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Ask The Readers: Southern Cooking

As I was looking through one of my new favorite cookbooks the other day, I knew I had the perfect question for my Ask The Readers feature this week.

The cookbook is called 1,001 Ways to Cook Southern, and it got me thinking about southern food in general and its influence in our culture.

So, my question today has to do with southern food.

I want to know what is the first thing you think of when you hear the term Southern Cooking or Southern Food?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. crawfish. nom nom nom…

  2. greens, grits, barbecue , and sweet potato pie.

  3. I think of fried chicken, grits and okra.

  4. 1. fried ckn, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans (cooked with oil).
    2. biscuits, gravy, cheese grits, bacon

  5. Fried everything, Okra, hush puppies, barbeque, coleslaw, greens. Yum.

  6. Fried. 🙂 I’m from southeastern Oklahoma, and I just remember so many things being fried.

  7. Several things come to mind. Coming from SW Virginia, I think of my grandma’s chicken and dumplings, my aunt’s fried catfish and coleslaw and my mom’s soup beans and cornbread.

  8. I’d agree with fried! Also, grits and … my personal favorite… sweet tea.

  9. Beige food lol. I love it!

  10. Merrilee says

    Fried food & comfort foods 🙂

  11. HOME!!

    I’m a GRITS and thought I’d never leave it! But, then I got married to a preacher boy….and off we went.
    We live in Indiana and trust me…..they don’t have a clue about southern cooking (or as I really want to say it, cookin!).
    My kids were so funny about (yankee) foods. Even though they’ve lived in Indiana for 12 years now….they WILL NOT EAT CHILI WITH NOODLES IN IT!

  12. I’ve never lived in the South… but I think of fried chicken, grits and cornbread when I hear the phrase “southern cookin”.

  13. fried chicken and gravy. Also I think of the North Carolina State Fair where, it seems, they up the ante every year: fried candy bars, fried cream-filled yellow cakes, and of course, fried fruit.

  14. Fried Chicken dipped in honey!

  15. I was born and raised in Ohio, but after college I lived in Georgia for over a year and then Mississippi for 4+ years… that was awhile ago. 🙂 Anyway, to me southern cookin’ means real food, most of it cooked for a long time and made with lots of love. Nothing ever seems to taste exactly as it did last time because there is much improv in the process. And everything is served with real, fresh brewed (for longer than a northerner would ever dream of letting it steep) sweet tea! I love the South!

  16. I am a subscriber and I would like to enter for the giveaway

  17. Grits, country ham, and red eye gravy.

    Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh sliced tomatoes.

    Collard greens and black eye peas (or crowders!)

    Fried corn bread, fried okra, fried Squash.

    Beans cooked with a ham bone, or green beans cooked with a ham bone and teeny-tiny, baby ‘taters.

    Now I’m home sick for Sunday dinners at Granny’s house all those years ago!

  18. Fried chicken

  19. Donna Lambeth says

    chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes & gravey, biscuits with butter and honey.

  20. Fried and butter.

  21. Marcy Smith says

    From NE Oklahoma, I think of cornbread and turnip greens seasoned with vinegar and bacon.

  22. BISCUITS, of course! Sweet tea, fried chicken, pecan pie & peach cobbler.

  23. Fried chicken, fried okra, cornbread, sweet tea, greens, grits, banana pudding…

  24. I am not from the south – but when I think of southern food I think of anything fried!

  25. Biscuits with sausage gravy, grits, turnip greens, chicken and noodles, cornbread, sweet potato pie, burnt sugar pie…and sweet tea. 😉

  26. Biscuits and fried chicken!!!

  27. Cornbread, sweet tea (I mean SWEET), fried green tomatoes, fresh from the garden green beans, butter beans, peas, squash, greens, pecan pie, pound cake. Meals with no meat; just cornbread, some kind of beans, and fried potatoes.

  28. Pinto Beans, Cornbread and Fried Potatoes or Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy or Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. Yummy!

