Music calms the savage beast. Actually the true quote is, "Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast” but who knew. Well, in my case I think of it more as "Food calms the savage soul". What else would you expect from a southern girl. After all, contrary to what the food snobs from New York say, we have the corner on the market of damn good food.
Who is going to argue with BBQ, fried chicken, hush puppies, collards, pound cake, peach cobbler, macaroni and cheese, to name a few. This is the one of the seven sins I plead guilty to. Well there was that one time I had pure lust in my heart for Clark Gable, but Mama told me I was forgiven because almost all southern women were guilty of that. I digress.
I knew I was not doing well when I stood in my kitchen and could not think of anything I really wanted to eat. Nothing struck me as tasty, nothing called "come hither" from the refrigerator, and not one thing came to my mind when I thought, "You can eat anything, just name it" - a rare time I attempt one of the seven sins.
Back to the issue at hand. The box of Godiva chocolates sitting on the table did nothing for me. I had no desire for the dark chocolate mint Ghiaraldi squares. But when the leftover macaroni and cheese in the refrigerator did not interest me, I knew I was in serious trouble.
Some people refer to "comfort food". Personally, that term brings to mind colds, fever, being snowed in, and heavy blankets. To me it also connotates soups, stews, and casseroles - just my thoughts. Perhaps our southern food could also be considered "comfort food", but it is MY idea of comfort. Food that is satisfying, well flavored with traditional herbs, spices, and sauces. And of course, I have to add very rich dark chocolate and the flavor of mint and citrus to that (my) list.
So when I need solace, when the world is not being kind, or it has not been a good day, I seek out those good southern foods that have contented, satisfied, reassured, and soothed my people for generations.
And I don't need an entire pound cake, 4 servings of macaroni, a whole fried chicken, or pound of BBQ to fill my soul with consolation and solace. A small serving will do.
The secret, you ask, of southern food for the soul? It starts with butter, bacon, and cream. Margarine, that turkey "stuff", and skim milk does nothing for anyone's karma. Bland flavors and watery sauces are the death of many a culinary effort. Cakes and other pastries made without real butter are unpalatable. It is true, you cannot fool Mother Nature. Trying to replace butter and cream with anything else will guarantee gastric failure. It is tantamount to trying to pull off Kraft Mac and Cheese (in the blue box) as the real thing. You should be ashamed of yourself.
The bottom line is - my savage soul can be calmed and soothed by good southern food made with real butter, bacon, and cream. Anything else would just be empty calories that would make me feel even more remorse.
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