Are you planning to see “The Help” this week? It opens today, and it’s based on Kathryn Stockett’s novel about the lives of middle-class white women and the black women who work for them in Jackson, Miss., in 1962. Lia and I both read it last summer and loved it. (I might play hooky and catch a matinee this afternoon – shhh, don’t tell Lia!)
Of course, when it comes to anything about the Deep South, food plays an important role in the movie – especially Minny’s famous chocolate pie. And Southern fare has a special place in our hearts at Nourish Network. Lia and I may both be California girls – Lia by choice and me by birth – but we’ve each done a turn in the South that left its mark on our palates. Lia went to college at Tulane in New Orleans, and I spent six years in Alabama.
So, in honor of “The Help,” we’re sharing some of our nourishing tastes of the South:
- Mississippi “Caviar with Cider Vinaigrette. This Southern classic stands on its own as main dish and words as a side with grilled fare. If you’re lucky enough to actually be in South and have access to fresh black-eyed peas, use ‘em here.
- Skillet Corn Bread with Tomatoes and Sage. No Southern cook is without a cast-iron skillet. Use yours to make this corn bread.
- Quick Collards. Traditionally, collard greens are cooked for a good long time. Our version is, well, quick. Try them with our Nourishing Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day for good luck.
- Tilapia Po’ Boys. These New Orleans-style sandwiches are an easy weeknight supper.
- Crispy Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken. When Lia gets a hankering for fried chicken, she makes this oven version instead of the traditional deep-fried bird.
- Kathleen’s Fresh Peach Pie with Toasted Walnut Crust. When we needed a peach pie for Nourish Network, I asked my friend Kathleen, who worked with me at Cooking Light in Alabama, to share her version. Her double-crust pie is a winner!