Southern food and Southern cooking are divided into several distinct styles based on the different regions of the South. Southern cooking is typically divided into seven different styles; Appalachia, Creole, Cajun, Soul Food, Gullah, Lowcountry, and Floribbean. Each unique with varying influences.
Classic farm-to-table fare. The Southern wilderness provides ample hunting and foraging possibilities like rabbit, venison, ramps, and berries. Well known dishes such as chicken and dumplings, chow chow, and cobblers are all said to have their roots in Appalachia cooking.
Easily guessed from the name, Floribbean cuisine is the union between the flavors of Florida and the Caribbean. Influenced by Asian, Hispanic, and Caribbean immigrants to the area this style is characterized by a healthier, lighter take using local, ingredients. Coconut, papaya, lemongrass, mango, honey and rum are typically found in Floribbean dishes.
Creole cuisine is the combination of French and Spanish cooking techniques along with the spicy pallet of Louisiana’s local native and African cultures. Gumbo, Étouffée, and bread pudding are all based in Creole cuisine.
Gullah cuisine is a direct link to the African people who as former slaves, moved to an area that covers the coastline of southern South Carolina to northern Florida. This style of cooking is similar to the cuisine of western Africa. Traditional recipes, flavors, and techniques were carefully preserved and passed down between generations. Gullah cuisine features
seafood, rice, and locally available vegetables. One-pot meals are frequently found in Gullah kitchens.
From the French Canadian migration to the Louisiana delta, Cajun food highlights the products available in the swamplands. Alligator, Crawfish, turtles, and frogs often found themselves on the tables of Cajun families. Jambalaya, and dirty rice are steeped in Cajun influence.
Lowcountry cuisine takes advantage of the bountiful Carolina and Georgia coastlines, utilizing shrimp and shellfish. Rice is a constant in Lowcountry food. Shrimp and Grits, fried or stewed okra, Hoppin’ John, and rice puddings are typical dishes that display Lowcountry influence.
Soul Food finds its roots in the Black Power movements of the 1960’s. It was a way for African Americans to honor their often-overlooked contributions to Southern cooking. Fried Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, collard greens, candied yams all have their roots in the Soul Food kitchen.