Many of you have asked where in the world I've been.

All I know is that after 7 plus years of blogging and a different lappy, which I don’t like, I seem to have lost my blogging fervor.

Someday, when you least expect it, I will post again.

For those of you still waiting I say thank you.

Meanwhile, I am rather prolific on twitter. Find me: @KeethaB
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The Eclectic Company - Waitin' on a New Adventure!!
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Macaroni Pie and Other Things You Aren't Likely to Find at Yankee Pot Lucks


The other day on "The Splendid Table" on NPR I heard someone talking about foods they had always enjoyed at Southern picnics.

I lived in the south for 12 years - - - and the description of southern picnic foods brought to my mind many pot luck (I believe they call them covered dish) dinners in the south - - - the BEST OF THE BEST being church Homecoming dinners. (We don't have many "homecomings" up here, but in the south nearly every church celebrates homecoming once a year.)

I began to think (dream and drool actually) of foods that were at nearly every self-respecting southern Homecoming dinner that one would probably never find at a pot luck north of the Mason Dixon.

Now - - - lest you get confused, there are plenty of wonderful dishes that one would find NORTH of the Mason Dixon that wouldn't be below it, but THEY are simply not the topic of this post.

Also, I didn't MAKE all of these dishes in order to get the photos. First , THAT would be too much work, and SECOND - - - I have NEVER mastered these fine southern dishes because I do not have the true southern cook gene. So, I had to google for images that looked as CLOSE to the real thing as I could find. To my HORROR, some of them aren't from a very southern source - - - but we'll just ignore that fact.

You may think of some other dishes that you think fit this criteria - - - if so please describe them in the comments. There is ONE dish missing which at first glance may appear to be a GLARING error, but in reality I left it off on purpose. That is southern fried chicken. I left it out because while the south certainly makes some of the very BEST fried chicken I've ever tasted, you will find fried chicken in some form at EVERY pot luck - - - at least at every pot luck I've ever been privileged to attend.

And now for my mouth watering southern delights:

(photo from
Country Ham Biscuits

You may look at these and say to yourself, "Hmmmm - - - I've had a yankee ham biscuit." Well - - - you may have had ham on a biscuit (though more likely it was on a yeast roll) up here, but if you've had true southern country ham on it, you can knock me over with a feather - - - unless you have a southern friend or relative who BROUGHT IT UP HERE to you.

Country ham has a lovely dry texture and is S-A-L-T-Y salty. It is the PERFECT companion for a fluffy, "madefromscratchwithoutarecipe", southern biscuit. I am NOT a southern lady because I do NOT have this buiscut making gene - - - though I wish I did.

(photo from
Macaroni Pie

This picture isn't EXACTLY southern macaroni pie as it looks too dry, but it was the closest I could find.

I think macaroni pie is nearly my favorite southern covered dish food. It is a baked version of macaroni and cheese made with elbow macaroni, cheddar cheese, milk, and egg. It has the PERFECT texture that is neither soupy nor dry. It is full of stingy cheesy goodness.

I could eat this entire casserole by myself in one sitting, and I kid you not!

Leigh, when I come down to visit - - - I want THIS on the menu, oh PLEASE tell me you are adept at making it, because I can do a fairly decent imposter, but nothing to hold a CANDLE to the real thing. Must be that southern gene I lack.

(photo from
Black Eyed Peas

This is such a common side dish in the south, that my southern readers may be quite surprised that I include it on my list of favorite Homecoming foods. But here's the thing, southern bloggy readers, they just aren't found at dinners up here. In fact, I can't even REMEMBER the last back eyed pea I ate. (You may find them in a can at the grocery store, not sure about that)

This photo shows them doctored up with some "extras" (like I think I see some tomato in there). My favorte way to have them is simply cooked with butter, salt and pepper. YUM. I think I want some right now.

(photo from
Butter Beans

I have seen cans of these on grocery store shelves up here, but they aren't "flying" off those shelves I can just tell ya!!

I love them cooked to a lovely soft, squishy texture and swimming in buttery brothy goodness. Yum again.

(photo from
Collard Greens

The BEST collard greens I ever ate were fixed by a fabulous black cook and brought to hubby's Christmas Dinner at work. They were seasoned with fat back and every bite was an extravganza for my mouth.

