Food in general is nice, but some foods are just better than others. We can all agree with that statement, right? And when one food is better than another food, we call it a comfort food. Lasagna, cheeseburgers, pancakes, brownies, grilled cheese sandwiches with a side of warm tomato soup—all of these tasty temptations qualify as comfort foods, and we'd be happy to see any one of them on our plate at any given moment. But, of all of the comfort foods out there, we're going to go out on a limb and say that Southern comfort foods are our favorite.
What can we say? Southern comfort food is comfort food done right. It's a cuisine full of fried things and more butter, cheese and cream sauces than we could shake a stick at. Southern comfort foods on next level comfort foods, the Porsche, Bugatti and Maserati of the soul food world. Southern comfort foods are the dishes that set the standard for what's good. They feed our souls and delight our senses and we love, love, love them for that! So, let's have some fun, shall we? Pick or pass on these classic Southern comfort foods and get a country singer hubby in the end!
1Biscuits and Gravy
Biscuits are a Southern classic in any case, as is sausage gravy, but when the two tango together, it's like the stars align and every force of nature in the universe comes together to deliver comfort food perfection. As a flawless first meal of the day, biscuits and gravy are stick to your ribs delicious.
Grits is basically a porridge made from ground corn. Sounds simple enough, right? Au contraire! No, no, no, grits are a hard thing to get just right! You want these puppies to be just done, not too hard, not too mushy, not too runny, not too thick. When done just right, grits are a real thing of beauty. Can be served savory or sweet.
Collard greens aren't a very good main dish, but that's not how you're supposed to eat them, anyway. This is side dish material, and as a side dish it does the job and it does it well. Sprinkle some hot pepper sauce on top of a heaping helping of this stuff, and you'd better be prepared for some healthy yum!
Frying foods is a big deal in the South, because, hey, if you can fry something, then why in tarnation would you choose not to? Fried catfish is a delicious treat, the perfect Sunday lunch by anybody's standards. Crunchy on the outside, warm and subtly fishy on the inside, this stuff's delicious, and the smell alone is irresistible.
Hush puppies, for those of you who don't know, are bits of cornmeal-based batter that have been deep-fried to crunchy, savory perfection. These guys are often served up with seafood as a side dish, but they're so delicious, we could eat them all by themselves—and many's the time that we have. Can you blame us? They're scrumptious!
With a cake-like but grainy texture, thanks to the cornmeal, cornbread has just a hint of sweetness to it that makes it the perfect accompaniment to any Southern comfort meal. 'Course, you *could* just eat it all by itself. Fresh out of the oven with a pat of slightly melted butter on it? Mmmm, if that ain't the taste of heaven, then we don't know what is.
Beef stew is more than a Southern comfort food, it's pretty much a comfort food all over the place. How could it not be, though? Bits of tender beef cooked in broth with a variety of vegetables, the longer this stuff sits, the better it seems to taste. We're big fans of beef stew...are you?
Ooooh, tamales! We could eat 40 of these things in one sitting—which is a total lie, because we've definitely eaten upwards of 60 in a sitting before. A mixture of meat (usually chicken, beef or pork) and masa, a fine corn meal, tamales are wrapped in corn husks and steamed to absolute perfection.
One of the great things about Southern cuisine is that it leaves no vegetable untouched. Everything's always battered and fried and creamed and goodness knows what else. It's wonderful. Creamed corn is corn that's served in a thick sauce to add some oomph, and, man, does it ever! This side dish may not be everyone's thing, but it's definitely one of ours.
Okra all by itself is pretty meh. We mean, we don't want to try to talk it down, bit it's just not the sort of thing that you would, well...want to eat. But! When you take okra and slice it into bite-sized bits, then fry it in some oil, it turns into a side dish superpower that can't be beat.
Gumbo is a stew, but it's less a stew and more something completely its own. This delicious dish originates from Louisiana, where it's a staple of the local cuisine. Flavored with a strong stock, shellfish (usually shrimp and/or crawfish) and a blend of vegetables, we recommend a hearty helping of gumbo served up with some hot sauce.
