Biscuits, mashed potatoes, gravy, fried chicken and let’s not forget that irresistible buttery and flaky crust that is paired with sweetly seasoned fruits that is baked to bubbling perfection in an oven. These along with many others were staples in my non southern yet southern upbringing. Growing up with a southern feast at my fingertips also meant knowing the etiquette of a southern belle. We set the table before every meal, thank the good Lord for the meal and for our family and then finally we pass our food to the left. This is still our ritual today for family meals.
Now that you know I am “corn fed” and (mostly) proper at the dinner table I will get to the meat and potatoes of this post. My grandma does not measure anything, even if she is baking and somehow her loafs of bread and biscuits rise beautifully; my mother can throw everything but the kitchen sink into a pan and make Emeril Lagasse blush; my sister has been making homemade breakfast since before I was in kindergarten and she went to culinary school, no further explanation needed, and finally my aunt (my mom’s sister) is the more modern organic and natural cook who puts just the right amount of butter on toast and has just the right spin on everything she does to please her husband and her three year old. Not to mention that my grandparents and aunt and uncle always have summer gardens and incorporate fresh produce into every meal possible. Then there is me. I throw things in a pot, follow a recipe or pour milk on my cereal and each time I am praying I do not burn down the house in the process.
I love to cook, even if it is just attempts at five star qualities. The other night one of my roommates and I thought we had an authentic Italian gene and started in on a homemade pizza. No, it is not fried chicken and mashed potatoes but that is why I am the non-southern southern belle.
Here is how it went down.
1 Great Value pizza crust (50 cents)
Water- amount called for in the directions
½ pound venison browned w/ garlic and onions
1 pk peperoni
1 pk of shredded cheese of your choice
½ Chopped Yellow onions
1 can mushrooms
1 can tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
Warm/ hot water as needed for thinner consistency
Red Pepper flakes
Mix the sauce together by taste preferences. I looked at about 3 to 5 different “easy” sauce recipes and “winged it.” Cook crust by directions on package. Layer sauce to your desired amount and liking, cover the bottom with pepperonis, and cover with browned venison, sprinkle onions and mushrooms as desired and top with cheese
If I was a real southern belle here are the changes I would make. Homemade crust all the way, with real butter or shortening. I would use fresh tomatoes from your garden or a farmers market for the sauce. They always taste better that way. Do the same with the herbs, onions, mushrooms and garlic. Fresh is always best. With the amount of toppings we put on we wanted more sauce! This pizza was very hardy and I was done after 2 pieces. My favorite part is the venison because of the great flavors you get when you brown it with garlic and onions!
Despite the way I make it all sound, to this point my cooking experiences are mostly positive. I just do not feel like my skills have reached Bobby Flay’s expectations for grilling or Giada DeLaurentiis’ Italian flare. I just want to know how to make flaky crust like my moms, biscuits and gravy like grandma, the skill and knowledge of my sister and my aunt’s confidence to try new things in the kitchen. Maybe next time we will make the noted changes. Let me know what you think and the topping you think should be on a southern pizza!