Folks in the South are known for their genial demeanor; after all, “Southern hospitality” is a phrase that just about everyone knows and a creed we strive to abide by. But cross a Southerner, and you’ll find out just how deep our grudges can go – Heaven help you if it was a Sugarbaker woman!
Here are 10 little things that rub Southerners the wrong way. From the simple misuse of a Southernism to acts of outright condescension, this is a quick guide to what burns our biscuits and gets us madder than a wet hen.
Good manners are the cornerstone of Southern hospitality. So it really burns us up when we see someone not giving their elders the respect they’re due. A little patience and kindness go a long way when dealing with anybody, but it’s important to honor and value those with more experience in this world. (That said... if they’re downright rude to you? Take the high road and instead offer them a sugary sweet – if a little fake – “Bless your heart.”)
We’ll accept some friendly debate about what to call it, as folks in the south sometimes alternate between “pop” and “Coke.” But what we don’t say is “soda,” “soda pop” or “soft drink.” That’s just ridiculous.
If someone goes to the trouble of baking you a cake, casserole or batch of cookies, never return the dish unfilled. While technically no gift should require anything in return, many feel that returning a dish empty is actually bad luck. If a friend makes you a covered dish as a kindness, return the vessel with something you made to thank them for their thoughtfulness.
That said, many of these cakes and casseroles are delivered during times of stress, such as following a funeral or the arrival of a new baby. No one expects you to make a cake from scratch in this hectic time! Instead, wash the dish and place a thank you card in the dish. If you want to add veggies from your garden, store-bought sweets or a handwritten recipe, that’s even better.
Southern sports are sacred. Days of home games are reserved for tailgating or filing into Rupp Arena, not whatever little social event you were trying to throw. You might not “get” our dedication to college sports, but you’d best keep your mouth shut on the subject; smack talk about the BBN is tantamount to fightin’ words.
Who in the world do they have voice coaching these actors?! Half of them sound like they’re not even from this planet, never mind the American South. There’s nothing worse than sitting down in a movie theatre to watch the latest Oscar contender only to hear the verbal equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for two hours (and yes, the lead actor will invariably win for their supposed “realistic portrayal of southern life.” Ugh!) It goes without saying that if you’re not Southern, we’re not interested in hearing your attempt at our accent. Especially not “as a joke.” Which leads us to…
There is a certain contingent that truly believes anyone with a Southern accent must be dumb. There are so many stereotypes about the South. One that remains is the idea that we’re all just little copies of Gomer Pyle; at best, naïve and at worst, bumbling fools. The truth is that we’re all just people. So stop calling our accents “quaint” and start respecting us, dagnabbit!
Look, we’re sorry you came from the Arctic tundra of wherever and got bitter that all of us in a more moderate climate struggle to acclimate to winter road conditions. But odds are good that you simply don’t understand the challenges our dedicated, hardworking road crews face when things get treacherous out there.
How about instead of griping, you slow your hind end and let us all get home safely? Enjoy the scenery, for Pete’s sake!
We try to be gracious when it comes to other folks’ cooking, we really do. But lumpy, flavorless gravy on dry biscuits is a vexation upon our souls.
There’s something especially egregious about somebody trying to make Southern food more “elevated.” Pardon?! Let us save you some time: you’re never going to make a biscuit better than Mamaw’s, your entire audience is split down the middle about how dumplings ought to be made and there ain’t a single thing wrong with fried chicken exactly as it is – it certainly doesn’t need to be “deconstructed.” Let our food alone, y’all!
There are few things as galling to a Southern cook as letting good bacon grease go to waste. Strained and refrigerated, this stuff is as good as gold; it adds so much flavor to dishes, and it’s economical, to boot.
Not sure how to make use of this commodity? It’s the cornerstone ingredient in Kill’t Lettuce Salad; you can also shake up a killer bacon grease vinaigrette! Love a little excess? Use bacon grease as the fat in a chocolate chip cookie.
We get that it certainly sounds like we’re asking you a question... but in fact, we aren’t. We’re telling you it’s time to eat. We will feed you. You will be eating. Just wash your hands, sit down and say grace already.