OK, Paula Deen'snewest cook book, Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible made the list of the five unhealthiest cookbooks of 2011. That said there is hope for our culinary reputation yet. Our good name may be saved by, of all folks, The New York Times.They did a wonderful article on real southern food being raised and grown for true southern cooking. The gist of the article is "Today, purists believe, Southern cooking is too often represented by its worst elements: feedlot hams, cheap fried chicken and chains like Cracker Barrel" .
I know, I know, Paula Deen's army will be ready to dredge me in cookie crumbs and fry me once again in lard. But, I still say, I love butter and fat back has it's place, however, Southern cooking is getting a bum wrap by all this. True southern cuisine is a fine art and the masters of it know that it all starts with fresh, authentic ingredients. And, thanks to some resourceful folks, these ingredients are being produced locally in traditional ways so that the cuisine is not some fru fru impersonation of an old recipe, it is the real thing.
Ms. Deen and her faithful can have their calories and their faux fare. She is a dear and most entertaining. And, the south is big enough for all of us. (Heck, she is making a fortune - and I'm not, so I can't say much.) However, it is nice to have someone, albeit a Yankee, to take a stand for the real thing and highlight those folks who are going back to our roots (literally ) and bringing the true good old south forth. Now we find that "Oh my, I had forgotten what this was supposed to taste like!" comes to our lips after we experience some divine gastronomic epiphany.
My Grandmother had it right all along. All I needed was the ingredients. And, the secret is not going too far from home.