HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Southern Cookin'

To clarify my biases, let me first say that I am from Texas. However, I intend this more as a point of American pride than a south vs. north thing.

Now, onto my thesis. American Southern food is the best in the world for two "meals": breakfast and dessert.

I'll start with the obvious first. Nobody puts as much emphasis or effort into their breakfast as they do in the American South. Unless you prefer a baguette and some butter for breakfast (in which case what are you doing on chowhound), I can't see anyone disagreeing here. From the simplest (for the south) breakfast of eggs, grits, toast and bacon to the overly indulgent options of French Toast or Steak and Eggs or Salt Cured Ham or Biscuits and Gravy, the South has the best breakfast. I mean, come on, steak and eggs is a dish down there.

On to dessert which i think is a lot less clear cut. While French and Italians have pastries and chocolate, I still think the American South wins out. Any fruit cobbler or pie, bread pudding, bananas foster, pecan pie, red velvet cake and everything else using lots of butter swing my vote to the south.

I'm writing this for two reasons. First is that i'm bored at work. Secondly, i want to encourage disagreement or alternatively see if most people agree with me.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You need to go to Vienna for dessert.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Karl S

      The brief drive I had into Austria years ago left me with three thoughts: schillings were cheap (just by quantity), it was steep and picturesque, and sheesh it was like being trapped in a giant cream puff... dessert everywhere - rich dessert.

    2. Ever heard of dim sum?

      1. dim sum changes the whole category. opening to "brunch" type meals allows all lunch options. i've heard of congee and i'll take my biscuits and gravy instead.

        31 Replies
        1. re: demigodh

          I've had both and congee is better then biscuits and gravy. The variations are limitless.

          1. re: KTinNYC

            But where were the B&G you had. That can be a really beautiful thing and it's often badly imitated. No slight against congee intended.

            1. re: Cinnamon

              I've had biscuits and gravy all over the south, Tennessee, Georgia, The Carolina's, Texas and while it can be very good it cannot match the variety and depth of congee. Plain with pickled vegetables, with pork, abalone, dried scallop, salted egg, fish, chicken, etc. etc.

              1. re: KTinNYC

                Having spent the first 28 years of my life in the South, I can say (from my standpoint) that (some) biscuits are good and (some) gravy is good. But I detest gravy on top of biscuits! Detest it, do you hear?!? Takes two perfectly good things and ruins them both. Blech.

                On the board subject, when I want a Southern breakfast I don't want dim sum when I want lox and bagels, I don't want croissant and cafe au lait, ad nauseum. To say one is the best makes no sense --- unless you're satisfied getting an egg McMuffin (or its ilk) every day. The best is the best at that moment.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Very well said, c. Now could you tell us how you really feel about biscuits and gravy?

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    I've never understood the B&G fascination. It was never anything my family fixed. To me the perfect biscuit is not one of 2" thick cakey things but rather thin with both the bottom and the top having a true crust. So to put gravy on it ruins the very biscuit-ness of it. Yeah, you're right I DO have a hard time saying how I feel, don't I??? When we're in NYC next month maybe you can guide us to your fave breakfast - be in congee, chicken and waffles, whatever. I'm never happier than chowing down on some dim sum early in the morning, just hanging out with all the old Chinese men with their newspapers :)

                    1. re: c oliver

                      That would be lovely. Although, I can no longer go to dim sum due to the fact I have developed a shell fish allergy and I can't bear eating dim sum with all those lovely shrimp dishes passing me by and not being able to indulge.

                      1. re: KTinNYC

                        Oh, poor you :( I can't imagine dim sum without all the shrimp dishes. But a wealth of other opportunities, huh?

                      2. re: c oliver

                        My grandmother made "pie crust" biscuits. c oliver, You would have liked them. I think it is kind of an art, baking biscuits, and something accomplished most successfully without a recipe.

                        Although I love a traditional Southern breakfast I also enjoy a fresh bagel with lox and croissants with butter. I don't even know what congee is though.

                        1. re: Lewes17266

                          I would have loved your grandmother's biscuits! When cut in halff the following morning, buttered, cheese on top and put under the broiler, that was my main breakfast (with two strips of bacon or a sausage patty) for years as I didn't like eggs at that time.

                          Here's a basic congee recipe:


                          I've never made it but it sure does taste good and, as the recipe says, the skys the limit for additions.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            c oliver, Thank you. Congee is definitely something I would like. I love risotto and rice pudding.
                            Just like congee, with grits the sky is the limit. Grits are a delicious vehicle too.

                            1. re: Lewes17266

                              The basic recipe is the humblest Here are links to some other recipes from chowhounds. Congee is also known as jook.


                    2. re: c oliver

                      Well said, C.O., on the you-want-what-you-want-when-you-want-it aspect.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        CO, Well stated on your initial biscuit post. Growing up in Mississippi, I've never had biscuits as good as the likes of the way my grandmother made them. They were flakey, yet dense and moist at the same time; in other words, they did not fall apart when you pulled or cut them in half to load on the butter. They were the best as dessert - pushing my child-sized thumb into the side, then loading up the "hole" with pure cane (sorghum) syrup. Traditionally, those 2 items are the only thing that should accompany biscuits.

                        HOWEVER, now I live in Texas and unless I make it at home, bad, tasteless gravy (the packaged stuff) seems to be commonplace to serve over biscuits that come way oversized and fall apart. And as to the gravy, it should be made with bacon drippings --- not sausage.

                        Ironically, the first time I ate "milk" gravy (as a breakfast item over toast) was while visiting my "yankee" grandmother in Illinois.

                        1. re: CocoaNut

                          CocoaNut - I'm STILL from Mississippi and my grandmother made the same kind of biscuits, and I, too, never had milk gravy in my home state.
                          The few times we had gravy with the biscuits it was red-eye or tomato gravy. I never understood my gm's biscuit-making. She had a biscuit bowl put up and used daily. White Lily flour, buttermilk (back when it was the real thing) and Wesson oil - no shortening or butter or lard! And they were like you described, wonderful. If we were late for school, she'd put butter and sugar in them, or butter and hoop cheese, and off we went. When she made the biscuits she would put them into a hot cast-iron skillet with more oil in it - they were so so good.

                          1. re: bayoucook

                            Yep - just down 90 in LB - made the same way (except my gm DID use lard) also in a cast-iron skillet - lastly, before going into the oven, she'd push 2 knuckles into the tops of each biscuit. She made hers on the counter-top with a "well" in the center of the flour. Strangely, none of her 3 daughters (my aunts and mother) picked up the *knack* - which I'd love to now know.....

                            bc, I'm probably going to be down that way for a visit sometime this summer.... I'll post on the "south" board at that time and maybe we can meet up for some good seafood?

                            1. re: CocoaNut

                              That would be great - we have several (many?) new great places on the coast. I remember we've talked before about you being from LB; where are you living now? It's already getting hot as H--- here.....

                              1. re: bayoucook

                                Deal! I'm between Dallas and Ft. Worth and will always miss my good ole Gulf of Mexico seafood - so much of the "affordable" fresh seafood sold here is from Asia.

                        2. re: c oliver

                          I say the same thing about chicken fried steak. Gravy ruins it. Why take something with perfect, crisp, crust, and pour gravy on it turning it into a soggy mess. Gravy on the side, please.

                          1. re: James Cristinian

                            Speaking as a passionate fan of both biscuits-and-gravy and CFS (either Chicken FS or Country FS), one of the principal sources of pleasure to me is precisely the crunchy bite amid the warm richness of the gravy. The crust of a good short biscuit will NOT get soggy on my plate (partly I suppose because it won't have time to!), and if the CFS is cooked properly its crust will also be impervious to the gravy's caress. If either biscuit or CFS crust does go limp on you, it was of inferior quality to begin with.

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              Harf! Will, I agree...I was not understanding the biscuit/gravy/soggy argument, but I think you nailed it. It never sits around long enough to get soggy. Both of my grandmas made those thin, crispy, "bumpy", tangy buttermilk biscuits and I can NOT replicate them no matter how I try. I must say, though, I have got gravy DOWN and can make just about any variety. My faves are just plain milk gravy made with butter, flour, salt, pepper & milk...or tomato gravy made with bacon drippings. It's a simple, poor-folk food that I crave a lot in between all the trips to trendy restaurants. And my one grandma would just eat biscuit & gravy for dinner every night in her old age - and lived to her mid 90's!

                              1. re: terkalin

                                another tomato gravy fan here, terkalin! that reminds me, i've got some tomato puree in the fridge that was going to become pizza sauce. now i'm going to re-purpose that, make a roux with some bacon grease, and voilá (or rather, "come on, y'all, and eat! it's gettin' cold!)

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  i've typically had tomato gravy on white rice. i make sausage gravy for biscuits, but i eat biscuits every which way. butter. butter & jelly. maple syrup. toasted with strawberries for "shortcake." i also like mom's "center biscuit" cause it has all soft sides (made in a pie tin, all touching edges).

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Sausage gravy for biscuits, butter, jelly, honey, any way for me as well. I love biscuits with sausage gravy. Not a true southern girl, but god that is good.

                              2. re: Will Owen

                                I never have liked gravy on biscuits, and didn't say so. I just like them plain, with butter, my preference. I guess, to be honest, I'm just not that big of a gravy person. As for chicken fried steak, I live in Texas and there is plenty of properly cooked chicken fried steak to choose from. I usually only eat three or four bites with the gravy, with 'lots of pepper. I'm more a meat guy, but, I understand your point. When I make chicken fried steak, I usually don't make gravy unless my wife wants it, then she usually does it. Me, I'm too busy eating it hot out of the oil.

                    3. re: demigodh

                      I eat dim sum between 730 and 800 in the morning so breakfast not brunch for me. If you've heard of congee but haven't tasted it, why would you take B&G instead?

                      1. re: c oliver

                        I love congee in all its variations, and dim sum, too. But I'm probably going to choose that really excellent biscuit and the homemade tomato-bacon gravy over them for breakfast - maybe that is what comes of living over a half-century in the deep South, or maybe it hasn't nothing to do with it at all.

                        1. re: bayoucook

                          Tell me about tomato-bacon gravy. Yum! I can do the really good biscuit.

