The Southern Breakfast

“Make sure you get to have a biscuit!”

That was one of the last things Tara said to me before I headed to North Carolina. She knows how I feel about breakfasts, and she wanted to make sure that I knew that Southern breakfasts are a little different from what we are used to up here in the Pacific Northwest.

I love breakfasts. If I had to make a choice between eating out for dinner, or having breakfasts, I’d say “See ya later!” to supper. It’s an easy choice for me to make.

It had been a while since I’ve had anything that one could consider a “Southern” breakfast items. I try to restrict my intake of Sausage and Biscuits, and I had not had grits since I was five years old. But I was intent on changing that.

Out of everything I learned over the past weekend, the primary items that stood out was that there is no substitute for a well made biscuit. None. A well made biscuit is a work of art. Light and fluffy, larger than a fist, and hot enough to melt both butter and jam, a biscuit is the best example of how simple foods are often the best.

In addition to the biscuits, I had grits (okay in small servings), Country Ham with red eye gravy (salty but very tasty), eggs, and Blackeyed Peacakes covered with herbed gravy (pictured above). I got the impression that the blackeyed peacakes are not traditional.

Country Ham and red eye gravy was the other item I was looking forward to sampling out of those mentioned above, as I’ve never had either item. It was delicious – salty, but delicious. Think “a salty Easter Ham though a little more red in color and more fat to deal with”. Here’s a quick tip for those of you thinking of having country ham – use a biscuit to sop up any remaining fat and/or gravy. You can thank me later.

The idea of red eye gravy is novel to me. Adding coffee to fat seems so blessedly American, that it was impossible for me to resist. It tastes as one would expect it to taste.

There was one final realization hit me at these breakfasts, one that I should have realized at the many, many other breakfasts in my lifetime. The realization is this – there is a world of difference between a glass of “fresh orange juice” and a glass of “freshly squeezed orange juice”. One comes out of a carton, the other comes directly from oranges. The difference in taste is clear.

In my defense, I typically have coffee at breakfast, something that Seattle does very well.