Monday, December 22, 2008

M is for Mangia

We attended the husband's choir concert this weekend, followed by the annual choir feast, catered by one of the members who owns a catering company. The food led me to thinking about some of the uniquely Southern dishes that we've encountered, some of which we've loved and some of which we've wondered about.

One of the would-be show stoppers at this particular event was shrimp and grits, served in martini glasses (of course). Even though I was born and partially raised in the South, I have never been a grits girl (I know, I know, some of my readers are gasping in shock while others are saying "yeah, so?"). In my defense, I'm fairly ecumenical in my dislike for hot cereal of any kind. I will eat oatmeal if pressed, have tried and stomached porridge, can't even look at creams of wheat, and I don't like grits. I'm not sure what the turn off is, actually, but I would guess it's a texture thing. Anywho, not only do I not live grits, I'm not much of a shrimp fan, either. (I KNOW, insane, right?) And, yes, I feel the same way about prawns, lobster, oysters, clams, mussels, and all of their cousins. That I know for sure is a texture thing, by the way. So, in short, shrimp and grits? Not so much for me, martini glasses notwithstanding.

Here in Charleston, not only are shrimp and grits popular with the locals, they love their oyster roasts. Once again, not my favorite activity, particularly when oyster roasts are often held during times/seasons when one might have a campfire instead, in other parts of the country. Instead, you find yourself either at a long table with dangerous implements cracking open shells and slurping the contents OR you find yourself eating chili dogs, which have been at every oyster roast I've ever attended or heard about, for reasons surpassing understanding.

There are some Southern delicacies I can't get enough of, of course. Pralines? Yummmm. Barbecue, especially with Melvin's secret sauce? Mmm, mmm, good. Red velvet cake? Bring on the two whole bottles of red food coloring! Butter beans? Even better with bacon! But I'll pass on boiled eggs in dressing (or stuffing, if you're a Yankee) or gravy and don't tell me if a dish involves fat back. Just let me savor my ignorance, please!

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