Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Southern Eating

Good morning. Why is it you wake up at 5:30 in the morning when you could sleep later? Do you realize at this time of day it is still dark? Seeing the sunrise from our garden room is wonderful, but I do wish my internal clock would reset itself to "retirement time."

This does give me a time of peace and quiet until the birds awaken. We have lots of crows in our yard and they have this strange idea they own the place and can run all other birds away. Their chatter is very loud and grates on the ears and is quite bossy sounding. They especially dislike hawks and owls and will gather as a flock of many to scold, fuss and squawk loudly until the hawk or owl flies away. Poor birds - the crows will follow for quite a distance screaming their dislike and sounding like a bunch of banshees.

This sounds a little like a bunch of nasal, northerners gathered together at a good Southern cafe. They just sit there and complain loudly about the Southern cuisine of cornbread, black-eyed peas, fried chicken, and sweet iced tea. If you don't like that there will always be country fried steak, rice and gravy, butterbeans, cream corn and biscuits. All this will be served with sliced onions, pickles and lots of butter. Salad, maybe, but slaw will always be available. Down here you can most always find fried fatback bacon and for dessert, bread pudding or banana pudding, pecan pie and peach cobbler and this is just a sample of what a good, Southern, like yo mama's cooking, cafe will have for you to eat.

Now why are sitting there shrilly complaining? Well, hello! You did select a cafe advertising cooking like yo mama's so what did you expect? I don't know, for I have never tarried up North too long and don't know what their mama's cook and don't have a hankering to find out. Whatever it is, it won't be as good as our mama's cooking.

A group of women or men like this can plumb wreck the ambiance of a good cafe. I prefer the soft, slurred, no "r" sound of the Southerner. It just kinda floats through the air, wraps it's warmth around your shoulders and makes you feel good all over. A warm, fuzzy blanket of sound covers you up with love and a desire to make you feel good.

When that sweet, young thing or old thing, comes to your table and asks, "What would you like today?" sounds like music to your ears or "eahs" as I would say. You just can't help but smile and say fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas or butterbeans, and a great big cathead biscuit. Cornbread is a great alternative as long as it is not dry and hard enough to knock a knot on your head. Then in that soft voice and with a sweet smile you are asked if you want tea or coffee. Now everyone south of the Mason Dixon Line knows that means sweet, iced tea over ice or strong, black coffee with lots of sugar. Whichever you like is poured over and over again until you are full as a tick and ready to roll out of the cafe.

It is rather sad that some Southerners have visited too long with their Northern cousins, watched too much TV or observed too many Northern travelers for occasionally you hear unsweetened, iced tea, decaff coffee, just water, or a pot of hot tea. Now let me tell you. If you ask for hot tea, you are not going to get a pot but a mug of hot water and 1 lone, sad teabag served with a sad expression of disbelief. Water seems to have become popular also, but fried chicken or chicken fried steak does not taste the same with water!!! You have to wash it down with tea or coffee.

You see, we down here take our eating seriously. We want it hot, generous portions, fried, boiled or baked, served with a smile and wrapped in a slow, Southern drawl. I don't mean to be discourteous or unmannerly, but if you can't appreciate this, you do NOT need to go to a Southern cafe advertising your mama's cooking. We don't need the noise pollution, please.

Weeeel, did I chase a rabbit today! Had fun doing it and why don't you use that little, ole comment box to the left of this posting and let me know what you think. To all my Northern friends who have moved South, I have noticed that some of you are getting the hang of our drawl and though it sounds a little harsh, you are getting there. Thanks for adjusting, we appreciate it. Next thing you know, you will be asking for my cornbread and biscuit recipe.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach
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