The region’s varied cuisine ranges from creamy, cheese-topped grits (maize porridge) to highly calorific, irresistible soul food: fried chicken, smothered pork chops and the like, along with collard greens, sweet potatoes, macaroni and all manner of tasty vegetables. Barbecue – a deep source of regional pride and cultural identity – is king here, particularly in Memphis, but each state has its own smoked-meat variations and closely guarded recipes. Seafood is also exemplary, from catfish to the wonderful Low Country Boils – fish stews served with rice, traditionally prepared on the sea islands of the Carolinas and Georgia.

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