Southerners are known for their hospitality, but if you pressed most visitors about the best part of their stay, they would probably say the food. Culinary tourists and ordinary travelers delight in the unique dishes of traditional Southern cooking. They visit restaurants and private homes here in Knoxville, Tennessee, as far south as Florida and as far West as Texas - what was once known as the Confederate States of America. Though the political entity is long gone, the food remains! If you're interested in finding out more about the grand Southern cooking tradition, this is the website you've been looking for.
Though the entire South tends to be lumped together when amateurs talk about Southern cuisine, there are actually many different types of food traditions that play into the culinary landscape of the South. For example in Louisiana Afro-Caribbean influenced Creole and Cajun dishes are the most distinctive offerings while over in Texas the famous Texas-Mexican blending known as Tex Mex is popular. Other food subcultures of the South include the traditional African American Soul Food, the seafood-based Low Country, and Floribbean, with its Spanish-Caribbean influences.
There are certain dishes, ingredients, and preparation methods that are common across the South, however, and many of them trace their roots to the traditional culinary practices of the Native American cultures of the South, particularly Choctaw and Seminole. Many variations of corn make their way into most common Southern dishes from grits to whiskey, as does barbecued and deep fried meat. Europeans tended to stick with beef and pork, but in the original native dishes anything from venison to raccoon might have been used.
Some of the most common Southern foods can be found at chain restaurants that have expanded far beyond the Mason Dixon line, such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Church's Chicken, and Popeye's. The "comfort food" they serve, however, is a pale imitation of real Southern cooking. To really experience it, you need to try pan fried chicken, grits, corn bread, sweet tea, pecan pie, buttermilk biscuits, fried green tomatoes, and of course gravy at a locally owned restaurant in the true South or visit a friend or relative's home where cooking is a popular hobby. Real Southern cooking cannot be accomplished in the few minutes allotted to a fry cook at a fast food restaurant.
This website is about all things related to Southern cooking, including where to find the best Southern cooking, history of dishes and ingredients, variations, manners and hospitality, and even recipes if you'd like to try some Southern cooking on your own. Just browse our store of articles through the navigation bar at the top of the page to start your first lesson in Southern cooking. Critics have warned against Southern cooking due to the fact that many dishes are high fat, but we here at SW Grand believe everything is good in moderation, so don't let your health concerns stop you from enjoying this fascinating food subculture.