Mississippi Magnolia- Southern Poems

SOUTHERN POEMS :Celebrating the South- Promoting a Positive Mississippi

 SOUTHERN LIFE-Southern Poems-Country Life Poems                                  




If you want a glimpse of Southern life,
Come close and walk with me;
I'll tell you all the simple things,
That you are sure to see.
You'll see mockingbirds and bumblebees,
Magnolia blossoms and dogwood trees;
Caterpillars on the step,
Wooden porches cleanly swept;
Watermelons on the vine, 

Strong majestic Georgia pines  

Rocking chairs and front yard swings

Junebugs flying on a string

Turnip greens and hot cornbread,

Coleslaw and barbecue
Fried okra, fried corn,fried green tomatoes,
Fried pies and pickles too.
There's ice cold tea that 's syrupy sweet,
And cool, green grass beneath your feet;
Catfish nipping in the lake,
And fresh young boys on the make.
You'll see all these things
And much, much more,
In a way of life, that I adore.
Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey


 Within the South itself, no other form of cultural expression, not even music, is as distinctively characteristic of the region as the spreading of a feast of native food and drink before a gathering of kin and friends."

-- John Egerton, from "Southern Food, at Home, on the Road, in History"

   Fried Okra






 Fried corn..



Fried Green Tomatoes


Fried Pies

Home made fried apple pies by tonisdale.

 and pickles too







Deep Fried Corn Flake Twinkie A Twinkie deep fried in corn batter and rolled in Corn Flakes. (Submitted by Ray Lewis) 

Deep Fried Twinkie with CornFlake Crust


 Within the South itself, no other form of cultural expression, not even music, is as distinctively characteristic of the region as the spreading of a feast of native food and drink before a gathering of kin and friends."

-- John Egerton, from "Southern Food, at Home, on the Road, in History"


 "Such is the sovreignty of southern cookery to anybody who has fully indilged in itds many glories that comparisons with other American styles are almost ludicrous."

-James Villas-food writer








A real country po' folk's breakfast,
Is in these days quite rare;
It's certainly not your typical
Bacon and egg type affair.
There'd be crispy fried chicken,
With all the parts there to eat;
The usual ones represented,
Plus the neck, back and feet.
There might be come country ham,
But not the thin, sterile kind;
It's the thick, salty slices,
From the smokehouse you'll find.
If you're lucky, there's rabbit,
From a recent hunt trip;
With juicy, brown gravy,
That drips from your lips.
There would probably be rice,
With sugar and butter, of course;
And big chunky biscuits,
That would choke any horse.
What goes in the middle,
Is anyone's guess;
Some molasses or syrup,
Would sure pass the test.
But, most want preserves,
From the cook's vast store;
From the past summer's canning,
In flavors galore.
The milk would be powdered,
And straight from a box;
There's likely no juice,
'Til opportunity knocks.
But, we all know one thing,
That's sure to be had;
It's a jug full of Kool-Aid,
And the flavor is   
Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey
from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia
African American Food Traditions/ African -American Inluences On Traditional Southern Cooking
 "Southern" Fried Chicken
by Jenna Jackson

Many people believe that the practice of frying chicken comes from African Influence.Tribes from West Africa were known for frying whole chickens on special holidays. Hogs and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America by Frederick Opie tells how the African technique made its way into the southern kitchens of the New World. The Igbo, Hausa, and Mande people were three West African tribes well known for their frying techniques. Most of them seasoned the chicken and fried it in palm oil, a reddish oil that comes from the oil palm. Since most captives taken into slavery were natives to these West African tribes Opie explains, this practice of frying chicken made it through the slave trade. 

American slaves usually had rationed food, but they were sometimes allowed to keep a garden and a few chickens to supplement them. And slaves working in plantation kitchens introduced frying chicken into white southern cuisine, so the practice persisted. Since Emancipation, fried chicken has been frequently identified with African American cooking, with both positive and negative associations
from Southern Food blog

