Southern hospitality is a phrase used in American English to describe the stereotype of residents of the Southern United States as particularly warm, sweet, and welcoming to visitors to their homes, or to the South in general.
Hospitality refers to the relationship between a guest and a host, wherein the host receives the guest with goodwill, including the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. Louis, chevalier de Jaucourt describes hospitality in the Encyclopédie as the virtue of a great soul that cares for the whole universe through the ties of humanity.
American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. It is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.
In social psychology, a stereotype is an over-generalized belief about a particular category of people. Stereotypes are generalized because one assumes that the stereotype is true for each individual person in the category. While such generalizations may be useful when making quick decisions, they may be erroneous when applied to particular individuals. Stereotypes encourage prejudice and may arise for a number of reasons.
Southern hospitality "first existed as a narrowly defined body of social practices among the antebellum planters classes".As such, the origin of the practice was intimately tied to slavery. One analysis notes:
Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It lasted in about half the states until 1865, when it was prohibited nationally by the Thirteenth Amendment. As an economic system, slavery was largely replaced by sharecropping.
African Americans had little place in this initial conceptualization of hospitality beyond the role of servant. Yet, it was the labor and hardships of the enslaved that allowed southern planters to entertain their guests so lavishly and seemingly so effortlessly. Southern hospitality from and for whites was in large part achieved by being inhospitable and inhumane to African Americans.
Over time, however, the concept "developed into a discourse that stretches far beyond the image of the planter class", and the principles of Southern hospitality were eventually adopted by African Americans in the South, and incorporated into materials used to advertise destinations in the South to African American tourists.The concept of Southern hospitality has also been examined as a reflection of the religious beliefs of the region; the idea that one should be good to strangers is an outgrowth of such Biblical parables as the Good Samaritan. Early travel writer Ernest Hamlin Abbott wrote in 1902, "as religious observances are in the South as naturally included in the hospitality of the home as anything else, so, conversely, hospitality in the South is an integral part of the church services".
The planter class, known alternatively in the United States as the Southern aristocracy, was a socio-economic caste of Pan-American society that dominated seventeenth- and eighteenth-century agricultural markets through the forced labor of enslaved Africans. The Atlantic slave trade permitted planters access to inexpensive labor for the planting and harvesting of crops such as tobacco, cotton, indigo, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar cane, sisal, oil seeds, oil palms,hemp, rubber trees, and fruits.
The Parables of Jesus are found in the Synoptic Gospels and some of the non-canonical gospels. They form approximately one third of his recorded teachings. Christians place great emphasis on these parables; which they regard as the words of Jesus, they are believed to be what the Father has taught, indicated by John 8:28 and 14:10.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a parable told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. It is about a traveller who is stripped of clothing, beaten, and left half dead alongside the road. First a priest and then a Levite comes by, but both avoid the man. Finally, a Samaritan happens upon the traveller. Samaritans and Jews despised each other, but the Samaritan helps the injured man. Jesus is described as telling the parable in response to the question from a lawyer, "And who is my neighbour?". In response, Jesus tells the parable, the conclusion of which is that the neighbour figure in the parable is the man who shows mercy to the injured man—that is, the Samaritan.
Some characteristics of Southern hospitality were described as early as 1835, when Jacob Abbott attributed the poor quality of taverns in the South to the lack of need for them, given the willingness of Southerners to provide for strangers.Abbott writes:
Jacob Abbott was an American writer of children's books.
[T]he hospitality of southerners is so profuse, that taverns are but poorly supported. A traveler, with the garb and the manners of a gentleman, finds a welcome at every door. A stranger is riding on horseback through Virginia or Carolina. It is noon. He sees a plantation, surrounded with trees, a little distance from the road. Without hesitation he rides to the door. The gentleman of the house sees his approach and is ready upon the steps.
Abbott further describes how the best stores of the house are at the disposal of visitors.Furthermore, says Abbott:
Conversation flows cheeringly, for the southern gentleman has a particular tact in making a guest happy. After dinner you are urged to pass the afternoon and night, and if you are a gentleman in manners and information, your host will be in reality highly gratified by your so doing.
Such is the character of southern hospitality.
Food figures highly in Southern hospitality, a large component of the idea being the provision of Southern cuisine to visitors. A cake or other delicacy is often brought to the door of a new neighbor as a mechanism of introduction. Many club and church functions include a meal or at least a dessert and beverage. Churches in the South frequently have large commercial style kitchens to accommodate this tradition, but many "fellowship suppers" are "covered dish": everyone attending brings a dish. However, if a newcomer arrives without a dish, he or she will be made to feel welcome and served generously. When a death or serious illness occurs, neighbors, friends, and church members generally bring food to the bereaved family for a period of time. A number of cookbooks promise recipes advancing this concept.
