Monday, June 28, 2010

The Southern Way of Food

There are many things that I have enjoyed about living in Texas. The true southern hospitality, the quirky sayings for just about any event or situation, and the incredibly laid-back demeanor of people......of which, I have had to adjust my temperament accordingly.....what? no one else is constantly late and in a hurry? what? I have to find out your life's story when all I wanted was directions?

And out of all of the things that I have changed about myself in order to "fit" here in the South, I can't bring myself to partake in the Southern Way of Food.

Now there are thousands of blogs, articles, opinions and such about the relationship to food according to the area in which you live.....especially when it comes to talking about the South.....and all of the history and culture that food down here represents. And I find this information and knowledge very interesting yet also sensitive and somewhat political.

But that is not my motive here.....I'm not looking to start some debate or have some intriguing discussion with lots of facts and quotes, although it is not out of the question to be a part of such dialogue......but, no......the point of my blog post today is that I simply do not like Southern Food! There, I said it!! Now, don't shoot me.....even though we all know you carry that gun!......I am just stating that, as for me, southern food is not pleasant to eat. I don't get comfort from it, whatsoever.

Starting with the texture....slimy, gritty, chewy....these are not the descriptions that I would want to use on anything I am putting on my tongue. Texture is very important to me......the feel of food in my mouth should be an enjoyable, delectable, inviting experience...and the only change in my facial expressions should be one showing inquisitive pleasure and satisfying happiness! Not disgust and an immediate need to do whatever it takes to get this "wrong" thing out of my mouth!

And that was just texture.....can we say taste, or in my case, BURN! How is it possible to put so much hot sauce on something that I can smell it from the other side of the room? Not the food...the hot sauce! There is a huge difference between spicy, like salsa......which I grew up with, and hot sauce. Salsa comes in mild, medium, and sauce comes in every bad word known to man that you will be yelling at the top of your lungs as soon as that piece of food touches your tongue! But people down here in the South have a disturbed belief that food is not good unless you have sweated out every ounce of liquid from every pore of your body.
Since when is torturing your mouth a pleasant eating experience? How do you taste anything after you have burned off every taste bud on your tongue?

And yet.....if the slimy and gritty texture is not enough and the horrifying display of fire in my mouth is not enough.....let's just discuss the fact that there are things in the south that should not, under any means, occupy the category of food.....such as.....gator, opossum, raccoon....and parts of animals that should be left alone...not put into a soup, covered up with spicy, salty ingredients so you don't have any clue what you're, not gonna happen!
I understand traditions and wanting to cook authentic food with recipes past down through the generations.....BUT EMBRACE THE PROGRESSION OF FOOD! Move up to the times...some things need to be historical for a things we should never again see on a plate!

Although there are things I am proud to say I inherited from my father, like the goal-oriented and decisive-driven personality....the "southern-ness" was not a part of that inheritance package.....seen most apparently when there is a decision to be made as to where we will eat. Most recent example would be Father's Day. Given every available choice of restaurants, my dad undoubtedly picks Barbeque....Texas-style.....slathered, messy, pick-it-out-of-your-teeth-for-days Barbeque! It took me at least 10 minutes to decide what on that menu I could eat that was not fried, greasy, or covered with gravy. I thought the turkey sandwich was a safe bet....till the lady gave me a plate and all I saw was a hamburger bun (no bread here, unless it's white and only to be eaten as a side to the mound of meat), a scoop of meat (guessing it was turkey) and smothered in barbeque sauce. Oh! maybe I should have assumed that it wasn't a "normal" turkey sandwich, it was the "southern" turkey sandwich! I forgot....again!

So I'm still learning.....still the South and "the way we do things round here!" I don't know if I will ever stop being surprised at what people here call good food.....or if I will ever look at food from a southern perspective.....or if I will ever enjoy a real, authentic, southern meal.....I don't know....most likely, my tastes will evolve to include more southern cooking....I'm not ruling that out, after all......

we do have Sweet Tea!!

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