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The best style of cooking: South? North?
Old 01-12-2008, 11:30 AM   #1
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The best style of cooking: South? North?

I've lived both in the South (Ark., La.) and the North (Il., Ia.) as homes, and really truly believe that the Southern way of cooking has it all over the blander/less spiced food of the Midwest and North.
Of course, the SW regional food (Tx.) is totally different and spiced with chili's and so forth.
But I contend that the Southern way of cooking--a la Paula Deen--is best...most fattening, also, but just tastes the best.
Does anyone else agree with this statement? Or am I alone and the only one
destined to be fat with Southern cooking?
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:48 AM   #2
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I like spice! So, the blander mid west food does not work for me...give me herbs, spices, and freshness! I was once served homemade "needles" with gravy - the ex raved about them! Flour and lard blobs soaked in a lard/beef boullion "gravy" - it was nauseous!
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:49 AM   #3
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I'm with you! In fact, I think the East Texas cooking is just about perfect. Has all the spice of the southwest, the sea food of LA, and the down home southern cooking of the lower south. Now for health purposes..... NOT! However, the suaces of German food, found in Central Texas are also quite good.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:05 PM   #4
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Interesting foods come from collisions of many different cultures and new ingredients. Another facet comes from the relative wealth of the region, since less expensive and less convenient ingredients are often more flavorful and interesting.

Southeastern US cooking where caribbean, african, french and other cultures met with traditional/transplant and new ingredients combined with plenty of poor people is amazingly varied.

Vietnam is another culinary melting pot with all the right components due to the influence of the occupying french.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:19 PM   #5
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Southern cooking is the BEST! Even though I live in northern IL, I was raised on good ol' southern home cookin', and that's what we continue to eat. My Dad, along with many on his side of the family, were transplants from the South. Grannie Clampett's and Paula Deen's cooking is what we term as 'normal'. My Grandad always believed that you couldn't really cook with out hot peppers, onions, lots of other seasonings, and of course bacon grease and/or lard.

I remember a lot of church potlucks where the vittles included ham-hocks & beans, real home fried chicken (NOT 'store bought'...a.k.a. KFC), bar-b-qued raccoon (didn't have any possums handy ), bar-b-qued ribs slow cooked over a fruit wood fire, all sorts of okra dishes, and every sort and variation of 'greens'.....turnip, mustard, spinach, collard, poke, etc.

We've had ham, beans, and cornbread 3 times so far THIS year already! Love it!

So normal fare for us has always been a blend of hillbilly, cajun/creole, and southern Texas delicacies.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:21 PM   #6
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I love southern cooking. However it is pretty darn fatty. Growing up in the midwest it was all meat and potatoes which isnt exactly the best for you either.

Probably my favorite style is tex-mex. I love that stuff.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:25 PM   #7
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Southern way of cooking has it all over the blander/less spiced food of the Midwest and North.
I tend to agree. DW is from NY and I have lived all over the south. She has always been the main cook at our place and, of course, cooks the way that she learned in NY. She has managed to blend in N vs S cooking somehow, and it all tastes better. But, I also go through quite a few bottles of Tabasco sauce annually, just to make it a bit more tasty.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:32 PM   #8
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To me nothing is better than Italian cooking .Having spent many years in New Jersey I miss great Italian cooking .I have not had a decent slice of pizza in years . Restaurants will open up with signs that say New York Style pizza and they are all lying .
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:35 PM   #9
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Take particular note of the use of the word "Style". If its new york pizza, its new york pizza.

"Style" means...kinda like that.

We have a restaurant that advertises "Thai Style Dining". I avoid it like the plague.
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:00 PM   #10
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Take particular note of the use of the word "Style". If its new york pizza, its new york pizza.

"Style" means...kinda like that.

We have a restaurant that advertises "Thai Style Dining". I avoid it like the plague.
Even when they advertise New York pizza it's pretty awful .I just love that greasy pizza where the cheese slides off as you are eating . Here I could turn the pizza upside down and the cheese would not move .Maybe that's what I'll do for the New Year learn to make decent pizza ?
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:14 PM   #11
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Its really hard to do at home. The oven temperatures just arent high enough to match pizza ovens. A well preheated heavy cast iron pizza "stone" will help, but its still not going to match.

or you can try what this guy did and cut the "cleaning cycle lock" off of his oven, and he cooks his pies at 900 degrees in his modified home oven. Not sure I'd recommend it.

Jeff Varasano's NY Pizza Recipe

He does have some good tips on making a dough and the rest of it. Be forewarned, this is seriously, heavy duty reading and will take you an hour to go through. Interesting when you see someone who takes a topic to the Nth degree though...

His pizza is also only one variant of "new york" pizza. I've seen his variant, also the very thin, nearly cracker crust with a spare amount of sauce and very little cheese. I've also seen the large square thick breadlike crust versions with lots of sauce and limited cheese.

