Finest Foods

Calories (noun) – Tiny creatures that live in your closet and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every night.

And in the South, we’ve got lots of them. Which makes sense considering our favorite ingredients to cook with are butter, butter, and more butter.

I’m not much of a chef myself. In fact, I can’t quite cook anything other than cereal. But I can eat! And there’s nothing I love more than a home cooked meal.

The South is known for its comfort food. And that’s exactly what southern food is. Food that makes you feel comfortable. Food that makes you feel cozy. Food that makes you feel at home.

Defined by rich flavors, second helpings, and sticky fingers, southern food has its own personality distinct from other subcultures in the United States.

So I invite you to experience and enjoy for yourself the top five southern foods everyone needs to try.

1. Grits

This food has inspired its own southern saying. Good as grits! So you know it must be good. As a picky eater, I don’t normally gravitate towards grits but my dad helped fill me in on this southern delicacy. “Grits are eaten at breakfast usually,” he informed me. “A good delicious breakfast: eggs, bacon, grits, coffee and orange juice.” Follow Paula Deen’s recipe and you can’t go wrong.

2. Fried Chicken

The sound of chicken being fried in a skillet on the stove is one of the most beautiful things. Every chef’s got their own tips, tricks and secrets. But if you haven’t developed your own yet, you can count on Martha Stewart to guide you through it. Everyone loves fried chicken. It’s perfect for people from age 5 to 95. “My grandma made fried chicken every Wednesday so that we would all come visit her,” my friend Ross shared with me.

3. Barbecue

The messiest of them all! Before you embark on this adventure make sure you’ve got a roll of paper towels and lots of Wet Wipes. In Austin there are quite a few places to get some good barbecue. It seems like each of my friends has a different favorite, ranging from Salt Lick Barbecue in Round Rock, TX, to Sugar Shack on the corner of 24th Street and San Antonio Street. Explore and find your favorite!

4. Chicken Fried Steak

Is it chicken? Or is it steak? It’s a common misconception. But it’s steak! It’s just fried like chicken. Think about it…it makes sense. Usually smothered in gravy, chicken fried steak is a staple of southern food. “Eating chicken fried steak feels like home even if it’s just at Jester City Limits,” my friend Emily reminisced of her freshman year. “They actually make really good chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.” The southern trifecta.

5. Peach Cobbler

This famous dessert is as pretty as a peach! The colors are beautiful. The texture is ideal. And the smell is irresistable. I often find myself thinking one slice is never enough. Peach cobbler is definitely my dad’s and my favorite dessert. “It goes great with ice cream, especially Blue Bell Vanilla on the side, not a la mode,” he says while sharing his secret recipe. “And it doesn’t hurt to sprinkle a little cinnamon on it.” By passing down recipes from generations before, southern food brings families closer together. And in the South, family is the most important ingredient of life.