As a Bostonian, I am used to chowdah, lobster rolls, Boston cream pie and New Hampshire maple syrup. So I know what it is like to struggle through first semester pretending to know what a Chic-fil-A chicken biscuit is when, in fact, you think it may be a grotesque and seemingly impossible mixture of chicken pieces and dough molded into biscuit form. And thus, I have created a guide for us damn Yankees to navigate the bizarre and buttery cuisine of the South.
Basically the Southern version of oatmeal…plus cream, butter and cheese. Its consistency is somewhere between polenta and porridge, and it’s mainly a breakfast food served with eggs, bacon and biscuits. Also keep your eyes out for the classic brunch special – a Grit Bowl.
Make your own cheddar bacon grits here.
When the so-called puppies arrived the first time I tried them, I was furious that the bag wasn’t filled with baby Labradors and Wiener dogs. However, as soon as I tasted one of these glorious deep fried cornbread balls, my anger disappeared. Hushpuppies can be eaten plain, or dipped in any combination of honey, ketchup or butter. Warning: they are impossible to stop eating once you start.
Cooked the right way, biscuits melt in your mouth and artfully fall apart into scrumptious bites of melted butter and soft dough. Whether with jam, eggs or fried chicken, biscuits are a staple in every Southern meal. Now the question is, who makes a better biscuit: Bojangles or Chic-fil-A?
If you’re a cheese lover, this one’s for you. Pimento Cheese is a combination of shredded cheese and mayonnaise, with different spices, herbs and flavor combos, depending on where you are. Sounds a little gross, but don’t hate it ‘til you try it. Spread it on some crackers, mix it into deviled eggs or scoop it up into tortilla chips – basically, delicious.
In the end, get familiar with the words fried and butter – even for vegetables (like fried okra)! While it may seem scary to leave the comfort of apple cider and lobster rolls, this lingo should help you navigate your way through Arnold Palmers, corn bread and cheese straws. So step away from the clam chowdah and embrace that cheddar biscuit with your whole heart! Soon enough you’ll be a Southern-style pro.
Check out some of these local Durham restaurants to satisfy your Southern cravings:
Learn more about Southern fare here: