September 12, 2013

Must-Have Items for a Southern Kitchen

A southern kitchen is a special place, mainly because of the culinary magic that happens there. I recently asked Southern Belle Simple readers to share (via Facebook) what they consider to be the number one must-have for a southern kitchen. Can we just say I was blown away by the response?

So many of you commented with a variety of creative answers that it inspired me to feature this topic in my regular segment with Knoxville's Mornings with Fox43 Powered by 10 News.

I combed through the reader responses and pulled out the most popular. Then I added a couple of my own for today's segment.

Without further ado, here are the top 5 must-have items that belong in a southern kitchen...

1. Well-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware

This was probably the most popular response on Facebook and I have to agree with all of you. Cast iron cookware is a must have for any southern kitchen and any southern cook. My favorite piece of cast iron cookware is my grill pan because it's perfect for giving veggies those perfect grill marks right on the stove top or in the oven...all without firing up the grill. Don't commit the cardinal sin of cast iron...NO washing with soap!

2. Deviled Egg Plate

Anyone who has ever tried to take deviled eggs to a party or picnic without a deviled egg plate knows the importance of this kitchen item. Every southern cook knows that deviled eggs are an important addition to certain meals and you can't have deviled eggs without a proper plate.

3. Biscuit Cutter (and a Trusted Biscuit Recipe)

Every southern kitchen needs a biscuit cutter as well as a go-to biscuit recipe. I grew up watching my granny cut biscuits with a hollowed-out tomato paste can, but these modern fancy biscuit cutters work great too! Just don't ever twist your cutter as you lift it out of the dough...unless you want flat biscuits.

4. Iced Tea Pitcher

Iced tea is the house wine of the south. I can't remember a time when there wasn't a pitcher of in my grandmother's refrigerator. And when it got to running low, there was always a pot of boiling water on the stove starting another fresh brewed batch.

Just knowing I have iced tea in the house does wonders for my mood! It's the simple things that make a big difference.

5. A Stash of Community Cookbooks 

Community cookbooks should be in every southern cook's arsenal. I collect vintage Junior League Cookbooks, but old church cookbooks are great too. I love buying them second hand, especially when they come with the previous owner's margin notes. It's like holding a little piece of history knowing that another cook used a book before passing it on to you. 

This list is nowhere near complete...some of the other answers I got on Facebook included things like a KitchenAid mixer, food choppers, cutting boards, sharp knives and a slow cooker. A few of you even got cute with your answers by adding things like "a man who can cook." 

What other items do you think belong in a well-stocked southern kitchen? I'd love to hear what might be missing from our list!