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help me explain southern cooking

So it's like this. I live in Alabama, and I'm trying to entice a friend to come visit, but i hit a stumbling block when i tried to explain the food. I want to give a better explanation than "um...you know, grits and collards and stuff," but i also don't want to only give them the really weird side of things. I'm having a hard time explaining the "key points" of southern cooking (for example, if i were to talk about "italian" cuisine, I'd probably talk about wine, bread, pasta, tomatoes, cheeses, etc. if i were talking about asian food, I would bring up vegetables, soy proteins, noodles and tea).

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