"Here in the south, we don't hide crazy. We dress it up and put it on the porch." That was a slogan on a dishcloth in a shop in The Hammock Shop Villages. That, in part, is why I love the south.
I've already written about my jealousy of southern writers, so I'll move on to my obsession with the food.Two other reasons I love the south, besides the lovely writing, are the food and the southern love of a good drink. First, the food. I believe that the only true American foods are hamburgers, fries, pizza, and southern cooking. Feel free to disagree. It's my opinion, but I'll warn you ahead of time: I'm not open to changing my mind. That said, all southern cooking has its roots in Africa, so we stole it, adapted it, and made it American. The best southern cooks and recipes come from what grows in the southern soil and lives in the waters along the eastern southern seaboard. Farm to table and sea to table are not new concepts here.
I had some awesome food in my recent visit to South Carolina's Pawleys Island. The charming and welcoming South Carolina Writers Association hosted its Dream Conference there in October and I ate and drank my way through the warm days. Clam chowder, oyster sliders, shrimp and grits from the amazing Rusty Table, balsamic glazed pork from Websters, and hush puppies from The Deck were perfectly cooked with fresh ingredients and just enough heat. I could go on, but I'm making myself hungry just thinking about the (delicious and fattening) southern foods. So much so, I've decided to do a southern-themed Christmas dinner. Cornbread, sweet potatoes, mac & cheese, creamed corn are on the menu, so far. I'm testing a shrimp & grits recipe. Let me know if you have a good one!
As for alcohol...I've consumed my share of wine, but have never had the stamina for anything much stronger, so I wouldn't make a good southerner. I have the utmost admiration for anyone who can handle their liquor. It seems that bourbon is a way of life in the south. A luncheon partner at the writers conference bemoaned the fact that the bar was closed and he had forgotten his flask of bourbon. Then again, maybe it's not a southern thing. Maybe it's a writers thing. I have enough trouble writing sober and keeping my crazy to myself, so I'll probably just stick to wine.