Back in the day, the states known as “Southern” referred to territory below the Mason-Dixon line – a boundary beginning in southern New Jersey and extending west.
That changed during the Civil War when “The South” referred to states that seceded or withdrew from the Union and formed the Confederacy. Later on the U.S. Census Bureau defined the U.S. Southern region as these 16 states: THE SOUTH ATLANTIC: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia; THE EAST SOUTH CENTRAL: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee; THE WEST SOUTH CENTRAL: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
FOOD TOPS THE LIST
Hospitality definitely calls for food. A cake or other delicacy is often brought to the door of a new neighbor while many club and church functions include a meal or, at least, dessert and coffee. Many houses of worship in the South have large commercial-style kitchens for cooking. There are also “fellowship suppers” where many bring a “covered dish” for all to share. And, of course, when a death or serious illness occurs, neighbors, friends and church members bring food to the bereaved family for a time.
Every Southern woman knows how to whip up a warm peach cobbler or a classic (and decadent) Hummingbird Cake. For the recipe and mouth-watering photos CLICK HERE.
POLITENESS SCORES HIGH
For born-and-bred Southerners good manners are extremely important. Most children learn these magic words: “Yes, ma’am,” “No, sir,” “Please” and “Thank You” at a young age with the goal that they’ll remember them as adults. And, because folks in the South love company their mindset is “What’s the hurry!” Conversations are never rushed. Guests are treated like family in the South. As the saying goes, “There are no strangers, just friends we haven’t met yet.”
What some deem as charming is just the natural Southern way of being kind, witty and considerate to people one encounters – whether it’s at the post office, grocery store or church.
SOUTHERNERS AND POTLUCKS
Sometimes when I read certain things about the South I feel as if I’m living in a different country. So I’m making a concerted effort to learn as much as possible. Take a look at our potluck must-haves:
Southerners feel that no potluck is complete without them. I have never had deviled eggs in my entire life so I’d better get moving. By the way, the classic definition of potluck is “a meal in which each guest brings a dish.” I always bring wine. Do I get Brownie points for that?
POUND CAKE WITH PEACH ICE CREAM
Nothing could be easier. For dessert, buy a Publix pound cake and a carton of Blue Bell. I’ve never come across these names. It seems that Publix has over 1,000 stores in six Southern states and Blue Bell is the fourth biggest-selling ice cream in the U.S. – sold only in the South.
Cook macaroni until al dente – then drain. Chop up black olives, hard-boiled eggs, red onion, scallions and add black pepper. Bind everything together with Duke’s mayo. What’s that you say? The name has a lot of swagger but I’ve never seen it in this part of the country – meaning Manhattan. Here’s the scoop: Duke’s is the third-largest mayo in the U.S. (behind Hellmann’s and Kraft). It’s very popular in the South.
Another big winner that I don’t know about – a fried pie is shaped like a half-moon, crimped along the edge with fork tines and stuffed with a fruit filling that’s usually apple or peach.
Yippee! I finally get an A grade. To read our blog about this Pâté of The South CLICK HERE.
It’s Southern and you can get it at Publix. Okay, I’m a Northerner and I rarely eat fried but I do eat lots of chicken: broiled, roasted, stuffed, sliced – do I get points for this?