Surprising Comfort Foods

hot cornbread crumbled into a cold glass of sweet milk - if I'm feeling frisky I might cut up some Vildalia onions and toss them in.

Southern Food: What's the wierdest food you have tried?

minutia, I grew up eating poke salad with sliced boiled eggs on top. As a boy I was always on the look out for a good stand of poke. When I found it I'd go back to the house, announce my discovery and get a grocery bag to pick "a mess". In the south we always picked "a mess" of greens.

beth 1 - you're right, it's better to wait two weeks to clean out a possom

Armadillos have now migrated up I-95 to SC. Haven't eaten one yet but somebody said they ain't nothing but possom-on-the-half shell.

Figs & ____ Beer?

"Fat Tire" - best beer I've ever drank and goes with anything.

Need Help: Overwhelmed by Cucumbers!

An old southern summer favorite - sliced cukes, onions and tomatoes in white vinegar served chilled

Southern Food: What's the wierdest food you have tried?

As a boy I would bait a large hook line with chicken guts and tie it to a Clorox bottle. I would paddle out to the center of our pond and drop it in the water.

Next day the bottle would usually be wrapped around brush at the edge of the pond. I would then grab the bottle with a pole hook and drag it onto the bank. At the end of that hook would often be an snapping turtle the size of a dish pan.

My dad would cut it's fist sized head off and dump it's body into boiling water. He would then clean and dress it and cut it up like chicken. Mom would flour it and and fry it exactly as she would chicken.

Fried snapping turtle (aka mud turtle) tastes great and it's absolutely true that some pieces tastes like chicken while others taste like fish.

We were careful to dispose of the turtle head in a safe place as it would live for 24 hours and could still give you quite a bite if you were unfortunate enough to step on it.

We also ate possom but not unless it was caught and pinned up for a week and fed scratch so that it's system would be free of whatever it might have scavenged. Possom is best served with sweet taters. We even have a possom festval in SC. Yall know what a seven course meal in Clemson is? ............................. a six pack and a possom.

I never cared much for squirrel as it reminds me of eating a rat and it's just too dang greasy.

Best Eats in Charleston, SC?

I'm from S.C. and take my wife on special occasions to F.I.G. ( Food Is Good ) The Charleston Grill (featured on PBS), Hanks (great upscale seafood near the Market) and The Peninsula Grill for dinner. For a great inexpensive lunch try Fast & French on Broad St. or Crew Cafe on Pinkney St. SNOB is okay but not in the same league as some I've mentioned. Jestines is just another soul food restaurant. Bowens Island is great when local oysters are in season. I too like the Hominy Grill.

For a great meal on HHI get reservations at the Ole Fort Pub and dine outside while the sun sets on Shull Creek. Trust me and order the chicken dish whatever it is. I can't wait to go back!

If you have the time eat a weekday lunch at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House in Savannah. It's great and so is Paula Dean's. I can't decide which I like best. Southern cuisine at it's best!

Grits vs. Yellow Cornmeal

No, they are a different grind. Cornmeal is ground much finer than grits. When you cook cornmeal like grits you get cornmeal mush which is very tasty and the texture is close to cream of rice. My great granny lost her teeth and my mother always claimed she lived on cornmeal mush the last few years of her life. My great grandpa ran a grist mill and the grind stones in the mill determine the grind of the corn.

You might try grinding your grits in a food processor to get a finer texture closer to cornmeal but I've never tried it.

One word answer only, please...Coke or Pepsi?

In blind tasting tests Pepsi usually wins as it's sweeter than Coke.

Serious BBQ: Last summer days with the grill.

In my neck of the woods, if it ain't pork it ain't BBQ.

I wish I may, I wish I might...

I have a hard time eating octopus suckers.

The wildest food you've ever tried and will never try again

head cheese, mountain oysters and blood pudding

No Soup For You - Favorite Soups!

Campbell's Oyster Stew - never cut it with milk but add spray butter and lots of black pepper. It's really tasty with Premium Multi-Grain Saltine Crackers.

Ritas Water Ice..... IN TEXAS!

We now have Rita's in SC and my Yankee wife says their custard is the real thing and just like she used to get in Rochester. It's too dense for me.

Anything new in San Francisco?

I had some unbelievable EVO ice cream at a pizzaria a short drive from Tibiron.

Places to eat in Atlanta?

Mary Mac's Tea Room for real down home Hotlanta cookin. The Varsity is the world's largest.

general wine question

I just got back from Silver Coast Winery at Ocean Isle Beach, NC. I bought a couple of cases of wine and they would not allow me to load them in my car until I was ready to leave. The summer heat of a parked car will destroy good wine I was told.

Funeral Food

Down here in South Carolina we treat a funeral like a family reunion and make the same covered dishes we would take to a reunion. Fried chicken, squash casserole, country ham biscuits, pole beans and Irish potatoes, speckled butter beans, deviled eggs, creamed corn, collard greens, potato salad, candied yams, cornbread, congealed salad, sliced melon, Eagle Brand lemon pie, and pound cake to name a few. Someone always remembers to bring a gallon of sweet tea. Guess you could call it food to die for.

Favorite foods eaten at the 'wrong' temperatures?

Love room temp Dr Pepper. It's also good served hot in a teacup.

Gluten Free flours: oh my god, there's SO many!

You all should join a celiac support group in your area. They share food stuff, recipes and can pass on great info. I recently attended a gluten free picnic and the food was outstanding. There is probably a celiac in your area that bakes and sells great bread. It's a cottage industry where I live.

If I could eat anything right now, I'd pick _________.

My mother's vegetable gumbo. My brothers and I have tried for years to duplicate it without success.

Who actually likes slimy food?

