I remember when I was a first year student, I had a very full handful of friends from my dorm asking me, when it came around to November and the holiday season, if I would make a ‘southern feast.’ Now, Freshers Jane – as I will call myself for the purpose of this post – was pretty naive when it came to all things food related. I knew how to make some staples, but I had no idea of the amazing food culture I had left behind in the South. It was early enough in the year that the appeal of all things British were still shiny and new…but once my friends made this culinary request, I started to reflect on all of the (buttery and delicious) foods I had left at home with my Nike shorts and monogrammed necklaces.

Sadly, that reflection has only quadrupled in the past few years, and I find myself craving food items that don’t even exist on this side of the Atlantic. Luckily, as I get older I have begun to experiment with some recipes, but here are the foods (of my dreams) that are best in the South.

1. BBQ Sandwiches


Photo courtesy of Chris Goldberg on flickr.com

Best served on a bun, drenched in spicy bbq sauce and with a side of slaw. Need to settle your craving, right here, right now? Look no further.

2. Biscuits and Gravy


Photo courtesy of jeffreyw on flickr.com

You may think you know breakfast, but until you have this baby you have no idea.

3. Blackberry Cobbler


Photo courtesy of George Wesley and Bonita Dannells on flickr.com

For some of us, the sight of blackberry cobbler brings back delightful childhood memories of picking berries on the farm in the summers. For others, it creates nostalgia of the Fourth of July. For all, it’s mouthwatering.

4. Buttermilk Biscuits with Molasses 


Photo courtesy of Annie Lambla on flickr.com

Hot, sweet, sticky…and covered in butter.

5. Catfish


Photo courtesy of Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau on flickr.com

I’d trade fish and chips for this any day. Extra tarter sauce, please!

6. Chicken and Dumplings 


Photo courtesy of Matt DeTurck on flickr.com

Taking chicken noodle soup to a whole new level.

7. Chicken Fried Steak


Photo courtesy of Dave Hensley on flickr.com

Drench it in gravy and put it on a biscuit. Yeehaw!

8. Coleslaw 


Photo courtesy of feministjulie on flickr.com

Only the South would have a vegetable side dish that’s covered in mayo. Make a meal of it here. 

9. Collard Greens


Photo courtesy of Julia Frost on flickr.com

#SpoonTip: Cook with bacon fat for even more flavor.

10. Crawfish


Photo courtesy of Eric S on flickr.com

Fun fact: These are called different names depending on the part of the South you’re in (crayfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters or mudbugs…to name a few.)

11. Cream of Wheat 


Photo courtesy of @adlibqueen on Instagram

Best when it’s left a little lumpy and has lots of brown sugar on top.

12. Fried Chicken


Photo courtesy of Louis Richarz on flickr.com

No caption necessary.

13. Fried Green Tomatoes 


Photo courtesy of Naoko Kawachi on flickr.com

A great movie but an even better side dish.

14. Fried Okra


Photo courtesy of Kirk K on flickr.com

Better – and more addicting – than any potato chip you’ll ever find.

15. Frito Pie


Photo courtesy of @805foodie on Instagram

I can’t even get started on this one… just trust me, leave your home, and go get one, asap. Or, better yet, make it yourself. 

16. Gumbo


Photo courtesy of jeffreyw on flickr.com

A creole favorite.

17. Hot Tamales


Photo courtesy of @nx0m1 on flickr.com

Not to be confused with the cinnamon candy, these babies are best served with chili on top.

18. Hushpuppies 


Photo courtesy of Bradley Hawks on flickr.com

And once more… extra tarter sauce, please.

19. Lemon Meringue Pie


Photo courtesy of @polarcakes on Instagram

If you liked it then you shoulda put meringue on it.

20. Pimento Cheese 


Photo courtesy of @ozarknaturalfoods on Instagram

A spread I have only recently come to love… I’ve never looked back.

21. Purple Hull Peas


Photo courtesy of @justinwcarroll on Instagram

#SpoonTip: These are fabulous when cooked for many hours with bacon, on their own, with greens or in soups.

22. Red Beans and Rice


Photo courtesy of powerplantop on flickr.com

A staple from my childhood. Throw some sausage in there, and don’t forget the hot sauce.

23. Shrimp and Grits


Photo courtesy of @msdallasmaven on Instagram

Because corn is good in any form… True Grit(s).

#SpoonTip: Everything is better with bacon. 

24. Sweet Potato Pie


Photo courtesy of @rosheen.williams1 on Instagram

Because only we southerners would turn a vegetable into the most amazing dessert.


So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this list like it’s a cold glass of sweet tea on a summer day. That’s it for now, but come back now, y’all.