I am CLUELESS about how to prepare them, and I've never seen anything to even remotely resemble them up here - - - more's the pity.

(photo from
Crookneck Squash Casserole

This picture isn't exactly right. The casserole I remember had crackers or bread cubes blended in with cheddar cheese, sauteed onions, and squash. It was my absolute favorite vegetable dish at those wonderful dinners.

I've never even seen a crookneck squash since I left the south. I've seen yellow summer squash, and it is CLOSE to a crookneck, but without the crook. I could eat this entire casserole by myself in one sitting too. Oh, don't DARE me, or I might just have to come down there and DO it.

(photo from
Red Velvet Cake

One day I found a cake in a northern bakery that was LABELED "Red Velvet Cake." I snatched it right up. It was not even CLOSE to a TRUE red velvet cake.

True Red Velvet cake is made with cocoa and red food coloring and is iced with some kind of white creamy decadent goodness. It is moist and better than sex. Oh I kid you not - - -

(photo from
True Blue Southern Banana Pudding

In the south it's just called Banana pudding - - - but I gave it that longer title so you would NOT confuse it with it's more lily livered yankee cousin.

The True Blue Southern Banana Pudding is made of vanilla pudding, whipped cream, sour cream and other secret ingredients, then layered with bananas into a Vanilla Wafer lined bowl. It is simply delicious and probably my most favorite of all my favorite southern dessert treats.

My - - - this post is making me long for a southern "Tour of Foods."



Tonja said...

No one has down home Southern cooking like a church homecoming. Everyone tries to outdo the other. My mom made the most wonderful mac and cheese...she brought Alex a pan of it a few days before she died. And, Don's mother was tops with turnips and mustard, and okra. I can make the squash casserole and the banana puddings...but that is about all for me.

Leigh of Tales from Bloggeritaville said...

Thank goodness I took photos this past weekend. Momma asked me what I and my (just turned 19 yr old) wanted for our birthday and I told her, speaking for myself, "I want nothing more than some good ol momma's southern home cooking". I will post this week. It was gooooo-ood! It included fried chicken, mac and cheese, potatoes augratin, black eyed pes (the travisty of havnt had in in so many years, Keetha!), cucumber salad, fresh from the garden sliced tomatoes, blueberry salad, brownies and mommas cornbread (the very same recipe her grandmother taught her to make as she was so small she sat on a stoll by the stove and watched and from that day forward was expected to make it....and boy does she!)
When I think of those churh homecomings/potlucks I also think of yellow cake with homemade chocolate icing, srtaight fromthe icebox, pistachio salad, deviled eggs, creamed corn, congelled salad (it is understood, that is someone passes someone WILL bring a congelled salad to the home of the family of the dearly departed. It just is.) and Sunday dinner (which is lunch to those above the mason dixon line) is not served without the house wine...a big cold glass of sweet sweet tea.

Keetha, I cannot wait for you to head south...I am hungry just thinking of all these dishes. I guarentee that momma and I will serve you up many of those on your list with some southern hospitality and lotsa love!

Kristin - The Goat said...

I attend a potluck each month, here in the south :), but unfortunately we don't have too many true Southerners that attend. So I haven't seen too many of these items - although I've been fortunate to have some of each of these dishes while I've been in the south.

Leigh, I loved your comment! I can't wait to read your food post, too.

Keetha, where did you live when you lived down south?

I can't find my blog said...

Mmmmmmm. Now you've made me hungry...again!

Collard greens are prepared just like you would think....boil them TO DEATH. They're better if you mix them with mustard greens-the flavor is more mellow. But they must be done with ham hocks, and served with 'pepper sauce'(really, it's just a jar with hot peppers and vinegar-you put a little on top of each serving. That jar was a staple on my Mamaw's table.)

I think I'm going to have to make a southern dinner soon!

Oh! And my Granny's squash casserole is so easy and yummy...boil onions and the yellow squash, drain well, mix sour cream and cream of chicken soup, mix, layer between seasoned bread crumbs, bake. (That's the nutshell, but you get the idea.)

Thanks for the memories! And the dinner suggestion!

Rechelle ~Walnuthaven Cottage~ said...

