Originally Posted by greekonomist
Shrimp and grits are pretty good. I didn't like plain grits when I tried them. . . . I hate sweet tea and have many scarring stories to tell.
+1. I've lived in the South my entire life (North Carolina, Tennessee, and South Carolina), and the food is just incredible. I think shrimp & grits would be my last meal if I had to choose. You didn't like "plain" grits? You gotta throw in cheese, butter, and pepper... sometimes a bit of diced bacon! One cool thing about shrimp & grits, and Southern food in general, is that a seemingly basic plate can wildly vary from place to place (e.g., BBQ in Tennessee is nothing like BBQ in South Carolina). The best shrimp & grits I've ever had was at the Boathouse in Charleston. Unfortunately, the downtown location is now up for sale due to the economy.
Charleston has also got quite a culinary heritage, both with traditional Southern foods and other regional/international cuisines. And I agree with those who have said that Southern food is not defined by being deep fried. Sure, everyone loves good fried chicken or fried okra, but the real defining characteristic is essentially the great interplay of flavors and ingredients. And, of course, the culture/hospitality experience adds to the effect. I'm also not a fan of sweet tea. Does that make me a bad Southerner?