Southern Culture: Food

Food is one of the more tangible and recognizable elements of Southern culture and one that is worth exploring. It serves as a bridge between the tables of the Old South and the New. It was once said that Virginians dined, Yankees just ate. This was due in large part to the old Cavalier practice of multi-course meals that could last for hours, while New England Puritans ate stale brown bread and baked beans as a means of survival. The frontier Celtic peoples subsisted on corn products mostly, from corn meal to corn liquor, but every region of the South had its own barbeque and culinary traditions. The video of the late Cajun chef Justin Wilson also emphasizes the necessity of conversation in the Southern meal. Not only did Virginians dine, they used the meal as a pathway for story telling. It would be presumptuous to think that only Southerners did this, but they did it better than in any other region of the United States, and it became a hallmark of Southern culture, even to this day.

No one wants to listen to a Yankee story teller, and they don’t have good jokes. There isn’t much to tell.

Southern Living does not do much well in respect to traditional Southern history and culture, but these videos on barbeque, grits, cornbread, and biscuits are decent and provide a short review of essential Southern staples.

About Brion McClanahan

Brion McClanahan is the author or co-author of six books, How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America (Regnery History, 2017), 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America and Four Who Tried to Save Her (Regnery History, 2016), The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers, (Regnery, 2009), The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution (Regnery History, 2012), Forgotten Conservatives in American History (Pelican, 2012), and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Real American Heroes, (Regnery, 2012). He received a B.A. in History from Salisbury University in 1997 and an M.A. in History from the University of South Carolina in 1999. He finished his Ph.D. in History at the University of South Carolina in 2006, and had the privilege of being Clyde Wilson’s last doctoral student. He lives in Alabama with his wife and three daughters. More from Brion McClanahan

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