I often get asked the same questions about southern food. Is it spicy? Is everything fried? “I’ve heard of gumbo before.” Well I’m here to clear up a few things, and maybe even throw out a few healthy tips along the way. Of course, most of this research is Louisiana based, but may apply to other regions as well.
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Myth #1: Southern food is spicy.
Louisiana and New Orleans gets this a lot. It is not spicy, it’s flavorful! Some people, or restaurants, serve food fairly mild and allow guests to season with extra creole or cajun seasoning to their liking. Gumbo is not spicy. Red beans and rice are not spicy. The only thing I have ever experienced as spicy is from a box of pre-made jambalaya. Rare occurrence.
Myth #2: Everything is fried.
Sure, there are restaurants where the okra is fried, the pork chops are fried, the fries are fried. However, I have never ran into a situation where I couldn’t find grilled fish on the menu or a fresh side salad. Fried isn’t the only option.
Myth #3 Fried chicken is a staple.
I don’t even know anybody who regularly fries their own chicken for themselves or their family. In fact, I have only ever been to a get-together where the main entree (and fun) was frying big batches of fish, not chicken. Picking up fried chicken from the convenience stores, grocery store, or gas station is more common, and even then it’s considered a sinful treat!
Myth #4 Southerners drink sweet tea.
I can name one person who I know loves and drinks sweet tea regularly. I can name one party in the last five years where sweet tea was served. Southerners drink sodas, iced tea, coffee, water, ya know, the regular stuff too. And in Louisiana – Drive Through Daiquiris.
Myth #5 The South is Known for It’s Barbecue
True! However, in recent years, the barbecue tradition has spread to all kinds of states. This Business Insider article of the Top 25 Barbecue Restaurants in America list stops in Chicago, Missouri, and even New York. I wouldn’t say barbecue is really a Louisiana thing, but when I headed up the coast a bit to Raleigh, North Carolina, I knew I had to get my hands on some.
About the Blogger:
Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”
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