't for refugee-turned-immigrant-turned-master chef Cecilia Chiang.

Chang and kung pao chicken. Photos by John Parra/Getty Images and Sodanie Chea/Flickr.

Chiang, who survived the Japanese invasion of China before immigrating to San Francisco in the 1960s, introduced America to the delicious, umami, stir-fried meat pile known as kung pao chicken at her restaurant, the Mandarin.

2. This giant paella wouldn't exist if chef Michael Mina hadn't moved here from Egypt.

Today was one for the books. #MinaMoments

A post shared by Michael Mina (@chefmichaelmina) on

Mina, the guy with the oar, was born in Cairo, immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Washington state, proceeded to open over a dozen restaurants in cities across the country, win a Michelin star, write a cookbook, appear on Gordon Ramsey's "Hell's Kitchen," launch a media company, and, in this photo, somehow managed to combine rice, shellfish, and nautical equipment into something so appetizing you would probably win a free T-shirt for finishing it.

3. Without lax 19th century immigration laws, America would have been denied its birthright: the Bud Light Straw-ber-Rita.

Anyone who watched this year's Super Bowl just for the commercials knows that Adolphus Busch was a hardscrabble German immigrant who trudged through miles of mud and ominously high grass to found the all-American beer company that makes the U.S. the perennial world leader in drunken high school reunion softball games.

4. You'd have to travel to an Eastern European war zone to enjoy these perogis.

Photo by Veselka/Facebook.

In 1954, Ukrainian refugees Wolodymyr and Olha Darmochawal came to New York City and founded Veselka in the East Village, serving these soul-altering fried meat, cheese, and potato pouches by the crock-load to NYU students who have crushed one too many Bud Light Lime Straw-ber-Ritas.

5. This ridiculous pulled turkey burger with Indian spices, candied bacon, and masala fries wouldn't be available in Elvis country.

Maneet Chauhan and the turkey burger. Photos by Theo Wargo/Getty Images and Chauhan Ale and Masala House/Facebook.

One great thing about being alive in 2017 is that you can find South Asian-Southern fusion sandwiches for less than $20 in the middle of the Bible Belt like it's no big deal thanks to immigrants like Indian-American chef Maneet Chauhan (you might know her as a frequent judge on "Chopped"), who opened Chauhan Ale and Masala House in Nashville in 2014.

6. We wouldn't know the gastronomic perfection that is surf and turf served over two cheese enchiladas.

Richard Sandoval and surf and turf. Photos by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images and La Hacienda/Facebook.

Before Richard Sandoval was a "Top Chef Masters" contestant, Bon Apetit Restaurateur-of-the-Year Award winner, and international food star, he was just a Mexico City kid with a dream. That dream? To put fried onions on top of steak on top of enchiladas with some lobster tail and risotto getting freaky on the side, as his La Hacienda in Scottsdale, Arizona, did on Valentine's Day 2017.

7. Anything with Huy Fong sriracha in it would have to be seasoned with a far lesser hot sauce.

Thanks to erstwhile humane values of decades past, America's hottest condiment was given unto us by a refugee — David Tran — who fled his native Vietnam on the ship Huy Fong in the 1970s. Had he come four-and-a-half decades later, it's likely he would have wound up in Canada and invented spicy maple syrup or whatever. (Actually, to be honest, that sounds pretty great. Please, immigrants from tropical climes living in Canada, invent spicy maple syrup.)

8. The Swedes might have chef Marcus Samuelsson's La Isla Bonita all to themselves.

Samuelsson and La Isla Bonita. Photos by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images and Red Rooster Harlem/Facebook.

With all the problems in Sweden that are totally so real that everyone knows about them, it's no wonder that Samuelsson (who was born in Ethiopia and is another frequent "Chopped" judge) skipped town for New York City, bringing his brand of soul food to Harlem's Red Rooster — including this otherworldy mashup of tres leches cake, rum, passion fruit, and banana.

9. Detroit would be bereft without its iconic chili-onion-mustard dogs.

The precise origin of the Michigan-favorite Coney dog has been debated for decades, but pretty much no one contests that it was invented by Greek immigrants, notably brothers Bill and Gust Keros around 1919, when they discovered — after millennia of flailing by the best chefs in the world — that the ideal condiment for meat was goopier meat.

10. You wouldn't even be able to dream about Jose Andres' ibérico bacon cristal bread uni.

Jose Andres (L) and tapas (R). Photo by Larry French/Getty Images; Jaleo/Facebook.

It's also known as coca con arizos de mar — or "expensive ham 'n fish pizza" — and Andres serves this magical creation at his D.C. tapas restaurant Jaleo. The award-winning chef, who hails from Spain, was one of several dozen who closed his restaurants on Feb. 16, 2017, in protest of the Trump administration's immigration policies.

11. Vending machines, bodegas, and gas station convenience stores nationwide would be thousands of dollars poorer without Flamin' Hot Cheetos on the shelves.

More than "The Great Gatsby," more than "Rudy," even more than Katy Perry's "Roar," the story of Flamin' Hot Cheetos is the story of the American dream. Working full time as a janitor at a Cheetos factory (!), Mexican immigrant Richard Montañez took home some defective, un-dusted Cheetos after an equipment breakdown, sprinkled some chili spices on them, and presented his creation to corporate bigwigs, who promptly put them into production. The tangy corn tubelettes quickly became the company's #1 selling snack, and Montañez was promoted to executive vice present of multicultural sales and community activation, having successfully pulled himself up by his sticky-dusty bootsraps.

12. Cronuts would not be a thing.

Dominique Ansel and a cronut. Photos by Noam Galai/Getty Images and Chun Yip So/Flickr.

Assuming you could get a cronut, you would be first-born-child-level indebted to Dominique Ansel, the French-born chef who debuted the monstrously scrumptious croissant-donut hybrid in New York City in 2013. Unfortunately, four years later, you still can't get a cronut.

13. Your airport layover would be 1,000% less tolerable without this margherita pizza from Wolfgang Puck Express.

Puck and pizza. Photos by Michael Kovac/Getty Images and Jeff Christiansen/Flickr.

Stuck in Downtown Disney World or delayed getting back to Milwaukee? You could do a lot worse than this gorgeous bubbly cheese pie by Puck, Austria's greatest gift to America since the toaster strudel.

14. You'd have to eat this mouthwatering soft-serve in a cup instead of a cone.

If there's one thing certain cable news outlets will never fail to remind you, it's that Syrian immigrants are very, very, super-duper scary. Perhaps nothing in history illustrates this better than their most terrifying invention to date, the ice cream cone. The edible frozen treat vessel was created by Abe Doumar, who debuted his creation at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904, the culmination of the Middle Eastern migrant's dastardly plot to improve mankind and delight children of all ages around the world forever and always.

It's not just that immigrants invent food we like to eat. They pretty much cook everything we eat too.

Roughly 20% of restaurant cooks are undocumented, and an even greater share are foreign-born — up to 75% in some cities. That means that immigrants are responsible for feeding you even the down-home comfort food you enjoy, including...

15. This cheeseburger from Hardee's...

Photo by Mr. Gray/Flickr.

16. ...this stock photo apple pie....

17. ...and this American flag sheet cake.

Immigrants deserve a place in America. And not just because they fill our tummies with tasty victuals.

They enrich our communities and keep our culture varied and interesting. They do the jobs most of us don't want to do. They pay hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes and contribute to our economy in countless measurable and immeasurable ways.

Immigrants and refugees don't come here to get Americans fired, steal our wallets, or blow us up. Most of them come here for a better, safer, more secure life.

They make all of our lives richer — and more delicious — in the process.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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