Raised in Washington state, Hannah Norling has never lived in the South before. Now habituating to Alabama, she is experiencing the South for the first time as a resident and documenting the whole thing. Welcome to the Northern Southerner.

Photo courtesy of Johnny's Restaurant

When my co-workers said they were going to take me to my first meat and three, I smiled and nodded. Meat and three...What?! I could make two quick assumptions, it was lunch time so I knew it had to be food. The word meat in the title was a dead giveaway that some sort of meat was involved. Granted, I didn't know what kind. The "three" remained a mystery. We entered Johnny's Restaurant in Homewood where I realized that the ambiguous three was the number of side vegetables accompanying a meal. Who knew mac and cheese was considered a veggie down here? I definitely wasn't complaining, I could eat mac and cheese all day! I was about ready to order my three vegetable sides of mac and cheese when I was advised differently. For the betterment of my Southern experience, I was told to diversify in my vegetables. Fried chicken or fried catfish? Garlic mashed potatoes or collard greens? I ordered whatever my co-workers recommended because I was overwhelmed by all the choices.

Meat: Fried chicken

Three: Squash casserole, fried green tomatoes, mac and cheese.

I almost fell asleep when I got back to work, where in my stupor I got the chance to reflect on the lesson Southern food had to teach me. I learned three very important things.

1. You get a biscuit with pretty much everything.

2. They fry vegetables down here.

3. Southern people make their food with a whole lot of love.

I have far more to learn about the South, and far more to see (like, every southern state besides Alabama.) If you keep tuning in to The Northern Southerner you'll get a first hand account of me embracing the culture through food, travel, and lifestyle. Till next time y'all.