“The food in the South is as important as food anywhere because it defines a person’s culture.” -Fannie Flagg
Over the weekend I watched the movie Fried Green Tomatoes for the umpteenth time, and, for the umpteenth time, I got a huge craving for fried green tomatoes. Not only those, but a whole plate of good ole Southern cooking. I’ve traveled all over the world and tasted countless dishes from many different cultures, and what do I crave more than anything? The food from my own back yard. There seriously isn’t much I wouldn’t do for a plate of fried okra, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, collard greens, and fried chicken. Add a glass of sweet tea and some corn bread to the mix, and you will have to shoot me before you can get your hands on my little piece of heaven. There is something to be said for Southern cuisine. For me, it’s home. Comfort food at its finest. When you eat a plate of Southern food, you’re not just having a meal. You’re being transported through centuries of age old family recipes and traditions, being treated to the finest example of Southern hospitality, and all the while soothing your soul. Food critics from around the world relentlessly disregard Southern dishes and cast them aside as unequal competitors against “haute” cuisine. But who’s to say a plate of an impossible-to-pronounce French creation has any more prestige than my fried green tomatoes? In fact, which really has more character: a recipe learned in a French culinary school, or a recipe passed down between grandmothers and granddaughters over hundreds of years? Now, that’s not to say French families and Italian families and Japanese families aren’t the same as the ones from the American Southeast. We’ve all passed down recipes and traditions, engraved them in our hearts, prepared them in our kitchens, and served them up on a plate since the beginning of time. THAT is what makes Southern food so special for me, and what makes your home’s cuisine so special for you. It’s our culture and our home, where no one can take away our plate of fried green tomatoes.