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Harris Blackwood: Southern delicacies offer soft, sweet comfort all year
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

There is nothing like comfort food and quite frankly, it varies a bit from place to place.

Southern green beans are one of my comfort foods, but if I had to eat them the way they fix them up north, I might become green been free.

I also think there are seasonal comfort foods. At just about any good-sized supermarket you can buy watermelon all year long. But, oh, do I love it when I see our now-familiar Georgia Grown logo and a label that says this melon is a product of the watermelon capital of the world.

I am a traditionalist and like the seeded watermelons

I draw tremendous comfort from a sliced tomato that was picked at the peak of ripeness, not the kind that was picked hard and green and sprayed with some kind of ripening agent. I am more afraid of ripening agents than Russian spies.

Some of my favorite comfort foods revolve around a fresh slice of loaf bread. I like bread so soft that you can put it up against your face like a baby’s blanket and dream for a moment of what you might apply to that deliciously baked delight.

When tomatoes are fresh, I like to spread a sufficient amount of Duke’s Mayonnaise and then assemble the slices of finely vine-ripened tomatoes. If this delicacy had been served at the wedding in Canna of Galilee, no one would have asked the Lord to make more wine. They would have wanted some sweet tea.

Sweet tea has been called the “Table Wine of the South.” It’s a fitting description. There are people who are all upset about the diminishing glaciers. I am more concerned about the diminishing region where sweet tea is available. You once could get sweet tea as far North as Richmond, Virginia. I’m afraid you might have to come farther south.

A friend of mine, the right Rev. John Saunders, is a pastor in Virginia. I think we are fasting approaching the time when he prays over the James River in deepest concern for the shrinking sweet tea territory.

I made a batch of peach ice cream the other day and it sure was good. It increased my comfort level tremendously. It didn’t help my girth, but it was comforting.

I also find a lot of comfort in summer corn, such as silver queen. There is just something wonderful about gnawing it right off the cob. 

Now, don’t write me off as a Southerner with no tolerance for the north. Back in March, my friends in New Hampshire were drawing sap from maple trees and cooking it down to become some of the finest syrup you’ve ever had. I’m not opposed to sorghum, but that maple is mighty good any time of year.

There is something to be said about a summer supper on a screened porch with a wide array of summer comfort foods on the menu. It won’t be long we’ll be welcoming our fall fare of soups and stews and good cornbread.

I’m glad this eating thing doesn’t have a season.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear Sundays.