  29. I was born and raised in Georgia, so I think of my (now-passed) Ma-Ma, my stepmom’s mother. She made the best chicken and dumplings EVER- so light and tender! Nothing tastes like her dumplings now that she’s gone. I also think of fresh-caught catfish, fried or broiled right next to the pond where they were caught, and venison stew on a cold and windy night. All made with love, and only a few ingredients. You always knew what you were eating; there was no guesswork as to what was in there.

  30. HOME

  31. Teresa in NC says

    Southern Food represents family and tradition to me. Country ham with red eye gravy, homemade biscuits and apple butter, blackberry cobbler, corn meal mush, fried squash, speckled butter beans, and anything seasoned with fat-back grease is true southern cooking to me!

  32. Cornbread, grits, fried okra, pinto beans and turnip greens. (I’m a Alabama gal.)

  33. Cornbread, grits, fried okra, pinto beans and turnip greens. (I’m an Alabama gal.)

  34. Alice Bishoff says

    I think of collard greens, black eyed peas, sweet tea and biscuits.

  35. Courtney says

    I always think of fried things and butter. YUM!

  36. Courtney S. says

    This is sort of the opposite….Some people think that fried green tomatoes are a southern thing, but my family grew up eating fried green tomatoes in northern NJ. I really think the fried green tomatoes is more a “rural” thing.

    Re: southern food – grits, greens, black-eyed peas, gumbos….

  37. Fried chicken, cream gravy, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, sweet tea.

    Biscuits, gravy, sausage, bacon, eggs, grits, red eye gravy.

    Fried, Fried! 🙂 Okra, squash, potatoes…you name it. Veggies just cooked to death, like green beans and new potatoes.

    Cobblers, coconut cake, pies and homemade ice cream! Yum ~

  38. Jennifer says

    Oyster dressing at Thanksgiving… and barbecue (though NOT at Thanksgiving unless you consider fried turkey or Turducken)!

  39. Hashbrowns, red eye gravy and grits.

  40. katklaw777 says

    i think of Ham & Beans, corn bread, greens, fried okra, fried chicken…comfort, not very healthy, but yummy foods.

  41. Pinto beans, onions and cornbread, fried okra, fried potatoes. A great meal

  42. Unhealthy!!!

  43. Easy — chicken fried steak, key lime pie, sweet tea and White Lily flour.
    Now I’m hungry!

  44. Fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, grits, cornbread, collard greens cooked with ham hocks in them, okra, fried green tomatoes, potato salad, all served with sweet tea.

  45. Cheese grits, fish frys, sweet tea and home.

  46. Tasty food, but all fried…

  47. ok, this is easy my mom’s side is from the south, so for me southern cooking is grits, cornbread, tangy vinegar barbeque, fried okra and swwet tea!!!

  48. Lots of fried food.

  49. Southern cookin’ represents family & tradition…following great-grandma’s recipes (which are more than likely passed down verbally) and getting together with all the family- aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, collard greens, black eyed peas, biscuits with sausage gravy, grits, *real* barbeque (meat that has been smoked for hours) strawberry shortcake and sweet tea. Of course, we then work it all of by playing football or gathering around the piano for a good old fashioned gospel sing. 🙂

  50. Black-eyed peas, okra, biscuits and gravy, collard greens…I also think of lightning bugs, screened in porches, and family enjoying all of the food together.

  51. freid chicken, grits and collard greens

  52. Paula Cameranesi says

    I think of Paula Dean, okra, grits and fried foods!

  53. Grits, fried okra, catfish and sweet tea!

  54. Clairee Meeks says

    I think of many good things, but mostly I think of all the overweight people there are down there. No that they have an exclusive on that! Love Southern food, but very infrequently, as it can surely put pounds on in a hurry. and as good as it tastes, it is mostly unhealthy!

    • What parts are you from?

      • @Nan,
        I’m a resident of Washington state, although I originally hailed from Canada. I also lived in Florida for awhile, and have visited several friends in the south many times.
        Probably my favorite southern food is fried Okra, and Pecan pie, although I also love fried chicken.

  55. Been in the south my whole life and I think of fresh, home grown vegetables (not from the grocery store but from friends’ and family’s garden) and anything fried and sweet tea. And cooked from scratch with everyday ingredients and not with funky ingredients that you can’t pronounce.