12Chicken and Waffles
Fried chicken is so good, it's the star of any meal show, but when paired with waffles, this stuff packs a Southern comfort food punch that's mighty hard to beat, y'all. Whether you eat it first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day or when the dinner bell rings, this meal is always a treat.
Where would Southern cuisine be without its desserts? Blackberries run rampant throughout the South during the early to mid summer months, so it only makes sense to take advantage of their abundance by sticking them in something delicious. What better than a cobbler? Serve up a warm helping of blackberry cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (Bluebell works best!), and give your soul something to smile about!
You won't find any fancy pants fish eggs in this stuff. Cowboy caviar is all about casual convenience. It's a mixture of corn, beans (usually black beans or black-eyed peas), onions and bell peppers that have been lightly pickled. Cowboy caviar works wonderfully as a dip, but it makes for a good side dish, too!
Like we said, potatoes are a big deal when it comes to any cuisine, but most especially Southern cuisine. Potato salad, unlike its potato side dish counterparts, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes, is served cold. You can make it with mustard or mayonnaise or both, and it's sure to be delicious any which way.
16King Ranch Chicken
You haven't truly lived until you've had some homemade King Ranch chicken. Named after the legendary King Ranch in Texas, this stuff is an appetizing mixture of tortillas, Rotel, cheese and (what else?) chicken, this dish is zesty, filling and soothing. A casserole that definitely warrants seconds, we've never met a person who could pass this stuff up.
17Coconut Cream Pie
You can't talk about Southern cuisine and not mention the coconut cream pie. Coconut is a major fruit (wait, is it a fruit?) player in a handful of Southern desserts, and cream pies are a big deal, too. Combined, these two things really kick some bee-hind, and it's wonderful. The more cream, the better. Every slice of this stuff is a slice of yum.
The pecan (pronounced "puh-kahn" for those of you who have been pronouncing it "pee-can", which is totally wrong, by the way) is a huge deal in the South, you guys. Huge. They put them in pies, tarts, cakes, cookies. brownies—they put them in everything! And it's easy to see why, 'cause they're tasty. Pecan pralines are the creme de la creme. Sweet, chewy, nutty goodies, everybody loves a pecan praline.
Banana pudding—and, remember, the G in pudding is silent in the South—is so yummy, it shouldn't even be legal. Seriously, so good it's suspicious. Creamy banana flavored pudding layered with slices of banana, whipped cream and vanilla cookies, we're drooling all over our keyboard just talking about this classic Southern comfort food dessert.
Smoked brisket is a hard thing to get right. Cooked too long, and it gets tough and dry. Not marinated long enough, and it can turn out bland and tasteless. But, when all goes well with the smoked brisket, it's a glorious thing. The perfect brisket should be juicy, tender and full of flavor. It shouldn't need barbecue sauce, it should be delicious all by itself. This has been a Smoked Brisket PSA brought to you by the council of quiz makers who have unnecessarily specific opinions about how Southern comfort foods should be prepared.
21Macaroni and Cheese
Alright, okay. So macaroni and cheese isn't *just* a Southern comfort food, it's a comfort food everywhere else, too. We mean, it is pasta and cheese, after all, how could that not be amazing no matter where in the world you are? But, mac and cheese is super important in the South, where it's the perfect side dish for brisket, fried catfish, barbecue chicken and literally ANYTHING else.
Coleslaw is like collard greens's served cold cousin. This stuff is perfect for backyard get togethers and barbecues and family reunions and a whole bunch of other stuff, too. It's basically just shredded cabbage served in a creamy dressing, although it can included sliced apples, beets, carrots and lots of other stuff, too. Is this stuff yum, or is it a waste of perfectly good dinner plate space? It's up to you to decide!
Never had crawfish etouffee? Then allow us to enlighten you. This stuff starts with a blonde roux simmered down to a sauce, and it can be made with crab, shrimp or any other shellfish, but it's most iconically Louisiana when made with crawfish. Ladled over a bowl full of rice, etouffee is #nice.
