Think about the foods that make you feel like you’re home. What are they? Cookies, lasagna, a favorite pie, or maybe a soup. A few things come to mind when I think about home-cooking. My mom’s meatballs, beef stew with biscuits, and a fresh garden salad with poppyseed-balsamic dressing. But really, for me, it’s all about the Southern cooking. We’re talking grits, pinto beans with ham, cornbread with butter, and rice. My dad’s side of the family comes from the South, and while I would never classify either of my parents as classic Southern cooks, I have developed a taste for the best of what the South has to offer.
My taste buds prefer sweet barbecue pulled-pork sandwiches, and cornbread should always be salty and served with butter. And let’s not even start on sweet tea. So it’s really no surprise that one of the top priorities, aside from family time, on my trip to North Carolina was to get some of that good Southern cooking. Funny as it may be, I just love Cracker Barrel, so to Cracker Barrel we went (twice).
While there, I treated myself to grilled Trout, pinto beans, chicken tenders, and indulged a bit in cornbread muffins and fried okra. The pictures just don’t do this food justice, but then again, I don’t think Southern food was made with the intention to be photographically beautiful. Nope, just looked at the pitctures again, not nearly as pretty as it was tasty.
It was a short trip, less than 24 hours in North Carolina, but a beautiful time regardless. Just returning to my grandma’s house, and spending time with a woman who seems much more like Mrs. Claus than any shopping mall impersonation, and getting to listen to her tell stories of our family history for hours was one of the most wondrous things I’ve done in a long time. Family really is the most beautiful gift of all, and when food traditions are added in, it’s all the better!