This summer I take off. I take off from school by not studying until I can’t read anymore.
But I don’t take off from researching. I am taking off to drive, run, and bike around most of the Southern States to look deeper into how food can shape, affect, or even define a culture. I believe that the foods we eat really do shape how we interact with our surroundings more than we think they do. So I’ll be checking out three different regions in the south: Low-Country (Georgia and South Carolina), the Bayou (Coastal Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana), and inland a bit with Southern Appalachia (Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia).
How, per se, am I going to do this? Well, that’s part of the beauty of it all – I’m going to eat and talk with as many people who want to eat and talk about the South. I am going to set up meetings with people, and also just going to restaurants and talking with whoever will talk.
Right now, I’m sitting in Savannah thinking about a few people that I’ve spoken with (declaring their way is the Southern way) and thinking about what I soon will see, taste and hear. Over the next few days I plan on going to a Restaurant here in town called Mrs. Wilke’s Boarding House, maybe catching up with a Savannah Born Native or two and then off to Sapelo Island.
But so far, it has been great. Only a week in, and I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned that most of the foods that are considered “Southern” were never a part of many people’s lives two generations ago. I also learned that most of the food in the South was brought from African or Spanish or Native American traditions. I’ve learned that the biggest meal was generally eaten in the middle of the day. And I’ve learned that people on Daufuskie Island never really knew about hunger because they “made due” and ate “simply.”
I will keep updating on what I learn throughout the process. I have stories to tell already but I wanted to let those who do read this blog what I was doing very crudely, first. And with me being on the road (be that running, driving or biking) and my absent minded-ness, I won’t be able to post pictures for the next two months. That doesn’t mean I’m not taking pictures and they won’t be up, but I just forgot the connecting chord from my camera to my computer.
In true Eat Me. Drink Me. fashion, I’ll leave you with a recipe. Not one to make a specific item, but a meal as a whole.
One Take on a Southern Savannah Meal:
Succotash (Okra, Tomato, Corn Stew)
Black Eyed Peas
Mint Iced Tea
A View of Some Water-Way
1. Put the “Ingredients” on your plate around 2pm
2. Eat until 4pm
3. Talk about your day, your life, your leisure
4. Take a nap
5. Wake up and re-start your day.