American food classics: recipes for a contemporary culinary salute

We salute American food classics, from a hot fudge sundae to crab & corn chowder

American food: hot fudge sundae and hot dog
(Image credit: Photography: Mattia Iotti. Entertaining director: Melina Keays. Interiors: Maya Angeli)

From the ultimate hot dog to a fabulous fudge sundae, American food classics are given a contemporary salute by Wallpaper* entertaining director Melina Keays, whose recipes comprise a celebratory spread. This visual feast was meticulously prepared for the August 2024 issue of Wallpaper* – a guide to Creative America, on sale now and free to download. Tuck in…

American food classics, the Wallpaper* way

Crab and corn chowder

American food

‘Snoopy’ tureen, £688, by Astier de Villatte. ‘Linen Sateen’ napkins, £90 for four; ‘Perlée’ deep bowl, £105, all by L’Objet. ‘Arpa’ tablespoon, £50 for cutlery set, by Armani Casa. Hand-blown Murano white wine glass, £265, by Dolce & Gabbana. ‘Stockholm’ red wine glass, £55, by Stanislav Libenský, for Moser. Incense candle, £175, by Loewe. ‘Linen Sateen’ tablecloth in Ecru, £255, by L’Objet. ‘Heaven’ fabric in 0019, £84 per m, by Sahco

(Image credit: Photography: Mattia Iotti. Entertaining director: Melina Keays. Interiors: Maya Angeli)

Serves 4

1 large knob of butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 small celery sticks, finely diced
3 medium-thick slices smoked bacon, rind removed and diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tbsp plain flour
800ml chicken stock
284ml pot single cream
450ml milk
170 g sweetcorn kernels
200g white crab meat
handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
juice of ½ lemon

Melt the butter in a large wide pan over a low heat. Add the onion, celery and bacon and fry for about 5 minutes until soft and golden. Add the potatoes and stir to combine all the ingredients. Sprinkle the flour into the pan, stir well and cook for a minute, then pour in the stock, cream and milk, add the corn, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potato is soft. Stir the crab meat and parsley into the soup and remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice and season to taste.

Chilli and cornbread

American food

‘Tommy’ highball, €205, by Saint-Louis. Soup spoon, £375 for flatware set, by Dolce & Gabbana. ‘Oro di Doccia’ soup bowl, €184 for two, by Ginori 1735. ‘Koppel’ pitcher, £100, by Georg Jensen. ‘Cotton Velvet’ fabric (on table), $470 per m, by Maharam

(Image credit: Photography: Mattia Iotti. Entertaining director: Melina Keays. Interiors: Maya Angeli)

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder
500g lean minced beef
1 beef stock cube, dissolved in a cup of hot water
1 tsp salt
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
410g can red kidney beans, drained

Heat the oil in a large heavy pan. Add the onions and red pepper and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft and golden. Add the garlic and the spices and cook for another minute. Add the beef, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes or until it is no longer pink. Add the stock, salt, chopped tomatoes, purée and beans. Turn the heat to high, stir well, and bring the chilli to a simmer, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and continue to simmer for 45 minutes. Take the lid off the pan and cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes, until rich and thick. Serve with cornbread or rice.

Manhattan cocktail

American food

‘Fleckerlschliff Pokal’ goblet (far left), €2,570; 'Würfelschliff Pokal’ goblet (far right), €2,847, both by Josef Hoffmann, for Lobmeyr. ‘Malmaison’ ice cream bowl, £375, by Christofle. ‘Langley’ martini glass, £105; white wine glass, £105, both by Ralph Lauren. ‘Manhattan’ cocktail glass, €402 for two, by Saint-Louis. ‘Splendido’ fabric in 014 (on table), £240 per m, by Dedar

(Image credit: Photography: Mattia Iotti. Entertaining director: Melina Keays. Interiors: Maya Angeli)

For each cocktail:

60ml rye whisky
15ml sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 cup ice cubes
2 maraschino cherries

Measure the whisky and vermouth into a cocktail mixing glass, add the bitters and the ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with maraschino cherries threaded onto a cocktail stick.

Hot fudge sundae

American food

‘Florence Furnace’ dessert plate, part of the Double Rouche collection, £110, by Ginori 1735 and Buccellati. ‘Calici Milanesi’ coupe, £95, by Agustina Bottoni, from Artemest. ‘Big Love’ ice

(Image credit: Photography: Mattia Iotti. Entertaining director: Melina Keays. Interiors: Maya Angeli)

To make hot fudge sauce, for 4-6 servings:

250ml double cream
100g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
115g unsalted butter
170g dark chocolate, chopped
25g cocoa powder

For the sundae:

vanilla ice cream
whipped cream

Make the sauce. Place the cream, sugar, salt and butter in a pan over a medium heat and bring to a slow simmer. Add the chocolate and stir until it has completely melted into the sauce. Take off the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Leave to cool slightly.

