You see, there are things about those of us being raised anywhere north of Kentucky, that can potentially baffle you when you take the plunge in to the great land of pickled eggs and fried okra. In fact, I'm still not sure what vegetable family that okra is related to... Can someone shed some light on me? You see, I was raised in the land (or household) of spinach salad with strawberries and balsamic vinagrette with wild caught salmon with asparagus, and I was suddenly thrust by the Good Lord in to the land of collard greens cooked in bacon with cornbread and okra! And boiled peanuts.. we can't forget boiled peanuts.. (for the record, to anyone reading this that is from the south, I have a point, and will eventually bring it all back home for you) Fried, fried, everything fried.. I have found out since being in the south, that you can fry anything.. Even a twinkie.. No joke.. Back home, if you go out to dinner and ask for iced tea, they bring you unsweet tea with a caddy of sweeteners... HERE, unless there is a detection of a southern drawl, sweet tea is a given.. And heres the thing about sweet tea.. Its, well.... really sweet. And the scarier part? Its really good.. In fact, looking back on my time in the south, the first part of my southern conversion has been my occasional glass of sweet tea..
One day a couple weeks ago, I even decided to give the cajun boiled peanuts a try.. Once again, it was a party in my mouth. Oh crap, what is happening to me? I AM FROM THE NORTH LORD! I think one of my biggest pet peaves was the dreaded accent.. Okay, I don't mean dreaded... not really.. I just didn't quite understand the progression of the syllables and the conjugation of the verbs.. Let me use one of my favorite examples.. "How are you?" Sometimes I would encounter someone and would hear "Hawrrrryuuuu?" And then there was "I appreciate you" I would consistently get "Preccciatcha." So you get the point.. I had an opinion.. I formed a judgement.. A very inaccurate judgement over an entire region of the country.
So let me bring this ship back in to the harbor and make my point... My bias northern heart has been melted like drawn' butter by the south. It seemed to happen over night. I find myself doing things lately that I would have never done. I'll give you my list of examples..
1. 2 weeks ago I purchased my first proud jar of pickled okra, and ended up falling in love.
2. Yesterday I bought a jar of bread and butter pickle and onions, and almost ate the entire jar. (scary, its a nice size jar)
3. I don't despise southern accents anymore. In fact, they've grown on me at an alarming rate.
4. I have (on occasion) allowed my taste buds to adapt to collard greens, strange and anonymous types of peas, beans, and other unidentified sources of protein.
5. I have eaten more parts of the pig than I would want anyone to know about in the north.
6. I am now an avid believer of the statement, "You can fry anything" Its true, its true, we can even fry you..
7. When I catch a y'all slip out of my mouth, I don't beat myself up about it anymore.
8. Boiled peanuts are off the chain when theyre done right (cajun style)
9. I am 100% confident that bacon really does make EVERYTHING better..
10. Charleston.. And the Charleston accent.. Its amazing.
So here I am with my foot in my mouth once again.. And I am happy to have it there.. Its good to have a changed heart.. And to grow in love with a place that wasn't originally your #1 pick. You will be given stories.. Memories.. Biscuits and honey.. Less of what you wanted, and more of what you needed.