Recipes for Gracious Living

The South is famous for it's hospitality, with every front porch rocker being made for friends to sit a spell and every pan of cornbread intended for sharing. Food is a central part of southern hospitality, and a lot of it has become famous and well loved everywhere. Here are a few tastes of the South, in all it's gracious, generous living.

Iced Tea

Perfect for front porch settin' with a friend. Take two large or four regular sized black tea bags and bring to a boil in four cups of water. Take out of microwave or off of stove and cover to steep for about an hour. Put a half cup of sugar in a half gallon pitcher and pour the tea in over it. The tea should still be warm, but stir it to dissolve the sugar completely. Chill completely and serve over a full glass of ice, or without if you prefer.

Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is so quintessentially Southern that it's practically stereotypical. And it's really not hard either! Simply take a cut up chicken or boneless skinless chicken* pieces and soak them in milk or buttermilk for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste to all-purpose flour and dredge the soaked chicken pieces through it. Heat about one inch of oil in a skillet or electric frying pan, and don't be horrified-- tradition doesn't always equate healthy. Be sure that it's very hot by dropping in a bit of the butter milk or flour. If it sizzles immediately you're good to go, but if it doesn't wait for a few more minutes. If you wish to create genuine fried chicken this is a vital step. Oil that isn't hot enough will be detrimental to the breading on the chicken, making it fall off and be soggy.

Once you have the chicken breaded and in the oil let it cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the first side is golden brown. Turn all of the pieces with a fork (using tongs will just pull breading off) and let the other side cook until golden. Turn the heat down to medium-low, clap a lid on that pan, and let that chicken sizzle away for 30-45 minutes. There are two ways to tell if it's done or not. The first is the old-fashioned way-- poke it with a fork and if the juices run clear it's ready. Or you can get all fancy and poke it with a thermometer and look for a 180 degree temperature.

Now for serving you've got options. You can take it out of the pan, pile it high on your platter and serve it all in it's crispy golden glory with mashed potatoes and gravy made of the drippings. Or you can serve it cold for a picnic or midnight snacking.

*This is only for the new-fangled Southern Girl. Your grandmother would be ashamed of this low-calorie fried chicken option. Technically boneless chicken doesn't take as long to cook either, but just remembered that good things come to those who wait.

Biscuits

Bless your heart, there ain't nothing like a fresh, homemade, hot biscuit with butter and honey. It might just cause you to ditch you boyfriend, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, forever. Put about 2 cups of self-rising flour* in the bowl, cut in about half a stick of butter, and then use your hands to work it all in. Make a well in the flour and pour in buttermilk and mix it up until the dough is sticky but not soggy. Sprinkle with more flour and knead the dough by hand in the bowl. Pinch of a portion of dough and roll into a ball. Put it on a greased baking sheet and gentle pat the balls down until they're about an inch thick.

Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes or until the biscuits are barely golden and flakey. The fascinating thing about biscuits is that no two person's are ever the same, even if they follow the same method. So take delight in creating something that you and only you can ever make.

*If you don't have self-rising flour, add three tsp. Baking powder and ΒΌ tsp. Baking soda to the biscuits. Also, White Lily brand self-rising flour makes the best biscuits.

Grits

Now listen up ya'll and get this right, because there are grits and then there are greeyuts. Down South you eat the latter, white or yellow, boiled or bohled. There should be directions on any package of grits at the supermarket, but if you live in Yankee country they might be hard to come by.

Butter is the key ingredient for serving grits. Butter with salt and pepper, butter with honey, or butter and cheese, butter and molasses, butter and cornbread. All those fancy chefs that try to add vegetables and upscale ingredients don't quite capture the essence of grits like the simplest of genuine southern cooks. So just bring on the butter and don't think twice about the calories. Amen.

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Comments 10 comments

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I'm absolutely serious - until two days ago I'd never fried anything in my life.

Don't get me wrong - fried food is great...and I eat it whenever I can, but I'd never attempted to prepare it myself before.

I first did some frog legs...which I'd never before had at all...I'd just up and on a whim got them at the grocery store. They turned out okay, but I had trouble getting the batter (which my mom prepared for me...and gave me some tips about frying) to stick to them.

Next...later the same evening - I tried a big chicken leg quarter...and I burned the hell out of it. I burned the batter, I mean - but the meat was still bloody on the inside...so I had to just slow cook it the way I'd always done with chicken before.

Ice tea...very sweet, I drink gallons of it most days!!!!!!!!!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

I grew up in the south and on sweet tea. I didn't realize until I got older that people actually drank it without sugar! I love fried chicken biscuits--we had white gravy and mashed potatoes and green beans with that dish! Ya know, oddly, we never had grits. I've tried them a few times as an adult at a food bar. I should try making them sometime. Thanks for the memories. Many votes. Love the hub. Sharing!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Oh the offerings of the south! Child, you sure know how to tempt a person. You give a good guide to the foods that delight every Southerner. Neat post. :)


collegatariat profile image

collegatariat 4 years ago Author

Wesman, that is a shame about the chicken. That's why there's always a next time I suppose. And I must confess, you have me beat in the frog legs department. Not only have I never, ever had them, I never want to either!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing! Your stories gave me a laugh.


collegatariat profile image

collegatariat 4 years ago Author

Thanks for you kind words Victoria! There's something so classic about that fried chicken meal. And of course, it has to have sweet tea with it! I appreciate your taking the time to stop by.


collegatariat profile image

collegatariat 4 years ago Author

Oh yes, the joys that come from Southern cooking. I spent last weekend there, and go re initiated in some of the standards-- it tastes different there. Thanks for stopping by!


SanneL profile image

SanneL 4 years ago from Sweden

This hub brought back memories of things I used to eat when I lived in the States. Those were the days when biscuits and fried chicken was something that appeared regularly on my plate. Never tried grits though. Thank you for an interesting hub. Voted up and sharing.


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

I enjoyed your hub. You created wonderful imagery with your descriptions and I could almost hear the screen door as I passed through the porch. Your recipes are pure and simple....delicious, I'm sure. Thank you for sharing.


collegatariat profile image

collegatariat 4 years ago Author

Thank you SanneL. When you come back to the States you'll have to give grits a try, though the other things I listed are probably higher on my favorites list.


collegatariat profile image

collegatariat 4 years ago Author

Hello missolive, and thanks for reading. The beauty of most of the best Southern cooking is that it truly is pure and simple, and everyone loves it! No complexities, and what you see is what you get.

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