Eat, a word found throughout Indiana's work, had many personal associations for the artist. It was the last word his mother said to him before she died, and one he recalled seeing as a child on signs all over the midwestern landscape. It is also a word he linked to American consumer culture.
The design of USA Eat, with “USA” occupying the top half of a circle and “EAT” the bottom half, is also seen in the top left panel of the paintings USA 666 (The Sixth American Dream) (1964–66) and USA 666 II (1966–67). The painting was first exhibited in 2013 in The Pop Object: The Still Life Tradition in Pop Art, at Acquavella Galleries, New York, and was more recently seen at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, in the exhibition Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective, June 16–September 23, 2018.