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Global Menu Mix

12 legendary comfort foods of the American South

From fried green tomatoes to pho to pork chops, po’boys, grits and cornbread, the foodways of our Southern states offer a bushel-full of cozy comfort and culinary inspiration for warmed-up winter menus.

Chef and award-winning cookbook author Virginia Willis emphasizes the diversity of food traditions in the South. The introduction to her book, Secrets of the Southern Table reads: “…the South has a strong tradition of good food and generous hospitality. The region is well known for chicken, grits, and biscuits, but there are some Southern foodways that many may find surprising.”

Here, Willis points out that Chinese-Americans have been living in the Mississippi Delta since the 1800s; at one time more Italian-Americans lived in New Orleans than NYC and there’s an Atlanta suburb known as the “Seoul of the South.” All the different cultures of the South make up some memorable dishes that all speak the same language: comfort.

Take a look at 12 classic Southern plates—with a few plant-based twists—from onsite chefs who are cooking their own versions of a vibrant, living cuisine. Plus, get the recipe for two super-hearty cornbreads and one curried lentil dish created for K-12.

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