We are speechless over your question, which is a little like asking us to explain the Big Bang Theory, the definition of love, and why Iron Chef is such a hit on the TV Food Network all at the same time. It’s the kind of question we would ramble on about for many paragraphs and many days, so instead we put it to John T. Edge, the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. His answer (which we like, but which we think should have included a reference to grits) is as follows:

"Just as there are many Souths, there are many Southern cuisines. A blanket definition is all but impossible, though you could build a case that a good portion of Southern cookery is built on a foundation of pork and corn and the interplay of African, European, and Native American traditions. You might also argue that Southern cuisine is a dominant gene, transforming any foodstuff cooked for a long period of time by most any ethnic group into Southern cuisine."