WFDD Dining Room: The Changing Tastes Of Southern Food
As tastes evolve, so does the definition of Southern Food. In this edition of the WFDD Dining Room, Neal Charnoff speaks to Michael Hastings for what that means today. He's the Food Editor for the Winston-Salem Journal, and emcee for An Evening of Southern Food taking place this week.
On Friday, June 5th, The Milton Rhodes Center For The Arts in Winston Salem is playing host to An Evening Of Southern Food, as part of the Salute! N.C.Wine Celebration.
Hastings says Southern-style cooking has graduated from diners and cafeterias to restaurants that specialize in fine dining, with what some call "New Southern Cuisine."
He says that chefs are being more adventurous with their ingredients and recipes. For example, a classic Pecan Pie becomes a Chocolate Chip or Bourbon Pecan Pie.
Hastings would like to dispel certain stereotypes about Southern cooking, such as the myth that all Southern Food is fried and fatty. He says foods such as fried chicken and barbecued pork have traditionally been "celebratory foods", and not necessarily part of a daily diet.
"People weren't eating loads of meat in the South. In fact, often on the farm in our agrarian heritage, we were eating lots of vegetables maybe seasoned with a little bit of meat. That was a typical southern meal traditionally."
Hastings points to a couple of his favorite "New Southern" dishes in the Triad, such as a vegetarian Tomato Pie served up at Mozelle's in Winston-Salem. He also is fond of the many variations of Shrimp and Grits that can be found around the state.