When talking to people about our "food issues" in PNG, I realized that we already eat weird food to most people in America. For all my southern friends you will immediately think "what's weird about that?" which is exactly what I thought until I moved to Missouri and most of my friends were from even further north than that. Sweet tea is not the only thing that doesn't reach further than Nashville. The picture above is of fried dill pickles. Yep. All my southern friends are thinking "Yum!" and everyone else is thinking "What?" I thought everyone ate these until I made them one night in Missouri and my neighbor came over and made lots of gagging and belching noises at the thought. There are also corn nuggets on this plate. Is that nation wide? I can't imagine that it is, but they are quite tasty as well. It is just creamed corn...that is fried. Anyone seeing a pattern here? The stereotype that all southern food is fried is actually not a stereotype, but a cold hard fact... as hard as all the arteries from Tennessee to Texas. It is all fried, but all good!
We recently decided to have our friend and future co- worker who is from Chicago come down and take a food tour of the south. We started in New Orleans which actually has its own strange culinary delights. It was lots of fun and we all needed bigger pants by the time she left. The two main things we wanted her to experience in NOLA were beignets and the muffaletta. Both are extraordinarily delicious. (although, I think beignets are technically French, but Cafe du Monde in New Orleans is famous for them, so it counts) Here are the beignets. They are just French dough nuts really, but who cares? They are way better than a regular dough nut I can guarantee you that! Why are they so far away from me, right now? Here is the muffaletta. I know all you northerners are saying "the who-da-what-a?" It is meat and olive loaf and cheese and lots of olives. It is divine...that is, if you like olives. If you do not, you might want to stear clear of this sandwich and order some gumbo or jambalaya or crawfish etouffee. I know at this point that all of you "non-southerners" are thinking that I already live in a foreign country, and actually the answer is... kind of. The southeast is its own unique place, but I love it! How could you not love a place that produces such delicious food? I will always be appreciative of my southern heritage and I think I will be even more so when I move to the tribe and take one valuable southern lesson with me..."if it tastes bad, fry it"...that makes everything better. Well, frying and a little ranch dressing.