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21 Thangs your Southern sweetie wishes you knew about cookin'

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

If you're a Yankee in a relationship with someone from the South, there are just some things you're going to need to know about food.

Down South, we have a certain way of doing things. And if you really want to please your Southern sweetie at dinnertime, just work a few of these common-knowledge culinary traditions into the evening.

1. You can fry absolutely anything

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: Fox Totorus

Literally… anything.

2. Ranch is more popular than ketchup

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: Giphy

Ketchup is for fries. Everything else gets dipped in ranch. Actually, you can dip fries in ranch too.

3. Cast-iron skillets are the only acceptable nonstick cookware

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: Giphy

Cast-iron is cheap, aids in proper browning, is sturdy and long-lasting and can even be used outside over a fire. Why on earth are you using that toxic-fume-releasing stuff again?

4. It's pronounced "Crrs"

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: Giphy

We do love our craft beers, but if you are going to order the Silver Bullet, the O's are silent.

5. Frog legs taste like frog legs

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: Roadsidepictures/Flickr

Frog legs are good, but they don't taste like chicken. You're just telling yourself that because you're uncomfortable eating frogs.

6. Rattlesnakes are food

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: Giphy

They also don't taste like chicken.

7. Red Lobster doesn't serve Rocky Mountain oysters

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: Lori Greig/Flickr

Rocky Mountain oysters are the testicles of a bull calf (sometimes sheep or pigs). They're super-tasty fried (and we often dip them in ranch).

8. Milk is no substitute for buttermilk

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: Giphy

Whether we're making fried chicken, biscuits or pancakes, no, we can't "just substitute milk."

9. Pimento cheese isn't lowbrow

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: palmetto cheese/Flickr

Pimento cheese is a perfectly acceptable spread to serve guests, especially if it's homemade.

10. There are two kinds of gravy

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: jeffreyw/Flickr

Brown gravy goes on things like roasted turkey, just like it does all over the U.S. But there's also cream gravy. Made with sausage or bacon drippings (and often containing sausage itself), it's frequently served on biscuits for breakfast, but we also make it to top chicken-fried steak or chicken, dip toast and steak or chicken fingers in it and more.

11. Chicken-fried steak has no chicken

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: Giphy

It's a tenderized piece of steak that we've fried in the style of fried chicken to make less-expensive cuts a little easier to get down your gullet. Chicken-fried chicken is pounded chicken fried in the style of chicken-fried steak and is different from fried chicken.

12. That extra stuff that comes with your bird isn't trash

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: lolololori/Flickr

You use the neck and innards to make giblet gravy.

13. There's a whole freakin' aisle of salsa

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: JoeInSouthernCA/Flickr

Welcome to Valhalla.

14. Proper sweet tea has at least 1 cup of real sugar per quart

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: OhBuoyancy!/Flickr

It's not called "sweet-ish" iced tea.

15. If you like oatmeal, you'll probably like grits

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: wallyg/Flickr

Much like tofu, they take on the flavor of what you cook them with.

16. Okra is the fried calamari of the South

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: I Believe I Can Fry/Flickr

Same basic texture if you do it right.

17. Catfish is always fried

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: micala/Flickr

Full disclosure: It's a bottom-feeder, so it doesn't taste so great grilled.

18. Chicken and waffles is like breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast all the time

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: I Believe I Can Fry/Flickr

Go on. Be a rebel.

19. Mayonnaise isn't a proper burger condiment

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: jeffreyw/Flickr

Mustard is best, barbecue sauce is always OK, and ketchup is fine if you're under 12, but put down the mayo jar and back away… slowly.

20. Spinach is for rabbits

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: IcronticPrime/Flickr

In the South, we prefer greens of the mustard, turnip or collard variety cooked up with bacon or pork, and we serve it up with pepper vinegar.

21. Our definition of "medium" may be what you'd call "flaming hot"

The best cooking tips you'll only learn in the South

Image: Giphy

Some Southerners are extremely capsaicin-tolerant, so unless you're Indian or Thai, proceed with caution no matter how much we insist it's "not that spicy."

Hey, Southern gals! Tell us what your Yankee sweetheart needs to know about Southern cuisine in the comments below.

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