Why yes, I am from Dixie. Since I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Texas, many people would contest that point under the foolish belief that the swamps of my childhood are not a part of the South. Let us examine these salient facts:
My aunt, blessed with the romantic and lovely name Marguerite, was always addressed as “Sister” by everyone in my family.
The high school I went to? Robert E. Lee. The band in which I played such a miserable tuba entered every home football game to the toe-tapping tunes of a minstrel show, playing “Come Down to the Levee,” “Waitin’ on the Robert E. Lee” and “Are You from Dixie?” I only missed by a few years the horrifying fate of performing in uniforms modeled on those worn by soldiers in the Confederate army.
I regard fried foods with a side of gravy as an essential food group.
And that’s really the point here, not my exasperated, conflicted emotions about life in the South, but about trying to overcome a lifetime of heart clogging menus to help R Man and me start eating in a more healthy way. I have always cooked the same way my sainted mother did, convinced that there is no food product some mayonnaise cannot help. So now when we have baked salmon on a bed of lentils, I still look around for the tarter sauce.
Still, I’m getting better. Since R Man’s operation, we have been terribly virtuous about cutting back on the fat, with nonfat sour cream and fat free butter substitute and no deviled eggs and braised ribs for Sunday dinner, no way. You know what? It’s not bad, it’s just different. And soon my little arteries are going to be singing. I just know it.