Mar. 23, 2017

Southern Cuisine

When I first moved to the south, I had a time with the southern dialect. Our neighbors had invited me over for some Frogmore Stew. While I had no idea what it was, I envisioned little frogs stewing in a pot of potatoes.

“No,” my neighbor laughed. “It’s sausage, corn on the cob, and shrimp. You’ve had bald shrimp before, haven’t you?”

“I don’t know,” I answered somewhat bewildered, “What’s the difference between a bald one and a hairy one?” It was then I realized she was saying “boiled shrimp.”

You’d think with my father being a chef, I would know the different terms, or cuts of meat, when I heard them. My husband came in from work one night and asked me if I wanted to go eat a T-bone.

“Sure,” I said getting on my shoes. “I’d love to!”

Not wanting my new husband to think I was an idiot, the whole journey to the restaurant I kept praying that I had eaten T-bones before, whatever they were. I didn’t want to be surprised by whatever was plopped down on my plate. I felt somewhat relieved when we pulled into the Western Sizzler; at least it was a restaurant I knew and not some foreign place that served T-bone delicacies.

Western Sizzler had their menu on the wall behind the counter and the customer selected from there when placing their order. My husband ordered the T-bone, pointing to the picture of it on the wall. I stood in the line and openly laughed at myself because I had just figured out it was a cut of steak.

The first time I ordered lobster my husband had to open it for me. I tried for several minutes to get to the meat by poking at the outer shell with the tiny little butter fork they brought with it.

I think the last surprise I had was when my husband asked me if I would make some tripe for him. I told him it was fine with me but I wasn’t eating it. He then went to the store, bought a package of it, and brought it home.

As I was cooking it, I said to him, “You know, for fish, it sure doesn’t smell fishy.”

“That’s because it’s not fish,” he said laughing at me. “It’s cow stomach.”

I know I was quite naïve, however, I’ve certainly learned a lot over the years. Now when I look back on things I just laugh. We all have to learn somehow.