The Suitcase Lady


May 3, 2016, 9:31 pm

Regional cooking thrives below the Mason Dixon line. Any visit down South is a series of feasts…even for a non-red meat eater like me who passes on the barbecued ribs.

The goodness starts at breakfast. Biscuits and their soulmate grits are standard morning fare on southern menus. A large, buttermilk biscuit will keep me fortified to lunch; add cheese grits to that and I could stay fueled to dinner. I must admit I always reveal my Yankee upbringing by asking for my biscuit with butter, not gravy. Be advised that this is pure heresy in the South.

If you need a sugar shot in the AM, a waffle smothered in pecans and syrup may be in order. Sweet potato pancakes with pecan maple syrup are another delicious option.

My husband and I usually skip lunch in favor of tea time. A southern tea with a variety of savory and sweet treats is a wonderful way to spend a late afternoon. On the top tier of the tray is a variety of tiny sandwiches. The most quintessentially southern of these are the pimiento cheese ones. The filling is a combination of grated cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and pimientos.

The lower tiers display the southern art of dessert baking to the maximum. One of my favorites is hummingbird cake which is a dense spice cake with crushed pineapple, mashed bananas and pecans. By now you may have noticed a recurring tenet in southern cooking: anything can be enhanced with the addition of pecans.

Dinner in a traditional southern restaurant is no problem for vegetarians. The entrees are all meat, fish and seafood. But the southerners love their “sides” and it is perfectly acceptable to make a meal out of sides which are also called “vegetables”. I have never known a northerner who called macaroni and cheese a vegetable, but I think it is a brilliant idea.

Here is a typical list of “vegetables”:IMG_3122

  • Peas and snaps
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Fried okra
  • Squash casserole
  • Brown rice
  • Collard greens
  • Broccoli casserole
  • Honey glazed carrots
  • Black eyed peas
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Cheese grits
  • Creamed corn
  • Cole slaw
  • Applesauce
  • Fried green tomatoes

What’s not to love about southern fare……..except the calorie count?


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