Why is this stuff called hoppin' John? Uh...we dunno. We guess we coulda looked it up, but we didn't 'cause we were too busy thinking about how delicious it sounds. Hoppin' John is usually made with black-eyed peas, rice, onions and bacon, so just how the heck could that possibly not be good, huh?
Tortillas are a big deal in Southern cuisine, and that fact makes us so happy because tortillas are delicious and we could all do to eat a few more of them. Everybody knows what enchiladas are—tortillas filled with cheese, beans and beef and/or chicken, baked to deliciousness, enchiladas are everything we ever wanted in a meal.
Succotash comes from a word from an Algonquin language called Narragansett. The word is "sohquttahhash" and means "broken corn kernels. Neat, huh? This dish works well as a side, and it's a blend of corn, lima beans, bell peppers and onions. 'Course, this isn't a smash hit with everyone, and it's certainly no mac and cheese. Where do you stand on the succotash debate?
27Pimento Cheese Sandwich
We don't know who the heck looked at pimentos and thought to themselves, "You know what? Let's drown these puppies in a sea of subpar cheese!" but we'd like to shake hands with them because, dang, if their idea wasn't executed nicely! Pimento cheese sandwiches are a Southern classic, but they're pretty divisive, too. You either love 'em...or ya don't.
28Chicken and Dumplings
Soups are a no-brainer choice for comfort foods, since they're so darn good at warming us up from the inside out, but there's just something extra special about chicken and dumplings. The vegetables, the chicken, the tasty creamy broth. It's all good, but the best bit is the dumplings. They're like clouds made from biscuit dough. Impossible to beat!
29Red Beans and Rice
Red beans and rice. That doesn't sound like such a big deal, does it? We mean, what's so great about red beans? Or about rice, for that matter? Well, those are two good points, hypothetical person, but just hear us out. When mixed with a blend of creole spices, red beans and rice becomes a classic Southern comfort food that deserves a place of honor on any dinner table.
Potatoes play a pivotal role in all sorts of cuisines, so it should come as no surprise that it's such a major player in Southern comfort food. Mashed potatoes are always a welcome side to any Southern meal, but baked potatoes are a star, too, and the more stuff they're loaded with, the better. Butter, bacon, chives, sour cream—pack on the toppings and go to town with this Southern comfort food classic!
31Carrot and Raisin Salad
Carrots? Mm, yeah, we guess they're okay. Raisins? Uh...well, they're not really our thing, but we get that some people just enjoy eating stuff that's yucky. Carrot and raisins together? In some sort of coleslaw-style salad? Well, we suppose it could work, but it's definitely no potato salad or macaroni and cheese. What do you guys think? Is this dish a hit, or is it a definite miss?
To be quite honest, we're not too sure why this stuff is called "hummingbird" cake. True, it's an adorable name. We mean, who doesn't love those sweet little sword-beaked birdies? But we've never had a slice of this spicy, sweet, oh, so delicious cake and felt light as a feather as a result. Still, it's a great way to satisfy any sweet tooth. More please!
Beignets. Ooooooh, baby, beignets. With our sad lack of willpower, we're not match for these crispy, flaky pillows of deep-fried dough. But, really, how could *anyone* *possibly* turn down one or two (or twelve) of these delicious creations? Sprinkled with powdered sugar and served still warm, beignets will soothe your soul like no other baked good could.
34Corn on the Cob
Corn? Mm, yeah, that stuff is okay, we guess. But, say...have you ever heard of corn...on the cob? Because, sure, corn is tasty, but the fun of it is significantly undercut by the fact that it's not served in its natural state. If you eat if off the cob, you can increase your butter consumption, raise the likelihood that you'll get bits stuck between your molars, and! You'll feel like a barnyard animal! So much win with corn on the cob.
"Hey, you know what would be a good idea? If we mixed an egg and some bread crumbs with loose salmon and fried it in patties on a skillet to make salmon burgers. But, salmon burgers isn't a good name, so instead, we'll name them after a lawn sport that people don't play anymore. Sound like a plan?" —the inventor of salmon croquettes, probably.