Skip to main content

Southern Cuisine- Fact and Fiction

With all of the commentary on the news lately about Paula Deen, diabetes and her perceived lack of candor, I feel like once again a negative light has been shone onto southern cooking. 


For those of you who think that all southern cooking is about mayonnaise, grease, deep frying and fat, it's time to take a look at the real southern cuisine.


As with any style of cooking, you will find people who indulge in stereotypes. For example, quasi Italian restaurants that use far too much garlic and put everything in a tomato sauce or Chinese restaurants who promote Chinese cuisine as sweet and sour everything. This is inaccurate and it's sad, because it degenerates these fine cuisines. 


To this end, I wanted to share some of my favorite southern cookbooks and encourage you to take another look. If you want to know about real southern food, well simply put, it's about utilizing the local produce and finding what is at the peak of freshness and preparing it in a non fussy manner and it is all about the family. What could be better than that?


The Lee Brothers- Southern Cookbook by Matt and Ted Lee
This is a primer of fantastic recipes, great stories and nuts and bolt basics, which will change the way you think about southern cuisine. As a winner of the James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year, it is a must have. How about Flounder with Granny Smith Apples and Green Tomato Pan Gravy?


Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose
This book was a revelation to me, because it took so many of my favorites and gave them a unique twist and introduced me to so many interesting and tasty combinations, from Watermelon Salsa to Curried Sweet Potato Soup and Corn and Red Pepper Pudding.  I can't say enough about how good this cookbook is. It's a fun read with wonderful stories, unpretentious and literally makes your mouth water.


A Gracious Plenty- Recipes and Recollections from the American South by John T. Edge
A wonderful historical cookbook with great stories, fantastic old black and white pictures and so many recipes, you could cook from this for a year and still not make them all. It has everything from Gumbo to Fried Chicken, Burgoo and a killer Remoulade which is good on most any seafood. Top it off with a Buttermilk Coconut Pie and you should be just fine. Really stunning.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Norfolk Style Seafood

This is such a good recipe and so simple to make. The story behind this recipe is interesting. When I was a young boy, we used to go to a seafood restaurant in Washington DC called O'Donnell's. They had wonderful food, and most importantly, they had Buck.


Buck was a gentle giant at 6' 2" and was always talking to me about his recipe. He had invented this style of cooking seafood and had even developed special pans which could be used over open flame and then it could be delivered to the tables still sizzling. He was rightfully very proud of this. 


After being there quite a few times, Buck shared his recipe with me and told me to keep it a secret. Since this was over 40 years ago, I guess I can reveal it now. 


Ingredients

1/2 lb Shrimp, Jumbo Lump Crab or Langoustines, raw and shelled
2 Tbsp Butter
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
Dash of Old Bay Seasoning
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Few dashes of Tabasco
Splash of White Wine
Salt and Black Pepper


Heat your pan until fairly hot, then add butter an…

The garden enclosure is finished!

This weekend the garden enclosure was finished and most everything has been planted. I planted three types of potatoes, Yellow Finn, Purple Viking and Desiree. 



I also planted some garlic in with the tomatoes, as I heard that the garlic will keep down the aphids and hopefully the spider mites. However, interesting note, beans do not do well with garlic. 

I just have some of the late geminating hot chilies still to go in and then I will direct sow some collard greens and maybe some additional carrots. 

I think the linseed oil looks great as a finish and the wood seems to be very well nourished. I like the color it's taken on and the upkeep should be just a light coat just once a year.

For those who have asked, the panels swing outwards and upwards and then are propped with a pole, which you can see leaning against the right of the enclosure. 

It's such a simple system and effectively it has made the garden secure, and with the drip irrigation system, mostly self sufficient.

I fully u…

Whole Green Moong Dal-Indian Comfort Food

Dal is an Indian staple which can be eaten in the morning, lunch, dinner as a side dish or for a snack. It can be eaten with rice, bread or on its own. Bottom line, it is Indian comfort food. A thick stew of moong (mung) beans, spices and creamy goodness. It is often made with spilt moong dal, but I prefer to use the whole moong dal
I had eaten various types of dal in many places around the word, including India and was always impressed with its creaminess, but speaking frankly I wouldn't have gone out of my way to make it at home. A friend kept mentioning that he was gong to cook “mug” which was a recipe from his Indian friend and I finally asked what he meant and he said moong dal.
I was intrigued and after comparing many recipes from my own cookbooks and online, I came up with this recipe which is nothing short of amazing. The house smelled wonderful while it was cooking and the flavor was hearty, wholesome and a bit spicy and just perfect for a fall afternoon. 

Additionally, it i…