Friday, June 15, 2012

BBQ Sauce and "An Irresistible History of Southern Food"

Pork ribs with South Carolina/Georgia Golden-Style Mustard Sauce

I know that I've mentioned it before in the past, but I'll say it again. I'm Southern. I'm from Georgia and that's how I cook and eat - like a Southerner. I know what I like, but never questioned my culinary history. In Rick McDaniel's An Irresistible History of Southern Food, I learned where I came from and why.

by Rick McDaniel
The History Press

McDaniel begins the history lesson on Southern food at "The Table of our Ancestors" and describes the influences of those who settled here and left their mark on our region: the Native Americas, English, Scots-Irish, Germans, French, and Africans and African-Americans. He then moves to the Southern kitchen from the hearth to the modern Southern kitchen and the evolution of recipes (receipts) and cookbooks.

The rest of the book features the staples of Southern cuisine, what we're eating and why we're eating it. Oh, and there are plenty of recipes along the way, too. Here's what we're all about down here:
  • Rice and Grits - grits, rice, pilau
  • The Southern Seas: Fish and Shellfish - catfish, trout, shrimp, crabs, oysters
  • The Incredible, Edible Pig - The whole hog, barbecue and mop sauces
  • The Gospel Bird: Chicken - featuring fried chicken (is there any other way?)
  • Wild Game - venison, alligator, rabbit, squirrel, turkey
  • The Old Iron Pot: Gumbos, Soups and Stews
  • The Southern Garden: Vegetables and Fruit
  • Glory in a Jar: Pickles, Relishes, Jams and Preserves
  • Corn Bread, Biscuits and Other Breads
  • Gravies, Sops, Sauces and Condiments
  • Iced Tea (and a Few Stronger Beverages)
  • Just a Little Something Sweet: Southern Desserts
The bottom line of Southern cooking has been and always will be making do with what you have and taking advantage of the abundance around you.

"The Incredible, Edible Pig"

"In South Carolina and some parts of Georgia, sauces based on yellow mustard are the norm. They can be used as finishing or table sauces. This type of sauce dates at least to antebellum days." from An Irresistible History of Southern Food.

South Carolina/Georgia
Golden-Style Mustard Sauce

3/4 cup yellow mustard
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1-1/2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper sauce

In a 1-quart mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Brush on pork the last 15 minutes of cooking time and serve at the table.

Kim's note: My husband and I loved the flavor of this sauce. I did not baste my ribs with it. I served it on the side. While I prepared the sauce per the directions above, my husband said he would have liked it a little thicker. So, I'm going to cook the sauce next time and let it reduce to suit my husband's textural needs. Flavor-wise, it's perfect!

If you're not Southern, and I can't assume that everyone reading this is, but you're interested in the history of other food culture here in the United States, visit The History Press's Food & Drink series. You're sure to find a book for your region of the country.  

Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with a review copy of the book, but the opinion expressed here is my own.

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