Bena Mae's Kitchen: Being Nice
Southerners are well known for being nice. They are reluctant to say something uncomplimentary about someone without adding the caveat “Bless his or her heart.” Example: “He’s as dumb as a coal bucket,” or “when he was little he was so ugly his mother had to borrow a baby to take to church,” bless his heart. Adding “bless his heart” takes one off the hook, eases one’s conscience.
We do not yell obscenities and commit road rage at the little old lady who is driving 25 mph in the left lane of the highway, unaware that she is causing a traffic backup. We just pass her in the right lane and wave and smile as we go by. She could be our aunt or cousin or Sunday School teacher for all we know, Bless her heart. To a Southerner, good manners always dictate.
There’s a gentleness about our Southerness that is uniquely our own. To those who may be little embarrassed by it, I say, “Take two biscuits with sausage and gravy with a couple of eggs sunny side up and call me in the morning, bless your heart.” Outsiders coming to this region may take a little time getting used to our ways, but after staying here awhile they usually mellow out.
Down here in the south, we know the three religions are Baptist, Catholic, and Football. Ladies also know their real estate: the mall, the spa and the beauty salon. And they know everybody’s first name... Honey, Sugah, and Dahlin.
They know instinctively that the best cure for a friend saddled with trouble is a bowl of potato salad and a plate of fried chicken. If it is a real crisis, a big bowl of banana pudding eases the burden.
Last word: For you who are not from the South, but have lived here for a long time, all y’all need is a sign to hang on your front porch that says “I’m not from the South but I got here as fast as I could!”
BLESS Y’ALLS HEART!
This is the most delicious dessert you will ever sink your teeth into. It’s from Paula Deen’s kitchen.
Fried Caramel Apple Pies
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup (1/2 of 8-oz. tub) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Spread
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 pkg. (8 count) refrigerated biscuits
2 Tbsp. water
Oil for frying
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1/4 cup prepared caramel ice cream topping
HEAT deep fryer or Dutch oven with oil to 350ºF.
IN a large saute pan over medium low heat, melt butter. Whisk in cream cheese spread, brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved and mixture is a smooth sauce.
FOLD in apples; cover and continue to cook until the apples are just soft, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
WHEN the filling is cool, roll the biscuits out on a lightly floured surface so that each biscuit forms a 6- to 7-inch circle. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling on each biscuit circle.
BRUSH the edge of each circle with water; fold the circle over the filling to make a half-moon shape. Seal by pressing the edges with the tines of a fork.
CAREFULLY add the pies to the oil, one (1) at a time, and fry until golden brown, turning the pies as necessary. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and drizzle with prepared caramel topping.
Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.