My memories of Southern food stem back to my childhood. From as far back as I can remember I remember long summer afternoons spent drinking iced tea and shelling pecans and making ice cream on my grandma and grandpa's porch. I have moved on in life, from my roots and have made my way into other regions of the world. One thing, however, that has remained constant in my life is my deep and abiding love for down home southern cookin' and cuisine.
I was probably well into my teen years before I realized that tea could be served any other way than loaded with sugar and over ice. It was about that same time that I realized some folks would eat vegetables that hadn’t been soaked in batter, dredged in cornmeal, and deep fat fried. Southern cooking is not for the faint of heart though it can cause many hearts to grow faint. One thing that can be said is that you’ll never find anything else like it on earth.
Farmers and some other people in the south learned to make do with very little in many instances. Some of the poorest people in America can be found living in the southern part of the country. Of course, you will find that many of these people despite their poverty are also among the most generous and happy you will ever meet. The same can be said of their food. It’s the one thing that seems to be in ample supply in most southern homes and very few will turn you away with an empty stomach. As a matter of fact, offering food and drink in southern homes is just proper. You are considered rude to not have offered at least a snack and tea or lemonade. Well some offer beer and boiled peanuts, that too is as southern as it gets and so good.
Perhaps it’s the seasonings that are often used when cooking southern food. From the banana pudding, mashed potatoes to the bread and butter pickles to the secret ingredient that almost every southern kitchen contains for their fried chicken recipes (and no one on earth can fry chicken like a born and bred southern grandma). Perhaps it’s the Sunday church dinners where everyone shares a little of what they have with others or the love that goes into preparing these meals that are shared with friends and family. Whatever the case may be, if you ever have the occasion to experience real southern cooking, do not pass it up. You might shave a day off your life, but a good southern fried chicken leg is really living and well worth the sacrifice if you ask me.