Get a Whole Day of United Tastes

By: Roberto Ferdman

Memorial Day is finally here, and with it the unofficial start to a beautiful summer season. Celebrate with burgers, potato salad, refreshing summer cocktails and sweet ice-cream desserts. But if you want to beat the heat, head back inside for Cooking Channel’s Memorial-Day United Tastes of America Marathon.

From summer favorites like ice cream and pie, to backyard indulgences like burgers, hot dogs and fries, Jeffrey Saad travels the country for classic comfort foods, all afternoon long.

Scope out the marathon line-up:
2:00pm: Pie

Think about pie, and you might envision apron-clad grannies whipping up homespun fruity pastries. Forget that! Modern day pie masters are cutting-edge culinary artists who definitely think outside the crust. Jeffrey Saad rolls out, dedicated to finding America's crust musts. From a bliss-inducing butterscotch cream in the San Francisco Mission District to a stacked-tall apple pie straight from a neo-Southern bell in Atlanta to a gravy-infused meat pie imported straight from New Zealand.

2:30pm: Ice Cream
We all have fond memories of ice cream-mostly along the lines of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. But a few innovative American ice cream makers are turning our cone conventions upside down, proving that nearly any ingredient (or cuisine) can combine with cream and sugar to create incredible culinary confections. Jeffrey Saad explores new frontiers in ice cream, feasting on flavors and textures you never imagined in your wildest childhood dreams. A scoop of candy cap mushroom, anyone?
3:00pm: Donuts

Jeffrey Saad mixes the dough and gets out the glaze to explore the iconic American staple - the donut. He'll savor everything from the unique creations of a donut genius to the ultimate in old school dunking and see how the classic donut transforms when it meet the savory taste of down-home bacon or the exotic flavors of the near east. Not to mention finding out what happens when a donut learns to double as a hamburger bun!

3:30pm: Subs

Torpedoes, heroes, or hoagies; Italians, grinders, or po' boys. Call them what you like-submarine sandwiches are the perfect American food, ripe for endless reinvention and made to be eaten on the run. Jeffrey Saad eats his way across the U.S.A. on a quest for the finest sandwiches in the land. From the most perfect traditional Italian in Boston to the most delicious banh mi in New York to the most outrageous po' boy in New Orleans, the art of the sandwich is limited only by the human imagination.

4:00pm: Chili

There's no meal as filling as a bowl of Texas red-chili, that is. Jeffrey Saad hits the trail in search of the best of this cowboy classic, learning at the feet of a two-time chili champion how to keep it real and do it right. Not that red is the only color-in Santa Fe he'll find classic green chili, in Los Angeles a white chicken chili...and even a yellow version, spiked with mangos and bananas. Finally, we'll hit a Himalayan restaurant to try a border-bending meaty chili that proves the old adage: Once you go yak, you never go back!

4:30pm Tacos
From roadside stands to four-star restaurants, the iconic Mexican taco has become an American favorite with an incredible past and brilliant future. Invented more than 3,000 years ago, you might say tacos are the original comfort food-simple and satisfying, a holy trinity of tortilla, meat, and salsa. Jeffrey Saad takes us on an incredible journey to find the finest tacos in the country. Fish, beef, chicken, pork...and bugs?!?
5:00pm: Meatballs

Food trends come and go, but meatballs are forever. Italian, Swedish, Creole, even Thai-whatever your style, there's a ball built for you. Jeffrey Saad rolls across the country in search of the biggest, best, beefiest balls of all. He finds them perched atop spaghetti, wedged into buns, skewered with toothpicks and forks, smothered with sauce and served straight up-in every way, shape, and flavor you can imagine. Yes, including a cupcake version!

5:30pm: Pizza

Jeffrey Saad is on a mission to explore the incredible diversity of an American favorite - Pizza! From the ultimate New York street slice to the hearty deep-dish style of Chicago. Along the way he'll see what happens when pizza goes upscale not to mention collides with the international influences of Indian curry - and even - yikes! - sushi pizza.

6:00pm: Fried Chicken

Jeffrey Saad takes us on a journey from the West Coast to the Deep South as he explores the flavors, traditions, and history of "America's supper" - the universal comfort food - fried chicken. He'll have it classic, he'll have it nouveau-and in one incredible scene, he'll have it coated with red velvet cake crumbs!

6:30pm: Hot Dogs
From the streets of Chicago, to the boardwalk of Coney Island, Americans love the classic hot dog. Now, Jeffrey Saad is digging into this humble sausage link on a bun to see how everyone puts a unique spin on this American staple. High-end and hand-made, Mexican influenced or deep-fried New Jersey style, Jeffrey tries them all. And asks the ultimate question - is a $70 hot dog really worth it?
7:00pm: Burgers
Jeffrey Saad goes on a hamburger odyssey to understand just what makes this dish such an American icon - and how the humble burger is evolving in the 21st century. From the traditional to the truly decadent; and from Asian-inspired to downright wacky, Jeffrey gets a taste of the meatiest, juiciest and wildest burgers America has to offer. But is a cheeseburger still a cheeseburger when it's also a deep-fried sushi roll?
7:30pm: Fries

Would you like fries with that? Of course you would-French fries are America's favorite side dish. But in exploring the incredible diversity of this European import we now call our own, Jeffrey Saad discovers that French fries are right at home in the center of the plate, too. Imagine thrice-fried truffle fries at an infamous hotel, chili cheese fries reinvented by an award-winning Texas chef, and curry-smothered sweet potato fries served fresh and steaming from one of the hottest food trucks in the nation. Save room for dessert-chocolate peanut butter cup fries are the ultimate combination of salt, sugar, and fat!

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