Tag Archives: life in the south

OT: Thoughts on the true South

Emmylou Harris, playing in Ahoy, Rotterdam, Th...

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English: A southern breakfast of grits, toast ...

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Lil'l Southern Belles, 81.28 × 91.44 cm (32 × ...

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As a southerner born and bred, I have found a lot of people from other parts of the country and the world have very stereotyped notions of what life is like for us. Someone from “up North” recently asked me if we had indoor plumbing. I assured her that not only did we have plumbing, we had electricity, city water and that new-fangled internet thing.

I am not saying there aren’t backward, ignorant redneck types here. But I have discovered you’ll find those kinds of people pretty much everywhere you go. The accents may be different, but their outlook is the same.

I ran across this essay written by a Mississippis restauranteur and I thought some of you ladies might enjoy it.

English: Logo of the Southeastern Conference (...

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This was written by Robert St. John, executive chef and owner of the Purple Parrot Cafe, Crescent City Grill and Mahogany Bar of Hattiesburg, MS. and sent to me by a friend on my block.
Thirty years ago I visited my first cousin in Virginia. While hanging out with his friend, the discussion turned to popular movies of the day.
When I offered my two-cents on the authenticity and social relevance of the movie Billy Jack, one of the boys asked, in all seriousness; “Do you guys have movie theaters down there?” To which I replied, “Yep. We wear shoes too.”
Just three years ago, my wife and I were attending a food and wine seminar in Aspen, Colo. We were seated with two couples from Las Vegas.
One of the Glitter Gulch gals was amused and downright rude when I described our restaurant as a fine-dining restaurant. “Mississippi doesn’t have fine-dining restaurants!” she exclaimed and nudged her companion. I fought back the strong desire to mention that she lived in the land that invented the 99-cent breakfast buffet.

I wanted badly to defend my state and my restaurant with a 15-minute soliloquy and public relations rant that would surely change her mind.

It was at that precise moment that I was hit with a blinding jolt of enlightenment, and in a moment of complete and absolute clarity it dawned on me — my South is the best-kept secret in the country. Why would I try to win this woman over? She might move down here.
I am always amused by Hollywood’s interpretation of the South. We are still, on occasion, depicted as a collective group of sweaty, stupid, backwards-minded and racist rednecks. The South of movies and TV, the Hollywood South, is not my South.
This is my South:
a. My South is full of honest, hard-working people.
b. My South is colorblind. In my South, we don’t put a premium on pigment. No one cares whether you are black, white, red or green with orange polka dots.
c. My South is the birthplace of blues and jazz, and rock n’ roll. It has banjo pickers and fiddle players, but it also has B.B. King, Muddy Waters, the Allman Brothers, Emmylou Harris and Elvis.
d. My South is hot.
e. My South smells of newly mowed grass.
f. My South was the South of The Partridge Family, Hawaii 5-0 and kick the can.
 g. My South was creek swimming, cane-pole fishing and bird hunting.
h. In my South, football is king, and the Southeastern Conference is the kingdom. i. My South is home to the most beautiful women on the planet.
 j. In my South, soul food and country cooking are the same thing. k. My South is full of fig preserves, cornbread, butter beans, fried chicken, grits and catfish.
l. In my South we eat foie gras, caviar and truffles.
 m. In my South, our transistor radios introduced us to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones at the same time they were introduced to the rest of the country.
 n. In my South, grandmothers cook a big lunch every Sunday.
 o. In my South, family matters, deeply.
p. My South is boiled shrimp, blackberry cobbler, peach ice cream, banana pudding and oatmeal cream pies.
 q. In my South people put peanuts in bottles of Coca Cola and hot sauce on almost everything.
r. In my South the tea is iced and almost as sweet as the women.
 s. My South has air-conditioning. t. My South is camellias, azaleas, wisteria and hydrangeas.
u. In my South, the only person that has to sit on the back of the bus is the last person that got on the bus.
 v. In my South, people still say “yes, ma’am,” “no ma’am,” “please” and “thank you.” w. In my South, Sunday is for church. The Ten Commandments mean something.

In my South, we all wear shoes & clothes….some of the time. My South is the best-kept secret in the country. Please continue to keep the secret….it keeps the idiots away.