You know that feeling you get when you go to a place that you just vibe with… where you feel both at home and as though you want to spend aeons exploring and experiencing it?
I grew up about 30 kilometres from Brisbane and have spent the majority of my life in South East Queensland but I love to travel. I especially love to travel to the USA. One of the regions closest to my heart is The South. I love the friendliness of the people. I love the manners and being called darlin’ and sweetheart. I love country towns and mountain villages. I love the accents. I love the music. And I especially love the food.
Each time that I am counting down to a vacation in The South, I spend hours recounting to friends and family the amazing foods that I will experience while I’m there. So without further ado… here are my top-10-must-try Southern foods (in no particular order):
- Southern barbecue – there’s lots of variety in this one. Try a bunch until you find a sauce and meat to suit your taste. On my first visit to Little Rock, my best buddy took me to a little barbecue place and I fell in love. This is the number one dish that I recount over and over to anyone who’ll listen – the barbecued pork sandwich at The Whole Hog is to die for! You can even buy their amazing barbecue sauces to take home with you… and you can bet that I do each and every time.
- Gator – the first time I visited with friends in Florida they told me I had to try the gator. Then they waited for my reaction to that statement. I wasn’t at all put off and I’ve got to say… gator nuggets are little mouthfuls of deliciousness.
- French silk pie – it’s chocolate and it’s a pie… what else do you need to know? I read about this treat in a novel a long time ago and was determined to learn to make it myself. Its silky richness means that you should only eat a small piece. Trust me on this one!
- Catfish – deep fried with a side of hushpuppies (see next entry).
- Hushpuppies – hard to explain but a must when you’re eating catfish and other seafood. Hushpuppies are made from a cornmeal batter and have nothing to do with canine companions.
- Key lime pie -it’s tart versus sweetness reminds me of my Mum’s lemon meringue pie. This is a creamy and delicious dessert.
- Chicken-fried steak – remember when Sheldon said that he also knows about cooking meats that aren’t chicken as though they are chicken? This delicious dish is what he was talking about. In my opinion, it’s best served with mashed potatoes, green beans and gravy.
- Biscuits and gravy – my friend Kitty couldn’t believe that I’d never had biscuits and gravy, when I visited her and her kiddos last year. While I took the kids to play in the playground, she whipped up her (southern) version of biscuits and gravy (and bacon of course) for breakfast.
- Sweet tea – ask any Southerner and they’ll tell you that this one is non-negotiable. Just like barbecue, you’ll find a variety of styles. Try to make your first sweet tea one from a café (or better yet made by a friend) rather than the mass-produced kind.
- Beignets – donut deliciousness in Louisiana. Try some for breakfast with your coffee.
Okay, I realise that there’s a lot of fried and rich food in my list. My ideal days on vacation in The South involve exploring national and state parks or country towns all day and enjoying taste sensations at night.
The South is calling me so I’m off to daydream a little.