Soul food

Some days just require grease.  The craving caught up with me at about 3 pm today, and I couldn’t shake it. The weird thing is that I don’t even really care for fried chicken, but I knew before the day was over I had to visit the colonel (as Mama puts it). Yep, that evil extra crunchy was gonna be mine.  Naturally I had to buy the whole show…mashed potatoes and gravy, cole slaw and baked beans…and a big old biscuit. Once you’ve crossed to the dark side, I figure you might as well do it in style.

I was crunching away on a drumstick (the coleslaw was only a memory at that point) when it hit me. I wasn’t really craving KFC…I was craving the South. I rarely get such a hankering, but when I do it tends to sneak up on me through food. I’ll see sweet potato pie on the menu at the barbecue place I visit from time to time, or someone on tv will mention that the crazy people down south actually eat boiled peanuts, and I’m done. Today I blame the Barefoot Contessa – she made mashed potatoes and it flipped my SFS (Southern Food Switch). Funny thing, since mashed potatoes aren’t even really Southern…but the SFS has a mind of its own, so I won’t pass judgment.

Now, no one in my house growing up ever made homemade mashed potatoes, and the only fried chicken I even remember having there was KFC. We usually had lots of store-bought meals (mmm…fish sticks with canned peas), and even our Thanksgiving dinners always came from the S&S Cafeteria. Mama could bake amazing carrot cake and a few other things, but dinners were not all that memorable. Every once in a while though, my grandmother would make real macaroni and cheese…the gooey, custardy kind that has a crisp top layer of semi-burned cheese (much to the disdain of the person stuck doing the dishes that night). The only runner-up to that wonderfulness would be Grandmama’s (or anyone’s, for that matter) banana pudding (aka Nanna Puddin’). Once I ate it until I got physically sick…I’m not proud of that, but it was a serious addiction that I conquered…um…by moving 3000 miles away from anyone who really knows how to make it.

The food here in Portland is great – I can’t deny that. Fresh caught salmon, hazelnuts, amazing produce and marionberries (beautiful Godzilla-sized blackberries) are everywhere, but you have to look to find some good old grease. My arteries are happier, I guess, but sometimes my soul needs to take a drive, just to make sure the colonel is still there if I need him.


15 responses to “Soul food

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  9. I love your writing! I really enjoyed your post and totally can relate to the “SFS” that goes off. I’m from Virginia who some argue is the South but coming from here, I’d disagree. Who knows where my SFS came from since I’m Asian. Maybe it’s all the Kenny Rogers my dad listened to while I was growing up:-) There is nothing like good ole KFC and that creamy coleslaw and mashed taters with gravy. Mmmmmm. Makes me want to go grab some right now! Will be following you moving forward for your honest and witty writing:-)


  10. I used to love KFC with all of the side dishes including those biscuits and honey. The last time I sent hubby to KFC, though, they were out of chicken! Anyway, they went out of business about a year after that.


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