  56. BBQ (baby-back ribs), biscuits and collard greens, YUM!!

  57. Southern food…it’s the feeling of home, family, and friends…I suppose comfort would be the word to sum it up best. I’ve been in the South my whole life and have no intentions of leaving. Contrary to apparent popular belief, not ALL of the comfort is necessarily fried. Fresh veggies from my garden -which happens to be located in the field I played in as a child – are just as comforting as my grandma’s biscuits and fried chicken…I think it’s almost as much a mindset as it is a style of cooking.

  58. stepmomof2 says

    Macaroni and cheese! Homemade, of course 🙂

  59. My grandmothers fried chicken, green beans and creamed corn…and…bacon, eggs and grits-mixed together! Oh..and sweet tea!!

  60. Fried Chicken, sweet potato pie & biscuits & gravy
    Whoah, we used to get the BEST sweet potato pie in Pasadena CA at a little rib joint!

  61. Fried chicken with milk gravy, followed by grits (yes, I’m a Girl Raised in the South now living in the great NW)!

  62. I think of cajan, shrimp and gumbo…Yummy!

  63. chicken and waffles… i have yet to try the seemingly delectable goodness

  64. Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Corn on the Cob, Rolls. I asked this same question to my husband to see what he thought he said “Grease” Ha!

  65. Fried foods, okra, collards, peanuts, sweet tea and lots and lots of cakes and pies. That’s my overall general impression of Southern food. But, specifically, I think chicken w/rolled dumplings, country fried steak, fried catfish, cornbread and hush puppies, and biscuits and gravy. Good eats!!

  66. i think of fried chicken and paula deen!

  67. Comfort Food!

  68. fried chicken, grits, biscuits & gravy (not necessarily together but those are the first 3 thing s i think of)

  69. Comfort food and grandmas arms around me when I was hurting for any reason. Grandma was a real southern bell, she taught school in a one room school house and believed that there was nothing a good meal and a hug could not fix.

  70. Tina Wilcox says

    When I think of Southern Cooking, I think of Home. I think of confort food that warms the belly deep down inside. I think of Family gathering around the table and the love that goes into cooking it.

  71. That’s easy–POKE SALLET! Well, that plus just about any wild growing edible, with cornbread and pinto beans,, plus a saucer full of sliced white onion,

    Hey, my family were POOR southerners. lol–say whatcha want–what most folks consider peasnt food is many times tastier, healthier and cheaper than ‘uptown’ food.

  72. I think of fried chicken, mashed potatoes & grilled corn on the cob. Yum.

  73. Monica D. says

    I’m from Louisiana and the first thing I think of is Cayenne Pepper and Seafood!!

  74. fried chicken, black eyed peas, grits, ribs. When I traveled to the south a few years back, I was introduced to the great seafood – shrimp po’boys yum!

  75. butter and gravy

  76. I think of hospitality and fun times around the table.

  77. A list of usual food we eat in our TN home. Cheese grits, homemade buttermilk biscuits w/ sausage gravy or/both chocolate gravy, fried okra, fried chicken, fried deer backstrip, squash casserole, broccoli casserole. I could go on and on. Now I am hungry.

  78. I think of heavy foods – fried meats, veggies cooked in bacon grease or with a ham hock, biscuits and fruit cobblers. But then there are also the veggies that we have all summer sliced and served straight from the garden; and varieties of fruits freshly picked and served chilled with just a little sugar.

  79. Fried Chicken, church potluck casseroles, yams (ugh!), sweet potato casserole

  80. Fried Okra & Collard Greens

  81. I think of fried okra, peach cobbler, smothered chicken, corn pudding, sweet potato pie, ox tail stew, barbecued neck bones, short ribs baked in beer, pork skins, sauteed cabbage with bacon, a pot of pinto beans with ham hocks, three cheese mac & cheese, pickled beets, potato salad, macaroni salad, chitterlings, blue cheese dressing, black eye peas,
    potatoes and green beans, and cornbread baked in an iron skillet.

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