I love stewed okra with cornbread. Never thought of it as slimy but just how easy it slides down my throat.

Steaming or cooking oysters takes away much of the flavor. Give me two dozen on the half shell with Texas Pete, cocktail/horseradish sauce, saltine crackers and a pitcher of draft and I'm a happy guy. I once ate four dozen at the Acme Bar and Grill in NOLA.

Whats happening to your CSA ? Questions on Ed Levine's tweet

The only CSA I'm familiar with lost the war of northern aggression.

The delicacy that is SWEET TEA

FYI - Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka is made on Wadmalow Island, 30 miles from Charleston.

The delicacy that is SWEET TEA

Sweet-tea in South Carolina is one word. The Beacon Restaurant just off I-26 in Spartanburg is the largest user of Lipton tea in the world. I know folks that will drive a hundred miles for a Beacon tea. It's that good. The Beacon now sells it's tea in many Super Markets across the over the state.

Bareneed, y'all need to stop at the Beacon on your way to Charleston. Order a tea, a slice que, a small order of rings and for desert, a fried pie-heated with ice cream This restaurant is a one-of-a-kind and featured in every major food guide. The "That's Incredible" TV Show did a feature on the Beacon. Y'all won't believe it!

Making peace over beer: What should President Obama serve?

We've had Yeungling in South Carolina for several years now. It's good but I'm really liking Fat Tire these days.

Is there a more American beer than PBR? I believe it won a blue ribbon at Chicago Worlds Fair in 1896.

Any "cultured" buttermilk lovers out there?

As a kid I grew up drinking buttermilk with meals and thought everyone else did. We had cows and made our own buttermilk and mom kept a culture going in the frig. She just added to it and we never seemed to run out. I remember freezing buttermilk in popsicles molds and it wasn't half bad. I once tried adding chocolate syrup to buttermilk but that was a terrible mistake.

On a hot summer day I can drink a whole carton of ice cold buttermilk at one sitting.

Are you game enough to eat chitlins or tripe?

Some of you may consider eating an animal's digestive tract disgusting but it can be quite good if prepared properly.

I like chitlins boiled and served over white rice with hot sauce and tripe that's batter fried in small, easy to manage pieces.

How bout you? Have you or would you at least try them?

Help! I just bought 88 cans of sardines.

Couldn't resist as they were on sale at Walmart for $.20 a can and they're packed in Louisiana hot sauce ( not oil ). High omega 3 content and better than taking fish oil.

Other than eating them straight from the can with saltines can anyone suggest novel ways or things to eat with these bad boys? I'm desperate and willing to try anything once.

Blackberries beckon, the non-electronic variety

I always look forward to June as our wild blackberries are in season. I can generally find them growing wherever there's overgrown brush. They abound on interstates but I wouldn't eat them due to increased automobile emissions.

When I was a kid I'd take one of mom's boiler pans and head for the woods when they were ripe. I knew if I brought that pan home with blackberries it meant a pie for certain. My mom was a home eco. major at UGa. and one heck of a cook. Her dessert specialty was deep dish cobblers. She layered her blackberry cobbler with dumplings to die for topped off with one amazing Crisco crust. My brother is almost able to duplicate her recipe.

Before picking blackberries spray yourself with insect repellent. Brother Ed contracted Lyme disease a few years ago from a tick bite while picking them. With antibiotics he completely recovered in two weeks. Chiggers also love to hang out in blackberry patches. Wear gloves on the non picking hand, long sleeves and pants as I still have brier scars from my early picking days.

It's good to pick some of the unripe red berries along with the ripe black ones as it adds a nice tartness to the pie.

IMO the commercial blackberries aren't nearly as tasty as the smaller wild variety with their wonderful seedy texture. Blackberry preserves are a bit of heaven in a Mason fruit jar.

It's almost entertaining to have a seed lodged between a tooth as it gives you great memories of those wonderful berries you just polished off.

Share your blackberry thoughts and memories.

Anyone tried fried peanuts yet?

I know they're frying everything these days from pickles to Snicker Bars but it was still shocking to find convenient stores in my area selling fried peanuts in the shell. I finally bought a bag of Cajun fried peanuts but really wasn't sure how to eat them. I asked the clerk and she said you're supposed to eat them shell and all. Well I did just that and it wasn't too bad but I guess it might take awhile to cultivate a taste for those crispy shells. Some guy in Charleston has a blog on fried peanuts and he suggests that you only eat every third shell???

How do YOU make a tomato sandwich?

With all those tomato plants growing in my garden I can hardly wait to have one.

Here's how I've enjoyed tomato sandwiches since childhood which may be different from how you grew up eating them - two slices of very fresh Sunbeam white loaf bread, Miracle Whip spread on each piece, chilled tomato slices, black pepper and lots of salt.

Now tell me how you make yours.

Southern Bread Traditions

Cornbread is eaten with vegetables, soup, or milk but never with meat. It can also be enjoyed with butter and sorghum. If you're eating at home it's ok to crumble cornbread in your soup or in your buttermilk. It's also permissible to crumble it into your pot liquor ( juice from your greens ).

Biscuits are consumed with mashed potatoes, rice and gravy, grits or with a meat. Leftover biscuits are enjoyed with butter, syrup, preserves or honey. Biscuits should never be served with vegetables - that's why cornbread was invented.

Spoon bread is considered a dish unto itself.

White loaf bread is generally served with BBQ and at fish fries when grits are available.

Hush puppies are paired with seafood and sometimes with BBQ, hash or Brunswick Stew.

A complete southern meal will feature both cornbread and biscuits. My mother baked a cake of cornbread every day of her life and always made scratch biscuits on Sunday.

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