                          1. re: Plano Rose

                            There are many variations on it - but here is a basic recipe for it:

                            We add salt and freshly ground pepper and hot sauce, sometimes a touch of minced green pepper - it's fun to play with, and so so good over biscuits. You can use milk instead of water, as well. Let me know if you make it.

                            1. re: Plano Rose

                              forgot to add - it's even better with eggs on the side - fried or scambled -

                              1. re: bayoucook

                                Thanks, bayoucook. I'll have to try it. With scrambled eggs, of course.

                      2. Not sure I could declare it definitively the best (chocolate mousse, anyone?), but any cuisine featuring buttermilk biscuits, french toast, and peach pie definitely ranks pretty high up there on my list :-)

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: Emmmily

                          French toast is Southern? I never knew that.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I'm taking the OP's word for it. Wikipedia lists its origins in an ancient Roman dish, so I guess it didn't originate in the south, even if it's now common there. Substitute grits on my list above and I stand by my point - maybe not the tastiest breakfast in the world, but up there.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              That's my question? Many of the dishes referenced by the OP could arguably be credited to Europe, Latin America, etc.

                              Not to mention, home fries (or potatoes O'Brien), next to eggs, make any breakfast extra special for me. :)

                              AND how is a baguette and butter not chowish???

                              1. re: lynnlato

                                "Many of the dishes referenced by the OP could arguably be credited to Europe, Latin America, etc."

                                Just not all together, deep-fried, served with a side of sweet tea.

                                1. re: Cinnamon

                                  And I gotta tell ya, 28 years in the South and I NEVER had sweet tea!

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    I can't handle it, too sweet for me!

                                    It could even be regional within the South, which certainly is diverse, the size of a good chunk of Europe.

                                    1. re: Cinnamon

                                      Have u tried Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka? Made in SC with tea grown in SC. Interesting stuff. Now, their muscadine vodka - not so much.

                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                        Hmm, no. That does sound interesting. Maybe if I found a minibottle. :D

                                      2. re: Cinnamon

                                        When we sweeten our tea at home, it's lightly sweetened. At a restaurant, order 1/2 sweet 1/2 regular.

                                    2. re: Cinnamon

                                      Have you had a Scottish breakfast? It may not include sweet tea, but it's all deep fried. Traditional English Breakfast would work too in terms of the morning fry up.

                                  2. re: c oliver

                                    pain perdu in NOLA maybe was the thought

                                2. Why do you want to encourage disagreement or see if people agree with you? I'm from the South originally (BTW, I don't consider Texas part of the South) but have eaten breakfast and dessert all over this country, a number of other countries and continents even in a different hemisphere. I think every place has great choices and honestly think that Southern breakfast is comforting but generally not *fine food*.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    The food in East Texas is more like that of the South than it is like the food of the rest of the State. It sort of starts blending gradually as you move West.
                                    The Gulf Coast East of Houston has a lot in common with South Louisiana which isn't exactly "Southern food" anyway...

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      I agree it is different from, say, South Carolina, but it was part of the Confederacy and has a long Southern tradition. It is also geographically diverse, so I'd be inclined to agree that West Texas might not seem so "Southern". However, most Texans would disagree with you. It is the South, just not the deep South.

                                    2. "Why do you want to encourage disagreement or see if people agree with you?"

                                      i'm just curious if others share this opinion. obviously everywhere has good food and something unique to bring to the table but for those that are willing to rank cuisines (again acknowledging all the subjectivity that goes into it), what ethnicity/style of food is better for breakfast or desser than the american south?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: demigodh

                                        I can't imagine a true Chowhound ranking cuisines by country. Or saying that one ethnicity or style is better or worse. For me anyway, that lacks logic..

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          In line with the ranking of cuisines and in the spirit of dissent -

                                          <<Unless you prefer a baguette and some butter for breakfast (in which case what are you doing on chowhound),>>

                                          . . . warm baguette or Parisian croissant served with cultured butter and preserves along side a cup of cafe au lait - a hevenly blance of textures and flavors.
                                          . . . pane, jam and formaggio along side a cappuccino
                                          . . . so many other regional options

                                          I consider to be very chow. Tons of food and fat for breakfast as in the South may be good on occasion but there's nothing inherently better about it.

                                          (Time you found something more to do at work!)

                                      2. I was born and raised in South Carolina and I think the best Southern food is the meals, although I do love grits and eggs, fruit cobblers, and pecan and sweet potato pie. I have never had food so delicious as the meals I remember in the South, although I do love food from all over. Fried chicken or pork chops served with rice and gravy, country style steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, baked ham and macaroni and cheese, biscuits, cornbread and turnip greens, casseroles, butter beans and okra, field peas, fried catfish, fried flounder, fried green tomatoes, shrimp creole, fried squash, catfish stew, pork shoulder barbequed for hours outside served with cole slaw and sweet potatoes and sweet tea. I could go on and on and on telling you about the delicious food I grew up eating in the South.

                                        I love food from all over, but to me Southern food is still the best in the world and not just for breakfast and dessert either.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Lewes17266

                                          My favourite southern dishes were listed by you. Thank you very much!

                                        2. Where I live, I have easy access to Peruvian, Salvadoran, and Ethiopian breakfasts that are impressive. When I have traveled to Eastern Europe, I have received elaborate breakfasts with meats and cheeses, and I've had French breakfasts with yogurt, fresh breads, and chestnut jam. I've heard that pho is a breakfast food in Vietnam. Hey, it's all good.

                                          On the dessert front, I am partial to a good Indian rasmalai, though the price per ounce they charge at even the dives I frequent gives me pause.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Steve

                                            When we were in Santiago, Chile, about ten years ago I had a "completo" which was a hot dog loaded up with I don't remember what. Along with coffee made from instant. That was breakfast from a kiosk. Still have a picture somewhere of me poised to take a huge bite :)

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Could you at least identify what was on your completo? Or did you want to?

                                              1. re: Steve

                                                I need to scrounge around someday and find the picture but, not, it was pretty benign - maybe cheese and onion and ketchup. I may be totally off on that but there was nothing unidentifiable or scary )

                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                Yes! the quinessential breakfast of champions in Santiago served with nescafé, which is rampant. I am a long time expat here in Chile (food/wine writer and culinary tours) and the completo is such an institution, they had a national "completo day" this week. Thought this link may send you down memory lane. Salud!

                                                1. re: Liz Caskey

                                                  Thank you SO much for sharing that. It's perfect. As I wrot above, I really couldn't remember what was on it but knew it wasn't eye of newt or any such. Your article was great. When I first saw it, I know it though *a hot dog for breakfast?* but then well why not? And no matter where we travel the locals always love it when we eat *their* food with great relish - complete with big smiles, moans, and belly rubbing. Again, Liz, thanks a lot.

                                            2. >>>
                                              I can't see anyone disagreeing here.

                                              OH PUHLEEEZE! Since when did The South get a corner on breakfast consisting of excess portions of fat, carbs, sugar, salt, and cholesterol? Any place there is a Denny's, Bob Evans', or even IHOP will give you something similar. Oh, you want real food? Everywhere I've ever lived had at least one local joint where you can over-indulge as well. No, I couldn't get grits at the Country Girl Diner in Chester, Vermont when I lived there 40 yrs ago, but why would I want to? (But I bet you could today.) Here in the Syracuse area there are several good joints for breakfast.

                                              And even if it *were* true, I'm not sure it is something to brag about.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: al b. darned

                                                It really is not something to brag about because the southern style of cooking is so unhealthy. It makes us obese and clogs our arteries.

                                                1. re: Lewes17266

                                                  You can consume French or Bangladeshi food to excess and end up unhealthy. Southern also includes plenty of seafood along the coast, greens with tons of vitamins, etc. Responsibility for moderation is a good thing, regional sanctions/piety not.

                                              2. As another Texan I think for breakfast you can't do much better than a freshly made flour tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs, refried bean, chorizo, cheese and a nice warm ranchera sauce. Or a good huevos con papas burrito also hits the spot and let us not forget a steaming bowl of menudo. Now that is breakfast.

                                                Of course as Texans it is a difficult choice when it comes to regional foods since we have pieces of the State in very different and distinct regions. Each offers great cuisine with their own regional flair. Personally I live in the Houston area but love the foods, breakfast and all, of deep south Texas. I also love our lapland area where Louisiana laps over into Texas. Nothing like good cracklins still hot and fresh out of the pot. Healthy? No. Tasty? Definitely.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: swamp

                                                  I love menudo. Will even eat the canned kind if I really need it from a medicinal standpoint!

                                                2. My two cents: breakfast is good, period, no matter where it is or what. Another two cents: it's also good no matter WHEN. I've loved crusty rolls and coffee in Italy, croissants and - well, not so much the coffee! - in France, dim sum in Hong Kong and here in LA, and congee in Hong Kong as well. Here I like the wide availability of excellent hash browns and those big "breakfast skillets", basically giant breakfast burritos on a plate without the tortilla. But I will happily agree with the OP that just as no place has better cured pig meat than the Southeast, so does that region take the cake breakfast-wise (although Texas gets a big nod for the country-fried steak). We return every year to our old haunts in Nashville and southern Kentucky, and every year we forget the diet and get our eggs, grits, biscuits and gravy, ham, bacon, sausage - even fried catfish, one of my favorite things to eat with eggs (Uncle Hershel's Favorite on the Cracker Barrel menu).

                                                  1. Give me an old-fashioned British fry-up any day! Or the best breakfast of my life: at London's Dorchester Hotel -- oh my God!

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                      Closest I ever got to a proper Brit breakfast was again in Hong Kong. The breakfast buffet at our hotel covered all the bases. They never had kippers, though, which annoyed me no end, and the sausages were doggedly American. Had we been staying at the Peninsula I'm sure the story would have been much different!

                                                      I've not been to England yet, but it's on the agenda. The in-laws continue to regard "good English food" as an impossible oxymoron, but their daughter has been convinced otherwise, so I'm sure one of our French excursions will include some cross-Channeling.

                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                        Amen on the British fry up....best breakfast of my life was one of these.

                                                        I grew up in the south but generally prefer a good bagel to a biscuit and good home fries to grits. Not saying I don't like southern food, just my preference.

                                                        I agree with Will Owen, breafast is good, period! Breakfast of all kinds, any time of the day or night! :-)

                                                        1. re: poptart

                                                          Good home fries are a work of art. Yum!

