A Taste of the South

There is nothing better than the classic comfort foods you find down South. Every time I find myself below the Mason-Dixon line, there are certain favorites that I order every chance I get. And, sometimes I even make them at home - I need to make sure my Yankee born children get a taste of their southern roots, right?
Recently, a fellow blogger, Tina, from The Enchanted Home, posted a request for tips on an upcoming road trip through the South...all I could think to give her were food recommendations. I decided it was high time I did a post on my favorite southern foods. So...here you go:
via Southern Living
Pimiento Cheese:
This deserves its own post, but since this is a travel blog not a foody blog, I will try to refrain. Just make sure you try this any chance you have...it may be my favorite food on the planet, particularly when served on white bread or as a grilled cheese sandwich. Here is a good recipe or have it delivered to your home from here or here. Once in a blue moon, I will find the "Palmetto Cheese" at my local Stop and Shop...this makes me very happy and is the perfect excuse to forget my diet until I have eaten the entire container.

Pulled Pork Sandwich:
In my humble opinion, the only pulled pork sandwich worth eating is North Carolina style. You can get into the nuances of eastern North Carolina versus western North Carolina, but any vinegar based sauce is okay with me...just no tomato based sauce...and it must be pit-cooked. Most people love it with coleslaw on top but I am a purist - just the pulled pork, a soft bun and a few shakes of Texas Pete and I am a happy girl.  Best barbeque I have ever eaten? Lexington Barbeque in Lexington, North Carolina.
via Southern Living
 Hush Puppies:
Tasty little fried cornmeal nuggets...if you haven't had hush puppies, you haven't lived. Here is a recipe, although I must admit I have never made them at home. I usually enjoy mine at barbeque restaurants, with a side of pulled pork.
via Southern Living
 Fried Green Tomatoes:
Just take my word for it...this dish (when prepared correctly) will knock your socks off. The tanginess of the not yet ripe tomatoes, dipped in buttermilk and cornmeal and then fried to a golden brown and served with a remoulade sauce = To Die For! My favorite version is at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina...or try this recipe from Southern Living.
(The movie is pretty good, too.)
via Southern Living
Shrimp and Grits:
Let's start with grits...I can buy grits up here, but I don't. For some reason, I keep them as a delicacy that I only eat when I am down South, with lots of butter and sometimes cheese.  Add some scallions, bacon, sautéed shrimp and other savory ingredients and you get the low country favorite, Shrimp and Grits. I will order it in a heartbeat if I am in Charleston or New Orleans.  One of my all time favorite restaurants, The Hominy Grill in Charleston, South Carolina serves a pretty amazing version...this is their recipe.  (For best results use stone ground grits...if you can't find them in your grocery store, try ordering from here.)

via Southern Living
Banana Pudding:
I don't think there is a food more comforting than the southern classic, Banana Pudding. Layers of vanilla pudding, fresh bananas and vanilla wafers, sometimes topped with meringue, sometimes whipped cream.  Proust had his madeleine...I have Banana Pudding.  For those of us in the New York area, the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery is pretty close to perfect (recipe here).
via Southern Living
Strawberry Shortcake:
Southerners make their strawberry short cake with homemade buttermilk biscuits topped with strawberries and freshly whipped cream...what could be easier and more delicious? Try this version at home.

via Southern Living
 Red Velvet Cake:
Layers of light, fluffy cake covered in buttercream or cream cheese frosting makes for the perfect Southern dessert. Legend is that it was created to represent the struggle of good (pure white icing) versus evil (devil-ish red cake). There are many variations, but this is a classic recipe from Southern Living. Try to ignore the fact that it has enough red dye in it to last a year - when eating Southern food, it is important to temporarily forget all healthy eating guidelines!
(Note: You may have noticed most of the photos and recipes came from Southern Living. From recipes to decorating to travel, this iconic magazine represents everything related to Southern hospitality. I have maintained a subscription for the many years that I have lived in the Northeast - it helps keep me in touch with my inner Southern belle.)
So...are you hungry yet? For all my southern readers, I would love to hear about your regional favorites...please do share!
If you are planning to visit the South, forget your diet for a few days and enjoy all the delicious food while you are there. And, don't forget to add a nice big glass of sweet tea to go along with it.
Thanks for visiting, y'all!