This month’s issue of Bon Appétit is all about Southern Food. Paula Deen’s admission that she has Type 2 Diabetes is purely coincidental. The issue is actually pretty good, and I think that’s saying a lot. I’m usually put off by yankees’ attempts to bring southern culture to the forefront because it almost always drips of arrogance and condescension. They claim to appreciate the intricacies of southern arts, crafts and culinary heritage, but their amazement seems to stem not from the quality of the creations themselves, but rather from the fact that they didn’t think rural backwaters were capable of appreciable culture at all.
Spectators of such southern treasures might remark, “oh, look what they did,” but what they really mean is, “look what they did considering…” I’ve seen this with crafts like The Quilts of Gee’s Bend, with paintings like those of Andrew Wyeth, and with Appalachian mountain music in general. This mindset is annoying at best and bigoted at worst.
This issue of Bon Appétit is not like that at all. It maintains a sincere appreciation for southerners’ contributions to culinary Americana and to the region’s leading role in the preservation of heritage techniques and community-centric commerce.
But some southern cooking secrets are only passed onto the initiated, which is in and of itself a southern tradition of exclusivity that northerners probably perceive as southern arrogance. They’re probably right. One trick of the trade didn’t seem to get passed on to the test cooks at Bon Appétit, and it’s apparent in the picture below.
When you’re making deviled eggs, you need to turn the egg carton on its side for at least four hours before hard-boiling them. That makes the yolks rest in the center of the eggs. If you don’t do this, you end up with an egg yolk that is off-balance to the thicker end, kind of like an avocado pit. You can see many instances here where they did it wrong.
It’s not a big deal, and I’m sure these eggs tasted great, but it’s one of those things southern cooks notice that reveals the imposters.