                                                      2. "Unless you prefer a baguette and some butter for breakfast (in which case what are you doing on chowhound)." This is an ironic statement given that the breakfast you describe is exactly what most people who aren't spending time talking about food online would pick to eat. A baguette - typically with cheese, not butter - isn't a whole lot more adventurous, but it's no less sophisticated.
                                                        With the exception of grits, and biscuits and gravy, the breakfast you are describing is generic American. I've never been anywhere in this country you can't get steak and eggs. Personally, I'd rather eat what most Americans consider to be normal breakfast foods at lunch or dinner - and in the 24 hour Greek diner belt of the Northeast, these things are as popular at any hour as they are in the morning. I don't find a fat and carb loaded meal to be pleasing in the morning, or to be a good start to the day. I just eat the same sorts of things for breakfast as for any other meal of the day. If I did have to pick the best breakfast, it would be the Japanese breakfast of miso soup and white rice, or the French hangover cure of onion soup (which is nothing like "French onion soup").

                                                        1. agree with others here, there are loads of different types of breakfasts.

                                                          Think of hot porridge made with milk, lashings of British double cream and topped with brown sugar. Followed by a fresh kipper grilled with butter.

                                                          The Swiss would argue for a home mixed meusli with fresh and dried fruit and plain yoghurt.

                                                          I have had some wonderful breakfasts in Israel, fresh citrus, other fruits in season, salads, cheeses, breads, cottage cheese.

                                                          Brits also do kedgeree for breakfast, originally from India, it's a slightly curried rice with smoked fish, raisins and other ingredients which may be mixed into a cream sauce. It's wonderful.

                                                          A typical all out Jewish breakfast of bagels, bialys, smoked salmon, smoked whitefish, chopped liver (if ok to mix meat and milk), chopped herring, cream cheese, whole pickled herrings etc.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: smartie

                                                            "A typical all out Jewish breakfast of bagels, bialys, smoked salmon, smoked whitefish, chopped liver (if ok to mix meat and milk), chopped herring, cream cheese, whole pickled herrings etc."

                                                            Smartie strikes again. Way to go Smartie.

                                                          2. Dem, I married a southerner and have been well versed in southern food ever since. And while I can't agree with you that your argument is correct, I also can't present a strong argument against it either.

                                                            Therefore, I think I need to embark on a life long mission to try as much breakfast and desert options as possible from all over the world. I'll probably have to stop for lunch and dinner along the way too. Upon my deathbed I will provide an in depth report on my findings.

                                                            I do believe I'll start in Mexico though.

                                                            For those who "Don't get" B & G. That's fine. There are foods I don't get either. Not everyone likes everything. It's just the way it is.


                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                              Very true. By the way, add Banana Pudding to the yum list of southern desserts.
                                                              I've travelled the world (six continents) and lived overseas (Philippines) and in California and Florida. I cannot make myself eat any kind of fish for breakfast. While I love smoked salmon, do not put it in front of me with my morning coffee, I'd prefer it as an appetizer with a glass of wine at 5 pm. On many of our trips abroad, we've been seated at breakfast with people from all over the globe, and I can see that more often then not, DH and I are the only ones eating eggs and grits, but it must be something you're born to - eating herring and salmon for breakfast.

                                                              1. re: bayoucook

                                                                I'm Canadian. Thus, not born to grits. But I love 'em.


                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                  My dear departed Mom, with whom I spent not quite a year in Chattanooga aged about 1 1/2, brought back from the South an undying hatred for grits. About two months after I moved to Nashville, aged about 32, I had me some with eggs and stuff in an all-night diner, and fell in love. When I tried them a few days later, sober this time, they were still good. So not only was I not born to grits, I had a family anti-grits history. I'm SOOOO glad that didn't stick!

                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                    My first grits were at a Waffle/Huddle House outside Memphis. They were bland and I put a ton of butter on them. Palatable but as advertised, boring.
                                                                    My next time having them was home made creamy cheese grits (Quick grits, not instant) and the light bulb went off in my head. I realized that these relatively inert things carried flavour very well.
                                                                    The a couple years ago someone on here was extolling the virtues of stone ground grits. So when down yonder I picked up a sack of them. WOW!! What a difference in taste. Nice subtle corn flavour that doesn't need to built upon but can stand on it's own.


                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                      There's another thread somewhere on the difference between corn grits and hominy grits. The store brands of quick grits are hominy grits, made from dried lye-soaked corn, while I think all the fancy stone-ground artisanal ones are corn grits ground from yellow or white field corn. Different flavor. I actually prefer hominy ones for regular breakfast use, including for making garlic-cheese grits.

                                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                                        Will - it might've been the one on regional foods you didn't like once you had them - ?

                                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                                          I make roasted garlic cheese grits. Andouille cheese grits too.


                                                              2. I think you have a good point....smoked sausage, fresh biscuits with butter and cane syrup, eggs over easy or soft scrambled, and some grits. OTOH, pancakes in Vermont with maple syrup and cob-smoked bacon and Green Mtn. Coffe is pretty darn good as well. As for dinner, nothing beats fried chicken, creamed corn, field peas, sliced tomatoes topped with Duke's mayonaise, cornbread, sweet tea with lemon and some blackberry cobbler is just outstanding. Doesn't the southern part of each country usually have the peasant food, like we do down here??

                                                                20 Replies
                                                                1. re: steakman55

                                                                  You've just named one of my favorite dinners, steakman55 - down here, we've been known to put the Duke's mayo on the field peas - but it's gonna be there somewhere.
                                                                  So many posters have said they dislike sweet tea - but as I've posted before, YOU are in charge of the sugar, and my family has always had lightly sweetened tea. I will never order unsweetened tea - you can only get it sweet when it's hot before it's diluted. Prefer water with lemon to THAT. What we called creamed corn was fresh corn off the cob and the cobs freed of their juices put in a skillet with butter, salt and pepper, and maybe a touch of cream, but usually not. Just delicious! And we always had sliced onion and hot peppers and hot pepper sauce on the table. (the cobs weren't in there, just the juices, sorry about that awkward sentence I was drooling)

                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                    If given a choice, I always order my tea unsweetened, and I don't add anything. If the tea is good, doesn't need anything.

                                                                    It's very hard to avoid sweet drinks unless you drink water all the time, so I try to avoid sweet drinks when I can.

                                                                    1. re: Steve

                                                                      I'm with you, kiddo. Good tea, lemon only. Not good tea, then water. HATE sweet tea.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        Amen to good tea with lots of ice and lemon on a hot summer day!

                                                                        1. re: poptart

                                                                          Either I'm unsure what good tea is or my taste buds are burned out. Unsweetened tea with lemon tastes like water with lemon to me - so I always get the water. I order half-sweet/half-unsweet maybe twice a year, but I love the taste of lightly sweetened tea with lemon or mint.

                                                                          1. re: bayoucook

                                                                            I doubt your tastebuds are damaged. You might have to do a DIY experiment. Doesn't have to be fancy tea, just make it very, very strong. Or maybe someone here can give you a suggestion on what kind to make. You can always dilute later. Taste and adjust as necessary.

                                                                            1. re: Steve

                                                                              Thanks, Steve. I do make it strong when I make it at home (with a little sugar - lightly sweetened) and just use Community or Lipton tea - the sugar brings out the taste for me. Don't do it very often - husband is borderline diabetic. Have also had it make with all kinds of teas from Earl Gray to cinnamon orange - those flavors help if sugar isn't involved. Really just prefer lightly sweetened home-made tea.

                                                                            2. re: bayoucook

                                                                              Just goes to show, our tastebuds are all so different! It's interesting how 2 people try the same drink and it will give a different reaction isn't it? Or food: degrees of heat, saltiness etc.

                                                                              Agree with you, lemon and mint in tea, fantastic! And so refreshing in the summer!

                                                                        2. re: Steve

                                                                          Sweet tea, unsweetened tea, whatever.
                                                                          I like iced tea.
                                                                          Why do Yankees quit offering iced tea in restaurants after Summer is over? They still offer OTHER cold drinks.
                                                                          What's with that?

                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                            I can't think of any restaurants that stop serving iced tea after the summer. Unsweetened iced tea is as common as cola in my experience.

                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                              We're not eating in the same places. Even in Washington, DC, they stop dead at about labor day, except for the dreck in the soft drink machines at cafeterias and fast food joints.
                                                                              Many restaurants don't even offer it. Can't imagine why. The profit margin is enormous even with unlimited refills.

                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                Iced tea is offered all year round here in Indiana, as far as I know. I certainly drink it all year.

                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                  When I've been in NYC and upstate, my experience has been they look at you as if you're from another planet if you order anytime other than summer. Even in summer, it's likely to be instant, which is disgusting. Speaking of profit margins, I've pretty much quit ordering iced tea here in Texas, 1.75-2.50 is insane, I'll stick to water, tap water.

                                                                                  1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                    Where in NYC do you order iced tea and get refused? I'd love tp know.

                                                                              2. re: MakingSense

                                                                                Never have experienced a lack of iced tea in any restaurant in the winter where I live, either when I lived in the south or north.

                                                                                1. re: poptart

                                                                                  I have been told time and time again that "we only serve ice tea in the summer" except in the South.
                                                                                  It's happened three times in the past two weeks in places in Washington DC. Not exactly summer yet. They just didn't have it on the menu.
                                                                                  Now that could be because I don't drink and I order it in tablecloth restaurants, including in the evening. If you are a wine drinker, you may never have noticed this.
                                                                                  When I did get it in the summer, it was often some fussy concoction with an herbal tea and perhaps rosemary or something. Probably to justify a $6 price tag.
                                                                                  I finally gave up.
                                                                                  Fast food restaurants sometimes have it in those drink dispensers but that stuff is pretty awful.

                                                                                  This isn't some conspiracy against me. My friends complain about it too.

                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                    I don't drink alcohol either, and often order iced tea because I am not a big soda person, and have not yet come across this in my travels but maybe it's a regional thing? I'm in New England and haven't had a problem ordering iced tea any time of the year I wanted it.
                                                                                    And yes, the stuff in dispensers is horrible, and would probably make a good paint remover. :-)

                                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                      I agree making sense - Lots of places do make "home-made tea" or "lemonade" or even "iced coffee" in the summer in NYC, but then stop making it in the winter.
                                                                                      Probably because it is a PITA!
                                                                                      (I used to work in a cafe that did exactly that - it and we all dreaded having to make it!)

