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).

Hangover Hankerins

First off, apologies to my vegetarian readers. 😉

This morning I had one of my rare moments of really missing something I can’t get here. Biscuitville. It’s the best hangover cure. Ever! For those not familiar with it — and that would sadly include a lot of Americans, as well — Biscuitville is a fast-food restaurant chain located in some of the southern states and they specialize in breakfast foods, specifically biscuits. You can get all sorts of variations of breakfast meat, egg, and/or cheese slapped between a fluffy buttermilk biscuit, along with sides such as grits, hashbrowns, home fries, gravy, honey buns, and pancakes. It’s not even remotely healthy, but it’s absolutely delicious.

I didn’t eat out all that often when I was living in the US. I liked to cook and figured I could make something just as nice, but for less money usually. When we did go out, it was usually to a smaller local restaurant, so I don’t really miss a lot of chain restaurants living here. In fact, today is the first time that I’ve really been craving Biscuitville, so I figure that’s not too bad after living here for close to two years. But this morning I woke up hungry and really wanting a fry-up with bacon, eggs, sausage, hashbrowns and grits. Then it struck me that I really wanted Biscuitville. They have a drive-thru, making it even easier to throw on some random clothes and have a quick fix for your craving. Sadly, that’s too big and wet of a drive for me now. I can’t even fly!

The Netherlands isn’t big on breakfast in the American and British fashion. They’re more like the French and Italians, I guess. I can’t think of any restaurants that I’ve seen here that would really even be open early in the morning, much less serving a full-on breakfast. Tell me if I’m wrong, because I’d be curious to know about any places in Utrecht.

So this morning I did the best I could with what I had on hand. I could have made some biscuits, but that was more work than I wanted. Fortunately, I had eggs, bacon, cheese and bread on hand, so I made myself a sandwich with a slice of gouda melted on toast with a fried egg and a couple slices of bacon. It was good, but it just wasn’t Biscuitville.