This morning, I read a New York Times article entitled “Chicken on the Plate, Family on the Side” . The article discusses Emily Saliers’ (of Indigo Girls fame) Decatur, Georgia restaurant, Watershed, but more importantly, it discusses the link between Southern cooking and the Southern family.
I often think about what it means to be “Southern” and about what parts of my heritage I want to pass on to my children. Yes, I want to pass on the understanding of what an authentic fried green tomato should be. (No, I’m not talking about this fancy-shmancy, flour-covered, horseradish mayonaise-on-the-side shitpile they’ve been serving in Atlanta the last few years.) However, I don’t particularly want to pass on to my children a legacy of heart attacks, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The question is how to show the kids that good southern cooking is, historically, an important part of their southern culture, while also exemplifying a healthy view of food.
What I have decided, after a lot of thought, is that day in and day out we will eat the healthy stuff (lean meats, fish, and chicken, with healthy fats, ample fruits and vegetables, and low sugar). But, baby, when we have a holiday or the end-all, be-all southern cooking extravaganza of a DEATH IN THE FAMILY, we will pull out all the stops. Haul out the deep fryer!