Southern Living Reveres Regional Food with Hospitable, Modern Flair

southern_living.jpgWhen it comes to regional publications, Southern Living magazine is the belle of the ball. With a circulation 2.8 million strong it’s the largest of its kind.

But what is the appeal for all things Southern, especially among an overwhelmingly female (and avid) readership that, according to Southern Living’s published demographic data, resides primarily below the Mason-Dixon Line?

For all its historical scars and shortcomings, the South has an unmistakable mystique: a slower pace, a penchant for entertaining, and good cooking (even if it hasn’t always been the healthiest), all wrapped up in more sunny days than not. Popular movies have perpetuated and romanticized the regional way of life, punctuated by “y’all” and other colloquialisms not typically found outside the Deep South.

But while Southern Living magazine pays tribute to traditional customs–food, family and entertaining–it does not do so in a clichéd way. Instead, it’s almost as if the South is finally shaping up, at least where her signature deep fried cuisine is concerned.

Still, Southern Living magazine’s recipes cover the expected staples: fried chicken, okra, gumbo, biscuits and cobblers. Its monthly section on healthy cooking shows a shift away from heavy comfort foods though. One of its monthly food features, “Mama’s Way or Your Way?” compares mom’s classic recipes to a next-generation version, at once paying homage to the region’s collective cooking heritage and the ties that bind while adding a little updated flair.

For fabulous party ideas, Southern Living magazine is a must, as
entertaining is given a generous focus in each issue. February 2010
detailed the elements for a sweet get-together, pairing mini cupcakes
and unusual tastes with sparkling wine.

Upgraded flavors from the old batter-buttercream standby included
salted caramel and chocolate, citrus with ruby red grapefruit glaze, and
mocha latte and cappuccino. With the sparkling wine pairings and
presentation suggestions, all the details are covered.

Heading full speed ahead into wedding season, the April 2010 issue
was equally handy for tips on hosting showers, covering everything from
what to serve to what to serve it on. An entire make-ahead menu
including appetizers, salads, pizzas, cocktails and desserts. Mementos
for the happy couple are also included.

Just as one online reviewer noted, Southern Living magazine is as
good a source for entertaining with food as it is for providing
delicious recipes.

Additionally, Southern Living magazine offers insight into where to
find good (or unusual) food and drink in the quirky region it covers.
For example, the April 2010 issue’s travel piece, titled “Southern Beer
on the Rise,” highlighted what is “thought to be the first beer
commercially brewed with whole roasted pecans”: Southern Pecan Nut Brown
Ale from Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company in Kiln, Miss. Only in the
South! And therein lies Southern Living magazine’s charm and appeal.

This entry was posted in Food on by .
Michelle Ryan

About Michelle Ryan

Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.