These are two postcards I've received in the past two months that show restaurants that serve Southern food. Mary Mac's Tea Room is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and Snappy Lunch is in a small town in western North Carolina called Mt. Airy. It was the inspiration for the Andy Griffith Show, a classic American TV show.
I spent a lot of years living in the South, and I'm really amazed by and enjoy some of the finer points of Southern culture. So I thought, why not take this opportunity to share with my friends around the world one of the cool regional differences within the US! It's impossible to really convey the differences between people in different regions of the US, many differences are subtle, but the cuisine is definitely a good start.
For more detail, check out Cuisine of the Southern United States. So: Southern cuisine is influenced by African, Native American, British, Irish, French, and Spanish cuisines, depending on its specific location. There are many different types of Southern Cuisine, some of the most well-known being Cajun, Creole, Lowcountry, Soul Food, and Floribbean.
Creole and Cajun: Centered in Louisiana and East Texas, this cuisine is heavily influenced by French cuisine, as settlers from this region originated from France, via the Acadia region of Canada. Creole and Cajun frequently makes use of crayfish (or crawfish/crawdads regionally), crab, oysters, fish, shrimp, rice, and okra. Common dishes are gumbo, jambalaya, and étouffe.
Lowcountry: This is the region where I lived, the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Many of the main ingredients are similar to Creole/Cajun because of the availability of seafood, but they tend to be less spicy. Some typical dishes are She-Crab Soup, Frogmore Stew (corn, potatoes, sausage, and shrimp), Shrimp and Grits, or Hoppin' John (black-eyed peas and rice).
Other typical Southern staples: sweet iced tea, fried chicken, sweet potatoes, pecans, corn bread, mint juleps, boiled peanuts, fried green tomatoes
Here's a video that shows you how to make Frogmore Stew, also known as Lowcountry Boil.