Southern Sweet Tea; Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Conventional wisdom tells us to live everyday like it's our last, carpe diem reminds us to seize the here and now, and then there's YOLO. We like to apply that advice to National Southern Food Day.

While the rest of the world may need an excuse to savor our one-of-a-kind culinary heritage, we don't need one to pour a glass of sweet tea and relish in our region's truly unique dishes from from the gumbos of Louisiana to the hams of Virginia. Whether it's dining on pig ear lettuce wraps on the table cloths of Husk or buying a bag of boiled peanuts in a gas station parking lot, there's no right or wrong way to enjoy it.

Cast-iron fried chicken, collard greens, oysters, succotash, cornbread, catfish, cheese grits, green tomatoes, pickled shrimp, pulled pork, field peas, chow chow, banana pudding, buttermilk biscuits, sweet potato pie, hush puppies peaches -- we could go on, but we think Southern Foodways Alliance founder John Egerton said it best.

"Given such circumstances, our food has been a powerful reflection of our history, an open window on the daily joys and sorrows of our lives, a constant reminder of who we are and where we came from... Here in this historically unique region of the United States—unique for great many reasons, good and bad—food has been perhaps the most positive element of our collective character, an inspiring symbol of reconciliation, healing and union."

Here are five recipes we think are sure fire ways to celebrate.