                                                                            2. re: steakman55

                                                                              This is a little embarrassing, but I can eat Duke's mayonnaise with a spoon, right out of the jar. I think it may actually be an addiction.

                                                                            3. Southern Desserts are great... as for breakfast... Southern food is not even close... not even CLOSE to Mexican. Mexico has 100s of classic egg dishes with or without meats & veggies on top of hangover foods, and then indigenous meals like various tamales.. the great fruits & juices... as well as baked goods... and thanks to 100 years of U.S. influence... great pancakes etc.,

                                                                              I am telling you its not even close.

                                                                              Not even close.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                I've taken to Huevos Rancheros lately. I put cheese and chorizo on top though so I guess it's not really authentic. Damned good though.


                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                  Huevos Rancheros are nice... but they are just a caricature of the Mexican breakfast tradition. BTW... your egg dish is not inauthentic in the Yucatan its common to serve Fried Eggs over a tomatoe-chorizo sauce with a side of Edam cheese (long story)

                                                                                  But if you enjoy those eggs you might like the most iconic Yucatecan dish... Huevos Motulenos:


                                                                                  I am very partial to the Huevos Ahogados tradition... which is where you poach eggs in a brothy sauce and add leftover vegetables. For example my two family favorites:

                                                                                  You take leftover garlicky greens & salsa from the classic braised pork ribs dish... you thin it out with chicken broth to get a good poaching liquid... poach the eggs... spoon the whole thing over home fried potatoes... some handmade corn tortillas, or house made Queso Fresco & Crema.

                                                                                  The other is to reserve the pot liquor from cooking beans, season it with a little chicken broth & Mex Oregano... poach your eggs... and serve as a type of soup topped with thin sliced spring onions, cilantro... a side of blackened jalapenos & handmade tortillas.

                                                                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                    That sounds amazing, thanks for the description!

                                                                              2. Where in the country/world do people focus on breakfast as much as they do in the south? A few people have said English fry ups are better (fair enough) or Mexico (and that poster explained how they focus on breakfast, naming many dishes that they offer) but most others have either said that they prefer other breakfasts or just named a single item from another culture.

                                                                                Now we don't need you to list the 25 Parisian breakfasts you can come up with, just a basic question of where else is breakfast such a priority as it is in the south (read: not just nourishment but an actual full meal)?

                                                                                17 Replies
                                                                                1. re: demigodh

                                                                                  I would say of the places I've visited in the US and other countries, breakfast is just as much a priority as it is in the South (and remember I spent the first 28 years of my life in the South). I'm wondering why this is so important to you that the South be the best place in the world for breakfast? It's not like we're discussing storage of nuclear waste! The South is like the rest of the world: sometimes it's grab something while on the run and other times it's a leisurely, pull out all the stops meal.

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    I wouldn't say I need people to concur that the South is the best, I initially wanted to survey people's opinions. I found that many people would rather discuss what they enjoy and not necessarily in a comparative fashion. It's fine by me that the thread evolved that way but it is not what I was looking for. I was looking for people that were willing to take a stance, accepting that they are only speaking about personal tastes.

                                                                                    Then, most recently, I had a new question of what cultures focus on breakfast more. What I find curious is your unwillingness to make any sort of qualitative statement about one cuisine or another. Maybe you don't want to risk offending someone, I personally don't think it's any different for me to say Mexican food is better than Egyptian food than it is for me to say one restaurant is better than another. Clearly we recognize that we're talking about personal taste but for some reason you insist on treading on egg shells. That said, i recognize that I tend to like to rank things (in life in general) more than most people and maybe you just don't think of food like that. But when it comes to my most recent question, you're unwillingness to take a stance is a bit more surprising. Not every culture focuses the same amount on breakfast (or any other meal). It's fair for me to say that, for example, breakfast is a less important meal in New York than it is in Dallas. Similarly, Brunch is a more important meal in New York than it is in Dallas. Lunch is more important in Spain than it is in America. While you may disagree with those specific comments, they are not unfounded and also not disparaging of any culture in any way.

                                                                                    So to my question, and for those that are willing to take a stance (again recognizing that it is largely subjective), who focuses more on breakfast? One poster already indicated that Mexico does. I don't think there are too many other places that also do.

                                                                                    1. re: demigodh

                                                                                      I took a *stance*. My stance is that breakfast is equally important in every city and country I've visited. I've lived in Dallas and I've spent extensive time in NYC; never saw a difference. I've lived in Atlanta and San Francisco - no difference. And my opinion is that anyone who wouldn't consider a baguette with butter as breakfast would be the suspect person not the ones who DO relish that.

                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        can't speak to where you have specifically been but if your stance is that breakfast is equally emphasized throughout the nation/world...i disagree.

                                                                                        1. re: demigodh

                                                                                          Perhaps it depends on how you interpret "importance" of breakfast? I know that in Italy, breakfast is often coffee and some kind of brioche or bread or roll. Not as substantial or varied as other breakfasts (dim sum, Japanese breakfasts, English fry-ups, etc) ..but! The coffee is usually great as are the breads. So in that sense, you could say that breakfast in Italy can be "important" enough for the components to be of high quality, even though there isn't much there in quantity? Not saying I prefer that kind of breakfast but the coffee sure is good :-)!

                                                                                          1. re: poptart

                                                                                            Why choose... Veracruz has amazing coffee (locally grown & roasted) in addition to fantastic hearty dishes.

                                                                                  2. re: demigodh

                                                                                    I agree, in all parts of the Us I have been, breakfast is important. In the area I live in now (northeast) there are always lines on the weekend at the best breakfast spots. Personally it's my favorite meal of the day! No doubt many other people feel this way too. Hooray for goodbreakfasts of all kinds!

                                                                                    1. re: poptart

                                                                                      And a special hooray to those establishments whose menus bear my favorite declaration: BREAKFAST SERVED ANYTIME.

                                                                                      1. re: poptart

                                                                                        "In the area I live in now (northeast) there are always lines on the weekend at the best breakfast spots"

                                                                                        Ditto for Hawaii. Weekend breakfast is incredibly popular among Kama' aina, Haole & Malihini alike. It annoys the hell out of me because you can't just wake up on a Saturday and decide you don't want to do dishes before heading out for the beach.... and its confusing as hell because most lauded places here in O'ahu are barely okay (terrible hashbrowns, low quality syrups etc.,)

                                                                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                          Why is it that it's never the very best places ANYWHERE that get the long lines? And even at some of the dreadfullest joints at least two-thirds will be regulars? In Nashville it was (and still is!) Pancake Pantry, a merely adequate and somewhat overpriced joint whose only claim to fame is...fame. Here in Pasadena it's a place called Marston's, to which we have not been and intend to keep it that way.

                                                                                          My Hawaii experience is limited to Kauai, where we usually have breakfast at the house, unless Papa treats us to a fancy weekend hotel brunch. Last time we went armed with a short list of recs from CH, but never were able to get going in time for breakfast. Closest we got was a very early lunch at Hamura's Saimin, which I would do every day if I could...

                                                                                          1. re: Will Owen


                                                                                            Can you say "Crapper Barrel"??


                                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                                              People go to the places they are familiar with. They like to know what to expect, especially families with children.
                                                                                              Chowhound is good that way. On the road in new towns you just never know what you will get in restaurants unless someone has helped out in advance.

                                                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                Cracker Barrel has Books on Tape. Get one at the beginning of the trip with a deposit and exchange it in a few hours for a new one at another Cracker Barrel down the road. They were only about $2.
                                                                                                The hard thing was keeping the kids away from all the souvenir crap. The food was reliably bland enough for the kids and we could get something inoffensive at lunch. We usually managed to find good food at suppertime but Cracker Barrel got us through the days on long highway trips.

                                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                  Pilot Travel Centres do books on tape too.


                                                                                                2. re: Davwud

                                                                                                  Yes I can say "Crapper Barrel", and often do. However, when we have our week-or-less back in KY and TN every year, we often find ourselves in places where that's the best food to be had (Cave City, for one, where we spend a three-day weekend), and as long as we avoid any meal there but breakfast it's pretty damn good. Lunch or dinner can be pretty blah, and expensive.

                                                                                          2. Last line from an old Charles Kuralt essay: "Now bow your head and give thanks to the South, where they still believe in -- and practice -- breakfast."

                                                                                            Amen. Amen to all of that, demigodh.

                                                                                            1. As someone who is not a fan of any cured meat or pork products in general, I find the Southern breakfast really underwhelming. When you take out those aspects of salt and savory, I think something really ends up missing. And while there is something comforting about a quality bowl of grits, to me - nothing beats the full spread you can get in an Israeli breakfast which includes eggs with a large varieties of salads - both fresh and pickled.

                                                                                              And lastly, not to pick a point - but the cake selection in Sarajevo (which I'm betting is largely based on the Vienna influence) was amazing. But when there's quality natural frozen yogurt, that's the dessert I personally want the most. At the end of the day though, both breakfast and dessert fall upon foods that meet more comfort requirements than an interest perhaps in exploring flavors. To me, the "classic" southern breakfast is unpleasantly heavy for me first few hours in the morning.

                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                Ya, if you take the best parts out of any meal/cuisine, it's gonna be pretty underwhelming.


                                                                                                1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                  Please tell us more about an Israeli breakfast...sounds interesting! How are the eggs cooked? what other accompaniments?

                                                                                                  1. re: poptart

                                                                                                    The "Israeli breakfast" - if it's ordered out at a restaurant typically involves eggs done traditionally as an omlette but can be ordered to choice. There's the classic Israeli salad of cucumber and tomatoes diced and dressed with some lemon juice and salt. There are usually two types of cheeses, typically labne or another soft cheese and Bulgarian cheese or another semi-soft salty cheese. Then there's often tehini and some kind of a tuna salad that has no mayo in it. Sometimes, but not always there's a nutella like spread or jam. The bread served with it can range from toast to pita to this moroccan bread that's pretty amazing.

                                                                                                    In a hotel, this general spread is expanded by various salads of pickled and/or fresh vegetables and other fish options.

