Topline Trends Tuesday: New Southern cooking

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Trending up in the US and now in Canada is New Southern cooking. From red velvet cake to spoon bread, this trend is fueled by not only the renewed attention the South has gleaned as it rebuilds after Hurricane Katrina but also by the state of the economy. Add to these factors the excellent books by southern cooks such as Jean Anderson, Martha Foose, Virginia Willis (pictured) and Nancie McDermott that provide access to great Southern recipes and you’ve got the makings of a home cooking trend with legs.

“There’s been this enormous importance placed on California and Napa cuisine for many years, and while the South, like much of the country “lost its way” with convenience foods for many years, the South has still retained some level of living off the land,” says Virginia Willis whenI asked her to speak to the appeal of New Southern Cooking.

“I also think there is an honesty to Southern food. It’s simple country cooking, and much like simple country French or Italian, it’s a very pure cuisine with little or no waste. It all goes back to the economic hardships the South has always had.”

What do you think of when you hear the term “New Southern Cuisine”? If this term leaves you feeling baffled, you may want to try one of these recipes from the GoSouth! website and then get back to me about your impressions. Until then, I’ll just  sing off with Virginia’s famous line:  “Bon Appetit, Y’all!”

Southern Succotash
Buttermilk Sweet Potato Brulee
Corn Spoon Bread with Swiss Chard & Caramelized onions

15 Responses to Topline Trends Tuesday: New Southern cooking

  1. This is definitely a trend for some – although for most of us, it’s a return home to the styles and comforts we grew up on.

  2. danamccauley says:

    Darius, here in Canada it’s a pretty new way to think about eating. Despite the French influence in dishes like spoon bread (so like a souffle), these dishes have a real novelty for Canadians who have only heard about them in movies.

  3. Great to hear this. Thanks to a certain TV cook, I thought Southern cooking was all deep-fried dinners and butter-butter-butter desserts.

    Succotash and cornbread don’t sway me, but that buttermilk sweet potato brulee? I just might have to check that out.

  4. Cheryl A says:

    My sister-in-law is from New Orleans, so she’s introduced us to a few wonderful, and some not-so-wonderful things. But the icky ones usually came from her upbringing as the oldest of 10 kids – you make what you can with what you’ve got. And it isn’t always good!

  5. Diva says:

    I agree that its a hot trend … though admittedly, this is one area where I am out of my depth. Fat-phobe that I am, its not a cuisine I’ve explored. I could probably get behind that corn spoon bread with chard though … sounds yummy. Thanks for the links!

  6. danamccauley says:

    Diva – the succotash is super high in nutrients and fibre, too! I think it would past muster and make it onto your table. Love it!

  7. Hélène says:

    I’m not into that trend right now. No many dishes appeals to me. I might change my mind when I go visit.

  8. That buttermilk sweet potato thang sounds divine. My granny would have boiled the sweet potatoes, sliced them thickly, and layered them in a baking pan with lots of sugar and lots of butter, known around here as candied yams. She would love this worthy 21st century incarnation of candied yams, and I for one wish I had a big ol’ pan of them for lunch. Ditto spoonbread, born as a side-dish but perfect for breakfast all by itself. To me succotash is only lima beans and corn — and the limas get called “butterbeans”.

  9. Diva says:

    Dana, you’re right, it would pass muster! Seems like its a great idea for left-over Easter ham too. I’m printing it out!

  10. danamccauley says:

    Nancie – thanks for popping by and sharing your first had Southern experience!

    Diva – I’m honoured to have been the catalyst to your conversion!

  11. Diana says:

    I was at the Taste of Chicago last year, and I remember having grits and shrimps at one of the booths. That, to me, is Southern cuisine. I don’t think it needs to be fussed over too much, so a little bit of a different spice or flavour combination would be enough to make it new for me.

  12. Rebecca says:

    Just ordered Virginia’s book, and now I’m even more excited about trying it.

    As a Southerner, I hope the rest of the world doesn’t think we eat the way Paula Deen cooks on television – three meals a day or even regularly. I’m not denying the high-fat foods, but there’s more to the cuisine.

  13. Jeff says:

    We actually see a growing trend of our customers “outside of the South”, particularly a big community on the West Coast purchasing our Southern Sauces and other traditional “Southern” items. I think that part of this trend is attributed to many people who have lived or worked in the South, gained exposure to the wonderful foods and are now seeking those same flavors and styles in their current location.

  14. danamccauley says:

    Thanks for sharing your insight Jeff – very valuable!

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