Thursday, August 21, 2008

MY South

I got this in an email from my mother-in-law and HAD to post it. I just love it. Robert St. John has a restaurant in H-Burg that we just LOVE. We try to go when we are there, they have the best corn-crab bisque around! Anyway, read and enjoy. (Oops, this may qualify as not keeping it a secret) If you are from the south or even a transplant to the south comment at the bottom about YOUR SOUTH!!! I would love to read them!

This was written by Robert St. John, executive chef and owner of thePurple Parrot Cafe, Crescent City Grill and Mahogany Bar of Hattiesburg , MS .

Thirty years ago I visited my first cousin in Virginia. While hangingout with his friend, the discussion turned to po pular movies of the day.When I offered my two-cents on the authenticity and social relevance ofthe movie Billy Jack , one of the boys asked, in all seriousness; 'Do youguys have movie theaters down there?' To which I replied, 'Yep. We wear shoes too.'Just three years ago, my wife and I were attending a food and wineseminar in Aspen, Colo. We were seated with two couples from Las Vegas.One of the Glitter Gulch gals was amused and downright rude when Idescribed our restaurant as a fine-dining restaurant.' Mississippi doesn't have fine-dining restaurants!' she insisted andnudged her companion. I fought back the strong desire to mention thatshe lived in the land that invented the 99-cent breakfast buffet.I wanted badly to defend my state, my region, and my restaurant with a15-minute soliloquy and public relations rant that would surely changeher mind. It was at that precise moment that I was hit with a blindingjolt of enlightenment, and in a moment of complete and absolute clarityit dawned on me -- my South is the best-kept secret in the country. Whywould I try to win this woman over? She might move down here.I am always amused by Hollywood's interpretation of the South. We arestill, on occasion, depicted as a collective group of sweaty, stupid,backwards-mi nded, racist rednecks. The South of movies and TV, theHollywood South, is not my South.

This is my South:

My South is full of honest, hardworking people.

My South is thebirthplace of blues and jazz, and rock n' roll. It has banjo pickers andfiddle players, but it also has BB King, Muddy Waters, the AllmanBrothers, Emmylou Harris and Elvis.

My South is hot.

My South smells of newly mowed grass.

My South was kickthe can, creek swimming, cane-pole fishing and bird hunting.

In my South, football is king, and the Southeastern Conference is thekingdom.

My South is home to the most beautiful women on the planet.

In my South, soul food and country cooking are the same thing.

My South is full of fig preserves, cornbread, butter beans, friedchicken, grits and catfish.

In my South we eat foie gras, caviar and truffles.

In my South, ourtransistor radios introduced us to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones atthe same time they were introduced to the rest of the country.

In my South, grandmothers cook a big lunch every Sunday, so big that wecall it dinner (supper comes later).

In my South, family matters, deeply.

My South is boiled shrimp, blackberry cobbler, peach ice cream, bananapudding and oatmeal cream pies.

In my South people put peanuts in bottles of Coca-Cola and hot sauce on almost everything.

In my South the tea is iced and almost as sweet as the women.

My South has air-conditioning.

My South is camellias, azalea s, wisteria and hydrangeas.

In my South, the only person that has to sit on the back of the bus isthe last person that got on the bus.

In my South, people still say 'Yes, ma'am,' 'No ma'am,' 'Please' and 'Thank you.'

In my South, we all wear shoes....most of the time.

My South is the best-kept secret in the country.Please continue to keep the keeps the idiots away!
MY SOUTH: The Grove @ Ole Miss!


  1. I love this. I had a friend in college who always called me a redneck b/c I was from TN. Later, I visited the town where he lived in NY and found it full of unmowed fields, trailor homes and the sorriest "airshow" this side of the Mississippi.

  2. Oh, I miss my Mississippi!!  I've lived in the south technically all my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.  There is a richness here in people and living that doesn't equate to elitism.  Listen to the song "Southern Comfort" to say it all!


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