The history revisionists are still as busy as bees trying to rid us of all vestiges of the Old South. That means some brave soul is going to have to tell Wheeler County that they have to change their name because the county is named for Confederate Gen. Joe Wheeler. Oh, and while you are at it, change the name of the county seat of Alamo. It might just offend Mexicans who got a bad rap at the other Alamo in 1836. They were just mad at the time because they couldn’t register to vote.
If all of this isn’t worry enough, now comes word that the pointy-heads at the World Health Organization, which is a part of the United Nations — which is about as relevant as a whoopee cushion — have decided that eating bacon and sausage and ham and other assorted pig parts is bad for your health. Good grief! This is nothing more than an all-out assault on Southern cooking! Wheeler County is one thing; sausage and biscuits smothered in redeye gravy is a whole different matter.
I am glad Kack is not around to hear this. Kack was my mother’s older sister and the family matriarch. She was also one of the great Southern cooks of all time. We are talking old-fashioned country cooking that is hall of fame material. Kack could cook the daylights out of a bucket of mud if she had to. Like all good Southern cooks, in her four score and 10 years on this Earth, I doubt seriously that she ever came face-to-face with a recipe book.
Kack didn’t need recipe books. She just threw whatever she was cooking in a pan with plenty of lard (Don’t tell the pointy-heads but lard has some pig stuff in it, too.) and fried everything to a crisp — all the stuff that the WHOoters say is bad for us, as well as chickens and catfish. I grew up thinking grease was at the top of the food pyramid, followed by sweet tea and layer cakes made with real butter and sugar.
There is another thing to know about Southern cooking. We don’t do bland. When the food comes off the stove, we throw salt and pepper on it when it hits our plate and before it hits our mouth. I read one time where some business mogul used to have lunch with prospective employees and watched to see if they seasoned their food before they tasted it. If so, he would not hire them.
His logic was that these people were jumping to conclusions before having all the facts — like whether or not the food was already properly seasoned — and would not make good managers. Chances are good that the mogul never hired anybody south of Richmond because in the South, we always salt and pepper our food before we taste it. Doesn’t everybody?
So far, it seems that grits have escaped the WHO’s hoots. Be thankful for small favors. Speaking of grits, show me someone who claims to be Southern but prefers potatoes with their sausage and eggs instead of grits and I will show you an impostor — someone from a place where it snows 10 months a year and the buildings are rusted.
In case whoever in WHO is reading this, please understand that down South, our four basic food groups are ham, sausage, bacon and pork barbecue, and they all come from one source — the heroic hog. There isn’t much of a hog we won’t eat. We eat pork chops, pork shoulders, chitlins (also called ‘chitterlings” but only by carpetbaggers), pork rinds (fried, of course), pigs feet (pickled, of course) and jowls. We then take the intestines and a generous helping of lard and put them into our corn bread, thereby creating cracklin’ bread (a delicacy that defies description). Some of the fat we don’t boil. That is known as fatback, and that goes in the pot when cooking green beans. Suffice it to say that in the South, we go hog wild.
I would suggest to the WHOdats that they stick to bean curds and broccoli and leave us and our porcine preferences alone. In fact, it might interest them to know that a few years back in one rural county in Georgia, a man was convicted of spousal abuse. The jury sentenced him to six months of hard labor. Another man stole a neighbor’s hog. He got 12 years. He should have been fried.
Contact Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; and online at dickyarbrough.com or facebook.com/dickyarb.