Food brings people together. It’s cliche, but true. I have a friend who admits she lingers in the bread aisle hoping her soul mate will come along. With that said, food can also bring forth confusion, anger, disappointment, and love, and that’s just the appetizers!

When I arrived in Mississippi, I expected (please read in a heavy Southern accent for maximum effect) ‘ma’s pumpkin pie’, lots of soda and ‘the best darn chicken this side of The Delta’. Now go back and read that in a confused Australian accent (channel Chris Hemsworth if you’re stuck) but also add biscuits, sweet tea and hush puppies. So Southern food, this one’s for you - my open letter from a confused Australian missing her Tim Tams

1. Fried Chicken is Frying My Brain

pork, chicken wings, sauce, meat, chicken
Kaitlin Wheeler

Everything is deep fried, everything! No judgment, I’m not partial to it myself, just wondering how ‘y’all’ stay so skinny while munching on it for what seems every meal. If anyone has a serious answer to this, please contact me. I don’t want to return to Australia with any extra baggage other than all the Ole Miss t-shirts I have accumulated.

2. Marshmallows on Sweet Potatoes 

Delicious. Mind boggling. Definitely ‘would recommend to a friend’. But, small, little, tiny question, why pray was this served alongside my fried steak? Why not with the desserts because it’s sweet AF?

3. Mac and Cheese

Confession time: Before coming to the South, I honestly believed Mac and Cheese was just a packet food for students and lovers of powdered cheese. So, shout out to Rebel Market's Mac and Cheese for opening my eyes and letting me see the light. No questions here except why does it taste so good? #thirdhelpingsareathing #maybemore

4. Hushpuppies

meatball, cutlet, bread, falafel, chicken, sweet, meat
Izzi Clark

In the words of Australian politician Pauline Hanson, “please explain” (say it in front of an Australian, they’ll be impressed. More so if you use a bad Australian accent). Back to the pups. What exactly are they? Every American tells me something different?.Fried cornbread?

Fried corn?

Fried Frat boys’ hopes and dreams?

And why hush? Why puppies?

Much confused.

5. Po' Boys

meat, vegetable, bread, chicken, cream, fish, dairy product
Michelle Martin

You know how some people have the pact that if they don’t find their soul mate/lover/bae/otp etc. they’ll marry their best friend, best friend’s brother, second cousin? Well, I have that with Po' Boys. No qualms here, just announcing my pre-pre-pre-engagement to this beautiful Southern food (should my marriage to a European Prince fall through). 

6. Biscuits - "Oh bless your heart"

cheese, pie
Virginia Dodenhoff

It looks like a scone, smells like a scone, but isn’t a scone. The Queen would proper have a fit at the thought of having some bacon between two sides of scone, so that’s about as fast as the comparison goes. Though we’re here to discuss Southern Food, little fun fact about Australianisms, we call cookies biscuits interchangeably. Hence, the term of our national cookie, or bikky being ANZAC biscuits. Yet get this, cookies can only be sweet so biscuits can also extend to crackers. But back to your biscuits. What is that stuff you put in it? Often served at breakfast? 

 Although I could talk about iced tea and fried steak, and I still don't understand why fruit salad is served with the fluffy pink dip, I honestly love Southern food and will be very sad when cornbread is not within reach!