Things You Learn From Growing Up In The South

chickenSouthern food is truly the best. Whether it’s spicy gumbo, fried chicken and biscuits with honey, sautéed greens, or BBQ meat that falls off the bone — the south has it locked up. You grow up with that food and it is the stuff you will be craving for the rest of your life.

Getting the most honey out of a honeysuckle is a fine art. Many a southern summer is spent hanging out by the bush in your back yard, consuming about a full cup’s worth of honey out of 700 tiny flowers, and occasionally avoiding bees.

All sodas can be referred to as “Coke,” even though this objectively makes no sense and only makes ordering drinks a step more complicated than it needs to be.

The holy trinity of condiments is salt, pepper, and hot sauce.

Spankings are definitely still a thing. When I moved up to Maryland (which some people still consider the south, but that’s debatable), I realized that a lot of my friends’ parents just “negotiated” with them from age two and beyond. This is not acceptable in the south. One of my most formative memories is being popped in the mouth by my grandmother in front of the entire line at Winn-Dixie because I called her a b*tch. It was a moment equivalent in education to about four full years of schooling.

There is no limit to how many foods can be fried. And, let’s be honest, you’ve tried (and probably enjoyed) 99 percent of them.

Respect for elders is the most important thing ever. Talking back to an adult in the south, or not calling someone ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ is a one-way ticket to being punished into another generation. If you don’t have respect for grown-ups, you have no home training, and life is just going to be a struggle for you. To this day, as a 25-year-old, I still call older people “Mr.” and “Ms.” out of force of habit. I’ll likely do it until I am dead, and honestly, I’m a better person for it.

American flag clothes are very much in fashion in parts of the country. My neighbor as a child had a collection of NASCAR memorabilia in his living room, including a box of limited-edition Dale Earnhardt Bugles (the corn chips). This man’s clothes were at least 40 percent covered with American flags.

Southerners can be extremely fancy. Yes, there is a lot of the aforementioned trash factor. But there is also a huge population of Fancy Southern People who are from #OldMoney and are some of the most terrifying people you will ever encounter. They have names like Austin or Claire and they wear nice hats and they proudly mention that their family used to own a plantation. (This is a real thing, btw.)

Reprimanding other people’s kids is acceptable. I’m sure it happens as a kid up north, but in the south, there are definitely fewer barriers around “can I scold a child that is not my own?” They won’t hit you, of course, but you will get a “Don’t you talk to your momma that way!” from a rando in the grocery store. And this isn’t seen as a bad thing because…

Written by Chelsea Fagan. The article in its entirety can be found HERE

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