For each sundae, place 2 or 3 balls of ice cream into a serving dish. Spoon warm hot fudge sauce on top. Add whipped cream and a cherry.

Waldorf salad

American food

‘Cuero Two Tone’ placemat, £25, by TCS Studio. ‘Vertigo’ silver-plated snack bowl, £385, by Christofle. ‘Corde’ soup plate, £135, by L’Objet. ‘Twist 1586’ young wine glass, €468 for three, by Saint-Louis. cream spoon, £48 for six, by Miriam Mirri, for Alessi. 'Strange Loves’ fabric in 004 (on wall), £179 per m, by Dedar. ‘Cocoon’ fabric in 0005 (on table), £147 per m, by Sahco

(Image credit: Photography: Mattia Iotti. Entertaining director: Melina Keays. Interiors: Maya Angeli)

Serves 4

6 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
good grinding of black pepper
2 sweet red apples, cored and chopped
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup chopped, lightly toasted walnuts or pecans

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Add the apple, celery, grapes, and toss well to coat with the dressing. Spoon salad onto a bed of chopped lettuce and serve.

Strawberry shortcake

American food

‘Soleil d’Hermès’ dessert plate, £115 for two, by Arielle de Brichambaut, for Hermès. ‘Hex’ water glass, £80, by L’Objet. ‘Andalusia’ jug, £34, by Mario Trimarchi, for Ichendorf Milano; ‘Yantra 2’ napkin, £29 for two, by Kangan Arora, for Tiipoi, both from Twentytwentyone. ‘Grand Attelage’ dessert fork, £385; dessert spoon, £385, both by Philippe Mouquet, for Hermès. ‘Cuba’ fabric in 0015, £176 per m by Sahco

(Image credit: Photography: Mattia Iotti. Entertaining director: Melina Keays. Interiors: Maya Angeli)

Serves 8

250g plain flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
80g cold butter, roughly chopped
50g sugar
110ml double cream
80 ml cold milk
2 tsp lemon juice
500g fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
3 tbsp caster sugar
400ml pouring cream to serve

Heat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Put the flour, baking powder, salt, butter, and sugar into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to the texture of breadcrumbs. Tip into a large bowl. Add the milk and lemon juice and bring the mixture together with a knife, using a cutting action, until you have a clumpy dough. Finally, bring it together with your hands briefly. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and, using floured hands, quickly shape and pat it into a disc. Use a rolling pin to smooth out the dough to a thickness of approximately 3cm. Cut into 8 rounds with a 7cm cutter and place them on the lined baking tray. Place in the hot oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Place the sliced strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Shake the bowl to coat the strawberry slices in sugar and leave to macerate for at least 30 minutes. The sugar will dissolve into the strawberry juices to make a syrup.

Assemble the shortcakes by carefully splitting the biscuits with a sharp knife. Place a biscuit half on a serving plate and spoon over some strawberries and their syrup. Put the other half of the biscuit on top, then more strawberries. Serve with pouring cream.

Hot dog

American food

(Image credit: Photography: Mattia Iotti. Entertaining director: Melina Keays. Interiors: Maya Angeli)

Serves as many as you desire

hot dogs
hot dog buns
fried onions
sliced jalapeno peppers

Slice the hot dog buns along the centre of their length, without cutting all the way through. Grill or boil the hotdogs as you prefer, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Open up the buns and place a spoonful or two of sauerkraut along them. Lay the hot dogs on top. Add mustard, fried onions and jalapeno peppers as desired.

This article appears in the August 2024 issue of Wallpaper*, available to download free when you sign up to our daily newsletter, in print on newsstands from 4 July, on the Wallpaper* app on Apple iOS, and to subscribers of Apple News +. Subscribe to Wallpaper* today

Melina Keays is the entertaining director of Wallpaper*. She has been part of the brand since the magazine’s launch in 1996, and is responsible for entertaining content across the print and digital platforms, and for Wallpaper’s creative agency Bespoke. A native Londoner, Melina takes inspiration from the whole spectrum of art and design – including film, literature, and fashion. Her work for the brand involves curating content, writing, and creative direction – conceiving luxury interior landscapes with a focus on food, drinks, and entertaining in all its forms