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"The Basics Of Southern Cooking"

Southern cooking reflects the history and past economics of the region. These individuals made do with what was grown from the ground, which explains why cornmeal was very popular grain in the south because not much wheat could be grown. The Native Americans taught these individuals how to use plants and game for food. The African Americans taught them how to use black eyed peas, okra, sweet sorghum, and watermelons which are still used today in southern cooking.

Cornbread is a staple of southern cooking. Individuals should use regular corn meal to make the corn bread, not the mix. However, if a mix is all that is available, follow the directions on the package. Individuals should use buttermilk or buttermilk powder in the corn bread. Self rising corn meal is easier than plain corn meal which requires added leavening. Stone ground corn meal is the best of the corn meals for corn bread. For any corn meal that is being used make sure to follow the directions specifically on the package for cornbread.

Some other favorites of southern cooking are simple recipes to create. They are sausage dressing, fried green tomatoes, squirrel food, sorghum syrup, country ham, catfish, hush puppies, southern style pork cassuolet, and sauerkraut.

Southern cooking also has its favorite fruits and vegetables. Blackberries are a staple of southern cooking because they can be home grown. Blackberries are used to make jams, jellies, preserves, and cobblers. Black-eyed peas are a traditional southern dish that is eaten on New Year’s day for good luck. Cooking dried peas requires first a soaking in a wire sieve. Then choose a pot that will allow the peas to be covered. Place a slice of cured ham in the bottom of the pot. Add the peas, and bring to a boil until completely tender. Fresh or frozen peas can be cooked this same way with out the soaking. Collards are a type of cabbage. These greens can be cooked after being rinsed and the bad spots cut away. Place them in a pot with bacon and add water. Bring the pot to a slow boil and cook for forty five minutes to an hour. Grits are usually a breakfast meal served with butter. They also can be used in casseroles. Grits come from hominy which is corn kernels. Lima beans are also a favorite. Prepare them just like the black eyed peas. Muscadines are a fruit like grapes. They are used to make jams, jellies, preserves, and wine. Okra and sweet potatoes are also great staples to use in southern cooking.