Staples for a Southern Summer

Foodies everywhere constantly peruse Saveur, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit & the like to stay attuned to seasonal, holiday & annual trends. But, for "us Southerners", we know what makes for a successful summer regardless of what the trends say…sweet tea, peaches, & ice cream. As August winds down & we reminisce about our summer, it seems like our summer Solstice (June 21st) was just last week. The kids are already back in school & everyone is falling back into their routines. A hot spring roared right into an oppressively humid summer with lots of rain.

True to our roots, us Southerners met that humidity with what else but a tall glass of sweet tea. Summer BBQ’s around the South often include good ole’ homemade peach ice cream, of course, only with free stone peaches. And speaking of peach, sweet tea with a twist of peach, raspberry or mango once again found it’s way on many restaurant menus this summer. Sweet tea wasn’t just for drinking. Nor were peaches just for ice cream. One could hardly peruse their social media without seeing mouthwatering pictures of grilled peaches. From sweet tea brined chicken to sweet tea marinated steak, we saw this summer staple on our plates as well as in our glasses.

And what would summer be without street inspired cuisine? From taco trucks to pizza trucks to fried chicken trucks, the food truck movement continues to thrive in the South. We are seeing some really interesting & new concepts focused on locally sourced & plant based foods. Speaking of plants, purple seemed to be the Southerners choice for vegetables this summer. From red cabbage to fresh beets to roasted petite potatoes, plates were exuding color.

As the temperature begins to cool & our minds turn to bonfires, sweaters & everything pumpkin spice…and who are we kidding- SEC football, (It IS the south Y'ALL!!) we will likely still see some purple around this fall. Swiss chard will be plentiful on plates especially with the vegan movement continuing to gain popularity. Don’t let the fall air fool you because the temperature on your plate will continue to peak. Sriracha will be popular again this fall. I mean come on what are wings on game day without a little “Kick” or guacamole without a little extra “ole”?

While the tried & true Southerners drink sweet iced tea year round, those who are cold natured give the tea kettle a rest when they ring in pumpkin season. Who’s ready for a pumpkin spice latte y'all?

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