The Strange Things Southerners Eat

Award-winning writer Rick Bragg explains that being a Southerner means you can't be afraid to "eat the bounty of the land"—even raw oysters.


Hi I'm Rick Bragg I think part of being a Southerner is being willing and able to eat things that send other people running away we can start with the easy stuff, boiled peanuts. The boiled peanut has the consistency of something that I can't even say. You can take a boiled peanut, and throw it at your girl cousins and they will run screaming from you. That's how nasty the consistency of a boiled peanut is. Then you eat one and you think, well it is pretty nasty but it tastes good. Oysters. I'd like to see the first man, or woman, who, cracked open the oyster and said, well, it's gone be rough but I'm really hungry. Yet now, oysters are, are, oysters just make you smile when you're around them, you know? An oyster atop a saltine cracker with a little dab of real horseradish. And a little tiny bit of cocktail sauce, and a squeeze of lemon. I think in a way we started doing that so we wouldn't taste the oyster, but that's fine, that's as good as it gets. But if you look at the oyster too long, you will not eat it. Chitlins. Okay, I still don't like chitlins. I don't see how people can eat chitlins. Anybody that's ever seen a chitlin 'fore it got nice and diced up, wouldn't eat one either. But cracklins... I was at my mother's. Recently, and she was rendering lard. And, she'll use that to cook eggs. But the byproduct, of course, is the cracklin. Which is really just little diced up bits of what's left over. But if you've ever been in Brobridge, Louisiana, at one of those big iron pots, and watched that process, and have them take them out and put them on a table and salt them, put them in a brown paper bag. You don't even have to eat them. You can just put them in the trunk of your car and drive around with them and they smell so good. It just permeates everything. I've stood in a parking lot and eaten them like M&Ms, which could explain why I'm in the great health that I'm in today. Pigs feet. Now I could understand why people would run from a pig's foot. But down in Baldwin County Alabama, there's a place called Vaughn's that used to have big trays of barbequed pigs feet. I can't even begin to tell you how good those. Being Southern is sucking it up and saying yeah, I'll eat that. I'm not saying we eat everything, we don't eat bugs, usually. But, I don't like snake. I don't like anything that I would try to stomp to death if I found it in my bedroom. But being Southern is not being afraid to eat the bounty at the land that we live on. And I'm sorry but I don't have much patience for those who say I'll never eat that [UNKNOWN] try. See what you think. Less of course it's lizard.
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