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Culinary Delights of the South

September 6, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Dallas 0 Comments

Texas holds a unique position as the crossroads of the American South and Southwest. With the Louisiana to the east, New Mexico to the west, and Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, Texas is a melting pot of regional cuisines that come together to create the flavorful and fun palette of Texas cuisine.

Much of southern cooking is dedicated to comfort and soul food. Both are reminiscent of home cooking with recipes that are typically uncomplicated and easy to prepare. Soul food is associated with African American culture in the South. Soul food staples like rice, sorghum, and okra can trace their roots back to Western Africa Cuisines.

We’ve gathered a list of foods that are favorites throughout the southern United States, with an emphasis on Texas. Most Dallas chefs can put together their delicious versions of the delights on our list.

Barbeque
Once you get past hamburger, hot dogs, and pizza, barbeque may be the quintessential American food. Several regions and states claim to have the best. As long as they’re cooking low and slow on a smoker they’re all making great barbeque. In Texas the emphasis is on beef, with brisket and beef ribs being the favorites. Meats are typically served with savory or hot and spicy barbeque sauces.

Cajun and Creole Cuisine
At first glance it is difficult to tell the difference between these two cooking styles. Cajun cuisine is descended from French-speaking Acadian (Cajun) immigrants from Canada. They adapted provincial French cooking styles to the rustic, local ingredients found in Louisiana. Creole cooking tends to be more centered on New Orleans with a style that blends Spanish, Caribbean, French, Native American, and African influences.

Tex-Mex Cuisine
Most of the “Mexican” food eaten in the United States is actually Tex-Mex food. It is usually a simplified version of Mexican foods that are easy to prepare and typically less spicy than their Mexican counterparts. Popular Tex-Mex dishes include enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, grilled skirt steak, and chile rellenos. Most dishes are served with a generous portion of sliced jalapenos on top.

Chili
Usually counted as part of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines, chili is the only distinctly Texan contribution to Tex-Mex and Southern cuisines. Typical Texas chili con carne is just that: chili with meat. It’s red, hot, and delicious. But you’d better hold the beans and veggies if you want to keep authentic.

Cornbread
With a history that can be traced back hundreds of years to early Native Americans, we’ve added corn bread to our Southern delights list because, other than a frosty beverage, it goes best with all of the other items on our list. Both sweet and savory it is found in nearly all American cuisines. Varieties include corn pone, Johnnycakes, hush puppies, and hoecakes.

If you plan to be cooking in Dallas, or anywhere else in the South, you should be sure to put at least a couple of these items in your personal recipe box.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts Dallas. Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts Dallas offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Dallas, Texas. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Dallas for more information.

The jobs mentioned are examples of certain potential jobs, not a representation that these outcomes are more probable than others. Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts Dallas does not guarantee employment or salary.

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