Sunday, April 10, 2011

Snacking State-by-State: Georgia II - That's What I Like About Peaches

Georgia is one of the leading producers of peanuts in America, and it is also a leading producer of peaches. According to the Georgia Peach Council, the peach has been grown by Cherokee farmers since the 1750's, and harvested for sale in Georgia since before the Civil War, started by Raphael Moses in 1851. Georgia sells over 2.5 million bushels of peaches annually - down from an all time high of 8 million in the 1920's, but still a lot (Georgia Peach Council 2011)

Official Name: State of Georgia
State Nicknames: The Peach State, Empire State of the South
Admission to the US: January 2, 1788 (#4)
Capital: Atlanta (largest city)
Other Important Cities: Augusta (2nd largest), Savannah (4th largest), Columbus (3rd largest)
Region: South, Deep South, Lowcountry (specifically along the coast); South Atlantic (US Census)
RAFT Nations: Cornbread & BBQ, Crabcake, Gumbo
Bordered by: Alabama (west), Tennessee & North Carolina (north), South Carolina (northeast), Atlantic Ocean (east), Florida (south)
Official State Foods and Edible Things: grits (official state prepared food), peach (fruit), Vidalia onion (vegetable)
Some Famous & Typical Foods: again, grits, peaches and Vidalia onions, among many other things, among them: Coca-Cola, boiled peanuts, pecans, pralines, okra, and other typical foods of the Deep South

Since Georgia is the Peach State, this post needs a good standard peach recipe. And where better to turn than that most famous of Georgia chefs... Trisha Yearwood!? Yes, the Grammy award winner, Grand Ole Opry member, Garth Brooks family member (he's her hubby) and Monticello native. Yearwood now calls Oklahoma home (again, the Garth Brooks thing), but brings America her Georgia family recipes in her book Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen. Yearwood says her family knows her as much for her food as her singing.

As the singer notes, the peach cobbler is an important part of the Southern home cook's repertoire: "You can't be considered a serious southern cook if you don't know how to make peach cobbler" [Yearwood 2008, p,. 192]. Her recipe is quite the easy one, and it worked out well for me.

The recipe: Peach Cobbler

For this peach cobbler you will need:

* peaches (two 15 oz or four 8.5 oz cans, in syrup - Yearwood recommends canned peaches instead of fresh, which she says work better in recipes such as this. More so, she suggests you use freestone instead of clingstone peaches "because they are tender and tasty" [Yearwood 2008, p. 192]. You would not believe just how difficult it is to find canned freestone peaches here.)
* 1 stick butter (got it)
* self-rising flour, or all-purpose flour mixed with a little baking powder and salt (got 'em all, too)
* sugar and milk (got those)

This recipe is, as Yearwood notes, easy. Melt the butter in a 9 x 13 pan in the oven.

While you melt the butter, dump out the peaches and save half of the liquid (so drain half the peach syrup into a bowl, and the rest of the syrup just dump out). Mix the drained syrup with the milk and dry ingredients.

Next, pour into the pan, and arrange the peach slices in the pan before baking at 350° for an hour.

Mmmm. Peachy.

What can I say? It was easy, and it was very buttery and luscious. I have to agree: I definitely like freestone peaches better than the clingy variety. And while it is definitely best right out of the oven, especially with vanilla ice cream, it is almost as good after being nuked for a minute in the microwave.

And that's what I like about Trisha Yearwood's cobbler.


Candler Graham, Elizabeth, and Ralph Roberts. Classic Cooking with Coca-Cola. Hambleton Hill Publishing: Nashville, 1998

Coca-Cola Company. "Recipe: Fruited Pork Chops". Copyright The Coca-Cola Company, 2006.

Coca-Cola Company. "Recipe: Southern Caramelized Vidalias". Copyright The Coca-Cola Company, 2006. Originally submitted by Rod Rives of Birmingham, AL.

Deen, Paula. "Boiled Peanuts". Featured on the Paula's Home Cooking episode "Boat Day". Copyright The Food Network, 2010

Fairweather, John. "How to Make Boiled Peanuts in a Slow Cooker". From eHow Food, date unknown.

Georgia Peach Council. "Rich History of GA Peach". Copyright Georgia Peach Council, date unknown.

Hanley, Lucy (editor), and Alice Moffatt (food editor). The Best Basic & Easy Recipes of Savannah. John Hinde Curteich: Savannah, 2000. Distributed by Dixie Postcards & Souvenir Sales.

Yearwood, Trisha, with Gwen Yearwood and Beth Yearwood Bernard. Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from My Family to Yours. Clarkson Potter: New York, 2008.

Some information also obtained from Wikipedia's "Georgia" page and other pages, and the Food Timeline State Foods link to "Georgia".