I got a little bent out of shape yesterday - once again traditional southern food has been touted as the cause for obesity. It's not.
Growing up in South Carolina, my plate, especially in the summer time, always looked like the new "my plate" Fresh vegetables either picked from our garden or bartered from family and friends abounded. Yes - squash was stewed with a little bit of bacon grease. LITTLE BIT - like 1 teaspoon for a mess that would serve 6 people! Green beans - cooked the same way. A LITTLE BIT of fat was used to season vegetables. Subtlety in seasoning is key. Corn was boiled and served with butter (margarine back then). Okra was fried on occasion, but more often than not was steamed on top of the fresh green beans. Patty pan squash - this was treat, not a daily thing, was sliced almost paper thin, dredged in flour and cornmeal and quickly fried. Eggplant was the prepared the same way. But the fried veggies were treats and only served up occasionally - it was a lot of work and my working mother did not have time to put THAT elaborate of a meal on the table every night. Fried chicken - once a month. Period. And the chicken pieces? Well, let's put it this way 4 lb chickens were unheard of!
And when I was growing up, obesity was not common. A few chubby people here and there, but not fat or obese. My brothers were thin as teenagers. I was not - I liked my sweets too much. Not fried pies - ice cream and cookies.
So why are southern people, as well as people across the nation, becoming more and more obese? They've stopped cooking and eating their own food! As a society, we eat out several times a week. And if you go to a southern buffet several times a week - you've got access to fried chicken several times a week.
And fried green beans? Unheard of when I was growing up. Fried pickles? Same thing. These are not typical southern foods.
Let's quit blaming traditional cuisine and start putting responsibility where it should rest: on ourselves (we stopped cooking) and big agribusiness and chain restaurants who actually pervert food to make it it more easily eaten so we'll eat more.