(fried pork skins), fried catfish, country ham, grits,
redeye gravy, greens, chitterlings (hog small intestine),
gumbos made of okra, local oysters, crayfish and
shrimp, jambalaya, coconut layer cake, key lime pie,
gingerbread, divinity and pecan pie.
While fabulous, none of these foods would
taste half as good if it weren’t for the region’s best
ingredient: Southern hospitality. It is the glue that
keeps traditions such as Sunday dinners and the
public feasts of barbecues, oyster roasts, Low Country
boils, Mardi Gras balls, hunt breakfasts, jazz,
country and bluegrass festivals, and county fairs
sacred for another generation.
Costco’s private-label Kirkland Signature products
such as boneless/skinless chicken breasts, extra-fancy
mixed nuts, Atlantic salmon and solid white albacore
canned tuna are mainstays in Southern warehouses
(see www.costco.com’s warehouse locator for information and locations). That’s not to say, however, that
regional products are slighted. Look for fresh farmed
tilapia (originated in the South), beef brisket flap
meat, top loin, veal, Vidalia onions, honey tangerines,
Florida blueberries, strawberries, sweet corn, Indian
River grapefruit, plantains, asparagus, raspberries,
mangoes, sugar snap peas, papayas, melons and
grape tomatoes (originated in Florida)—plus fresh
made-on-site caramel flan and key lime pie.
Nathalie Dupree, the Southern belle of easy entertaining and a respected pioneer of the New Southern
Cooking movement, is the author of eight books,
including Comfortable Entertaining and Southern
Memories, both of which received James Beard
Awards, the food world’s equivalent of the Oscars.
Q: What is classic Southern cuisine?
A: Many nationalities, from the British to African
slaves, have left their culinary stamp, with influences
such as curry, ginger, spices, okra, eggplant and
peanuts. However, it’s the down-home cooking
caused by the Great Depression era mixed with
the elegance of the meals from pre-slavery time
that sets this cuisine apart.