If the south can do anything perfectly: it’s comfort food. Southern comfort foods are generally savory, although a few sweet treats make people feel right at home. Of course, most recipes are heavy in carbs, but that doesn’t matter since they make us all feel a little bit more at home.
If you want to taste what makes the south feel so different from the rest of the country: these are the foods you need to try.
Shrimp and Grits
Most people outside of the south aren’t huge on grits, but shrimp and grits are a great starting point to introduce you to them. The shrimp are cooked or grilled with butter, and the grits are made creamy with cheese. You mix them together, dash a little hot sauce on top, and you’ve got the most blissful meal on earth.
These are more often a side than anything else, but these little balls of fried dough have a thick, crispy exterior and a soft and slightly sweet interior. These are great dipped in soups, served with beans, or just set on a table with a full spread. Many southerners like to keep some butter nearby to dip these in, but they’re just as good plain as they are buttered.
A Shrimp Boil
A shrimp boil may not sound like comfort food, but it’s a time when a family gets together and cooks and shucks shrimp side by side. Most often served with corn on the cob and seasoned heavily to bring out the flavor of the shrimp and corn, a good shrimp boil understands the need to make food have some heat and fun to it.
When most people think of the south, they think of laminated biscuits. Unfortunately, most people don’t have the time or patience to deal with this and instead make drop biscuits. With the texture of coconut macaroons, these biscuits are light and airy, with crispy craggly bits on the outside. You can treat them how you treat hushpuppies or even slide cheese and an egg in the middle of one for a quick breakfast.
Sweet Potato Casserole
This is a holiday favorite that will have you searching for houses for rent in Atlanta, GA, so that you can eat it all day. Sweet potato casserole is a side that could also be served as a dessert. To make it, mash sweet potatoes with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, egg, and flour, and then top with marshmallows. As this bakes, the marshmallows expand and then form a crispy yet gooey topping. It’s delicious and a fan favorite of anyone who’s tried it.
Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
You can complete this with either drop biscuits or laminated biscuits, and it makes an incredible breakfast. Sausage gravy is made in the pan with cooked sausage bits, but some like this combination with plain white gravy. Either way, be sure to add enough pepper to the gravy so that you sneeze while making it, and lay it on thick on top of your biscuits. This means it will keep you full through the morning and is the best way to start your day right.