Friday, June 25, 2010

Food: North vs. South

Paula Deen once said, "I've never heard anybody say, 'Gee, golly, I can't wait to get up to New York so I can have some of that good Yankee food.'"

The South has a reputation for food, and it comes by it honestly.  Food down here seems to be so much more satisfying (and worse for you) than food up North.  Don't get us wrong, we love the pizza, the cannolis, the pasta and the sandwiches but there is something almost intoxicating about smacking down on some fried chicken, a plate of BBQ or fixing a proper fajita.  Naturally, the food connoisseur that she is, Heather had plenty of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to hit on this road trip home.

The first obviously wasn't going to be the Flanigan family 'fridge.  Never ones for cooking (big meals or small), the stockpile of perishables took a hit during the Arkansas/Missouri ice storm of '09.  Phyllis & Mr. Ed say why bother restocking?  They survive on milk, mayo and lunch meat.  Not really a year round cook, Phyllis does break out her recipes for Christmas and Thanksgiving when she whips up her homemade rolls.  But don't ever think about asking for them outside of that two-holiday window.  When Heather had her wisdom teeth out her only request was her mom's homemade rolls, which fell on deaf ears.  Sometimes Heather wonders how she and her brother survived childhood?!?

They say Southern cooking is a hand-me-down art, which is probably true.  But oddly enough, both Brett and Heather learned their culinary skills on their own (and with the help of Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals-which btw, are not 30 minutes) Brett's mom could open her own restaurant with food so delicious it would just curl your hair.  He sat down nearly every night as a kid to huge spreads of home cooked meals!  He claims that his mother would never let him or his sister in the kitchen to help, so we're guessing his cooking talent must be in his genes.  Heather's mom is the most educated non-cooker on the planet.  With a Master's degree in Home Economics, you would think the Flanigan family would be a well fed little bunch.  Not really...Phyllis is more of the tell rather than show part.  She authors the weekly newspaper article detailing how not to kill yourself and others from cooking with raw foods.  Thankfully, both of their kids learned to read and were eventually hungry and curious enough to explore the options of a first recipe.

Well, to make up for time lost earlier in the week, the Flan family hit their favorite eateries! First stop, Maya's in Poplar Bluff. After the disappointing pseudo-Mexican experience in New York, it was nice to finally eat something a little closer to the border. (Plus, this is the home of Heather & Brett's rehearsal dinner.)  You can practically get a fajitas facial from the steam coming off the food at Maya's...can you smell the sizzle??

Finally, Maya's Fajitas!

And we didn't stop there.  Here's just a taste of some of our other local favorites:


Poplar Bluff's Rowland Stollen

Fish & Chips from Buckner's Brewing Co. in Cape Girardeau

Paula Deen's Tunica buffet (Breakfast & Dinner)

The Sonic burger. (Hands down the best one can be found in Piggott, AR.)