I may have been born and raised in the South and work for a recipes website, but my husband is really the expert on Southern cooking in our house. He cut his teeth cooking fried deer meat, collards, cornbread, and the like at his family's farm in south Alabama. I, on the other hand, avoided all things collard-like for most of my life but came to discover that I love them! I always loved cornbread, of course, but how could you not? Never baked any, though.
Which brings us to the issue of frying, a staple skill across our food-loving region. My first attempt at frying was frying okra for a misguided attempt to make the Hot and Hot Fish Club Tomato Salad. I almost set the kitchen in fire and Brent had to come rescue the poor little okra. My next try was fried fish on a camping trip in the Smoky Mountains, where I did more learning and watching while Brent did the frying.
A couple of weeks ago, we had a hankerin' for fried onion rings, so I gave Beer-Battered Onions Rings a shot. Lo and behold, nothing caught fire and they actually tasted good! Last night was my crowning achievement, however. Brent had asked me to fry up some chicken tenders, so I pulled out the trusty cast-iron skillet (it's pretty much blasphemy to fry in anything else) and peanut oil and got to work flouring the pieces and sprinkling pepper on top. They came out great! Not as delicious as fried chicken made with a crunchy crust, but still good. (Disclaimer: The fried chicken pictured here is not actually mine.)
The moral of this story is: Frying isn't as intimidating as it sounds, and can be a delicious way to prepare food (every once in awhile!)