                                                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                      wow, while that sounds delicious, it just doesn't seem to come close to southern breakfast for me. I love Israeli salads (both Israeli salad and then all the other salads they generally offer) but I was hoping for something a little "meatier" to rival my tried and true southern food.

                                                                                                      1. re: demigodh

                                                                                                        I'm still confused by your original list. How is French toast or steak and eggs particularly southern?

                                                                                                        1. re: demigodh

                                                                                                          Yeah - the Israeli breakfast, based on kosher laws, basically lacks all meat aside from fish (should you consider that meat). However, personally, meat at breakfast has never really worked for me. And as someone who's done the Israeli hotel breakfast buffet experience, it's just as easy to walk away from that as inflated as the Goodyear blimp as any southern buffet I've ever been to (grew up in Kentucky).

                                                                                                          Matter of taste though, but I think it's when you get that happy (personal) mix of sweet, salty, savory and a mix of proteins, carbs, and textures. If you cut the pork and cured meat from the Southern breakfast, I completely understand that it'd reduce the pleasure.

                                                                                                        2. re: cresyd

                                                                                                          That sounds incredible! And I am surprised there aren't more restaurants in the US offering this kind of breakfast...or am I missing them? Love to know if/ where they exist. Thanks.

                                                                                                          1. re: poptart

                                                                                                            I'd imagine in some "cosmopolitan" city in the states, someone does it. I grew up in the South and Midwest....where the idea of tehina at breakfast would make the average taste palette shut down. I enjoy it as a pleasant mix of East and West.

                                                                                                    2. I am not a fan at all of "southern food"

                                                                                                      rice and gravy
                                                                                                      turnip greens
                                                                                                      butter beans
                                                                                                      field peas
                                                                                                      fried catfish
                                                                                                      fried flounder
                                                                                                      fried green tomatoes
                                                                                                      catfish stew
                                                                                                      sweet tea
                                                                                                      Duke's mayonaise
                                                                                                      the combination of biscuits and gravy

                                                                                                      don't want any or the above at any meal.

                                                                                                      I'm not much of a dessert fan much of the time.

                                                                                                      28 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: laliz

                                                                                                          I'd have to step in front of a train. At the very least, I'd be divorced by now.


                                                                                                          1. re: laliz

                                                                                                            Mmmmm - sounds like a feast to me!

                                                                                                            1. re: laliz

                                                                                                              Laliz, you've eaten all of these and didn't like any of them? I'm also curious to know if you've had "southern food" at someone's home or at a restaurant. There is a lot more to southern food and it's not all fried and covered in gravy, but to each his/her own.

                                                                                                              1. re: Luvfriedokra

                                                                                                                Love your name, I love it too.
                                                                                                                On the thread "What regional food did you finally try that you didn't get"--or something like that, we had lots of conversations about southern food - we fellow southerners stood firmly together on that one! In my experience, when someone says they dislike an entire genre of food it's one or both of two things: they're very picky eaters (I've always thought that was a tragedy), or they haven't had it prepared properly. I've had southern food in restaurants that I could not eat (well, could barely eat) - you can't lump it all into one pot, like you said. Bottom line, and I AM a born and raised southerner: I would hate to have missed our wonderful cuisine and I always want those southern foods in my diet. It's best for people to keep an open mind and always be willing to try new things, maybe again and again....

                                                                                                                1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                  I agree with Bayoucook. I've been to almost every State in the Union and eaten good food and horrible stuff in every one of them.
                                                                                                                  Hard to believe that you had such bad luck that you would write off an entire region's cuisine based on that particular list and that you had every one of those things prepared poorly.
                                                                                                                  Some of them aren't even that commonly found - like catfish stew? Who fed you that?

                                                                                                                  I have no idea where you visited in the South or who might have introduced you to the food, but you seem to have missed out somewhere.
                                                                                                                  Yeah, you can find some real crap like you can anywhere in the US, but there is great food there too, just like there is in any place else.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                    Hi MS - reminds me of a story from my childhood. We lived in a tiny Mississippi town. The school principal and his wife planned a trip to France. When they came home (early) they said they'd never leave home again. The food there was absolutely horrible, why you couldn't even eat the bread it so hard, had to ask for gravy or soup at every meal to soak the bread in. And breakfast was the worse meal ever: no grits or biscuits to be found! Funny, people. That happened in 1962 - my grandparents said they never left the state again.

                                                                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                      I didn't see chicken fried steak on that list, or country fried steak, so maybe not all is lost. Then again, likely as not laliz forgot to put it on the list.

                                                                                                                      1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                        Yeah, likely an oversight. That's one that "they" love to hate - cheap meat, fried, and stupid name, in addition to being covered with dumb excuse for gravy, otherwise known as "sauce" in more enlightened sections of the country.
                                                                                                                        We are just too trashy for words.

                                                                                                                  2. re: laliz

                                                                                                                    grits - most probably not cooked long enough. Or, not enough s&p and/or BUTTER
                                                                                                                    rice and gravy - rice - most probably not cooked long enough or the proper grain. Gravy - ummmmmm.....
                                                                                                                    cornbread - What's not to like here
                                                                                                                    turnip greens - Can't blame you much on that one, but try them with some pepper vinegar
                                                                                                                    butter beans - most probably not cooked long enough or with the proper pork seasoning
                                                                                                                    okra - fried or boiled, stewed with tomatoes - can't be beat
                                                                                                                    field peas - THEY're CALLED black-eyed peas
                                                                                                                    fried catfish - Didn't exactly know this was thought to be southern, but it's damn good
                                                                                                                    fried flounder - Even better stuffed/baked or broiled
                                                                                                                    fried green tomatoes - Give you that one too
                                                                                                                    catfish stew - Never had it, never heard of it. Did you make that up?
                                                                                                                    sweet tea - To each his/her own
                                                                                                                    Duke's mayonaise - I read you as a Hellman's fan

                                                                                                                    the combination of biscuits and gravy - Definitely NOT of southern origin. So WHATever!

                                                                                                                    1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                      To me , field peas and black-eyed peas are totally different. Totally.

                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                        Black-eyed peas are one (of many) types of field peas, but usually the only type found in the South. Yellow and gray field peas are very popular in Scandinavia.

                                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                          I've had black-eyed peas, field peas and crowder peas in the South. Didn't realize that they're al considered "field peas" but have no problem with that :) Just love 'em all. I REALLY love shelling purple-hulled crowders. Thnk it's a wonderfully relaxing thing to do, especially sitting in the shade on the back porch or under a tree with a big glass of iced tea.

                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                            c oliver, you were 'puttin up' peas. that is what we called it.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Lewes17266

                                                                                                                              Only place I put 'em was in a great big pot with water, fatback, salt and pepper. Another pot had the collards which had handcut from a local cut-your-own garden. Can't be beat.

                                                                                                                          2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                            From Slow Foods' Ark of Taste: "The term ‘Southern Field Peas’ refers to hundreds of different varieties of peas that are subdivided into four main groups: field peas, Crowder peas, cream peas and black-eyed peas."

                                                                                                                            These are the beans, commonly called "peas" in the South, that everyone grew in their home gardens. Your grandparents saved some of the dried peas from one years' crop to plant for the next year. True heirloom plants and every family had their own favorites.
                                                                                                                            Fresh peas were table staples through the summer and some of the crop was dried for winter cooking.

                                                                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                              Pink-eyed purple hulls were the favorite in our family.

                                                                                                                          3. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                            when my children were small they confused field peas with boiled peanuts.
                                                                                                                            they have a similar taste.

                                                                                                                          4. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                            Hey CocoaNut, how you? I've never had catfish stew either, but I've heard of it on Chow (not from anyone I know). Turnip greens are one my favorites. Cook them with tender turnips, onion, garlic and smoked turkey wings and ham. Serve with hot pepper sauce and cornbread, with sliced onions. Fried green tomatoes: I pan fry mine with a mostly cornmeal dredge. then drain on a rack. Love 'em.

                                                                                                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                              Here is a catfish stew recipe. Farm-raised catfish is delicious and very affordable.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Lewes17266

                                                                                                                                Lewes - that looks delicious! Gonna try it soon. I love catfish, was raised on it, and my uncle co-owns a catfish farm near Greenville, MS. I've had it every other way BUT stewed - so can't wait to try it, thanks!

                                                                                                                                1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                  you are welcome.

                                                                                                                                  i add a bay leaf and fresh garlic, bump up the worcestershire and squeeze a lot of lemon over mine.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                    bayoucook, i meant to mention white rice also. i guess that goes without saying!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                      Ditto on that I just printed it out. Looks great. I am a huge fish fan period. From saltwater to fresh water, catfish, grouper, trout, salmon, you name it.

                                                                                                                                      I have had catmish many ways, but this looks really good. Definitely trying it.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Lewes17266

                                                                                                                                      That looks great. Like old Shrimp Stew in New Orleans but with catfish.
                                                                                                                                      Super good for the recession since many stores offer catfish "nuggets" at a really low price. The nuggets are smaller pieces than fillets and are often on sale at about $1.99/lb.
                                                                                                                                      Thanks for posting that.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                    Now, I'd go to the wall for Duke's mayo.

                                                                                                                                  3. Just bought my first basket of Alabama sweet peaches - and some french vanilla ice cream. Peach cobbler tonight!!!

                                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                      I'm so jealous!!!! Hmmmm..... now that has me thinking about homemade peach ice cream. mmmmmm

                                                                                                                                      1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                                        Yes. We're going to make ice cream tomorrow or Sunday. We have an automatic ice cream maker that does really well. I love this time of year!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                          Peach, bourbon, praline, and pecan ice cream.

                                                                                                                                          One night my friends and I made a big tub of vanilla ice cream, with a auto ice cream maker. Actually 2 big tubs. We decided to get adventurous.

                                                                                                                                          We added some fresh diced peaches, a little bourbon, crunched up caramel pralines and some extra pecans. It was so amazing.

                                                                                                                                          Our second batch was fresh peaches and raspberries with some orange liquor and walnuts.

                                                                                                                                          You can tell we went to a local stand and picked up a great basket of fresh GA peaches. Anyways, both batches were a hit. I would of been happy with just Peach ice cream, but we sure had fun being creative.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                        bayoucook, you've got peaches? i'm envious, too.