All those foods are foreign to me, lol! All except the collard greens. Long, long ago, in a land far away (j/k) I was introduced to that delectable dish and I've not had any since. I tried my hand at making some and it was a disaster! sigh* If only...
Enjoy your day!

brokeintrovert said...

this blog entry just makes me drool. i love southern food, and have had country ham. very tasty. we have a lot of people from the south in Cleveland, especially Alabama and Georgia.

★Carol★ said...

Oh my, I do declare, this all sounds scrumptious! I've never had any of these dishes before. I've always wanted to try true Southern mac and cheese. Those butter beans look suspiciously like lima beans. Are they the same thing? I would gag on those when I was little!

Lori E said...

I must be a true Northerner, as in another country, because I don't crave any of these things.
Now give me some potatoes or halibut and I am your slave.

Nancy said...

The taste buds are tripping down the memory trail. My sister has lived in Mississippi for 44+ years and is a fantastic cook. I could not eat southern cooking as my regular diet, but a meal now & then is wonderful.

Now, Miss Keetha, y'all know a meal just isn't a meal without grits. I LOVE grits! In fact, I have a cookbook entitled "Gone With the Grits" -- mostly just for entertainment, because I like my grits plain with a little butter, and occasionally with cheese.

Keetha Broyles said...

Miss Nancy - - - I LOVE grits. Pile up the grits next to the eggs and breakfast meat, load on the butter, salt, and pepper - - - oh my - - - YUM.

But, I don't eat them everyday either, and I don't remember them being at those homecoming meals even though they certainly are a southern staple.

Cindy said...

GREAT post! I love it! Also, my followers are gone on my blog, all of them! I hope it's temporary....glitchy or something. Also, all that I follow are gone off of my page! Waaaa!

Brenda said...

I'll have to admit that I haven't lived further east that N. Tx, so I'm not too familiar with true southern cooking. But I would like to tell you a funny story that came from an evangelist friend who had preached a Sunday morning service in the South. He went to the Pastor's home for dinner after church and most likely had all the fixins' you described.
He told us he kept looking over on the windowsill at the delicious raisin pie setting there and couldn't stand it any longer. He jokingly asked the hostess when he was gonna get some of that raisin pie. She went over to the window, waved her hand over the pie and all the 'raisins' flew right out the window, then she proceeded to serve him a slice of custard pie.
Now that's from the mouth of an evangelist, so I'm assuming he was telling the truth. At least he got a good laugh out of us!

Trish said...

Keetha...since I just got home from Tennessee (my birthplace) I have had several of these yummy foods.
I had...
1. Biscuit and southern Ham
2. Fried chicken which I made myself
my brother always requests it when I come home.
3. Butter beans...cooked soft and squishy in buttery broth.
Have you ever had a punch bowl cake?
It is layers of angel food cake, sweet syrupy strawberries, vanilla pudding and whipped topping...yum.
I made one of those too!
I too love banana pudding, back eyed peas with a big ol' hunk of cornbread and collard greens and red velvet cake and squash casserole...Mmm.
I have never had macaroni pie. I will have to see if my baby sister has a recipe to try it!
Now, my friend, I am hungry for all things Southern and I am back in Michigan...sigh.

~Molly~ said...

My mom was/is not a cook AT ALL so I only got these goodies at church or at my grandparents' homes. Now I cook most of them for my family, but not all at the same time like my mama mammer(mom's mom) did. I do not know how these women had enough pots and bowls to serve up a Sunday dinner with so many veggies and salads and other goodies!! They were amazing!

Molly, who just made black eyed peas last week! With salt pork. Yum...

Cindy from VA said...

I believe that would be Banana Puddin', not pudding... :)

Keetha Broyles said...

Oh Cindy, you are SOOOOO right!

Holly said...

Do you have any idea how hungry I am right now?

Anonymous said...

These dishes look VERY familiar:) I make a squash casserole that uses Stove Top dressing, sour cream, onions, carrots, butter, and cream of chicken or mushroom soup...MMMMMMMMM, I LOVE it, and eat way too much of it!!! Have lived here in the south for a while, still don't like Counrty ham, too salty for me:( Hubs loves it...

nancygrayce said...

Keetha, where will you be in the South??? I make a great squash casserole and it has crackers in it...but oh, so much more!!! Love to have you on down this way!