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Meg is a staff writer for The Hudsucker. After going through high school thinking she “didn’t like to write,” she found her love for it her freshman year at college and it’s only deepened since then. Upon graduating from Rutgers University with a BA in Communication in 2013, she began working in online marketing for the hospitality industry. She currently splits her time between NYC, where she works, and NJ, where she lives—but hopes that one day she’ll be able to live & work in the same state (that’s the dream).

7 Recipes That Celebrate Country Cooking Month

This month is National Country Cooking Month in the food holiday world. Are you wondering what exactly country cooking is? You wouldn’t be an outlier if you were. It’s hard to put a solid definition on “country cooking” on because it’s a phrase that can mean something different to everyone. Many times when people say “country cooking” they are referring to home-style cooking. Or it could mean recipes that have been passed down years through a family and remind you of home.

If you’re in the United States and you say country cooking, however, there’s a good chance you’re talking about recipes that have strong ties to the southern United States aka Southern Cooking. There are particular recipes and dishes that originated in the South and no matter where you have them, are likely to invoke that feel of “country cooking.” Here are 7 of those southern cooking recipes that are the perfect way to celebrate country cooking month.

Biscuits And Cornbread {via alton brown}
Possibly one of the most quintessential foods associated with the South are good, classic biscuits. They are served plain, with jelly, as a side dish, submerged in gravy, I’ve even seen them covered in chocolate sauce (seriously). Biscuits can cause some anxiety because there’s a specific method to making them, but there really isn’t reason to worry — especially if you follow Alton Brown’s recipe, as he gives clear instructions for each step. Another popular country baked good is southern-style cornbread, which gives biscuits a run for their money in the popularity department. Taking a look at this recipe, you might notice something missing that is usually in baking recipes: sweetener. Traditional southern cornbread does not have any sugar, even though most of the current day store bought versions and many recipes do. Sweet cornbread is delicious and has it’s place, but to celebrate country cooking month, it’s best to keep things traditional.

Image Credit: ree drummond

Fried Green Tomatoes {via christy jordan}
Fried green tomatoes might be the dish that has had the hardest time crossing the Mason-Dixon Line. I live in New Jersey and have only seen these on television, in magazines, or when I decide to make them myself. But in the South, they are regularly made and a very popular side dish. If you are curious about these at all or are into making any recipe that shares the name of a book and movie, give it a go, they might surprise you. Green tomatoes are extremely hard when purchased and they seem almost inedible, but when covered in a flour/cornmeal/seasoned salt mixture they turn into something completely different — even if you aren’t a big fan of tomatoes you might like these. Serve them hot!

Gumbo {via emeril}
This creole dish originates directly from Louisiana. If you are from around there, or visit there, you know that everybody has a recipe for gumbo and everybody’s recipe is different. Just about the only thing that doesn’t change recipe to recipe is the holy trinity (onions, bell peppers, & celery) and the roux. Although even the ingredients that create the roux differ (oil or bacon fat, primarily). Everything is else is up for grabs, so many different meats and vegetables can be added from sausage to craw-fish to okra to chicken and more. For those of us not from Louisiana and therefore mostly likely don’t have a recipe passed through our family, Emeril is going to become our creole grandfather and we will use his recipe. It’s perfect and takes all the intimidation out of making gumbo. The most difficult part is making the roux and that’s only because you must stand at the stove constantly stirring for a half an hour, and that boredom can easily be remedied with a podcast or music, so really gumbo is now that hard at all.

Grits {via saveur}
Up there with biscuits as a quintessential southern dish, and close to fried green tomatoes as a food that has difficulty transferring the Mason-Dixon Line, are grits. They are standard fare in the South during breakfast time but only seem to make an appearance up North when called for, so country cooking month is calling! Grits are little milled corn kernels that are boiled up to a creamy texture. They are a food that can be cooked many different ways — easily turned into sweet or savory, baked, combined with many mix ins — but in the name of traditional we are keeping things simple with this recipe. Only the necessary ingredients are required and the traditional preparation is included.

Image Credit: nate steiner

Peach Cobbler {via all recipes}
One of the most common country-style desserts also happens to be one of the easiest, perhaps that’s not a coincidence. Peaches are either in season already or just about to be (depending where you live) which makes this cobbler very timely. Cobbler is a simple dessert without a lot of flavors going on, making it the perfect vehicle to highlight those fresh and juicy peaches. Cobblers can take a few different faces (I’ve seen both buckles and crumbles take on their name and masquerade as a cobbler) but this is the traditional cobbler recipe as it’s been made for years. That is — fruit on the bottom and drop biscuit/cake-like dough on the stop. You can serve this with vanilla ice cream or whip cream but serve it just plain to really taste the peaches.

Chicken Fried Steak {via michael symon}
This might be one of the most confusing recipe titles in existence. I’ve found that if you ask someone what chicken fried steak is you’re met with a lot of blank stares and very little answers. In spite of this confusion, the name origin is actually pretty straight forward. Steak (in this case it’s tenderized beef aka cubed steak) is breaded and fried as you normally would chicken, hence the name “chicken fried steak.” A little odd? Yes. But not all that confusing. Make this as the entree to celebrate country cooking month and it’ll go great next to those fried green tomatoes, biscuits, and cornbread. The best part about this recipe is that cubed steak is pretty inexpensive, so you’re not spending a lot of money but still getting a really hearty meal.

Sweet Tea {via deep south dish}
It’s the drink of the Southern United States. Maybe it’s not official, but it might as well be, because it’s everywhere and served with everything. Sweet tea is nothing more than standard iced tea, brewed, mixed with sugar, and maybe some lemon if you want to dress it up a little. The most important point with sweet tea to remember is that we all tend to like different sweetness levels in our tea. This would especially be true if you don’t drink it that often, are used to drinking your tea unsweetened, and are planning to make this for a special occasion. I’d suggest starting out on the low end of the sugar scale and working your way up until you get your perfect sweet tea.

What does country cooking mean to you?

Featured image is from pen waggener on flickr.

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One Comment on “7 Recipes That Celebrate Country Cooking Month”

  1. bigandpinkytoes June 8, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    This made me so hungry!

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