Last week I shared a roundup of some of our favorite desserts and this week I’m sharing a few of our favorite old Southern classic recipes, minus the desserts, which would certainly top the list. I hope you give some of these a try and enjoy as much as we do!
Who doesn’t love good old fried chicken? Although I rarely make this or anything fried, my family carries a nostalgic love for fried chicken. My Granny used to make it every time we visited, and now Mama makes it for the boys.
This iconic classic has become trendy and shows up in restaurants everywhere, not just the South. People put it on burgers, hotdogs, and just about everything else. Of course, the best way to eat pimento cheese in my opinion is in between two slices of soft, white bread.
Remember having cheese straws at every single gathering growing up? They were special because they weren’t around the house everyday, just out at showers or wedding receptions. Cheese straws are so easy to make and a delightful treat to enjoy with a glass of wine.
4. Green Beans
There’s an art to making green beans the old-fashioned way—you just cook them until they’re done! My kids don’t care for green beans that are steamed or roasted, they just want these made the way their Grandma and Granny made them. Add a little bacon—or fatback if you want to be really old-fashioned—bring to a boil, then simmer until tender.
5. Pulled Pork
You can’t have enough barbecue around here. If we’re going out for lunch or supper, a good BBQ place is always under consideration. Some of our favorites here in the Atlanta metro area include D.B.A. Barbecue, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, Fred’s Bar-B-Q House, J.D.’s Bar-B-Que, and Wallace Barbecue. But if you have a hankering to make some barbecue at home and you don’t have a smoker, this recipe is a pretty good substitute.
I guess macaroni and cheese is not just a Southern dish, but it’s definitely a favorite so it has to go on the list. My kids would run me out of town if mac and cheese didn’t show up on the Thanksgiving table. We like it with a LOT of cheese and a cheese sauce, but no egg. I make a cheese sauce, then mix more grated cheese in with the sauce-coated noodles, then more grated cheese on top. Because it’s all about the cheese!
Here’s an oldie but great recipe. Southern cooks out of necessity had to use canned food and figure out how to stretch meals. Salmon patties were a great way to serve fish to the family without spending exorbitant money, not to mention fresh fish was not easy to find. I’m sure most fancy restaurant chefs would turn up their noses at this recipe, but you just can’t beat a good old-fashioned salmon patty every now and then.
Who ever came up with the idea to slice and batter a green tomato and fry it? I can’t imagine but I’m sure glad somebody did. Fried green tomatoes are a ubiquitous appetizer around the South, showing up in fancy restaurants as well as mom and pop diners. And it’s an easy dish to make at home too. Just eat them while they’re hot!
We love vegetables in the South and we don’t like waste. When you grow cucumbers in the garden, you quickly realize that you’re going to have to figure out what to do with a lot of cucumbers because they reproduce overnight. You can only make so many pickles, so cucumber and onion salad is a quick and easy way to use up some of those cucumbers. This salad will keep in the refrigerator for several days and just gets better and better.
While butterbeans and lima beans are technically the same thing, Southerners tend to choose the smaller version which is creamier and has more flavor. Different regions of the country refer to other sizes or other beans as butterbeans, so you have to be careful when selecting these in the grocery store if you aren’t lucky enough to have a gardener giving you some. When I have to buy them in the grocery store, I usually select the baby limas since they’re the closest to what my family grows.
10. Sweet Tea
You just can’t have a party of any sort in the South without including sweet tea. Lots of folks are trying to cut back on sugar and now add some sort of artificial sweeteners to their tea, which is okay I guess, if you like that sort of thing. And truth be told, I am not a sweet tea drinker and haven’t been since early childhood. But my children and my husband love it. I used to keep a gallon in the refrigerator all the time, but since everybody is trying to watch their weight I usually only make it now when we’re having company. But they will tell you that on a hot summer afternoon, if you’re cutting the grass or just outside playing, there’s not a better refresher. And if you’re going to make it, for Heaven’s sake, don’t skimp on the sugar!