Tuesday, January 1, 2008

About Deep South Dish

Deep South Dish is about basic, country style southern cookin' with an emphasis on coastal south dishes and most often, cooking from scratch. Please understand that this site and it's Facebook Fan Page are not from a corporate website for some major company with thousands of employees. There is no test kitchen other than my own little galley style home kitchen. I am the sole proprietor of this spot, and I am not a chef, professional or otherwise. I am just a plain ole home cook, posting all of my recipes for you to hopefully enjoy.  You won't find fancy or gourmet or pretentious here.

Please also keep in mind that these are my recipes, done to my taste and while I am thrilled to share them with you, if you are looking to duplicate exactly a recipe that matches a memory of one of your grandma's recipes, my recipe may not be the same as your grandma's recipe was.  I am always after younger folks to sit at the hand of their grandmas and watch them cook, writing down everything, so that they can carry on all of the food traditions and flavors to their own children.

If you don't happen to like a recipe, or a certain ingredient in a recipe, or the way a recipe "looks" in the photograph, PLEASE feel free to skip that recipe for pete's sake. Without leaving your "opinion." Just mind your manners is all I'm asking. If you wouldn't walk into somebody's kitchen and say that to their face - well, just don't say it online either.

About serving size. I have tried to estimate serving sizes on some recipes, but it's just that. A guess. Generally speaking, I do not try to calculate that since I am only a home cook, not a test kitchen, and for the most part, I offer my time here for free!  I have no intention of deconstructing a cooked recipe to see how many 1/2 cup servings there are in it.  Appetites vary among people and I have found you can't please everyone - someone will always disagree with my estimate.  Generally speaking you'll find my recipes are designed for a family, and unless otherwise noted, will feed somewhere between 4 to 6 people, but again, that is only a guess and depends on appetites.  You can look at the ingredients in most recipes and tell generally how many people it will feed, but I think it'd be safe to say that if you're a party of 2, you'll probably want to cut most recipes in half, unless you don't mind leftovers.    

Something else I should note is that while this site (and the Facebook Fan Page at - where I post links) does focus on many "traditional southern classic" recipes - so you'll see recipes for things like Skillet Cornbread, Fried Chicken, Red Beans & Rice, Squash Casserole, Chicken Pot Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, Banana Pudding and Pecan Pie, and of course, Southern Iced Tea, as well as our own Gulf Coast favorites - like Fried Catfish, Boiled Shrimp, Fried Shrimp, Po'boys, and Gumbo, we in The Deep South eat just like everybody else around the country - like everybody else, we eat a variety of foods too!

We are also very lucky to have a wide range of cultural influences here along the Gulf Coast, so alongside those wonderful southern favorites, you'll also find things like Pork Schnitzel, Cajun and Creole Recipes, Classic 70s 7-Layer Dip, and other appetizers, party foods and football food like Angels and Devils on Horseback, Loaded Potato Skins, my deconstructed Jalapeno Popper Dip, and my version of a Spicy Crockpot Italian Beef for Sandwiches. You'll find good old stand-by recipes like Ground Beef Casseroles and Goulash, lots of Wing recipes (because I love them), some Ribs and other Cookout Foods, and even some Asian dishes like Chap Chae Korean Noodles, Step by Step Pork Fried Rice, and Classic Stir Fry.  There's a few Mexican and Tex Mex recipes, like some pretty darned good Beef and Bean Burritos, an Authentic Mexican Shredded Beef for Tacos, and Ropa Vieja, a Latin style beef. There are even recipes for making a crispy homemade pizza and how to make your own Greek yogurt at home!

Besides "classic southern recipes," these are the foods we eat Down South.

Bottom line. I am first southern, and second a food blogger, so if I cook it, I'm gonna post it - whether it's "traditional southern" or not, and hopefully you will enjoy seeing that variety of recipes outside of the classic southern recipes.

Yes, a lot of the dishes I make are full fat. And made with sugar.  But, you can make changes like substituting artificial sweeteners and you can lower the fat in most recipes by using lower fat substitutes. And, there are even a few lower fat recipes here too.

Yes, I sometimes un-apologetically and proudly use products like Velvetta or condensed soups, or convenience products, and I am fully endeared to lil smokies sausages and meatballs done up in the classic chili sauce grape jelly way for parties. I use homemade whipped cream but I use Cool Whip too. I cook from scratch and I use shortcuts. I have an affinity toward certain name brand products, like White Lily flour, Land O'Lakes butter, Crisco shortening and Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning, but I also use many generics. Walmart Great Value products are my friends! This is true southern cooking and I make no apologies for it.

I sure hope that covers all of those nay-sayers out there. One thing that I have discovered is that putting yourself out on the internet and opening up your kitchen to the world, also opens you up to a level of "anonymous" rudeness that would likely not happen if that person were actually visiting in your home kitchen. I've seen it in young people and in older folks too - some even older than me! Folks just seem to be losing their people skills and politeness has flown out the window while people seem to have no problem saying just about whatever is on their mind with little restraint- no matter how rude or uncalled for - when they are saying it on a keyboard instead of face to face in person. Sad.

I should mention that any comments - here and on the Facebook Fan Page - that are rude, snarky, unduly negative or otherwise uncalled for, add nothing positive or do not otherwise contributed to the conversation will be deleted.

I repeat. If you don't happen to like a recipe, or a certain ingredient in a recipe, or the way a recipe "looks," feel free to skip it for pete's sake. Without leaving your "opinion." Just mind your manners is all I'm asking.

Anyway, on to my "skills" in the kitchen...

I wasn’t one of the fortunate southern cooks that learned right at the elbow of my Mama or my Grandma in the academy of the kitchen, though they were certainly both mighty fine cooks indeed and I certainly made my observations. My mother’s role was very traditional and back then, there weren’t any fancy names for it. She was simply put, a housewife.

Her purpose was to bear children and to manage a household, while my father controlled the money and every other aspect of the marriage. Mama did it all, and, except for the occasional chore she might hand off to one of us kids, she did not care to have others get in her way, especially when it came time to cook.

I understand that in a way because I too am like that.

Having raised only one son in the traditional way of what I’d learned, and no daughters, I too did it all and even today, I am quick to turn down offers for help in the kitchen. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I have my ways of doing things. I always enjoyed the solitude of my kitchen and I am quick to run my husband out of it if he ventures in while I’m in the midst of creating. I do not want anyone or anything to interfere with my thought processes or my rhythm - like an artist. Not to say that this is right or wrong; it just is. Back when I was raising my son, those traditional roles still existed pretty strongly, even when women went to work. Had I had a daughter, things might have been different in the kitchen, I don’t know. Now that I have grandchildren, once they are a little older and able to venture safely into the kitchen with me, I suspect it will definitely change!

I became a bride at the age of 19. By 23 I had my son. That was my university.

I had a propensity from a very young age to observe, to research, investigate and experiment, and this is how I learned to cook. I took what I saw my Mama and my Grandma do, those careful observations, and combined them with book knowledge, practice and failures. This is how I learned to recreate the flavors that came out of their kitchens and how I learned to develop a lot of my own original recipes{which is why I get highly irritated when other bloggers take my recipes and post them on their blogs without giving credit to my site}. What you see here is the result of many years of trial and error, and an ever-evolving learning process that continues even today and will continue until the good Lord calls me home.

These recipes are my heart and soul, and I hope that you get as much pleasure from cooking them for your family, as I have for mine!