The U.S. has the South to thank for a variety of dishes and many dishes that inspired traditional regional cuisine. While not everyone is on board with a huge scoop of ambrosia salad or breakfast that consists of scrapple with a side of fried eggs, there are plenty of other tasty options that spawned from one Southern state or another. Southern food isn't just steeped in tradition, it's seeped in the history of a town or city, complete with a recipe that's likely been passed down through generations.


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While not every dish will appeal to every single person in the world, there are some down-home staples that should be on everyone's list at least once. Their history, more than anything, is why they taste so good - with each bite, you can almost sense the effort, love, and time that went into preparing it, and that's something truly unique.

Chicken Mull, AKA Simple Chicken Stew

Chicken mull is considered, first and foremost, to be a barbecue-style stew. While its ingredients and cooking method might say otherwise, this stew is one that has long-extending roots in the South, specifically when it comes to menus in Athens, Georgia. The creation of chicken mull likely came from the same place that many other long-standing staples have: the necessity that comes to cooking fresh game and the long-lasting power - and stretchability - of something such as a stew or soup.

Chicken mull, in particular, dates back to days when soup would be doled out to the community from large stock pots. These communal meals, called 'mulls' are where the stew received its namesake. The dish was said to have been created in Georgia and consists of shredded chicken, local vegetables, and a stock that's thickened with Saltines. It's affordable, easy, and great to feed a crowd.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Believe it or not, there's speculation that this 'Southern' staple may have never even originated in the South at all. In fact, there's pretty solid evidence now that it was actually created somewhere in Chicago in 1877, which is where a recipe was found for the said green tomatoes. The tomatoes were originally suggested for breakfast and throughout the 1880s, the simple recipe could be found throughout the country.

This recipe also came out of necessity, as in many regions of the country the climate occasionally keeps tomatoes from turning red, thus they must be used when they're green and prior to them going bad. It wasn't until the early 1990s when the South really began taking full advantage of fried green tomatoes and coming up with their own recipes, a trend believed to have been started by the Irondale Café. When the movie Fried Green Tomatoes came out, the connection between the dish and the Southern states was cemented. The truth? These tomatoes are delicious.

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Pimento Cheese

It comes as quite a surprise to know that pimento cheese was not actually born in the South. Rather, it took up residence in New York before the South claimed it as its own. The pimento cheese kick began somewhere around the 1870s when farmers in New York sought after their own domestically-crafted cheese that would similar to that of French Neufchâtel. This is also the story of how cream cheese was born which, as anyone familiar with pimento cheese knows, is the other half of the equation that is the popular cheese spread. The creation of pimento cheese is a true food love story, though, as it was also during this time that pimento peppers - which were described as being sweeter and milder than bell peppers - had made their way over from Spain. This introduction was all that was needed before the pimento pepper found its own way to fame and soon, it was a common household staple with many people opting to stuff the peppers. With its popularity grew a need for domestic agriculture in the name of the pimento and it was determined that the South would become a hub for this.

By the early 1900s, Georgia became well-versed in the growing of pimento peppers, even toying around with the peppers themselves in an effort to create different hybrid plants. The pimento canning industry was so intermingled with the Southern states that eventually, pimento cheese became just as notable as the pepper itself. This is how many surmise that the South was able to adopt the popular spread recipe and we're happy they did - because it goes great on practically anything.

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