Elena Rosemond-Hoerr is a photographer and writer based out of Baltimore. Born and raised in North Carolina, Elena writes about Southern food culture, blending stories and recipes to bring a piece of the South to everyone. You can find her delicious recipes on her blog, Biscuits and Such, and follow her food musings on Twitter @biscuitsandsuch.

March is one of those months that I hate to love. The weather is a tease, giving you beautiful spring days right next to bitterly cold ones (or, sometimes, excruciatingly hot ones). Not much is in season, but you can feel the expectation building in the air. And of course, I can’t help but to love March for Pi(e) Day.

Anyone who took math as a teen will remember (at least vaguely) that pi is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of any Euclidean circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi is approximately equal to 3.14. Or, at least this is what Wikipedia tells me. For me, math class was more of a place to eat Bojangles and think about the boys I was crushing on. What I do remember about pi (besides that one kid who was always so cool because he could recite however many numbers) is that on March 14th each year, my math teacher would bring in pie. Because, you know, pi/pie. AWESOME. Pi Day is PIE DAY. (more…)

Posted by on March 14th, 2012

Photo by Southern Foodways Alliance

The last time I wrote about barbeque, I got quite the backlash from family, friends and strangers across the South. I heard from people who felt I misrepresented their regional barbeque, people who claimed that my research was wrong. Even my father’s best friend Roger, who claimed that Georgians NEVER ate mustard sauce, had something to say: he called me a liar. You see, we Southerners take our barbeque seriously! (more…)

Posted by on October 20th, 2011

Buttermilk fried chicken. Photo by arnold | inuyaki.

Can you think of any Southern food more Southern than fried chicken? The staple of every Southern restaurant, the favorite meal at your grandmother’s table, the way it complements everything from mashed potatoes to green beans—fried chicken is a classic Southern dish, whether it’s made at home or at your favorite Southern restaurant, for a family dinner or a picnic.

All Southern cooks worth their weight in yams know that there are a few tricks to making the perfect fried chicken. Here’s a look at what counts when it comes to the marinade, breading, fry style, and side dishes. (more…)

Posted by on October 13th, 2011

Caramel Green Tomatoes. Photo by Elena Rosemond-Hoerr.

Chances are that most of you have seen Fried Green Tomatoes, the Hollywood film that told the story of Whistle Stop, Alabama, and gave a new face to Southern culture, Southern women, and Southern food. A few minutes on the big screen launched a frenzied fifteen minutes of fame for fried green tomatoes, a classic Southern dish that suddenly started popping up in restaurants across North America after the movie was released, only to fade away just as quickly.

Lately, fried green tomatoes have been making a comeback. This Southern treat has been spotted far outside the “meat-and-three” dives in the Deep South, in establishments as varied as at posh Northern restaurants, hip downtown sandwich shops, and even streetside food trucks. So what is it about fried green tomatoes that makes them so appealing? (more…)

Posted by on September 12th, 2011

Photo by stevendepolo

Summer is, without question, my favorite season. I love the long nights and the hot days—but most of all, I love the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. Something about summer also makes me homesick for the South. A Southern summer is something to behold. Here are a few of my favorite Southern summer foods (OK, and one beverage, too). While a few of these are popular outside the South, it simply wouldn’t be a Southern summer without them. These delights will keep you happy from now until the first frost. (more…)

Posted by on June 27th, 2011

Photo courtesy of Elena Rosemond-Hoerr

This probably won’t come as a surprise, but getting married in the South is a big deal, replete with lots of traditions, particularly when it comes to food. Like all customs, Southern wedding food traditions vary from region to region (and bride to bride!). As wedding season gets into full swing, here’s a look at some classic Southern wedding food customs.

At The Bridal Shower

Southern wedding festivities start long before the big day. Traditionally, bridal showers are held anywhere from a few months to a few weeks before the wedding, and in the South, they’re just as important as the wedding—if not more so. That’s right: it’s not uncommon for Southern bridal showers to be fancier than the wedding. (more…)

Posted by on June 10th, 2011

Photo by Elena Rosemond-Hoerr

Since we met almost six years ago, I’ve introduced my husband to a number of foods near and dear to my (Southern) heart. In some cases he was skeptical. When I first mentioned grits, for example, he shrunk back in horror, recounting the tale of the only time he’d tried grits. On a visit to see his grandmother in North Carolina, his family stopped at a roadside restaurant where he and his sister both ordered grits—which, according to him, was the most horrible food he’d ever eaten, next only to shrimp (he’s not a shellfish lover). So when I suggested early on in our relationship that I wanted to make grits, his face soured and he said, “I’ll try anything once!”

Lucky for me, my husband is adventurous (at least enough to try something twice) and I make pretty decent grits. A grit, for those of you unfamiliar—don’t worry, I get the question all the time—is the coarser half of what is produced when corn (or hominy) is dried and then ground in a stone mill. The finer half then becomes cornmeal. (more…)

Posted by on May 2nd, 2011

Photo by Perfecto Insecto

When I started writing this article, all I could think was, “Table manners? My family has no table manners!” My mind flashed back to my high school years, when “no poop talk at the table” seemed to be constantly on my father’s lips. I thought about how my grandmother was adamant that no labels be seen on the table, so condiments were either put in a bowl or placed discreetly on a table next to where we were eating. Then my mind wandered to the controversial subject of elbows: what seemed like a totally innocuous part of the body caused fight after fight in our household, as my mother believed—strongly—that to have elbows on the dinner table would surely bring on the apocalypse.

(more…)

Posted by on April 1st, 2011

Photo by Elena Rosemond-Hoerr

Happy National Pie Month! That’s right. February is, in the world of food, the month dedicated to the celebration of all things pie. I, for one, am a huge fan of pie. In honor of this momentous holiday, and as I watch pie make its steady rise up through the ranks of “hip” foods, I’d like to reflect on one of the South’s most wonderful types of pie: the chess pie. (more…)

Posted by on February 28th, 2011

Photo by Elena Rosemond-Hoerr

Phaseolus lunatus: more commonly known as the lima bean, it’s also known around the world as the Burma bean, Guffin bean, Hibbert bean, Madagascar bean, sugar bean, and more. But as a Southerner, the only name that fits in my book is the butter bean. This legume has its origin in Mesoamerica, and love for it is widespread.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. She always lived nearby and as a result, she had a heavy influence on the foods that I love today. If I had been given a choice, she and I would have only ever made Jell-O, but since her household was not a democracy, we ate a wide variety of her favorite foods. One of those was butter beans.

(more…)

Posted by on January 24th, 2011

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