Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The 924.82 Mile Grocery Shopping Trip

Yes, I drove 462.41 miles each way to go grocery shopping. No, I don't live quite that far in the middle of nowhere, it's just that any trip south of the Mason-Dixon line can be viewed as a grocery shopping opportunity.\

You must understand there are things that just aren't available up north. You can occasionally find a Moon Pie or Nehi but the more important basics just never make it into my local food store.

First up are the grits.


Don't like grits? I can pretty much guarantee that you just haven't had them cooked right, or you tried those instant grits. These yellow grits are delicious. We've already busted open the bag and cooked up a mess of them. They should be served with fresh buttermilk biscuits.

Next there's country ham.


This is nothing like your Easter ham or that ham steak that you slap on the grill. This is dry cured, salty, flavorful and should be served on fresh buttermilk biscuits.

The piece de resistance of meat products for us is Mayo's Country Sausage. I just about jumped outta my skin when my cousin opened his refrigerator and a saw the distinctive roll sitting one one of the shelves. That meant it was still available. The last time south I couldn't find it in the store.


This sausage is packed in a cloth bag.


The original packaging was a fabric that was rougher and more homespun looking. The cloth packaging is then wrapped in a plastic outer covering. I suppose this is for health department reasons but I don't mind as long as I can still get my Mayo's. Fry it up and serve it on fresh buttermilk biscuits. Do you see a pattern emerging here?

And finally, the jewel of the south..... southern mayonnaise. Blue Plate is my favorite. My friend Marie in Atlanta got me started on this obsession.


Southern mayonnaise is lighter and perfect for deviled eggs and potato salad. Love it.

Someone mentioned that Duke's was another favorite. So I bought a jar of Duke's also.


Im going to close the pantry door and let them duke it out.

Surprisingly there were no grocery stores on the side of town where our hotel was located. A drive to the other side was out of our way as we left town so we just trusted that there would be a store along our route.

Just as we approached the entrance to The Trace (the highway leading up the Land Between the Lakes) we saw a sign ahead and started cheering.

We were going to shop at the PIG....Piggly Wiggly, a mecca of southern food shopping.

Unbelievably, as I was checking out with all my loot the young checker said to me, "Y'all should try Hellman's, it's really good."


I just drove 462.41 miles to get this mayo and I've got to drive another 462.41 to get it home!


Renae said...

Hmm.. so yellow grits would be kinda like polenta? I'm having fun with your posts and google today! Do you have yellow grits sweet or savoury? We would have polenta either - I have a polenta breakfast cereal, but would also serve it instead of mashed potato.

jrmom said...

Makes me want to go on a road trip. My family is from PA but I was born in S. Carolina (Dad was Air Force)...maybe that's why I am drawn to the south. I love everything about it...the food, the twang, the ranches and the dress. I am a southern belle in my heart...thank you for such a mouth watering post.

dara Ickes said...

My childhood friend, Jennifer, came to visit a few months ago from her home in South Carolina. We both grew up in central Ohio, but she moved away and never looked back to Ohio. She wanted to fix dinner one night for us as a thank you for letting her stay with us. One of the ingredients she needed for her Mini Cheeseburger Meatloaves was Mayo, and not just any mayo. It had to be Dukes Mayo. She was so dissappointed that our local Kroger did not carry Dukes. I had to remind her, that she wasn't in the south.

chocolatechic said...

What? You didn't get any White Lily flour???

I'm shocked!

Vee said...

We love Hellman's here, but I'd be willing to try such a highly recommended one as Blue Plate if I ever get to the South.

Don't like grits. No, it's worse than that, I can't stand grits. So I don't know if I could overcome my aversion despite your recommendations and warnings about not having them cooked properly.

Soooo, how many batches of biscuits have you baked already? :D

Jenni said...

I love grits, but my family doesn't like them, so I never make them. Instant grits really aren't the same and making grits for one seems ridiculous. This is the same reason I don't often eat many of the things I love. It seems cooking for one is silly. Maybe I'll feel differently when it's down to just the two of us in the house. I don't know that I've ever lived anywhere where grits were not available. You really can't get them there in Illinois? I've never tried the yellow grits.

Suzanne said...

Renae - The difference between yellow grits and polenta is the grind and the level of cooking. Polenta is a coarser grind, and grits (to me) are a little soupier.

Then there's mush which is cornmeal that is cooked until it's very thick. After cooling it can be sliced and friend. Masa Harina is similar. They use different kinds of corn and different processing methods.

JRMOM - Yes, it's very mouth watering. Most of the southern cooking I remember involves cooking everything from SCRATCH, many times without a recipe. That's what I call cooking by the seat of your pants.

Dara - Acutally I'm very glad that regional food differences still exist. It seems to be disappearing and becoming "homogenized" in light of all the chain restaurants.

Chocolatechic - Actually, I did stand in front of the White Lily display for quite a while. But space and budget was limited so I sacrificed the White Lily. Sad.

Vee - Grits cooked low country style and served with shrimp and sauce is the food of the gods. They are cooked for hours, adding cream all during the cooking time. I've done them at home but they are quite labor intensive. How many batches of biscuits? Don't ask.

Jenni - I can find the real stone ground grits around here at the fancy food store but they are quite pricey. Besides, my southern grocery runs make for a good story and there's lots of good local food involved.

Thanks everyone for taking time out of your busy day to visit with me. I appreciate your company.

Chris said...

I am another lonely "grits lover" in a family of infidels! I'm just ornery enough to cook 'em anyway, and then eat a week's worth!

As for the mayo, I prefer homemade. When does that ever happen? I haven't tried anything but Best Foods (west coast Hellman's)so it's time to do a little shopping online to see what I can find...

Rambling Round said...

Oh the things we southerners take for granted! Grits, sausage and Blue Plate mayonnaise are staples on my grocery list.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I'm southern to the core and Blue Plate gets my vote, with Hellman's coming in second. :) blessings, marlene

Leslie T said...

You've got my stomach growling again. :)

Steph said...

I can't believe yall don't have those kinds of things up there! I had a giveaway last year on my blog where I gave away foods that were made in Alabama, I'm going to do one soon with things that are made in the South, you might have to stuff the ballot box.

Auntea said...

Oh brother, is my mouth watering now. I live wayyyy up north and do some grocery shopping when I visit my husbands family in North Carolina. I always come home with stone ground cornmeal and country ham. Oddly enough I can get grits here, but there isn't a decent bag of corn meal for several states. Enjoy your stash!

lifeinredshoes said...

We must be 2 peas in a pod;)

For me, nothing beats Trader Joes, have you ever shopped at one?

My West Coast family got me hooked years ago. I love their cookies, peanut butter pretzels, juice...

I'll stop now, I might short out the keyboard from drooling!

I've been known to drive to Vegas to get my fix.

My word veri was unduen. Sounds southern for "That will be my absolute undoin!"

BittersweetPunkin said...

LOL...I am a Hellman's convert...my Mom used to buy it all the time and that's what we were raised on, but my Hubby prefers real mayo so that's what I am used to now.

Hope all is well with your dear Suzanne.


Jody Blue said...

We have a Piggley Wiggley here in WI...I would guess its nothing like a real southern one.
Geese are headed south...just thought I'd let you know:)

Silvia said...

I'd like to try that Mayo, too.
Do you think I could find it in KY, because it so happens that I will be on a business trip soon? I have no idea which states have it or not "south" of me. I am up in WI.