The South is known for its hospitality when it comes to food. Different regions and cultures have their own Southern recipes, reflecting the traditions of Native Americans and ideas brought from Africa, France and the Caribbean. It all makes for a tasty melting pot of dishes. It’s not always the healthiest of cuisine but there are plenty fish and vegetable elements for people concerned with healthy living.

With the start of 2020, it’s a good time to look back on some of the good things that happened in 2019. Alabama NewsCenter has tallied the results in each grouping of stories to see which ones you responded to the most, and we’re sharing your five favorites along with a story (or stories) we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss.


Many Southern households wake up to the aroma of Country Ham with Red -Eye Gravy served for breakfast. This is usually cooked along with grits, biscuits and eggs. Dinner may be chicken and rice, cooked in the Spanish way, with hot pepper sauce, paprika and saffron. Texas has its own dishes, with Tex-Mex recipes that are well known across the world. San Antonio Chill is one example, a meal based on beef or pork and cooked with dried chili peppers, cumin and oregano. They know how to make a good cake in Texas too. The Texas Sheet Cake is made with sour cream and cocoa with a chopped pecan frosting.

African American cookery, otherwise known as soul food, often uses peanuts, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes and okra in Southern recipes. Peanut butter gives a tangy flavor to Chicken and Groundnut Stew. Jambalaya is another favorite, made with shrimp or ham and rice, bacon and bell peppers. There are variations, made from chicken or seafood.

Jambalaya also crops up in Cajun and Louisiana dishes but the most well known dish from these parts is the classic Gumbo, a Louisiana stew or soup. There are several versions, passed down from Indian, French, Spanish or African influenced Southern recipes. The basis for the dish is the roux and it usually contains okra. There are recipes for crawfish, some methods using thick cream and dry sherry. Alligator is another delicacy; cooked in a delicious lemon and white wine sauce.

In Kentucky, the locals like to sit out on the porch at the end of a hard day and relax with a glass of Mint Julep. This tradition calls for mint leaves, sugar, ice, water and bourbon. Kentucky bourbon can also be found in Bourbon and Chocolate Pecan Pie. Another treat for a sweet tooth is Jam Cake, made with blackberry jam, spices and raisins topped with a cream cheese frosting. Vegetables are not forgotten here and this state is fond of asparagus in its Southern recipes. They like to grill it, after marinating it in dill, lemon, and garlic.