                                                                                                                                        as to laliz upthread, she has a pretty good list of southern foods. i think she was just being provocative.

                                                                                                                                        as a southerner, i'd call her list a feast, too (except for fried catfish).

                                                                                                                                        but, while i love good biscuits and sausage gravy and fried eggs with bacon, i think the best breakfasts are in germany! sausages, cold cuts, coddled eggs, terrific breads and rolls, delicious, rich butter, a variety of lovely cheeses, yogurt, muesli.

                                                                                                                                        the best desserts are southern desserts -- and french or viennese concoctions. that's a toss-up in my mind.
                                                                                                                                        ps, i get my sweet tea fix at mickey-d's.
                                                                                                                                        i'll also make iced tea with celestial seasonings red zinger or fortnum & mason's earl grey. sri lankan tea from "kandy" or "nuwara eliya" makes a fine iced tea, too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kandy

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                          They're not Chilton County peaches from Alabama (my favorite), but they're very fragrant and ripe. The cobbler last night was SO good, and making ice cream today or tomorrow. I'll have to try the red zinger tea - that's my fave herbal tea. I don't know why I "fight" so hard for sweetened tea - I adore it but rarely drink it!

                                                                                                                                          Our tomatoes are coming in (we have 7 plants in large pots), and I bought some yellow squash, green beans, cantaloupe, and red new potatoes from the same farmer who had the peaches. Don't you love this time of year, with the produce?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                            i know! i go overboard and buy too much and then some of it spoils. i'm trying to tame that buying urge.

                                                                                                                                            red zinger tea for some reason is harder to find than the other celestial seasonings blends. i love the hibiscus notes, and the beautiful red color. look at the ingredients: Hibiscus, rosehips, peppermint, West Indian lemongrass, orange peel, natural flavors, lemon myrtle, licorice and wild cherry bark. http://www.celestialseasonings.com/pr...

                                                                                                                                            mmm, i'm thinking of a red zinger granita, maybe with fresh pineapple and/or watermelon. maybe reduce it with a sugar syrup, add some mint or rosewater, to serve over a spongecake with berries and whipped cream. summer decadence, i'd say.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                              Bayou! So did you make your ice cream and if so how was it?! I had peach ice cream so much in my head yesterday that I was on an extensive grocery store and ice cream shop quest for it......... very sadly, to no avail.......

                                                                                                                                              1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                                                I made a mini version of peach ice cream. I bought good quality vanilla, let it soften and added my bourbon and fresh diced peaches. I did cook them lightly to soften, added some pecans and then re froze. The next best thing. Just ran out of time but WOW was it good.

                                                                                                                                                But fresh HOMEMADE ice cream ... Now that is good !!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                  That does sound do-able and most tempting, short of making the labor-of-love, real-deal. Unfortunately, the Hill Country (here in TX) had a late April freeze and knocked down most all of our local delicious peaches.

                                                                                                                                                  I suppose I could find some good ones though at one of the higher end groceries in the area - no doubt at a much higher end price as well..... Thinking about it - there's a small farmer's market nearby that brings in tomatoes from TN. Maybe they'd have some flavorful out-of-state peaches as well.

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the alternative.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                                                    Try rum and raspberries or blackberries or even strawberries.

                                                                                                                                                    I make flavored ice creams all the time when I want a quick easy desert and don't have time to bake. I've mixed pints of chocolate and vanilla crunched up candy bars and nuts, fresh fruit abd bytsm girl scout mint cookies and creme de menthe is awesome. Almond cookies, dried fruit, lots of combos.

                                                                                                                                                    It is an easy way to make something store bought really personal and great tasting but still easy. Yes I would really rather make my own and have many times, but 1 hr before dinner and need desert, have some nuts and cookies in the cabinet and vanilla ice cream in the freezer. Why NOT? Jazz up the whipped cream with some cocoa powder, zest, cinnimon and then top with some nuts or specialty cookies and make it a special treat.

                                                                                                                                        2. I cam back since my list got so much response. I don't mean to be "no fun" ~~ I think I am "fun". I absolutely understand people not understanding my list and questioning whether I made some of that stuff up or not.

                                                                                                                                          The original list (below) came directly from previous (to me) posts. At no time did I mean to disparage food others love. I know they love them, and I marvel that these things are "not my taste" at all".

                                                                                                                                          grits ~~ I've had them a couple of times for breakfast -- always in a restaurant and I just don't get them at all.
                                                                                                                                          rice and gravy ~~ I've had this lots of times and prepared it myself. I like rice and I like gravy. The combo, however, just does not send me as it does so many others.
                                                                                                                                          cornbread ~~ Again, I've tried many many times, homemade and in restaurants. With corn in the batter, with chilis in the batter, with butter, with honey, etc. I also do not care at all for corn dogs. Or corn cakes. Or polenta. Or hush puppies.
                                                                                                                                          turnip greens ~~ I like greens, but not turnip greens especially. I have a friend who makes collard greens that are wonderful. I much prefer spinach. And no vinegar.
                                                                                                                                          butter beans ~~ I used to eat them as a kid when they were served. Just not my favorite. I never served them to my family and I don't eat them now.
                                                                                                                                          okra ~~ no. slimy. no. No.
                                                                                                                                          field peas ~~ I don't like black eyed peas. I like little tiny petite green peas.
                                                                                                                                          fried catfish ~~ I don't like catfish at all. The last time I tried it (less than 2 years ago) I physically got ill. I've tried it enought times to know I don't like it.
                                                                                                                                          fried flounder ~~ eh. take or leave it. I am not a fan of fresh water fish, maybe that's the problem. It's just nothing I would seek out or rave about. I don't like perch or trout either and I have had plenty. I do like halibut, swordfish, snapper.
                                                                                                                                          fried green tomatoes ~~ my mother and aunt would make these every year, and literally force us children to eat them. No thanks. Love the movie.
                                                                                                                                          catfish stew ~~ As I said, this was from previous poster on this thread. Since I know I don't like catfish; I'm fairly certain I would not like catfish stew.
                                                                                                                                          sweet tea ~~ no. I like iced tea unsweetened.
                                                                                                                                          Duke's mayonaise ~~ I special orfered it, because of the raves about it. Not so much. Best Foods please.
                                                                                                                                          the combination of biscuits and gravy ~~ another one I have had many times and prepared for one of my ex husbands (who was from West Virginia BTW) and it never did stirl my soul. Biscuits still don't do it for me.

                                                                                                                                          don't want any or the above at any meal.

                                                                                                                                          I'm not much of a dessert fan much of the time.

                                                                                                                                          With regard to chicken fried steak and courntry fried steak, yes to both.

                                                                                                                                          With regard to etoufee, usually yes, same with jambalaya. But, I really really really won't eat crawfish aka mudbugs. I also am not crazy about lobster.

                                                                                                                                          One of my best friends is from Louisiana, and I have been eating her mother's cooking for over 30 years and love it.

                                                                                                                                          50 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                            Flounder A fresh water fish? I'm sitting here looking at a big one on my wall that I definitely caught in saltwater, Christmas Bay, Texas to be exact.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                              fine. flounder. let's just say fried fish. I don't like it when it's coated in cracher crumbs or corn meal or flour and fried.. Flounder was the name of one of the guys in the fraternity in Animal House.

                                                                                                                                              I also do not like oysters; raw, coated in anything or cooked..

                                                                                                                                              1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                I'd have to put flounder way down on my saltwater list, it's too mild, doesn't taste enough like fish. Here's my list: speckled trout, redfish, red snapper, grouper, dolphin, ling, amberjack, flounder. I put halibut in the same category as flounder, not enough flavor. I fry the speckled trout always and I must say, it is incredible, probably as good as my Granny's. The others I'll do a variety of ways.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                  Here's a couple more characters from Animal House, Pinto, and Otter. Do you like pinto beans? How about, never mind.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                    laliz - it might be easier to make a list of what you DO like! (smile)

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                    Here in NC flounder is a fresh water fish - specifically the Pamlico River in NC -

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jeanne

                                                                                                                                                      The Pamilco River flows into the Pamilco Sound, correct? A flounder can tolerate a fairly good amount of fresh water, as can a redfish. I've caught blue crabs a full ninety miles from Galveston Bay in the Trinity River. In Louisiana, largemouth bass are caught with flounder, redfish, and speckled trout, and to some degree in Texas. It's called brackish water, a mixture of salt and fresh, some species tolerate it better than others.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                                                                                                        Exactly. The Pamlico is a brackish, tidal river.

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                    For what it's worth, not a southern girl, but I like everything on that list and more and dukes now that I found it ... thank you Publix.

                                                                                                                                                    I love all that stuff. I do prefer my oysters broasted but I still eat them raw with some good Franks and a saltine. Suck those puppies down!!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                      Kim - you should be dubbed a southern girl! I've read you for months and you're southern at heart - all that matters. I just got started on broasted oysters a few months ago and almost ate myself sick - my God they're awesome! And raw, yes, by the dozens.....Are you sure we're not kinfolk? (Funny this: I look like you only older - I'm 56, but I have blond hair and bangs like you!).

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                        Michigander, but I guess I love lots of southern cooking. Got it from Grandma who swears she in her previous life was born and raised in the south, lol.

                                                                                                                                                        Broasted OMG, dozens for sure. A cold beer well a few and oysters, dinner for me girl.

                                                                                                                                                        Confession, there is a little grey in those bangs recently (Yikes!!) Never in my life have I died my hair, but I am seriously considering it, haha. I guess fried catfish for dinner tonight definitely initiates me as a southern gal.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                          You want funny this - In 2 months - I'll be 57. Now you know we covered some of the same territory there in our younger years......

                                                                                                                                                          You both have my interest piqued on broasted oysters - never had them. Love em raw, but not fried.

                                                                                                                                                          BC - my e-mail addr is kbniteowl@yahoo.com

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                                                            Got it. Don't you know we did - the coast ain't THAT big!
                                                                                                                                                            Love 'em fried too - on a poboy - but still very soft in the center.
                                                                                                                                                            Just love 'em, period.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                                                              Broasted by far my fave, like bayou dozens ... a little butter or hot sauce, saltine and in heaven. Raw also, however, it takes a couple of beers before I start gobbling them. Something about that slimy glob, lol.