Then of course theres that type thats often called a "pepperoni bread" and is made from a breadlike dough pressed out, given a little sauce and cheese and then plastered with a ton of pepperoni, rolled up like a jelly roll, cooked and sliced.
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:35 PM   #12
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or you can try what this guy did and cut the "cleaning cycle lock" off of his oven, and he cooks his pies at 900 degrees in his modified home oven. Not sure I'd recommend it.
Considering the way my appliances are going the lock will probably just fall off .
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:30 PM   #13
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I have not had a decent slice of pizza in years . Restaurants will open up with signs that say New York Style pizza and they are all lying .
Agree here. To me, pizza is defined by the "apizza" in southern New England. Nothing else can touch it. Only pizza I ever had in NYC was in those stand up and eat a slice while looking out at passersby places, which was OK but not really up to snuff. But then is was fast food for people with little time to devote to eating.

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Old 01-12-2008, 06:56 PM   #14
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Southern food is the food of the angels, of course!

When my grandfather passed away in October, the ladies at the home church in Wilson Mill, SC laid out a spread that was just unbelievable--the homemade fried chicken, pork tenderloin, seasoned green beans, mac and cheese, squash casserole, etc and don't let me get started on the deserts--homemade banana pudding, 5 layer chocolate cake, coconut pie. My aunts and I were commenting that when they died, we'd have to find a caterer that could cook like that, as none of us could cook like that anymore.
I do okay, but I think that if I could make biscuits like my grandmother, that would be all I would eat! Who's Paula Deen? Must be a celebrity chef? Good to have a southerner out there, if so. I got my mom the Lee Brothers Southern cookbook for Christmas and she loves it. My old standbys are about 10 years of Southern Living Annual Recipes books.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:50 PM   #15
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Southern food is the food of the angels, of course!

When my grandfather passed away in October, the ladies at the home church in Wilson Mill, SC laid out a spread that was just unbelievable--the homemade fried chicken, pork tenderloin, seasoned green beans, mac and cheese, squash casserole, etc and don't let me get started on the deserts--homemade banana pudding, 5 layer chocolate cake, coconut pie. My aunts and I were commenting that when they died, we'd have to find a caterer that could cook like that, as none of us could cook like that anymore.
I do okay, but I think that if I could make biscuits like my grandmother, that would be all I would eat! Who's Paula Deen? Must be a celebrity chef? Good to have a southerner out there, if so. I got my mom the Lee Brothers Southern cookbook for Christmas and she loves it. My old standbys are about 10 years of Southern Living Annual Recipes books.
Paula Deen is the annoying southern chef on foodtv.
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:44 PM   #16
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Southern food is the food of the angels, of course!Who's Paula Deen? Must be a celebrity chef? Good to have a southerner out there, if so.
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Paula Deen is the annoying southern chef on foodtv.
Paula's not annoying! She's just havin' fun, y'all!

She's from around Savannah, GA, and she and her two boys have a restaurant there. She also does a couple of shows for the Food Network: Paula's Home Cooking, and Paula's Party.

I think I gain weight just watching her cook! I've done some of her recipes, and they've come out great! We're going to Savannah in late April, and we're going to her restaurant, as well as her brother's. I can hardly wait! YUM!!!
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:50 PM   #17
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I am not entirely sure what kind of food would be considered "Northern" food. I grew up in the South, but parents were jewish transplants from the north. So i got a mix of various things.

My dad likes to tell a story about when he first moved south, he tried to buy a bagel in a bakery and they had no idea what he was asking for. He described the thing and the clerk goes, ohhhh! You mean a jew donut!

Now I live in NYC, and I can't say I eat northern food. It is such a multicultural environment, that I usually cycle between deli sandwiches, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, French, Afghani, Italian, American-brunch fare, Mexican, Israeli (falafel/hummus), Sushi....

To be fair though, they can't get real southern food "right", here. I am not sure why, but the oil must not be the same for frying or something!
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:55 PM   #18
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To be fair though, they can't get real southern food right here. I am not sure why, but the oil must not be the same for frying or something!
They just don't have enough bacon grease, that's all.
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:55 PM   #19
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Paula's not annoying! She's just havin' fun, y'all!

She's from around Savannah, GA, and she and her two boys have a restaurant there. She also does a couple of shows for the Food Network: Paula's Home Cooking, and Paula's Party.

I think I gain weight just watching her cook! I've done some of her recipes, and they've come out great! We're going to Savannah in late April, and we're going to her restaurant, as well as her brother's. I can hardly wait! YUM!!!

Sure she makes good food. Still stand by the annoying comment. Her and Rachel Ray could talk both your ears off
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Old 01-13-2008, 12:01 AM   #20
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All of this talk about southern food is making my mouth water and bringing back memories of Grandmother's cooking (east TX, about 50 miles west of LA). I never learned to make Grandmother's biscuits (probably because I wasn't crazy about biscuits) but my cornbread was dead on. When I married, DH liked sweet cornbread. Yuck! Then the kids wouldn't eat cornbread unless it was sweet. Sigh.

Goonie, you're right, bacon and bacon grease is the special ingredient in most southern cooking. Remember the bacon grease strainers. Sat on top of the stove and was used liberally on, in, or to cook just about everything. I only cook bacon on special occasions now and the grease goes straight in the trash. Sigh.
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