Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Harder to Lose Weight in the South
by James Glaser
September 14, 2007

It isn't just the fried food, but I have to admit I have eaten a lot of chicken since I came down here. It isn't just the corn bread smothered in butter or the cheese grits or the red velvet cake.

It has to be a combination of every food that is new to me. Remember I came down here from a small Northern Minnesota town, and that town didn't even have one fast-food restaurant. So, Hardee's cinnamon biscuits are new to me. There are restaurants down here that give you pancakes with every meal, and every breakfast comes with one or two baking powder biscuits, and being still hot, you load them up with butter and jelly.

Beans and peas with ham. It doesn't matter what kind of bean it is or what kind of pea, you cook them up with some ham that has lots of fat on it (for the flavor), and I know you are going to ask for that second bowl even if the first one was huge. I like black-eyed peas, and white acres are even better. Butter beans and northern whites work well, and what is so nice, you can think to yourself that you are eating healthy.

In Railroad Square where I work, there is a fine restaurant, and the woman who owns it makes killer chocolate brownies. About a block away is a restaurant names "fat sandwich." The name says it all.

Up North eating out was almost like eating at home, only you didn't have to wash the dishes. Down here they make things you never thought of, and every plate looks like a sculpture, with the slices of meat stacked in a wedge above the potatoes with greens arraigned in a symmetrical pattern, and the sauces splashed across the plate like someone was shaking out their paint brush.

The service down here is a bit different. Usually your server can not only tell you what the food is like, but also how it is prepared and how well it has been received by other diners. Back home desert was a piece of pie or maybe a cookie. Down here they have a special menu just for desert.

Wanda and I keep telling ourselves that we are going to go out just for desert some day. What happens is we get too full on the meal, and there is no way we have room for anything else.

I think really I eat healthier down here. I know I am eating more fruit and vegetables. I drink way more water, many bottles worth a day, mostly because it is so hot. I have cut out red meat, and have drastically cut back on eggs and dairy products. I even eat a bit of yogurt now.

I must admit that I miss the sauerkraut and dumplings, and when I was living alone I ate a lot of spaghetti. With out a doubt I miss the cinnamon rolls in Northome, and I even think of liver and onions sometimes when we go out. That is never on the menu down here.

That said, I must admit that people in the South know how to eat, and they know how to prepare their food so that it tastes real fine. That can be hard on a fellow.

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