Soul food is a variety of cuisine originating in the Southeastern United States, and from African American culture. It also has Native American influences. It is common in areas with a historical presence of African Americans and has been a cultural staple among the African American and American Deep-South communities for centuries. The expression "soul food" originated in the mid-1960s, when "soul" was a common word used to describe African American culture.
Pavlova is a meringue-based cake named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It is a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside, usually topped with fruit and whipped cream. The name is pronounced, or like the name of the dancer, which was.
A recipe is a set of instructions that describes how to prepare or make something, especially a culinary dish. It is also used in medicine or in information technology. A doctor will usually begin a prescription with recipe, Latin for take, usually abbreviated to Rx or an equivalent symbol (℞).
Gumbo is Creole dish popular in the U.S. state of Louisiana, and is the official state dish. Gumbo consists primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and what Louisianians call the "Holy Trinity" of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers, and onions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used, whether roux, okra or filé powder. The dish derived its name from Africa meaning okra, which may have derived the name from a source such as the Choctaw word for filé (kombo).
The black-eyed pea, black-eyed bean or goat pea, a legume, is a subspecies of the cowpea, grown around the world for its medium-sized, edible bean.
Pilaf, or pilau is a rice dish or, in some regions, a wheat dish, whose recipe usually involves cooking in stock, adding spices, and other ingredients such as meat, and employing some technique for achieving cooked grains that do not adhere.
Tandoori chicken is a chicken dish prepared by roasting chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven. The dish originated from the Indian subcontinent and is popular in many other parts of the world.
Red beans and rice is an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine traditionally made on Mondays with red beans, vegetables, spices and pork bones as left over from Sunday dinner, cooked together slowly in a pot and served over rice. Meats such as ham, sausage, and tasso ham are also frequently used in the dish. The dish is customary – ham was traditionally a Sunday meal and Monday was washday. A pot of beans could sit on the stove and simmer while the women were busy scrubbing clothes. The dish is now fairly common throughout the Southeast. Similar dishes are common in Latin American cuisine, including moros y cristianos and gallo pinto.
Chicken and waffles is an American dish combining chicken with waffles. It is part of a variety of culinary traditions, including soul food and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, and is served in certain specialty restaurants in the United States.
Watergate salad, also referred to as "Green Goddess", Pistachio Delight, or Shut The Gate Salad or colloquially as Green Goop, Green Fluff or Green Stuff, is a side dish salad or dessert salad made from pistachio pudding, canned pineapple, whipped topping, crushed pecans and marshmallows. It is very quick to prepare: the ingredients are combined and it can be chilled, if desired.
Bobotie is a well-known South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping.
The James Beard Foundation Awards are annual awards presented by the James Beard Foundation to recognize culinary professionals in the United States, sometimes called the "Oscars" of the food world. The awards recognize chefs, restaurateurs, authors and journalists each year, scheduled around James Beard’s May 5th birthday. The media awards are presented at a dinner in New York City; the chef and restaurant awards were also presented in New York until 2015, when the Foundation’s annual gala moved to Chicago. Chicago will continue to host the Awards through 2027.
Monkey bread is a soft, sweet, sticky pastry served in the United States for breakfast or as a treat. It consists of pieces of soft baked dough sprinkled with cinnamon. It is often served at fairs and festivals.
Mary Randolph (1762–1828) was an American author, known for writing The Virginia House-Wife; Or, Methodical Cook (1824), one of the most influential housekeeping and cook books of the 19th century. She was the first person known to be buried at what would become known as Arlington National Cemetery.
Okra soup is prepared using the edible green seed pods of the okra flowering plant as a primary ingredient. It is greenish in colour. Okra has a slippery feel when rubbed with the fingers. The edible green seed pods can also be used in stews.
Dikgobe is a Setswana word for samp and beans cooked together. The dish is commonly served at Setswana celebrations of life, such as marriage, and those marking death, the passage out of life. For funerals, dikgobe is one of the two acceptable starches to be served, with sorghum as the other.
A welcome is a kind of greeting designed to introduce a person to a new place or situation, and to make them feel at ease. The term can similarly be used to describe the feeling of being accepted on the part of the new person.
Freda DeKnight (1909–1963) was the first food editor of Ebony magazine and the author of A Date With A Dish: A Cookbook of American Negro Recipes, considered the first major cookbook written by an African-American for an African-American audience. She was a pioneer for the working class, who was able to articulate an unmatched love of food. DeKnight's legacy lives on through the continued use of her cook book.