Black-eyed peas and collard greensI am a Southerner. I have Southern manners which means I like people, I'm friendly, and I'm always willing to help out with a good cause. I also love a perfectly made Mint Julep, something I made before this crazy meal which was part Southern, part New England (my favorite part of the country), and part Maryland. Sorry I did not take a photo of the drink; cooking and taking photos becomes a little messy, especially for the camera, in this case my iPhone.
Mint Juleps don't taste as good in Maryland because 1: I don't think they know how to make them and 2: In order to enjoy them you need an old fashioned veranda with a couple of swings, rocking chairs, a few hand-fans to move the sweetness of the night air across your face, and of course other Southerners to sip your Julep with. Set that scene on a bug-less summer night and you have conjured heaven to you doorstep.
Another thing that Southerners love is collard greens and black-eyed peas, and of course corn bread. Not that sweet stuff they make in Maryland. It tastes like cake and if you are going to put sugar in your cornbread put in on a dessert plate and lop some ice cream on top of it. The cornbread in this photo is real cornbread!
Over the holidays we have consumed a mass quantity of food so I wanted to make our New Year's dinner simple, especially after that fattening but oh-so-yummy Russian pancake brunch we had this afternoon (I emphasize "afternoon" because it was a long night), so we made crab cakes from local crab, picked up some Maine lobsters, and cooked what we used to call in Georgia, "A mess of greens and black-eyed peas." I grabbed this quick pic with my iPhone, so enjoy. Though it may look a might simple it was delicious. And there was left-over crab for freezing.
More on the Mint Julep: It originated in England but was made famous in the States in the eighteenth century. The Deep South was sipping on Juleps years before 1938, when it became associated with the Kentucky Derby. Maryland, Virginia, and Louisiana all lay claim to creating the Southern Mint Julep, but records show that John Rutledge, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of South Carolina from 1779 to 1782, introduced the Mint Julep to South Carolina over 20 years before it reached Virginia.
I am of the mind that only a true Southerner knows how to properly make a Mint Julep. Ingredients are important: Brown sugar, properly shaved ice, crushed fresh mint, Basil Hayden's Bourbon is my favorite, and I like my Mint Julep served in a pewter cup. If not made correctly your Julep will taste a little like cough syrup, which is why I say I have not have a good Mint Julep away from my house since leaving Georgia. Ask any bartender in Kentucky and they will tell you that locals seldom order the drink, and that the majority of Juleps are served to tourists during the Kentucky Derby.
Happy New Year, and I hope everyone enjoyed their special meals. Now it's time to get back to those treadmills.