                                                                                                                                                              Fried on a poboy is good. With the right coating and right remoulade sauce, it is also hard to pass them up. 57, NOT old, I'm catching up quickly. 49 now. But hey, you are only as young as you feel. My best friend is 60 this year and acts like kid. Have fun and enjoy life!!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                What exactly are broasted oysters? Are they like the grilled oysters we can find in New Orleans? (Apologies if this has been explained; I looked, but maybe not closely enough.)

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                              Thinking of southern food. Now since not being from the true south I take someones word. I ate maple bacon that a friend said they made for years and it was a southern thing. Whether it is or not, it was good. But this was another dish and I know it goes by Carolina corn and shrimp pie or carolina pie. Something like that.

                                                                                                                                                              Well whatever, my friends makes it, same one with the maple bacon, but she does her twist. She does crawfish and shrimp, she roasts her corn and peppers, cream, onions, scallions, mushrooms a little broth to make a nice gravy with the corn, lots of butter of course. Then mixed with the corn and crawfish topped with some mild cheese and then topped with a corn bread pie crust. She also tops the whole thing over some white rice as a base. Corn meal mixed into a thin pie crust and then put on top and baked until brown. What a dish

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                Is your friend putting cornmeal into regular pie dough, or making thin cornbread batter and spreading on top?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                  When I had it it was like a pie crust not just corn bread like. But very rustic. However I think either method would work. I have but a thin corn bread mix over a beef casserole which worked good, but the crust like texture was very good. She didn't slice it like pie but just a big scoop like a rustic pot pie type. It was amazing. It was creamy, seafood, the corn was amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                  NOTE. I was going to post the whole recipe, but one of her secrets so she says is to cook the corn first with butter till it is almost like a creamed corn, even though it isn't, it has that creamy texture.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                    I'll post the whole thing when I get home. Pretty traditional with a few of her changes. It is very very good.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                    kc, authentically southern or not, it certainly sounds mouthwatering to me. One thing that I've learned over the years is each state of the "south" has their own variation on a theme. Nothing is absolute - look at clam chowder in the NE! And no one here has even brought up the topic of BBQ and accompanying sauce. (Carolina, Texas, deep South, Memphis, etc) That's where a can of worms can REALLY be opened!

                                                                                                                                                                    Nonetheless, when cooked correctly with the "proper" long grain white rice - there's not much that does NOT go with rice....... Although I was in my early 20's the first time I saw someone put sugar and milk over leftover rice for breakfast. Not sure why I was so surprised as it was nothing more than a variation of Rice Crispies, but still! it was something new to me.

                                                                                                                                                                    And age is a figment of one's imagination and as such, I'm still a pup! :)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                      k, maple bacon is flavored bacon and is not "southern" in any respect. you may *like* it, but it *ain't * "southern".

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                        Believe me, This was cooked with a maple and balsamic glaze, not just smoked flavor. And yes I agreed I didn't think it was very southern but everyone who came to this party raved and said it was a southern dish. There were probably 100 people there over the course of the am. Who was I to argue. I'm a Michigander / Floridian. I totally agree

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                          hey k, i surely didn't say it wasn't **good**!!!! i'll bet it was delicious! i love to learn about the wonderful creative combinations of dishes you've made!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                            It was tasty ... almost like candy. Never had anything like it. They all raved. I was just happy to eat it. kchurchill5@comcast.net if you want to pick my brain, love to chat food as you can say. I get a bit opinionated at times, but don't we all. I love to create. I find recipes or hear about them, see old mag articles from years ago and love to have fun re creating. Using fresh fruits, veggies at our markets, fresh fish and even the crock at times. We all cut corners now and then don't we. Wish I didn't have to but reality sinks in when you work 3 jobs.

                                                                                                                                                                            Ever smoke chickens? My chicken this weekend was Fab ... jalapeno flavor without being hot. What unbelievable flavor with smoky background. I smoked some fresh tomatoes I picked with some onions FL sweet onions and want to make a smoky salsa to go with the chicken on a with a great cheddar or provolone. We will see. Love to talk food. Maybe we can get in touch. Heading up your way this summer, going right through your town. Have to give you a buzz for a night out of good food.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                  Point of order..Grits is singular..see The Southern Cookbook, UNC Press.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                                                                                                    how did grits get their name? each one -- is a gritty little thing.
                                                                                                                                                                    i disagree that grits is singular. "that grits is good"? nah. grits *are* good.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, no! You and hazelhurst have reignited the age-old battle.
                                                                                                                                                                      You should start a new thread on this or we'll clutter up this one beyond belief!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                      I could make a case for either and can't remember which one I say once I start thinking about it.
                                                                                                                                                                      Take it outside to the parking lot.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                        so... making sense, you're now the hall monitor? ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                        and...and...HAZELHURST started it!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                          Hey, this is why God gave us Summertime. So we can sit on the porch and argue over weighty matters like whether one says "grits is..." or "grits are..."
                                                                                                                                                                          Other than the Wo-ah (otherwise known as That Recent Unpleasantness with the North,) how many other things are as important as the food battles that have consumed us under trees, in porch swings, in fishing boats, and over dinner?
                                                                                                                                                                          Should I get everyone another bourbon?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                            I DO love that expression "recent unpleasantness." Grew up in the South.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                I thought it was "The late great unpleasantness."


                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                                                  I always heard it as "recent." Made it sound so benign.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                    Only in the South would the 144 years since the stacking of arms at Appomattox be called "recent."
                                                                                                                                                                                    As William Faulkner said in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, "The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past."

                                                                                                                                                                                    We're still eating the same food and mostly arguing about the same stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think the South is just so interesting and quirky. Such an entity unto itself.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                Summertime? You all must be from farther north. There's nothing about summertime that should warrant the energy to raise one's voice or hackles. Down REALLY south, you just sit on the beach in whatever wisp of shade you can find and you don't CARE, and have some more rum punch and refill the cocktail sauce next to the shrimp.

                                                                                                                                                                                The heat of discussion should just evaporate away.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                                                                                  Bless your heart. Never said that anyone shouted - just that we always have quite civil "disagreements" about all sorts of things depending on what the long-standing topics are in whatever section of the South people live in. And THAT would be rude, wouldn't it?
                                                                                                                                                                                  Nobody is ever going to actually settle these little differences anyway, so why get upset?

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm from New Orleans and some of our favorite topics outside of food go back to the early- and mid-1700s. We had to hit old Highway 90 (before I-10) to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, MO-bile, or the Panhandle for beaches. We certainly didn't save up our battles over a proper gumbo, whether tomato belonged in jambalaya, or the best po'boy for vacations.
                                                                                                                                                                                  And we did it over bourbon anyway - until Summer, when we switched to gin and tonics.

                                                                                                                                                                                  BTW, shrimp cocktail wasn't a very Gulf Coast-y dish. I never touch the stuff myself. There are far too many other good ways to eat our local wild caught Gulf shrimp without drowning them with doctored-up ketchup.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Try this new recipe for Pickled Shrimp, an old Southern classic. You may never go back to Shrimp and Ketchup again. http://www.ansonmills.com/recipes-pic...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                    That sounds incredible. I'll be fixin' that one, for sure. Thanks, MS.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                      You should get on Anson Mills email list. They've started doing a newsletter with new recipes each quarter or month or whatever.
                                                                                                                                                                                      They've been resurrecting some old Southern heritage recipes that you almost never see anymore like pickled shimp, and also doing new things with some of their products like organic masa -hardly a traditional Southern grain. Tortillas? Naahh.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I've been making pickled shrimp from another recipe for a long time but this one looks so good that I can't wait to try it. I usually use one size smaller shrimp. Is it 21 - 30?

                                                                                                                                                                                      You'll find links to older newsletters and their recipes....

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                        I just signed up and skimmed some of the recipes. Once I get off Cape Cod and stop eating clams and oysters and various finny things, I'll be checking this out more. Thanks, again.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                        MS - we make pickled shrimp all the time - am throwing out my old recipe for this one, my gosh it looks delicious. When we have shrimp boils, we set out an assortment of sauces, our fave being a mayo-based one. I love the seafood boils down here, where you fill cardboard beverage flats with hot steamy seafood, potatoes and corn, and sit at a newspaper-covered table with huge bowls on it for the shells. REAL downhome.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                          My all-time fave is the New Orleans Creole mustard-based Remoulade sauce. No mayo in that one. But as someone who can eat mayo off a spoon, I love mayo sauces with seafood. And some of the seviche-style ones too.
                                                                                                                                                                                          A regular around our household is West Indes Crab Salad from the Mobile area. That may be my favorite of all the crab dishes. Hard not to just eat it straight from the bowl with a fork.

                                                                                                                                                                                          So many people in the rest of the US don't realize that "Southern cooking" includes a whole bunch more once you hit the Gulf Coast or Low Country. The influence of the Caribbean and Spanish settlers, plus the ports.
                                                                                                                                                                                          We love our seafood and there are soooo many ways to eat it, from downhome to downright elegant.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                            I know. The sauce we make is a bastardization of Remoulade. Mayo, creole mustard, capers, touch of garlic, lemon juice, hot sauce, and black pepper. As much as I love W.I. Crab Salad, I jealously save my crab meat for bisques, crab cakes, and crab imperial and its cousins (talking about lumb crab here, which is what I would marinate), so I marinate shrimp all the time instead. If I ever moved from here, it'd have to be the Low Country.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                              The food of the Coastal South is tough to beat. The best of Southern cooking plus seafood. And then the international influences of the Caribbean and Latin America. The Spanish left their mark as did Sephardic Jews, Greeks, Germans, and all the others who came through the ports.
                                                                                                                                                                                              I could be pretty happy from Tidewater Virginia to the Texas Gulf Coast. Too far inland? Not good.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                          Bookmarked, thank you. Down farther south around Naples and Ft. Myers, local-caught shrimp on ice with a good, strong horseradished cocktail sauce remains a beautiful thing on a hot day, which is every day.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                      You afford me far too much credit but, with modest blush and downcast lash, ah'll take it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                    We may indeed need another thread here. "that grits is good" hurt my teeth!
                                                                                                                                                                                    In this case (and I was an English major), I don't care what's right. I am incapable of using grits as singular. Can't. Do. It.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                      ok, head over to general chowhounding....
                                                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/631165# for the grits debate
                                                                                                                                                                                      but keep posting other good southern stuff on this thread here.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. I thought of something else. Chitlins aka pork rinds. NO

                                                                                                                                                                                and some thing else. I really really prefer bbq beef ribs to bbq pork ribs. not much of a fan of bbq pork or pulled pork.

