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
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
You may think you know breakfast, but until you have this baby you have no idea.
3. Blackberry Cobbler
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
Hot, sweet, sticky…and covered in butter.
I’d trade fish and chips for this any day. Extra tarter sauce, please!
6. Chicken and Dumplings
Taking chicken noodle soup to a whole new level.
7. Chicken Fried Steak
Drench it in gravy and put it on a biscuit. Yeehaw!
Only the South would have a vegetable side dish that’s covered in mayo. Make a meal of it here.
9. Collard Greens
#SpoonTip: Cook with bacon fat for even more flavor.
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
Best when it’s left a little lumpy and has lots of brown sugar on top.
12. Fried Chicken
No caption necessary.
13. Fried Green Tomatoes
A great movie but an even better side dish.
14. Fried Okra
Better – and more addicting – than any potato chip you’ll ever find.
15. Frito Pie
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.
A creole favorite.
17. Hot Tamales
Not to be confused with the cinnamon candy, these babies are best served with chili on top.
And once more… extra tarter sauce, please.
19. Lemon Meringue Pie
If you liked it then you shoulda put meringue on it.
20. Pimento Cheese
A spread I have only recently come to love… I’ve never looked back.
21. Purple Hull Peas
#SpoonTip: These are fabulous when cooked for many hours with bacon, on their own, with greens or in soups.
22. Red Beans and Rice
A staple from my childhood. Throw some sausage in there, and don’t forget the hot sauce.
23. Shrimp and Grits
Because corn is good in any form… True Grit(s).
#SpoonTip: Everything is better with bacon.
24. Sweet Potato Pie
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.