Southern Foods and Where to Find Them

Southern Foods

We know there’s something about Southern cooking that warms the heart and comforts the soul. Many Southern foods that have become timeless classics are popular for a reason—they’ve got the flavor we’ve come to love. But, if you can’t get past the names and ingredients of these dishes, perhaps you’ll feel better with the all-around comfort food found in traditional Southern cuisine. How do deep- fried chicken, greens, mashed potatoes, cornbread, a cold glass of sweet tea and an even sweeter pie or cobbler sound? Or maybe something along the lines of chicken-fried steak, country ham, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, bread pudding, fried green tomatoes, or a good ‘ol Virginia ham would do the trick.

Of course, big-time Southern barbecue comes to mind anytime the word “Southern” is mentioned. Cook-off competitions, barbecue pits, chicken, ribs and pork all smothered in best-kept secret family sauces are the epitome of good ‘ol down South cooking. And to be quite honest, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Throw in a slice of sweet potato pie, pecan pie, a scoop of peach cobbler, or an all-American apple pie, and any meal becomes your own little slice of Heaven.

The Best Southern Foods near Bluegreen Vacations resorts

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Resort: Bluegreen Club La Pension

Cajun & Creole Recommendations:

Cajun Southern FoodsNew Orleans is the spicy hotbed for amazing Creole and Cajun cuisine. Although both types of cooking share similar flavors and ingredients and can be found pretty much anywhere in Louisiana, they still have their own independent origins. Creole cuisine is focused on New Orleans and the southeastern region of Louisiana with a predominant influence from France, Spain and Latin America. Cajun cuisine hails from the Acadia region in Canada and lives-on in southwestern Louisiana in a region called Acadiana.

Cajun/Creole favorites include gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish or “crawdads.” Gumbo dates back generations yet is still one of the most well-known and popular dishes around. It’s no wonder that with its magical blend of chicken, andouille sausage, okra and all the right spices, this meal-of-a-soup consistently has its patrons begging for more. Jambalaya consists mainly of rice and basically anything else you’d like—usually green peppers, onions, celery and hot chili peppers—but the choice is totally up to you and your taste buds. Crawfish boils are celebratory events where crawfish are prepared with potatoes, onion and corn over large propane cookers and are boiled with lemon, bay leaves, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper and other exciting spicy blends. If you ever have a chance to attend a “boil” don’t let it pass you by.

Location: Charleston, SC

Resorts:

  • Carolina Grande
  • Harbour Lights
  • Horizon at 77th
  • Seaglass Tower
  • Shore Crest Vacation Villas
  • The Lodge Alley Inn

Lowcountry Recommendations:

Southern FoodsSouth Carolina cooking, also known as “Lowcountry cuisine,” resides mainly in the coastal regions of South Carolina and down into Savannah, Georgia. Similar to New Orleans cooking, Lowcountry cuisine takes advantage of the rich supply of seafood and rice predominantly available in areas like Charleston and Savannah. Because of this, popular dishes include shrimp and grits, Charleston red rice and Charleston’s signature dish, she-crab soup (similar to bisque but made with Atlantic blue crabmeat and a combination of rice puree, shallots or onions). Hoppin’ John is a popular dish with a peculiar name. It consists of a mixture of rice, black-eyed peas and salt pork and is thought to bring prosperity if eaten on New Year’s Day. Another favorite probably anywhere in the United States, but especially in South Carolina, is baked mac-n-cheese, prepared just the way it sounds. Then you’ve got your salmon and rice, chicken bog (rice, chicken, celery, spices and sausage browned in oil and cooked in a tasty seasoned broth), and of course the celebratory seafood boils which tend to be common in the South.

Location: All over the country

Resorts:

  • The Fountains
  • Grand Villas at World Golf Village
  • SeaGlass Tower
  • The Studio Homes at Ellis Square
  • Solara Surfside
  • Bluegreen Club La Pension

Soul Food Recommendations:

Soul food is synonymous with Southern cooking and can be found spread across the south and the rest of the country. Although the term “soul food” wasn’t used until the 1960s, the concept behind it all started with American Indians, who by nature made the most of what was available to them. That’s why you’ll often find some pretty interesting ingredients on local soul food menus that you normally wouldn’t consider. But once you get past the ingredients and into the flavor, you’ll understand why this particular cuisine has remained popular for years.

American Indians used corn extensively—ground into cornmeal, limed with salt to make hominy, or used to make dishes like cornbread and grits. Similar dishes are being served today, with the use of corn, potatoes, peppers, and sassafras in soulful meals like hominy, grits, cornbread and its variations—hush puppies, hoe cakes or “Johnny Cakes,” and cornmeal dumplings. The Native Americans also passed on the tradition of curing meat and smoking it over hickory coals–the start of a popular southern pastime–BBQ.

Why not learn classic Southern cooking while away on your next vacation? Give it a shot and bring home your own recipes. Talk about a great souvenir!