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Food Fight

It is always interesting to check out the regional differences in food and what defines food depending on where you are. LabRat has a look. So does Chris. Being that I live in a different region, I can say, without reservation, that they get quite a bit wrong.

For instance, chili has no beans. Chili with beans is called chili with beans.

Cornbread is cornbread if it has sugar in it or not (I like my cornbread with a bit of sugar but not much – of course, I also put bacon flavor in it). It’s a matter of degree. And it’s cooked in a frying pan in the oven. A johnnycake is cooked on a skillet and it is thin like a pancake.

Barbecue is meat cooked over a fire. The sauce is a regional thing.

Bonus round: Iced tea. Being in the South East, when I order tea, there should be no follow up questions. It comes sweet and with lemon.

24 Responses to “Food Fight”

  1. Daniels Says:

    Here in Texas, Sweet Tea is the standard, though most sit-down restaurant places serve it unsweet and let you sweeten it to taste using your choice of sugars or artificial sweeteners.

    Texas based restaurant chains often offer the choice of Sweet Tea or Unsweet Tea.

    Chili does NOT have beans.

    And Barbecue…. well, arguing Texas Barbecue is just opening up a huge can of worms. There’s no one right way to do it, but there certainly are a whole lot of wrong ways to do it.

  2. Rustmeister Says:

    That’s the way I feel when I order a barbeque sandwich. They ask me “You want slaw on that?”.

    Well, duh.

  3. GunMonkey Says:

    Chili without beans is Spicy Meat soup.

  4. Yu-Ain Gonnano Says:

    Re: Sweet Tea.

    It’s one of the reasons I say Memphis isn’t part of the South but rather part of the Mid-West. When you order Tea, they bring you unsweet tea.

    And meat cooked over fire is grilling, not barbeque. Barbeque requires smoke.

  5. SayUncle Says:

    No, that’s smoking. but most fires do make smoke.

  6. Weer'd Beard Says:

    To add a word from the Nor’East, I might add that Clam Chowder is WHITE and CREAMY, that other stuff should be discarded.

    Also Being from Portland Maine we have these things called “Italian Sandwiches” (Commonly refereed to simply as “Italians”) They contain various meats (traditionally just ham) cheese, green peppers, black olives, onions, tomatoes, salt pepper and oil. There is no Lettuce of any sorts. Also purists say it MUST be from Amato’s

  7. AughtSix Says:

    Barbecue is meat cooked over a fire. The sauce is a regional thing.

    If you add *slow* cooked over fire, I’m in complete agreement. The specific meat and sauce is regional (Some of the best barbecue I’ve ever had was a leg of lamb I had in India.) But hamburgers and steaks are not barbecue. I’m a lot more willing to have overlap between BBQ and smoking definitions than between BBQ and grilling.

  8. Yu-Ain Gonnano Says:

    Yes, BBQ is a subset of smoking, but grilling is a different animal completely.

    Neener, Neener.

  9. BenC Says:

    If it is not Pork and doesn’t have sauce or a rub its not Bar-B-Que no matter how you cook it.:)

  10. Gun Blobber Says:

    Just to add to the Texas Tea thing: in West Texas, iced tea is treated the same as in the Midwest. I.e., it’s served unsweetened, with natural and artificial sweeteners on the table. In the DFW area and points eastward and southward, tea is dual-natured; you specify sweet or unsweet (horrible grammar notwithstanding).

  11. Tennessee Budd Says:

    Chili with beans is called “stew.”
    I get funny looks when I order unsweetened tea, which is how I prefer it (got used to it in the military.) I even get folks asking me if I’m from around here. Can’t these idiots hear me talk? Tennessee to the bone (or the larynx, anyhow.)

  12. mike hollihan Says:

    No no no no no. Barbecue is pig meat. Period. Sauces are optional, served on the side so as not to drown the flavor of the meat and rub.



  13. ATLien Says:

    It’s dumb to serve iced tea unsweetened then try and sweeten it at the table, cause when it’s cold the sweetener just falls to the bottom.

  14. Kristopher Says:

    Putting sweetener in Iced Tea at ANY time is dumb.

    Why ruin it?

  15. Gunstar1 Says:

    AughtSix is right…

    Grilled – high heat, quickly cooked.
    BBQ – low heat (usually indirect), slowly cooked.

    You can add a smoked flavor by either method.

  16. Sigivald Says:

    I’m with 06 and Gunstar.