                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                  Chitlins are NOT pork rinds, my friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                      laliz, did you perhaps mean to say "cracklings" instead of "chitlins" (or chitterlings, proper http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chitterl... )?

                                                                                                                                                                                      in any event, if you DID mean cracklings, and don't want the ones on your plate, then please give them to me! ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                      ps i'm no expert by any means, but i think that wiki is wrong saying cracklings are by definition the pork *skin* or *rind* -- at least in my experience, they were the fat **underneath** the skin, fried up till crispy. isn't the skin too tough?

                                                                                                                                                                                      also, the fried pork rinds commercially sold are NOTHING like my mom's cracklings. but i'll buy them every three years or so. that's enough. ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                        Pork rinds and pork cracklings are a bit different. Cracklings tend to have only a little bit of skin on them, where pork rinds are mostly skin. Pig skin is not tough at all, unless the pigs are free range. The subcutaneous fat cells are actually way tougher than the skin once the fat is completely rendered out of them.
                                                                                                                                                                                        The pork rinds sold commercially are usually the leftovers from rendering the subcutaneous fat. When cracklings are cooked as a separate dish, the fat should not be completely rendered out. When you cook a whole pig or a pig joint, the skin should still be on it - and, if you're lucky, you can get bacon with the rind still on it also - and the skin is referred to as the cracklin. There are few things in life better than eating the cracklin after smoking a nice fat pig joint.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                                                                                                                                            daniel, thanks for clarifying that for me. you should take on a revision of the wikipedia page, so it will be correct.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. OK guys. As I said, I never meant to be disparaging of "southern food" but when I read the OP I thought about the fact that I really don't care for some items, so I spoke up ~~ as the OP requested. And I took the food items I listed from other posters to this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                        In my defense (I hope) I have made a list of food items I believe to be southern that I do like in hopes or redeeming myself. Also, I really don't care if it is called chitlins, chitterlings, pork rinds, cracklins, or . . . . what I am more familiar with, Chicharrón
                                                                                                                                                                                        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
                                                                                                                                                                                        (Redirected from Chicharron)
                                                                                                                                                                                        The pork rind type is the skin of the pork after it has been seasoned and deep fried. In Mexico they are eaten in a taco or gordita with salsa verde.

                                                                                                                                                                                        the fine details don't really matter, I do not like it/them at all. I realize it may be different if I had some "home made" just like anything else; but I have had them fresh and hot and no thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                        On with my poor simple list.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Pecan Pie
                                                                                                                                                                                        Pecan Pralines
                                                                                                                                                                                        Cheese Straws
                                                                                                                                                                                        Slaw Dogs
                                                                                                                                                                                        (Diet) Coca Cola
                                                                                                                                                                                        Sweet Potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                        Sweet Potato Pie
                                                                                                                                                                                        Pimento Cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                        Dirty Rice
                                                                                                                                                                                        Corn Maque Choux
                                                                                                                                                                                        Bread Pudding
                                                                                                                                                                                        Rice Pudding
                                                                                                                                                                                        Banana Pudding
                                                                                                                                                                                        Key Lime Pie
                                                                                                                                                                                        Macaroni and Cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                        Fried Chicken

                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                          There is a big difference between cracklins and chitlins. Chitlins are prepared and fried intestines -- not even close to cracklins, pork rinds, or chicharron.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                            It's your use of scare quotes in re: southern food that makes it seem as though you're being disparaging.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                              I wish you hadn't backed off from your original comment. Anyone who is personally offended that you said "i am not a fan of the following southern dishes" needs to re-asses their priorities. Unless someone's uncle invented the fried catfish (a la Curb Your Enthusiasm and the Cobb Salad) their is no reason for you to worry about offending people.

                                                                                                                                                                                              You said in your first post you don't really care for too many desserts and then just recently named a bunch of southern desserts that you like. Does that mean you like southern desserts more than any other type?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: demigodh

                                                                                                                                                                                                I was interested because you were extolling the southern food you love and many many people feel as you do. I've had this general conversation before, and it was/is always surprising to me to be so different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I even went to Miss Paula Deen's restaruant (The Lady and Sons) site and perused the menu, especially the buffet menu, to see if something jumped out at me particularly related to the southern portion of our country. Nothing did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I realized when I wrote my list that there were several desserts on there. Personally, I am not much of a dessert person. Just not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                But you asked if I like southern desserts more than any other type. I don't think so.
                                                                                                                                                                                                My favorite desserts, (which I ver seldom eat) are Creme Brulee, Biscotti ,Chocolate Pudding, Caramel pudding, Boston Cream Pie, Marie Callendar's Fresh Peach Pie. and Tres Leches cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think when I was listing desserts that is because that is what I could think of . I also like things like Red Velvet Cake, Coconut Cream Pie, and benne wafers. But I seldom seldom eat them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I have lived in the northeast and in California. Never in the south. Perhaps if I had lived in the south. . . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                I was married (in a former life) to someone from West Virginia. I learned to make (but never like) some things for him like red eye gravy, and even biscuits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Two of my favorite books and movies of all time are Gone With the Wind and the Divina Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood (and Rebecca Wells' other books, Little Altars Everywhere, and Ya-Yas in Bloom.) and my favorite author is Pat Conroy (especially Beach Music). I have read the Sweet Potato Queen's Cookbook and Financial Planner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I am not anti south in any way; I just don't necessarily think they have a lock on "the best" food. JMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I should add, I don't think of steak and eggs as southern. I love steak and eggs BTW.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Well this thread has taken many twists and turns. I will try to keep it simple though. On a national level, I think Southern cuisine defines American cuisine. Every other regional cuisine seems very limited to me. I thought I should state my bias from the start although I live way up north in Upstate NY where we consider even the folk in NYC southerners.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Since I do not do dessert I will stick to breakfast. (for the most part). I like my breakfast simple, eggs, fried potatoes, toast and smoked meat. I would love to have spoonbread, grits done right and many such things that are unavailable here. Although not southern, I would like to include scrapple on this list as it is a great regional PA food.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Back to the simple breakfast though. The one thing the south beats everyone on is the smoked meats. The best old fashioned smokehouses exist mainly in the south and no one does it better. Good luck on ordering country ham up north. You will get a water injected supermarket pink piece of hog flesh parading as ham. Smoked sausage? Same thing, commercial junk with "smoke flavor" added. Even a descent biscuit is unheard of in the north as they use the hard wheat flour up here rather than the proper soft wheat southern flour which makes all the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Best breakfast? The south wins hands down and as best cuisine as well, but that is a debate for another time and another thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I've traveled a lot in the south and I would have to say that my favorite southern breakfast food is biscuits and gravy. The best I ever had was in Tennessee. A place called Anna's in Dandridge. That was 18 years ago and they are no longer in business. The biscuits were so soft and flaky and the sausage gravy(which IMO gravy isn't gravy w/ biscuits unless it has big chunks of sausage in it) was delicious. I also love the bread pudding at Duff's smorgasboard in Pigeon Forge. But my favorite dessert down south is pecan pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Back in the mid-70's, the absolute, hands down, no holds barred, on-the-road, best "southern" breakfast I ever consumed was during a direct road trip from DC to Dallas. Arriving in the great Smokey Mountain area around sunrise, we stopped at a restaurant in Gatlinburg, TN. The name of the place: The Burning Bush, as recommended by a local we found taking a early morning walk. What a find!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh my God! It may have been being pent up in a car all night, or hunger attacks after being in a car all night, or the smell of the food alongside the anticipation as we waited to be seated.... or just plain good food. But that was THE best breakfast I've ever consumed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't remember any one specific item. I do remember it being served family style in large bowls intended for sharing around the table - grits, potatoes, biscuits, different meats, eggs, juice, the all important coffee....

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I always thought I'd return one day, hoping it was really as good as my memory serves, but I learned a few years ago that it closed (relatives outside of Knoxville). For any of you who have ever stopped in there, here is the menu to fuel your memory. See BOUNTIFUL BREAKFEAST Entrees - and that's my memory of a Southern Breakfast outside of what was served on my grandmothers table every morning (except for the gravy), on my mom's table not-quite-so-often.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. grits aficionados, you might enjoy reading this little blog entry about sausage grits. http://georgiaonmythighs.com/2009/05/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That photo has my salivary glands doing odd, little things. I want that NOW! Thanks,ap

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. While I love a good Southern breakfast, I am also passionate about meals I've had in France and Mexico. If given the choice, I honestly don't know if I'd pick biscuits and gravy over a plate of chilaquiles or a pain au chocolat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      In Mexico: Sliced papaya topped with freshly squeezed lime juice and a sprinkle of sugar, chilaquiles con queso, pan dulce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      In France: Freshly-baked croissants and pain au chocolat, a variety of cheeses and charcuterie, yogurt, jam, bacon, scrambled eggs with parsely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      As far as dessert is concerned, I do appreciate a good cobbler and bread pudding. My current favorite, though, is a bowl of homemade ice cream. This can be found all over, but only few places do it exceptionally well. For that, I have to give my vote to France.


                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LeahBaila

                                                                                                                                                                                                        leahbaila, i enjoyed looking at your blog. you are an event planner? i envy that you get to eat out so much in nyc! ;-). that rooftop brunch looks fun!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        the germans do a similar breakfast to what you like, minus the croissants and pain au chocolat, of course. i love those big breakfasts with all the variety. but, don't the french treat breakfast like the italians -- just some coffee and a croissant/bread?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks Alka! I appreciate that. :)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          The breakfasts I've had in France are very simple, as you described above...And that's what I love about them: Fresh, homemade breads/pastries, delicious coffee, yogurt, jam (France has the yummiest jams), granola, etc.


                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LeahBaila

                                                                                                                                                                                                            not only do you like to chow, but you oughta be a model -- you're gorgeous!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LeahBaila

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nah. You forgot the Southern regional specialty in that area: homemade peach ice cream. Gorgia peaches. Not those big waxy California types.