The people's voice of reason

Southern Cuisine - May

Southern cuisine in the United States has been shaped by a variety of influences, including African and

Asian cuisines. Both of these culinary traditions have left an indelible mark on the flavors, techniques,

and ingredients of Southern cooking.

African Influences:

African slaves were brought to the Southern United States during the 18th and 19th centuries, and they

brought with them a wealth of culinary knowledge and traditions. Many Southern dishes today, such as

gumbo, jambalaya, and black-eyed peas, have roots in African cuisine.

One significant contribution from African cuisine is the use of spices and herbs, such as cumin,

coriander, and ginger, which add depth and complexity to Southern dishes. Okra, a key ingredient in

gumbo, is also of African origin.

African-American cuisine has also been influenced by the cooking techniques and ingredients of West

and Central Africa. For example, the use of smoked meats, such as ham hocks and smoked turkey, is

similar to the West African practice of using smoked fish and meats in stews and soups.

Asian Influences:

Asian cuisine has also had an impact on Southern cuisine, particularly in Louisiana, where there is a

significant Vietnamese population. Vietnamese immigrants have introduced ingredients such as

lemongrass, fish sauce, and rice noodles to traditional Southern dishes, resulting in new and exciting

fusion cuisine.

In addition, Southern cuisine has been influenced by Chinese cuisine, particularly in the use of soy

sauce and ginger. Soy sauce is often used as a marinade or seasoning, while ginger adds a spicy and

slightly sweet flavor to dishes.


The influences of African and Asian cuisines have helped to shape the unique and diverse flavors of

Southern cuisine. From the use of spices and herbs to the incorporation of new ingredients, these

culinary traditions have contributed to the evolution of Southern cooking over time.

Two recipes introduced this month will be examples of the African and Asian influence to

Southern cuisine.

Here's a recipe for a Lima Bean and Bacon casserole that serves 6:


1 pound dried Lima beans

6 slices bacon

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Rinse the Lima beans and soak them overnight in a large pot of water.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet and

set it aside, leaving the bacon grease in the skillet.

Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about

5 minutes.

Drain the Lima beans and add them to the skillet along with the chicken broth, thyme, salt, black

pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1

1/2 to 2 hours, or until the beans are tender.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and milk. Stir the mixture into the lima beans and cook for 2-3

minutes, or until the mixture thickens.

Crumble the cooked bacon and stir it into the lima bean mixture.

Pour the lima bean mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish and sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese on


Bake the casserole for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Here's a recipe for an Atlanta-style barbecue sauce that is sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy:


1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and black pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and whisk together until smooth.

Heat the sauce over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens

and the flavors meld together.

Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt, black pepper, or additional cayenne pepper

for more heat.

Once the sauce has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Use the sauce to baste grilled or smoked meats during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, or serve it on

the side as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!

There are many delicious and healthy dessert options for people with diabetes. Here are a few ideas:

Fruit salad: Cut up your favorite fruits and mix them together in a bowl. You can add a drizzle of honey

or a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra flavor.

Greek yogurt with berries: Top plain Greek yogurt with fresh berries for a sweet and creamy treat. You

can also add a small amount of honey or stevia for sweetness.

Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is lower in sugar than milk chocolate and contains antioxidants. Enjoy

a small piece of dark chocolate as a sweet treat.

Baked apple: Slice an apple and bake it in the oven with a sprinkle of cinnamon until it's soft and

tender. Serve it warm with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.

Chia seed pudding: Mix Chia seeds with unsweetened almond milk and a small amount of stevia or

honey. Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight to thicken, then top with fresh fruit or nuts.

Remember to always monitor your blood sugar levels and speak with your healthcare provider about

any dietary changes.


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