I read an article recently in one of my favorite Southern publications, Garden & Gun, about what sets Southern women apart from those originating from other regions. One excerpt from the piece struck me as particularly true. Author Allison Glock writes, “The reason we Southern women take care of ourselves is because, simply, Southern women are caretakers. An example: I have lived in the North off and on for fifteen years. In all that time, only once did another woman prepare me a home-cooked meal (and she was from Florida). I recently visited Tennessee for one week and was fed by no fewer than three women, one of whom baked homemade cupcakes in two different flavors because she remembered I loved them.”
In keeping with the theme of Southern women being natural nurturers, one of our Flavors editors recently gave birth to her second child and I’m pretty sure she’s not needed to cook a single meal in the the month since her son was born. An army of her friends have signed up on a very detailed calendar, offering to bring dishes - from casseroles to roast chicken and from homemade marinara to desserts - so that she can focus on being a mom.
This is a rather long-winded introduction to the purpose of this post: as Southerners, it seems to be in our blood to cook for others, relishing the opportunity to see someone else enjoy the fruits of our labor. It’s our way of saying, “I love you” or “I’m here for you.” With this in mind, here are some of my favorite “sharable” recipes from around the web (click the titles to view the whole recipe).
This is my go-to recipe when I need a dessert - Ina Garten (a.k.a. Barefoot Contessa) never disappoints. Of course, the pie includes all of the spices you’d expect - cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice (I sometimes add ginger too, even though it doesn’t call for it), but also incorporates citrus juice and zest for another layer of flavor. It’s delicious. If you don’t care to brave making your own crust, spring for the refrigerated variety from the grocery. I like to serve this with a simple homemade cinnamon whipped cream: ½ cup heavy cream, a few tablespoons of granulated sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon, whipped until fluffy.
I love this recipe because it makes a HUGE amount and it’s extremely healthy. The recipe above (via AllRecipes.com) doesn’t include meat. So, to make it a bit heartier, I add two bone-in, skinless chicken breasts and four thighs and then let it all simmer together for an hour. The chicken imparts a great, meaty flavor. Then, remove the chicken pieces and shred them with two forks, discarding the bones. Add the shredded chicken back into the soup before adding the spinach (it’s fine to use frozen, if that’s what you’ve got on hand).
This recipe from Cooking Light offers a healthier twist on a classic recipe, which can be especially great for new moms who are watching their post-baby waistline. The use of ingredients like egg whites, white meat chicken, reduced fat milk and lots of veggies make this dish so hearty, you won't miss their fattier counterparts. Bonus: this dish is just as good the next day!