An Ode to Southern Food

One of the things I miss living in the Netherlands is the lack of breakfast as I know it. For many places in Europe, the idea of breakfast is a roll/croissant with some jam or something simple like that. In the Netherlands, many families have a slice of bread with some butter and hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles). What you rarely find is a full breakfast with eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes, etc. pennys

To be honest, in my normal, day-to-day life in the US, I rarely had a full breakfast on a regular basis, but sometimes you just want the full meal. Since it’s hard to even find a restaurant in Utrecht that comes anywhere near serving breakfast, I’ve been looking forward to my trip back to the states to have a full-on southern breakfast. Today, I got my first chance (although to be honest, I’ve already had grits and bacon since being back). This morning we went to Penny’s, a family restaurant that’s been around for ages and where customers are regulars. I enjoyed my delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage patty, grits, and a biscuit. This was accompanied by a large glass of proper orange juice, not the thin, weak stuff.
I didn’t get the pancakes, but I’m sure a trip to IHoP (International House of Pancakes) is in my near future. Bring on the loganberry syrup!

Overall, I don’t miss too many foods from the US, since I was trying to avoid a lot of processed food long before moving. However, there are certain things that are just tasty, fun, or convenient. I make a lot of my own spice blends these days, but sometimes I just want to grab a shaker of Tony’s Creole seasoning or some Old Bay seasoning. Old Bay is great with seafood — as is Tony’s — but truly, when it comes to Tony’s, it goes great with just about everything!

I was introduced to Tony’s when I went to Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. You could usually find a shaker of Tony’s on most of the tables in the restaurants on campus. It was while I was living in New Orleans that I was also introduced to Abita beer. I first tried Abita Amber at Tipitina’s and really enjoyed it.

Unfortunately, when I graduated, I found it hard to find either Tony’s or Abita outside of Louisiana. Eventually, it started showing up and now it’s much easier to find, thank goodness. As a result, on one of my first trips to a grocery store since being back here, I stocked up on some favorites (and bought some Burt’s Bees Hand Salve, while I was at it).
Southern Cooking and an Extra
A Southern Tradition
And finally, in this ode to southern food of sorts, you know you’re in a southern kitchen when you see Duke’s mayonnaise in the fridge. Best of all, my photo of Duke’s mayo showed up on Facebook during the time I was looking for a video that mentions the mayo and a friend posted a link to the very same video. So nowadays, when southern women see a mention of Duke’s, a lot of us seem to think of this video (around the 1:51 mark).

11 thoughts on “An Ode to Southern Food

  1. Hi Alison,

    I’m enjoying the reports from your US trip –hope there will be more– but wanted to point out that the European breakfasts I know (German and Dutch) can include any or all of the following to go with your bread or roll: cheese, cold cuts, soft-boiled egg, peanut butter (the latter only in NL). Michiel’s daily and unvarying breakfast includes old Gouda on toast. Indeed, I think he calls it breakfast cheese.

    I also enjoyed your evocative description of the 1000-year-old boat in the Utrecht museum –brought back memories of seeing (and smelling) it in June.

    Looking forward to more Caturdays! Meanwhile enjoy your trip and return safely.

    Best wishes from Cornelia Schuh

    Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2013 20:08:51 +0000 To:

    • True, I mentioned the cheese and egg when discussing it earlier with my parents, but forgot to mention it here. I’m a fan of melted cheese on toast for breakfast for something simple.

      I actually meant to include a cat photo at the end of this post, but forgot after searching for the video, etc. Maybe next week!

      I’m glad you got to enjoy the boat that day in all it’s smelly glory!

  2. We don’t all eat hagelslag/chocolate sprinkles πŸ™‚ I do believe most Dutch do prefer to have just some simple slices of bread with cheese, jam or luncheon meat over a fully cooked breakfast like you had. Though in the south where I grew up, warm lunches (they were full dinners really, potatoes, meat, veg and everything) were very common up until at least the 1980’s. It sounds like a full English almost, very filling I’m sure. Not sure if I could manage that first thing in the morning

    But what are grits? I’m guessing some sort of porridge type thing?

    • I don’t think most Americans eat a full breakfast like this on a daily basis. Cereal, yogurt, toast, and such are probably more typical nowadays. It is very filling, but for the southerners in ye olden days who worked farms and such, it was needed. Now, not so much. πŸ˜‰

      As for grits, they’re sort of like porridge, but made of a type of ground corn. Wiki has a decent explanation: They’re a typical breakfast dish, but can also be used in main dishes, like shrimp and grits, which we’ll be having for dinner tomorrow.

  3. Funny how some of the things we take for granted, are the things we miss the most. I never thought about grits and biscuits as something I’d miss, but after reading your post it makes sense. And orange juice that is not watered down, funny to hear that, perhaps because of all the sugar it is diluted?
    I enjoy your posts, and rarely reply. I was glad to have some down time today taking time to catch up on friends online. πŸ™‚

    • Growing up in Florida, I tend to be a bit picky about my orange juice. I find a lot of European stuff to be unpleasant unless it’s truly fresh squeezed. I think it just depends on what you grow up with.

      As for biscuits, those I can make if the craving hits, but it’s always nice to have them as an option or to go with special dishes. Grits are much harder to come by, which makes them even more special.

      Thanks for the comment! πŸ™‚

  4. I love food posts! This was really interesting and has inspired me to do my own breakfast post…

    Do you find that you don’t miss a lot of American food because you’ve got used to Dutch food, or just because you found it to be quite similar in the first place? The things I personally miss from the UK seem to be never-ending…

    • I truly didn’t eat a lot of packaged food/brand food for quite a few years before moving, so outside of some vegetables and cuts of meat, I can find most things that I usually ate or a close enough approximation. And after five years, I don’t have as many cravings. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess! πŸ™‚ It’s only now that I’m here that I’m remembering the various odds and ends that I used to enjoy occasionally.

      I’m looking forward to reading your own take on breakfast!

  5. This looks amazing – and a good IHoP run seems like it would be in order, or any kind of 24 hour diner kind of place. Are you going to do some biscuits and sausage gravy while you’re home? I think that’s on my list the next trip back!

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