This post is called The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Southern Belledom:
For those of you unfamiliar with Southern Belles, the prime example would be Scarlett O’ Hara from the movie Gone With The Wind. The book was written by a lady from Atlanta, Georgia, where I grew up and lived for 50 years. Scarlett was played by an English actress, Vivien Leigh, who I must say did an amazing job at depicting the true Belle.
I have posted about Southern Belledom previously. I consider myself a recovering Southern Belle. The are many aspects of Belledom I just can’t cope with. Primarily shoes, I would rather not wear them. My mother used to tell me I was a half peach when I was little because we were from Georgia. I must be a whole peach by now and unfortunately I can’t pick a good peach out of a produce bin to save my life. This is one of life’s little mysteries.
It should also be noted I have an odd inability to digest fried food. This may be luck or possibly Yankee genes from my Connecticut born father. Who ate fried everything – even liver.
The Good: Things I have learned from being a Southern Belle:
My grandfather was a peach farmer who raised cattle and pigs as well. Farm to table food was what they ate before it was popular and there are few things better than homemade sausage, peaches right off the tree or radishes from the garden. I have a true appreciation for fresh food.
I have a deep appreciation for polite people. Southerners are generally polite to a fault, but may say anything behind your back. I now live in what might be considered northern South Florida and there are way too many people down here with bad manners. In the Miami area I have frequently heard the statement “the further north you go the nicer the people are” Well, I would hate to live down there.
There is nothing funnier than the southern sense of humor, self deprecating and wicked. It boggles many people, I get it and write it.
Craftsmanship. I love things made by hand and not with a computer. Artwork, lace, woodworking – just about anything.
A love and respect for animals that I am not sure all people share. Dogs and cows, especially.
An appreciation for native plants, in the current vernacular, and many other plants as well.
Rat Cheese Toast: this is peculiarly southern and perhaps a Greatest Generation thing that is dying out. French bread slices buttered and topped with a thick slice of Extra Sharp, Extra Cheap Grocery store Cheddar and broiled til bubbly and brown. Especially good with tomato soup.
The Bad: A Good Southern Belle should eat and read these things. I don’t.
I realize a lot of this is food based. The Southeastern United States is called “The Stroke Belt” for good reason.
I hate overcooked vegetables, especially with anything greasy in them, a very common side dish in the South, green beans with bacon, anyone?. I wonder how many true Southerners had their cholesterol ruined by eating vegetables. Truly a contradiction in food.
I hate Sweet tea. If I wanted to drink syrup, I would. How many Southerners were turned diabetic by this particular beverage? My grandmother (who was diabetic) made her tea with actual saccharin. Little pills that looked like mini aspirin.I just read up on saccharin, the dictionary says it is 300 times sweeter than sugar with a bitter aftertaste. That perfectly describes my grandmother’s sweet tea. I will only drink tea straight up.
I am not fond of pimento cheese. Which is odd for someone raised in the South. Mayonnaise and grated cheese with pimentos, seriously considered a gourmet item and how many grams of fat ? Then flavorless white bread spread with margarine prior to the application of the mayo/cheese /pimento mixture. Greasy, yes. Skip that and give me some “rat cheese” toast. Seems crazy, but probably better for you.
Ever had a sweet potato casserole with marshmallow topping? If so, I don’t need to go any further. If you haven’t, imagine mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, maple syrup and pecans, possibly pineapple with stacked jet puffed marshmallow browned on top. To go with turkey. The concept is bizarre. And I would say you have to grow up with it, like grits, but I did, and Ewww.
Dark Southern Literature, did anything good ever happen in Mississippi? something must have.
The Ugly: Things I can’t deal with in good conscience.
Oh, the things Southerners will say behind your back. Truly ugly.
Be careful about the color of the roots of your hair, regardless of where you started.