Real Banana Pudding
You’ve never had homemade banana pudding like this before. It’s a simple, from-scratch dessert that’ll leave your guests speechless: homemade vanilla pudding layered with vanilla wafer cookies and banana slices and topped with a cloud of meringue. Some like it warm. Others prefer it nice and cold. The hardest part is waiting for it to fully chill.
Exactly how this cake got its name isn’t clear, but it likely has to do with its flavor, sure to suit those nectar-loving hummingbirds and anyone with a love of dessert. The tropical fruit- and nut-studded cake first appeared in Southern Living magazine in 1978. It’s since become a signature cake of the South.
Old-Fashioned Collard Greens
It's not uncommon for Southerners to "put on a pot of collards" at lunchtime and cook them until supper. When shopping for collard greens, buy by the bunch. Avoid bunches with shriveled and yellowed leaves.
Country Ham with Redeye Gravy
On breakfast tables in some parts of the South, country ham with redeye gravy is just about as common as bacon. The origin of the name is debated, but the most common belief is that the gravy—a very thin, salty sauce—takes on a reddish tone from the browned bits scraped from the bottom of the skillet. Some Southerners make their gravy with water, others with coffee or cola. I use a mixture of cola and water to balance the salt and add sweetness and caffeine. When it comes to waking up, I usually need all the help I can get.
Scuppernongs are a green-gold variety of the sweet and fragrant muscadine grapes that grow in parts of the South. The house I called home until I was an adult had a glorious Scuppernong arbor in the backyard. Picking the thick-skinned, seed-laced grapes became a family affair each September. With a bowl in hand and my feet on a stool, even as a child, I treasured those grapes as much as gold. The sweet but slightly sour aroma that marked the beginning of fall will forever be in my memory.
Real Buttermilk Fried Chicken
To this day, fried chicken is my go-to lunch after church on Sundays. Keeping the shortening hot enough is the key to crisp chicken. Use a thermometer the first few times. After that, judging the heat becomes second nature.