Small Towns and Their Food by Pepper Phillips

One thing I’ve learned about small towns is that each one has their own history. My own little town is called ‘Boggy Bayou’ in my series. It was easier for me to use some place that I was familiar with. Settled in 1760, it’s an old town.

I didn’t realize until I did my hubby’s family tree that he was related to the first settlers of Louisiana. They migrated from the New Orleans area, northward until they finally settled in a very rich fertile farmland. Most anything will grow here. We’re still picking oranges off of our trees.

But each small town also has its food preferences. Living in Louisiana means eating well. Recipes are shared between families, in community cookbooks, at church functions, and social functions. There are still some items that I refuse to eat, such as blood sausage. Yuck. But the hubby loves it. I have assisted in helping make it, and I guess that’s one reason I won’t eat it. I have tried to make a modified hog’s head cheese, which is the tidbits of meat from the skull of the hog. I cheated and used pork meat not from the head. If you want to try it, here is a good recipe.

Then there are cracklings…oh, they are good. Part pork skin with fat and meat, it’s deep fried until it turns a dark brown and the fat is cooked out. Crunchy and delicious.

So, when I write my books set in Boggy Bayou, I try to include the food that we do eat on a regular basis. To me there is nothing worse than going to another town in the U.S. and have ‘Cajun Breakfast’ on the menu and there are hash browns offered. Hello…it better be grits if it’s Cajun. Hash browns are served in restaurant chains such as International House of Pancakes or Waffle House, but the local diners have grits.

When I went up to Washington State many years ago for my Granny’s funeral, my aunt took me to a ‘Sausage Feed’ the next day. I’d never heard of that, so was very interested. As a kid when I lived with my Granny, I remember the Flapjack Breakfast from a real chuck wagon on the Main Street, but never a sausage feed. What it was, was a sit-down dinner with browned sausage links, boiled potatoes, lots of different vegetable dishes served family style. As it was set in a high school, everyone sat with their group and strangers. It was quite interesting. But I wouldn’t use it in Boggy Bayou. It wouldn’t ring true.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my take on small towns and the food that they serve. I’m sure your small town has its favorite recipes as well, something I most likely have never tasted. Tell us about it.

I did create a wonderful recipe for White Chocolate Bread Pudding with White Chocolate Sauce that is to die for…men love it!  Even the grandson asked for the recipe. You can get it here: 

That recipe is featured in Naomi’s Heart…


5 thoughts on “Small Towns and Their Food by Pepper Phillips

  1. While driving down to Disney World with my family when I was a kid, we stopped for breakfast at a restaurant in Georgia and saw grits on the menu. When we asked the waitress what they were, she gave us an incredulous look. I’ll never forget her exclaiming in a strong Southern accent, “You don’t know what grits are?” We explained that we were from Canada, so she tried describing grits to us – “They’re kind of like mashed potatoes.” I don’t think she actually knew what they were made of.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Regional food just makes me smile. I’ll try just about anything that doesn’t have meat (other than seafood) in it :). Food really give me a feel for place and sometimes of time as well. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t know how we ended up eating grits, as a kid. No one was from the south and we lived in the San Franscisco Bay Area. Not exactly a bustling area for southern food. But we used to have them with milk, butter and as much sugar as we could sneak before mom caught us! They were yummy. I haven’t thought about making them for my son, but maybe I will!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the recipe. There’s nothing like really good bread pudding. The best I ever had was in New Orleans.
    A girl I worked with years ago, traveled to our new distribution centers to set-up and train workers on the computer system. Her first trip to Connecticut was a grits no-show. She called and had her office overnight instant grits to her. We kidded her forever and dubbed her “The Grits Kid.” You either love grits or you hate them. Me? I love them! Salt, butter and cheese. Shrimp grits are awesome if prepared properly.


  5. Ah, Pepper. You bring back memories. I do not eat boudin either, and I never ate the hog’s head cheese my mom and grandmother made. We grew up eating grits and short fat sausages that I’ve never seen anywhere except in Louisiana. They came in a big can, swimming in greasy water. Last time I had them was at band camp in Bunkie. Every now and then, mostly in the winter, I cook grits for breakfast but never put sugar on them! Now grits are gourmet fare courtesy of upscale chefs.


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