Longing for a “taste” of home, I recorded a program not too long ago on the Travel Channel entitled “Deep-Fried Paradise.” I sat down to watch the episode last night, and nearly salivated the whole show through at the Fried Pickles, Deep-Fried Turkeys, Country Fried Steaks, Frog Legs, Fried Mac and Cheese, Cherry Pie, Fish and Chips, Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Twinkies, Hot Dogs, and yes, even pizza.
The show traveled all over the country, and while none of the locations were anywhere near California (surprise, surprise), there were quite a few in the South (no surprise).
They interviewed Willie May’s in New Orleans where Willie May’s granddaughter, the current owner gave advice to listen up; you never know when a secret recipe is being shared and said her grandma always reminded her to do your best and never change, because “a good name is more desirable than great riches.” One customer even remarked her fried chicken was so good, “It’ll make you wanna slap yourself!” I’ve never heard that one before!
Next, we traveled down to the heart of Texas, to Goodson’s Cafe, where they know the difference between chicken fried steak and country friend steak (it’s the gravy — cream or brown)! Texas is also the home of Sodolak’s Original Country Inn, where they’ve invented the chicken-fried bacon.
Then it’s off to Mississippi where the good folks at Hollywood Cafe thought up, and we’re eternally grateful for, the fried pickle. If you’ve never had one of these spicy, tasty delights, let me assure you it’s worth the extra cholesterol. (And, ppst! A little Southern trivia for you… when Marc Cohn sings about Muriel playing her piano every Friday at the Hollywood… this is the Hollywood he’s singing about.) While these fried pickles seem to be gaining in popularity and you can find them at various locations around the country these days, if you’re anywhere near the Delta, get yourself to Hollywood to try out these famous dills. Even B.B. King‘s been for a visit!
And last but certainly not least, a place I’ve been a time or two myself, Dyer’s in Memphis, Tennessee. Now, all you germ-a-phobes out there, don’t get grossed out here, because I promise, it’s delicious, but Dyer’s still has the same grease they’ve been using since 1912. Yes, apparently historic grease is the secret to yum! And seems like others think so too. They even keep the world-famous grease under lock and key. Have you had your vitamin “G” today?
Southerners, we know that grease is the word. There’s literally nothing that says comfort food like some good, old-fashioned deep-fried goodness. Now, that’s paradise!