One thing reigns dominant in the South and that is cast iron pots and pans. It is a rite of passage here where grandmothers and mothers pass down their perfectly seasoned cast iron pans to their daughters and granddaughters to keep up traditions and great meals.
Cast iron is widely used throughout the world, even our Boyscouts have a merit badge for cast iron dutch oven cooking. Cast iron heats evenly, is durable, easy to clean and maintain, versatile, oven safe, fire proof and can make a pretty good weapon.
Many people think that Southern cooking is all deep fried, including their salads . . . not true. Many think Southern food is limited to chicken fried steak and a side of gravy with everything . . . again, not true. While we do enjoy our sausage gravy, and here in Arkansas, our chocolate gravy, people of the South have roots in other countries and with that many recipes are associated with that. As the South grows, so do the types of food. We have heritage of British, Irish, Scottish, German, French, etc. and mix that with African, Caribbean, Cuban, Russian, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, etc. and you have quite an eclectic blend, including a little fusion between foods. We are influenced by other cultures and customs, we are not backwoods. Look at some of the major cities in the South and you will see quite an array of different ethnic restaurants and specialty stores.
Believe it or not, we can be healthy eaters, we have internet and know how to use it and most of us have all our teeth. . . with all kidding aside, I hope you enjoy these recipes, whether you are a Southerner looking to make your traditional dishes healthier or a Yank looking for the same or anyone who just wants to eat better with great taste and healthy eats . . . welcome and enjoy or vittles.