7 Things Southern Girls Must Do: Learn to Cook Southern Diet Staples

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This series will cover seven essentials all Southern girls must do to earn their keep. While we don’t much care for rules, we do believe there are certain things one simply must accomplish in order to call oneself a true Southern girl. This is just one.

In case you weren’t aware, food is kind of a big deal, no a really big deal, in the South. And if a girl learns nothing else, she needs to know how to prepare the basic Southern diet staples.

What exactly are these said staple items? Ask 10 ladies and you will most likely get 10 different answers, so for our purposes we chose these:


Don’t even think about the kind that come in the individual packages you can warm up in the microwave. Homemade grits are the only way to go. Top with butter, a little salt and pepper and you’ve got breakfast or a fabulous base for shrimp. If you’re feeling extra saucy, add cheese and/or jalapeños.

Biscuits and Gravy

You may begin to see an overarching theme in this list. Homemade. Every Southern grandmother has a buttermilk biscuit recipe she can share with you. And that gravy best start out as drippings if you actually want to be considered a Southern girl. Google: drippings. We don’t have time to cover everything.


Cornbread. Not cake. None of that thick, sweet stuff you get up North. Cornbread is savory and cooked in a hot skillet; your grandmother probably gave you one of those, too, Lord willing.

Fried Chicken

Frying chicken is an art. It is a skill that takes practice and patience. Do not, we repeat, do not think oven-fried chicken and skillet fried chicken are even in the same league.

Collard Greens

Cooking greens properly requires the use of a pressure cooker. Use of a pressure cooker requires a special skill set. You mess up cooking with a pressure cooker and it will explode. Trust us when we say, “nobody wants collard greens all over their kitchen!” But, seriously– people have died because they were operating pressure cookers incorrectly.

Deviled Eggs

This dish is so important, somebody went and concocted a dish just for them! Pretty sure there has never been a Southern potluck or picnic that didn’t include deviled eggs.

Macaroni and Cheese

No self-respecting Southern woman would ever serve Kraft out of the box. Homemade with at least three different types of cheese and butter. Lots of butter. This all starts with the roux. You mess up the roux and you are not eating mac and cheese for dinner.

Fried Okra/Green Tomatoes/Squash

Besides homemade, frying is the other necessity down here. While we understand that vegetables are perfectly good without frying, they are simply divine once they have been battered and deep-fried.

Lemon Meringue Pie

This one is not as much about the lemon as it is about the crust and the meringue. Southern girls can whip up a flaky crust out of flour and Crisco in no time flat then top a pie with a meringue so light it will make you swear you are in heaven. And if you’re in the South, you’re about as close as you’ll ever be.

Peach cobbler

Peaches are abundantly available during the summer months is the South and there is no better way to prepare them than in a cobbler. And because you have already learned to make a crust for pie – this should be easy!

Once you master this list you can pat yourself on the back, sit on your front porch and have yourself a big ole glass of sweet tea.