7/30/09

Southern Living - The Food

we interrupt this post to bring you the give-away winner announcement...

There was one commenter without a live link on this post. One person with no way for me to contact her other than YELLING REALLY LOUD IN A BLOG POST - KELLIE YOU WON!!

Shark Boy pulled your name from an empty planter. (Things are all class around here baby.)

Kellie, I hope you see this. Please email me and I'll send you a $50 Amazon gift card. And thanks for reading!!

back to regularly scheduled programming...

Jezebels Sauce


My very Southern husband married a Yankee. I am a transplant. After 15 years and two Southern-born and bred sons however, I consider myself well-rooted, an honorary Southern Belle.

There weren’t any real culture shocks moving down to Dixie, but there were some shifts. I do say “y’all” now, which my husband and his family don’t really even say. It’s just so much friendlier sounding than “you guys” and while you wouldn’t think “y’all” is very sophisticated, it is compared to “yins.”

But let’s discuss food. Growing up around a huge extended family in Ohio, food felt connected to ethnicity. In my family there were English plum puddings, Italian Pasta E Fagioli, Polish stuffed cabbages, and German sauerkraut balls. We were a mixing pot of European heritage that lived on not just through eye color, nose shape, skin tone, general constitution, and occasionally, through accented English, but also through food. Add a dash of church pot luck supper (Jello molds, baked chicken, and cherry pie) and there you have my food history.

Moving to Tennessee and traveling a lot in the South, I’ve made wonderful discoveries that to me, are specifically Southern; a special blend of regional influences and interesting flavors that I’ve happily adopted. Sweet tea and Vidalia onion grits, fried green tomatoes and cheese straws, chess pie and mint juleps. The tangy mustard BBQ of South Carolina, the Chickory coffee and Eggs Hussard and seafood gumbo of New Orleans (I could write a whole post on food in New Orleans), Louisiana Jezebels sauce, Kentucky Hot Browns, and all manner of desserts made with bourbon and Jack Daniel’s.

There is more, but you are probably very hungry now.

There are a few things I haven’t been able to eat. Tomato aspic is vile stuff in my opinion. I also do not like ham baked with peanut butter glaze. (shudders)

What are your regional favorites? Does your current food culture differ much from your childhood food culture?


And can you imagine my happy surprise to visit de and see a post about Pasta E Fagioli?


(PS: Friday at noon someone wins a $50 Amazon gift card!)

13 comments:

rowena___. said...

i am a southern girl, with a hint of the philippines (my father). i could eat fried green tomatoes any time of day or night, and i LOVE a good cucumber salad but it has to be just right: a little sweet, and a little tangy, and just enough radish to give it some kick.

mo.stoneskin said...

English plum puddings. That warms my little soul.

de said...

My parents are both from Western PA (which is practically indistinguishable from Ohio). My mother's cooking has a heavy Pennsylvania Dutch/German influence.

I guess I'm too close to New England food to be able to recognize what is regional.... Um, NE Clam Chowdah? NE Boiled Dinner (chicken and vegetables)?

Kel said...

I'm a born and bred Texas girl...I'd say southern, but in Texas, theres a difference! :) HA The food I grew up on has definitely influenced my tastes growing up because I am a sucker for mexican foods and spices. I have lived outside the state for 10 years now and my foods have expanded, but good ol' tex-mex or some Texas BBQ and life doesn't get much better!
~K

maitlandmommy AKA Sheri said...

well i am southern all the way down to my toes. both of my parents raised in the south as well. We were talking about Dinner On The Ground Potluck suppers the other day - chicken and rice, chicken and dumplins (there is no g in this word) and all kinds of comfort food - i love it here and so does my butt.

Amy said...

rowena - The famous Loveless Cafe here in Nashville serves a fried green tomato BLT that is AWESOME.

mo - I knew you'd like that one! My great grandmother who I remember scuttling me into the bathroom to wash my hands before sitting down at her long kitchen table to eat, was English. And a good cook.

de - Oh yes I'm from that triangle area - OH/PA/WV. In Ohio we have Amish influences - the Amish restaurants are wonderful. In Boston last year I had Boston Scrod for the first time and despite the tragic name (scrod?) it was fantastic.

Kel - I deliberately left off Texas because like New Orleans, that is a whole post unto itself!! It's so different from the Southeastern states - yummy Tex-Mex.

maitland - yes, all that good home cooking. Salads aren't what springs to mind...

Michelle Smiles said...

I'm also Ohio born and bred. My parents were from western PA. My husband is from western PA. So you would think my food roots would be pretty small. But as you said, we northerners have clung to our European roots for food. The southerners seem to have shucked it all and started their own. I look forward to doing more traveling around the south as the kids get a little older so I can try some of these things of which you speak. (But sweet tea is still nasty stuff.)

Amy said...

Michelle - HA! It seems more ethnic European in the North to me too. New Orleans is the place to go for sure. The Creole food blends Spanish, French, and West African foods. That blended with the Cajuns who were booted out of Canada. Everything there looks and feels and tastes very Old World, with a twist that is distinctly New Orleans.

"New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.” - Mark Twain, 1884

Life As I Know It said...

oooh, this post made me hungry.

Lobster stew is a Christmas tradition here...and yorkshire pudding.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El) said...

I hate "you guys" 'cause guys means males (not that I don't slip and say it.) I love "y'all", it's so inclusive, and I say it here in Illinois. When I used to travel to Texas, everyone there said it.

I think 15 years in TN makes you a little less of a Yankee. It's good to be a walking melting pot!

rowena___. said...

amy, i've had that BLT (i'm in nashville too--sometimes work at the barn theater down the road from loveless). but i'll take my own homemade fried green tomatoes over anybody else's, mainly because they come from my own garden. :)

Audrey at Barking Mad said...

I stopped right where you said "...food in New Orleans..." I sooooo miss the food of New Orleans, especially the beignets! I do love good southern cooking. I just can't deal with the weather.

Beautiful post Amy. The hubby appreciate those "English plum puddings" and wishes I'd make one for him. Gack!

Sugarplum's Mom said...

Does Betty Crocker count as a category?
When my grandmother got married, she really didn't have any experience in the kitchen. She taught herself to cook and bake bread out of the 1950's Betty Crocker cookbook. She also had the original Mastering The Art of French Cooking by Julia Child which has been handed down to me.
My other grandparents are from Pennsylvania. I remember saurkraut and lima beans (not together). My grandfather ALWAYS had 5 or 6 radishes with his dinner. He'd eat them raw. I remember waffles and gravy on some nights and stuffed bell peppers. Different styles of cooking, but I can't honestly pick out any regional distinctions.. except for maybe the waffles and gravy. I understand that's a very eastern/pennsylvania dutch meal choice but I've never verified that. I have never eaten Scrapple which I also understand to be a very Pennsylvania tradition.

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