Until my cousin, SS, moved to the South a few years ago, the extent of my experience with Southern Cuisine was fried chicken from KFC. After about five years of visiting each Halloween, I know have a little more Southern Cuisine under my belt, and a taste for it when I visit.
The first year we went to the actual “café” that inspired the book (and movie) Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. There were things I had never seen before! Collard greens being the one I can think of off the top of my head. This is also where I discovered that the yummy tea my Grandmother had fixed when I was a kid was Sweet Tea from the South. We never called it sweet tea then, it was just Grandma Helen’s tea with sugar instead of regular sun tea.
On other visits I have had barbeque, southern home cookin’, and southern baked goods. I even experienced Chick-Fil-A for the first time about three years ago. When SS told me we were stopping for dinner at Chick-Fil-A on our way back from our Atlanta trip, I was excited! Her husband, John, could not believe I had never been to a Chick-Fil-A before, but he’s from the South so he grew up with it including the story that all their restaurants are closed on Sundays.
I have visited the Waffle House, sitting at the counter like a 50’s diner. I have been lucky enough to be invited to a casual family vegetable soup dinner last year (which had hamburger in it and really threw me off!) I have made things with SS, been to a wonderful Southern bakery, and discovered tomato aspic, interesting (although I haven’t tried it yet!)
This year we are talking about going to Frank Stitt’s restaurant, a well-known Southern chef, I got his cookbook from SS for my birthday last year (HH does not believe Frank is a real Southern cook since there is no fried chicken recipe in the cookbook!). We are talking about orange rolls one morning, and I suggested red velvet cake from a southern bakery.
I am so excited about my culinary adventure this year, I can hardly wait! SS, see you soon!!