There's a chill in the air
And holidays are near,
Thanksgiving's just 'round the bend;
There's a feeling amongst country folks
That's absolute prime,
Everyone senses it's hogkilling time.
Oh what a spectacle!
Oh what a show!
You'll find nothing like it,
If you look high and low.
From sunup to sundown,
It lasts the whole day;
And once it gets started,
Horses couldn't pull you away.
Everyone has his own part to do,
With all the commotion,
It feels like a zoo.
The poor victim for this ocassion
Has long been picked out,
And soon will become food,
From his tail to his snout.
There's a shot and a squeal
And he's out for the count;
A cut of the throat,
And blood spews like a fount.
In a barrel of hot water,
He's cleaned and de-haired;
Amongst all the men,
This giant task is shared. 
A skillful knife separates all parts of meat,
Including pig ears, pig tail, land pig feet.
The women's task is always chittlin's to make.
There's a boatload of goo and muck
They must rake.
When nightime falls,
All surround the black pot;
Where the oil is bubbling,
And boy is it hot!
Pieces of skin are stirred with a surge,
And after some time,
Crisp cracklings emerge.
Sweet potatoes are roasted, 
Right in the fire;
And of these simple treats,
No one ever does tire.
When it's all finally over ,
And the day is all done;
The grown-ups are weary,
But the kids just had fun.
Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey
from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia

Hog Killing
by Kaitlin Schlosser

Pork has been an important part of the Southerner’s diet since colonial times.  The hog was a way for Southerners to not only provide for their own family but for others as well.  The hog was an important source of food because the entire hog was useful in some form or another.  “The animal [hog] did not offer its owner milk or the ability to carry burdens, but nearly all of the pig was edible or useful in some manner of cooking: hams, ribs, head (for souse), feet, internal organs (intestines for chitterlings), and lard or fatback (as grease or seasoning)” .  This is a prime example of the utility of the entire swine

The slaughtering of a hog would typically take place in late November.  This time was better because the weather was becoming colder and would stay that way.  Because freezers were virtually unheard of, the cold weather was important to farmers in order to keep the meat while it cured.  Everything was done at the home of the farmer, and the process was a grueling one.
from Southern Food blog:

Of the hog-killing, John Egerton writes, “On most Southern farms the first cold snap harkened the end of summer vegetables and the annual hog slaughter. Livers, cracklins, and chitterlings (small intestines), were eaten immediately. (Another favorite post-boucherie supper was brains and onions along the Cotes des Allemands of Louisiana.) Globs of hog fat were boiled in a gigantic black pot to be rendered into lard. Scraps of meat were ground up for sausages. Ribs were slowly steamed,sides of bacon, hog jowls, shoulders, and hams were cured in salt for weeks. Then they were hung in the smokehouse along with a variety of sausages, ham hocks, and knuckles to be smoked over hickory or pecan wood, peanut shells, or corncobs (known as meat cobs). Some farmers cured their meat with red pepper to prevent infestations of fly larvae in the era before refrigeration.” Every part of the hog was used.

Southern Food

MAKING CRACKLINGS     (Pork Rinds) (Skins)

First, you have to kill a hog,
Then, carefully take off the skin;
Cut it up in little squares,
And then the fun begins.
Take a big, black iron pot,
Then put in some lard;
As you'll see, it's quite simple,
Nothing very hard.
You wait until the oil is bubbling
And it's boiling hot;
Then get the pieces that you've cut
And toss them in the pot.
Now, just stand around and tell some tales
And maybe a few jokes;
It's best when you've got a crowd,
Of good ole' country folks.
After some stirring and simmering,
The skins are crisp and puffed;
Then, you have a delicious treat,
Of which you'll never get enough
Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey  
from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia
Making Cracklings Step-By Step: www.deltablues.net/cracklin


1 c. cracklings
1 1/2 c. cornmeal
4 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 beaten egg
1 1/2 c. thick buttermilk
1 tbsp. bacon fat
Sift the dry ingredients together and then stir in the cracklings. Beat the egg in the buttermilk and add. Have melted fat in hot skillet and pour in batter. Bake at 450 degrees until brown


It's summertime in the country,
And the kids buzz around like bees;
But, when that silver tub is placed on the porch,
It's time for shelling peas.
From the smallest to the oldest,
It's something we'd all do;
At first, of course, the little ones,
Didn't have a clue.
They'd watch to see just how it went,
And soon , they'd give a try;
Then look amazed as fingers stained,
As though dipped in purple dye.
When we'd first get started,
It seemed an insurmountable chore;
There looked like half a million peas,
Or maybe even more.
But, after we all got the flow,
We'd turn it into fun;
We'd have a race to see just who
Would be the first one done.
We'd each one have our own bowl,
and a paper sack;
We's slip our fingers through the hull,
Then throw it empty back.
At last, when all the shells lay empty,
And a tub of peas was done;
We'd let the grownups take the haul,
Then look for some new fun.
Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey 


