Since I met Roger, I've been regaled with stories of how his mother cooked fried chicken, or how he and his brother ate tomatoes right off the vine (just sprinkling salt on them), how breakfast in their North Carolina home was never something sweet (this after I expressed a love of pancakes). But most especially, I think, I've heard stories about Country Ham and about Biscuits. I'm using initial capital letters on these items because they certainly warrant it. Perhaps no other items are as iconic to North Carolina cooking as these two.
Whenever I cook something that even vaguely resembles a Southern dish, Roger will wish we had biscuits...And, whenever we eat the ham that's usually available here in South Florida, he longs for Country Ham. Once, his brother sent us a whole ham in the mail. Know what? Just the smell of that thing let you know it was going to be good. We had to wash some of the salt off, and I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone on a sodium-restricted diet, but God it was good!
As to biscuits: Apparently, almost anything can go on a biscuit....I've heard stories of a grill that serves salmon patties on biscuits, and will make any kind (and I mean any kind) of biscuit sandwich you can think of. Nothing is too weird (egg, cheese, peanut butter and jelly anyone?) or outlandish. Of course, this all sounds very strange and exotic to me because I grew up in New York. Perhaps anyone who grew up anywhere from Maryland down to Georgia is conversant in the ways of Country Ham and Biscuits.
You know about New Yorkers don't you? We think anyone from outside the five boroughs is foreign. Anyone from outside the country is welcome and rather easily finds his place in NYC, but someone from the American South is truly a "foreigner." As a matter of fact, I'd never met anyone from the South (or at least anyone who had a Southern accent) in New York - ever.
In the New York of my experience, Southern accents were reserved for movies, and in movies they're shorthand for slow-moving, slow-thinking, quirky folk. Sometimes, Southerners in movies are scary, such as in "Deliverance," the 1972 movie with Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds, in which four friends on a river rafting trip in Georgia come across truly scary rednecks. This movie is guaranteed to scare the hell out of any Northerner!
This is a country ham, egg and cheese biscuit
This is a sausage and egg biscuit
Until next time,