The people's voice of reason

Southern Cuisine

Recipe: A series of step-by-step instructions for preparing ingredients you forgot to buy, in utensils you don’t own, to make a dish the dog wouldn’t eat. Author Unknown.

You should try to minimize how true this statement is.

There are lists of ingredients that are common to everyday cooking and what can be substituted for that item you forgot. It does works most of the time, but the original ingredient in the recipe is the best way to go. There are times you just have to go to the store. This can be avoided by a well stocked pantry. There are always new utensils and new gadgets on the market that I would like to buy. After looking at the price and trying to find a place to store it, the Alton Brown in me comes out. I think of ways to multitask the utensils I already have. And besides, a well stocked pantry will have all of the utensils you need.

And your dog should not eat human food anyway.

Pre-heat the oven? Really? If I was the sort of person who planned ahead, I wouldn’t be eating this Totino’s Party Pizza in the first place. Adam Peterson.

I can never stress too much the importance of a well stocked pantry. When I visited friends in England, I was amazed how often they shopped for food. Until I noticed that all the stores they shopped at were close, the pantry in their house was very small as was the kitchen and the refrigerator was the size you kept in your dorm room in college.

At least where I live, a small but nearest grocery store is 6 miles away and the full size grocery store is 16 miles. I have been told that I have a large pantry, but I have seen other larger pantries that I envy.

In my March article, I listed 10 items that should be in a Southern pantry. John Edge of the Southern Foodways Alliance has his own list of five essentials.

1. Potlikker, which, if you didn’t know, is the liquid left over from cooking greens or beans. It is “the building block” of other dishes.

2. Sweet potatoes, in southwestern Louisiana chunks of sweet potatoes are used instead of rice in a bowl of gumbo.

3. Alecia’s Tomato Chutney. You need to read the history of ketchup to under stand this. It is made in Leeds Alabama.

4. Hot sauce, but not just Tabasco, but the spectrum from Cheerwine Hot Sauce to Sriracha and Valentina

5. Rice grits, which is the broken grains of rice and you don’t cook them too long or it will turn to mush. But the rice grits look like grits and absorbs all the flavors they are cooked in.

“I’m always sketchy of people who don’t like grits.” Jaycee Ford

Martha Stewart has a summer pantry so you can serve an antipasto

platter for an impromptu summer get together.

If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?

Author Unknown

The Pioneer Woman has a standard pantry list but adds freezer bags of pre-made meals that can be served quickly. She is testimony to one of the Great Rules of the South, “Always keep a funeral casserole in the freezer.”

I am going to venture into culinary no man’s lands. I am going to introduce two recipes of the most fundamental, most Southern, and often the most cherished of the Southern recipes. They will be recipes that everyone will say “Mom didn’t do it that way” “You should leave well enough alone.” I am guilty of that too!

I don’t care for the recipe my wife uses for tuna salad. Her mother made it one way and my mother made it another. While I was working as a banquet chef in Montgomery, we would argue over the recipe for tuna salad that was for a banquet. Do you put dill relish or sweet? Do you add chopped apples and pecans? Do you add mustard and was it grain or yellow. But the first recipe is about pimento cheese.

“I’ve seen people almost get into fistfights over who has a better pimento cheese recipe. Southerners don’t mess around when it comes to their cherished “pate de Sud” excerpted from HERITAGE by Sean Brock. This is my modification of Sean’s recipe. I modified the recipe, using a different hot sauce and using green onions instead of ramps and was able to find whole roasted jarred pimento in the store. And I omitted the quarter teaspoon of sugar.

Don’t think that the tinkering with our food is a recent phenomenon. Here is an article ‘What We Eat” from GLEASON MONTHLY COMPANION, April 1879 Vol. VIII, No. 4

“The adulteration of food and drinks has become almost as general as the use of the article itself. Scarcely an article used by men in civilized countries has escaped this process, where it was possible to unite some cheaper substance with it. Flour, coffee, tea, sugar, butter and a hundred other articles that undergo this adulteration process. The methods have been so often exposed, that the public are tolerably acquainted with the manipulations these substances undergo at the hands of experts.”

Know Your Farmer!

Please see recipes on pdf page.


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