I wasn't born in the South, but I like to consider myself a Southern girl after spending a large part of my childhood and adult years there. I love many southern traditions, style, and character -- and embrace them as my own. One of the things I particularly love, is the hospitality.
Every once in a while I have a slow Sunday afternoon, and like to plan my meals for the week by browsing through some of my less-used cookbooks. Today was one of those days (and add rain), so while Todd is at the gym I've been digging through recipes and making my grocery list. Last year, while Todd and I were engaged, I was given favorite recipes from the guests at two of my bridal showers in Atlanta. I was given a recipe binder at one of the showers, so I compiled all of the recipes shared with me on cards, hand written notecards, and printed papers within the pages. I decided to go through the binder today -- which is appropriately decorated with pineapples, a symbol of Southern hospitality. I was so excited to find recipes ranging from spitfire shrimp to caramel corn and bourbon chocolate pecan pie to black eyed pea soup and breads. I think when I was given these recipes, I was in wedding planning/moving/working/invite addressing/registering/thank-you writing/to-do listing mode, and because I could barely find time to pick up take out and didn't even have a kitchen since I was renting a room, I didn't fully appreciate the wonderful gift that these recipes are!
After looking through my recipes from family and friends that have shared in my life, I felt so overwhelmed by their love. It is such an intimate thing to share a meal with someone, and especially to share a beloved family recipe. I realize that the southern women who surrounded me at these showers were not just sharing a recipe for food, but instead sharing their family traditions and giving me a piece of their kitchen and dining room tables. The kitchen towels, aprons, and pot holders I was given at these showers will wear and fall apart, but these recipes will be shared with friends at our table, be favorites of our children, and provide nourishment for our grandchildren in the years to come! What a wonderful, and thoughtful gift! How could you not love the warm and giving hospitality found in the South?