What is “Southern” food?

Chair of History and Professor of Southern Studies writes, “The South can be seen more productively, perhaps, as a collection of regions. The Lowland South is the Deep South, a place of cotton growing, the blues, warm Gulf Coast breezes, Florida beaches and Latin rhythms. The urban South has been the center of the New South, from Atlanta newspaper editor Henry Grady in the 1880s to Andrew Young today.
Southern cooks have always creatively drawn upon the mix of cultures that once collided to create the South we know today– most notably, Native American, European, and African cultures.
Joe Gray Taylor writes, “It was from the Indians that the first settlers learned which wild plant foods were available and how to prepare them. The Irish potato did not come to the South until late, but it was an Indian vegetable. The Indians gave the South squash, most of the beans that Americans eat until this day, pumpkins, all peppers except black, and probably cowpeas.
The European stamp is greater in some regions of the South than in others. John Egerton writes, “If there is a single dimension of Louisiana food that sets it apart from cooking elsewhere in the South, it is without a doubt the French connection.
Jessica Harris discusses the ways in which Africans influenced food ways in the South: “Reports of foods eaten during the slave centuries indicate that though planters may have attempted to reproduce the cuisine of their mother country on the other side of the Atlantic, a transformation was taking place. In African hands, the recipes were being changed according to local ingredients and African culinary techniques.
Spices were being used more intensively in the warmer climates both to disguise spoiled meats and to enhance flavors. Foods were being grilled and vegetables were being added to what in Europe had been mainly a protein and carbohydrate diet. One historian goes as far as to credit the slaves with adding greens and green vegetables to the slaveholder’s diet and thereby saving countless numbers from nutritional deficiencies.”