Twelve Dishes Every Southerner Should Know How to Cook

If you ever want to stir up a lot of fuss (something I’d generally advise against), ask a group of people about food. I submitted a preliminary list of twelve kitchen essentials for a Southerner to my friends, among them many talented cooks, and it was like throwing a June bug down into a flock of ducks. The pot roast was devastated by a barrage of detractors who claimed that it’s just got Yankee written all over it, the red velvet cake was gunned down as a Waldorf recipe and the pecan pie was mined by a sweet potato. So I substituted a pound cake and sweet potato pie for the red velvet and pecan, stewed greens, which almost lost out to butter beans, for the roast, and achieved some degree of consensus. This list deserves a Purple Heart at least.

Buttermilk biscuits
Pimento cheese
Fried chicken
Barbecued ribs
Pound cake
Fruit cobbler
Cornbread dressing
Chicken and dumplings
Sweet potato pie
Banana pudding
Stewed greens

3 Replies to “Twelve Dishes Every Southerner Should Know How to Cook”

  1. To that glorious list I would add corn pudding. Rich, creamy corn pudding. Any recipe that starts with canned corn is waaaay wrong, If you want the greatest recipe, let me know.

  2. Pound cake is boring. I think pecan pie is more essential.

    Banana pudding is also not so universally liked, and you’ve already got fruit cobbler, which it is sort of a version of. Seems like a good potato salad should be in there. Other notable absences are cole slaw, and black eyed peas.

  3. A good yeast roll recipe needs to be tucked firmly in every Southern cook’s repertoire, be it the simple “spoon roll” variety, or the more fiddly dough needin’ kneadin’. The commercial advent of Sister Schubert’s gave many an excuse to throw in the towel on this vital skill!

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