Purple pea shelling
Purple peas and those who love to shell them. Photo: Bill Dailey


No matter how nimble their fingers, purple hull pea (a lanky cow pea that looks like a black-eyed pea, but – according to loyal Emersonites – tastes better) eaters who grew up in the mechanized shelling era are at a competitive disadvantage. While hulling peas and stringing beans remains a beloved Southern tradition, younger shellers' poor showing in the contest suggests the practice may prevail mostly in country songs and old folks' memories.

"If you grew up in our area, you grew up shelling peas," Dailey says. "There's something very moving about sitting on the front porch on a summer evening, shelling peas    http://www.slashfood.com/2009/06/23/purple-hull-pea-shelling-world-cup-up-for-grabs/








FROM A READER: "Shelling Peas" brought back so many memories sitting on the front porch with my silver tub shelling peas and butterbeans. Thank you for bringing back such sweet memories!"

Cheryl Knight Entrekin 


Dump Peach Cobbler

You need
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 large can Peaches DO NOT drain
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix flour and milk, in 9x9 square Pyrex dish...,

add sugar,
dump can of peaches and juice into it mixture


cut butter into patties and put on top.

Bake for 1 hr. and enjoy...hummm
A cobbler that EVEN an "Undomestic Diva" such as myself can make!!!!!  
 The (Un) Domestic Diva
I don't cook and I don't sew.
And I can hardly make a bed;
I don't even grocery shop,
To keep my family fed.
My friends are always wondering,
And often ask what it is I do;
Now, I can just simply say,
I write sweet poems for you. 
from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems
copyright 2008 


 What is Southern Food???

The food of the American South reflects a unique blend of cultures and culinary traditions. The Native Americans, Spanish, French, and British all contributed to the development of Southern food, bringing recipes and foods from their own cultures. Transplanted Africans brought to the South through slavery also brought things to Southern cuisine.

There are a few rough categories of Southern food. So-called “Soul Food” is heavily influenced by African cooking traditions, tending to feature a lot of greens and vegetables, rice, and nuts such as peanuts. Okra and collard greens often crop up in Soul Food, along with thick stews. Creole food has a French flair, and is often found around New Orleans, while Cajun cuisine reflects the culinary traditions of immigrants from the region of Canada known as Acadia.

Lowcountry cuisine features a lot of seafood and rice, while the food of the Appalachians relies heavily on preserved meats and vegetables. Southern food tends to be heavy on the corn, thanks to the Native American influence, with dishes like grits, cornbread, and corn on the cob being very popular. Nuts such as pecans and peanuts are also popular, as are fruits like peaches and berries. Common vegetables in the South include things like peppers, peas, okra, carrots, and sweet potatoes, while pork, chicken, and seafood remain endearingly popular.

The South also houses a lot of bakers, famously producing very light, rich baked goods like red velvet cake, buttermilk biscuits, and fluffy white breads. Southern bakers love making sweet treats like pies, cobblers, and cookies. White bread rolls, cinnamon rolls, and other bready treats are also popular in the South.



Bottle Trees
What is a bottle tree?..A common southern yard decoration, the bottle tree's origin can be traced back to Africa. It was believed that bottles suspended in the trees  
would attract evil spirits when the sun glimmered through the glass and the evil spirits would then be trapped in the bottle.

They say
That evil spirits
Are captivated by your beauty
As you stand glistening in the sun.
Wanting a better look,
They come closer
And get caught.
That's what
They say.
2010 Patricia Neely-Dorsey

 http://www.bottletree.com/ for more info about bottle tree garden art made in Sunflower, MS





 Community...Religion...Large Family Gatherings...Manners...County Fairs

Hunting... Fishing...Sweet Tea...,Grits,  Greens,Cornbread. Biscuits and Gravy (red Eye Gravy,Chocolate Gravy, ) ...

Fried chicken, Fried Catfish and hush puppies...Fried Green Tomatoes, Fried Okra ,Fried ANYTHING..including pickles, twinkies, snickers




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