At the core of Southern is the infamous word, “y’all.” It’s just a contraction, casual speak for what we stand for: it means “you ALL.” Everyone. All of you.
I grew up on a farm in the heart of Dixie. The oldest of a big slew of kids, we’d spend our days rambling the hundreds of acres we called home. Mama had a dinner bell, and when it rang, we all came running.
Food united our family nearly every night around a big farm table. We were regularly joined by whomever seemed to be passing through, and it seemed like whatever our plight in life at the time, food was something we always had enough of to share. All were welcome to share in the fellowship and food that happened there.
Years later, those black-eyed peas (and the coordinating purple fingers from shelling them) and the sweet corn (that we would cut from the stalk before the dew lifted in the morning) still have a special place in my heart.
As do home grown tomatoes. Now, I buy mine from a local farmer at the market. And local honey, like what my grandparents robbed from the hives in their backyard. I bought the jar in my pantry from a nice lady named Virginia; it’s crudely labeled “Swamp Honey.”
Growing up, the sweetest watermelon in the world were the ones that a man named “Son” would drop off at our house during the hottest summer days. These days, the farmer on the side of Highway 49 near Smith County, Mississippi gets my watermelon-buying business. Faithfully.
Raising kids has taught me – and my team – that there’s an endless world of food to explore – and to share. Whether it’s growing the food or knowing the farmer, using the ingredients or enjoying them prepared by your favorite chef, there’s a world of food out there to explore.
Farmers. Chefs. Ingredients.
There’s an endless bounty to explore. And plenty of ways to use what we’ve learned to build up others. So here we are, exploring a world a food with our Southern accent. Because the world of food tastes better with y’all around our dinner table.
Let’s eat, y’all.