Southern Breakfast Heritage
A good southern breakfast is not just a cooking blog title to me. It is a part of my heritage.
It is also a part of my husband’s heritage. My family roots have been in Florida for many generations on my father’s side, after they migrated from Charleston, South Carolina. A true “Georgia Peach,” my Mom grew up in the southern farming community of Moultrie, Georgia.
Even my husband grew up in a railroad town near Ashland, Kentucky called Flatwoods. As you can see, our southern roots run deep. So when I saw a holiday on the calendar called national Southern Cooking Day, it definitely drew a smile.
Southern Cooking Highlights
I would love to talk to you about conch peas, catfish, smoked fish dip, spoon bread and more. And the perfect boiled peanuts or conch fritters. Or if you are brave, succulent gator tail bites. In fact we have a blog on grits that will make your mouth water. And of course there’s one on collard greens and eggs that just might win you to the southern side. But I need to stick to breakfast here.
Southern Breakfast Style One: Florida/Georgia Style
In my house growing up, breakfast varied by the season. Once hunting season began in the fall it meant smothered quail or dove served over piping hot grits. Similar to this recipe right here.
We often stayed up late cleaning birds outside then woke up to a wonderful pan of those birds sitting in white gravy. Once deer season began it meant mouth watering spicy venison links, again served with grits and a fried egg.And in the summer at the beach, when my dad caught bluefish at dawn, they were then pan fried for breakfast.
Living in Florida. the citrus belt, we started breakfast almost every morning with a grapefruit half. Sometimes breakfast included sliced tomatoes or avocados. Eggs were fried, scrambled, poached, coddled, or boiled. And did I mention grits? :)
The Spoils from Sunday Dinner
Often Sunday dinner determined Monday or Tuesday breakfast. If we had a pot roast on Sunday, it became my favorite breakfast – hash – on Monday. Mashed a little with the back of a spoon as it cooked in a pan moistened with gravy, it was served over fresh cornbread. (Cornbread of course was cooked in a “spider” or cast iron skillet.) When in a hurry, we ate it over toast. Acceptable, but a little sad. :(
If ham was served on Sunday, Mom pushed it through our food grinder on Monday and we had it scrambled into our eggs or kneaded into our biscuits before baking. Ham biscuits are the best. Even better if a little grated sharp cheese is also kneaded into the dough.
Leftover biscuits or cornbread were often served hot with Florida cane syrup. (You must try this.) And pound cake re-appeared toasted under the broiler, served with venison sausage and an egg on the side. Aah… the spoils of Sunday were almost better than the original.
Southern Breakfast Style Two: Kentucky Style
In Kentucky, a big southern breakfast was a huge spread. My mother-in-law who is now in her eighties, is still in high demand for her “Mamall breakfast.”
So what does she make? “What DOESN’T she make?” is a better question. Bacon and fried eggs provide a great base. Fried apples are the aroma that draws you in. Kinda like bait! Cinnamon and brown sugar provide some “stickiness,” and the right apples make the texture just perfect – soft but not mushy.
Fluffy white biscuits are always in the oven, and gravy (made using the bacon fat) is a must. Sausage patties appear as well, unless she opted for sausage gravy that morning. She might make hash browns, which are shredded, but I prefer her home fries. For those, she bakes potatoes the day before then leaves the peel on and dices them before pan frying.
Sometimes there is a sweet treat. She is well known for her orange rolls, but I like her pecan-topped overnight sticky buns or her cinnamon rolls. I can taste them now.
Needless to say, after a “Mamall breakfast,” or a “florida breakfast,” there is no need for lunch. Don’t you just have a hankerin’ to come for one of these styles of southern breakfast? You’d be glad you did!