Monday, December 20, 2010

Week #10: Southern United States

Wowee, where did that week go?  You didn't miss anything interesting...we mostly just threw stuff together from the fridge, and none of it was particularly blog-worthy.

In any case, Malaysia will get bumped to the end of the list and this week we'll keep going with Southern America!  

According to Wikipedia, "Modern definition The states in dark red are almost always included in modern day definitions of the South, while those in medium red are usually included. Some sources classify Maryland and Missouri as Southern, with Delaware only rarely grouped within the region. West Virginia is often considered Southern, because it was once part of Virginia."

Unfortunately, this wiki article doesn't have anything about the cuisine, so I'm going to have to go from both stereotypes and my own upbringing for inspiration.  Maybe Southern Living magazine too.  It promises to be a caloric horror show this week, so I'll be working out every night as well.  

Oops, should've Googled before I typed.  Southern food has its own wiki page

The most notable influences come from British, Scottish, Irish, French, Native American, African American, and to a lesser extent, Spanish cuisines. Soul food, Creole, Cajun, Lowcountry, and Floribbean are examples of Southern cuisine. In recent history, elements of Southern cuisine have spread north, having an effect on the development of other types of American cuisine.
Many items such as squash, tomatoes, corn (and its derivatives, including grits), as well as the practice of deep pit barbecuing were inherited from the southeastern American Indian tribes such as the Caddo, Choctaw, and Seminole. Many foods associated with sugar, flour, milk, eggs (many kinds of baking or dairy products such as breads and cheeses) are more associated with Europe. The South's propensity for a full breakfast (as opposed to a Continental one with a simple bread item and drink) is derived from the British fry up, although it was altered substantially. Much of Cajun or Creole cuisine is based on France, and on Spain to a lesser extent. Floribbean is more Spanish-based with obvious Caribbean influences, while Tex-Mex has considerable Mexican and native tribes touches.

Umm...Floribbean??  Huh.  And I guess I never really thought about where BBQ came from, but it would make sense that it's a Native American thing. 

"A traditional Southern meal is pan-fried chicken, field peas, greens, mashed potatoes, cornbread, sweet tea and a dessert that could be a pie (sweet potato, chess, pecan and peach are traditional southern pies), or a cobbler (peach, blackberry or mixed berry are traditional cobblers)."

I'm not sure I *could* eat all that in one meal if I tried! No wonder obesity is so much worse in the south!  Yikes!

"It is not uncommon for a traditional southern meal to consist of only vegetables with no meat dish at all, although meat or meat products are often used in the cooking process. "Beans and Greens," which consists of either white or brown beans alongside a "mess" of greens has always been popular in most parts of the South. Turnip greens are generally prepared mixed with diced turnips and a piece of fatback. It is often said that Southerners tend to cook down their vegetables a little longer and/or use more seasoning than other Americans, but it often depends on the cook."

Alrighty then.

I think I'm going to try to make this as healthy a week as possible, if possible.

We started out last night with red beans & rice, my family's recipe (no big secret - beans, onion, kielbasa) using chicken kielbasa. I made cornbread too.  Yum.

We'll also be making...

Fried Chicken - with mashed potatoes and green beans, most likely. I may replace this with oven fried, we'll see.
BBQ Ribs  - This one may not happen.  It takes over an hour to make, and I'm not sure if any given night this week will have that kind of time.  We'll see, maybe tomorrow night.
Jambalaya - DUH.  This is my family's recipe, and as soon as I find it I'll scan it and post a link.  I can't wait.  DON'T LIFT THE POT LID.
Chicken and Dumplings - Nick talks about this from his childhood, so I'll see if I can do it justice.  I'm not terribly excited about trying dumplings again, but for him...I'll do what I can.  :-)

So that's that!  Anyone joining me this week?  It's an easy week!  C'mon! See other menu plans here!

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