    Barbecue is slow cooking over fire*; grilling is fast cooking over fire.

    (* or heat, at least – coals count.)

    A hotdog on a stick over a fire is not a barbecued hotdog, it’s just a cooked sausage. (It’s not grilled, either, since there’s no grill.)

  17. JKB Says:

    Well, the cornbread I grew up with, prepared by a woman who walked out of Happy Valley in 1926 to move to the big city, well Chattanooga, had neither eggs nor sugar in it. A pristine concoction of self-rising corn meal, oil and buttermilk cooked in an iron skillet. And you have to have white cornmeal. I later learned this was known to others as corn pone. Still I have no desire for cornmeal cake, sweetened or unsweetened.

  18. JJR Says:

    “Chili with beans is called chili with beans.”

    So what does that make Chile con carne then?

    Chili are the peppers in the seasoning.

  19. Stranger Says:

    The consensus among mi amigos goes like this. Chile con carne means peppers with meat.

    Boiled meat, carne, is stew. The best stew is lean beef, with chunked potatoes and onions, a dash of salt, and not much else but time and a slow fire.

    Carne with chile peppers, chunked and thickened with masa flour, and lightly spiced with habaneros is chile con carne. It is about right when smoke comes out of your ears as you eat it. The best will clean your sinuses – and put lead in your pencil.

    Carne con frijoles, esta es frijole sopa. Putting beans in chile makes it bean soup. People develop a taste for spicy bean soup, but it is an acquired taste.

    Beans of any variety should be prepared with cured hogs flesh, with ham or bacon. Or both. Although I have had beans prepared with that sliced pork loin roll called Canadian bacon. Not so good.

    Smoke flavor is best imbued by cooking over a slow fire burning naturally smoky wood such as pecan or mesquite. Chunks, not chips.

    And JKB has the best recipe for cornbread. Or hoe cake, shovel cake, or whatever flat object with a handle you can find to hold over fire to bake it. Get the hoe or shovel hot, grease it with a strip of bacon. It will make a hard day swinging an axe a lot more pleasant.


  20. CR Says:

    The BBQ song is an entertaining review of BBQ methods in the South.

    Unfortunately, they’re from NC, which, not being Texas, means they are wrong when they say anything but brisket is how God intended BBQ to be made. Also, BBQ should be slow cooked over indirect heat, preferably for several hours – cooking over a fire means you will burn the meat. This is wrong and a sin.

    Just sayin’.

  21. straightarrow Says:

    I haven’t had any real barbecue from any retailer or purveyor of food in more that 20 years. Reason? Simple, it is not barbecue if it is cooked then barbecue sauce added at the table.

    Barbecue is done slowly over an open fire, with constant basting of the sauce during cooking and preferably after the meat has been “rubbed” with spices and seasonings and allowed to marinate for no less than eight hours.

    Any meat is suitable to qualify as barbecue if done correctly. The best I ever had was goat. The second best was raccoon, takes longer though because of the need to let a whoooollle lot of grease drip away during cooking..

    The way you get barbecue today in any restaurant is just cooked meat with sauce poured on it. Ain’t barbecue, just fucked up meat.

  22. straightarrow Says:

    Oh and cornbread with just a little sugar is smoother, holds together better and tastes better. And sweetened tea is a whole ‘nother cat from sweet tea. Taste nothing alike.

    For it to be real sweet tea, the sugar must be added while the tea is still very hot. Wonderful!

    Chili with beans is chili soup. Chili otherwise is a meat preparation with chiles and seasoning, get your damn vegetables as sides.

    I like chili soup, and I like chili, but they are not to be confused with one another.

  23. Sailorcurt Says:

    The only nit I’ll pick is over your definition of cornbread.

    Whether it’s a frying pan or not is not as relevant as the material. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a skillet (although that’s the most common) but it does have to be cast iron. Corn bread just isn’t the same prepared in a vessel of any other material.

    I grew up with a soupy style of chili served over elbow macaroni. I’ve tried many different dishes that were referred to as a variation of chili…Cincinnati chili, white chicken chili, Texas chili, etc etc etc…I enjoyed every one of them. I really don’t care whether you “purists” would call it chili or not, if it tastes good and I enjoy it, call it whatever you want. I’ll just call it “good”.

  24. straightarrow Says:

    Can’t really argue the Sailor’s last, if you like it, what you call it doesn’t matter. Unless of course you order it by name in a cafe and get something different from what you thoughty you had orderes. Alas! There is no real cure for that.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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