I’m really not a fan of sweet potato (the roasted with nuts and brown sugar is the only way I like them) and have always considered them virtually interchangeable with pumpkin, which I don’t care for either.
We are nuts about nuts. The predilection for pecans is due in large part to their availability. A lot of people have a couple or three pecans trees in their yard, even the city dwellers. I can’t remember if it’s Georgia or Texas that leads in pecan production, but there are many small pecan companies all over the South.
My mother lives in a tiny town (maybe 13,000 folks in the entire county) and the first home she had there had been built around the turn of the century. It was the city house for D.C. Turnipseed, who was at one time the largest peach distributor in the nation, and quite a character himself. His country house was out Peachburg road. Business was great until one year something went wrong with the rail cars used for shipping and the bulk of his peaches were lost. According to the family he personally dynamited up all the peach trees and replaced them with pecans. Hence, Peachburg road is lined with pecan trees.
There are now several pecan companies in the area and pecan trees run all through town and country. One of those pecan companies is owned by my 5th cousin and his wife. She won a Food Network cake competition (not the decorated kind of cakes) with a pecan bunt cake a few years back.
The ooey-gooey Dark Kar-o pecan pie has never been a favorite of mine. When I was little I would scrape the pecans off the top and eat only the goo and crust. The best pecan pie recipe I have ever made is from How to Bake by Nick Malgieri: Southern Pecan Pie with Spice Crust. It isn’t gooey in a bad way and is made with bourbon. I highly recommend it.
Then we have those little pecan pies made in mini muffin cups that absolutely everybody has a recipe for and can even be found in the grocery store bakery section. Although the grocery store variety aren’t as good.
Pecans are a must for pralines, absolutely no substitutes. You shouldn’t even use pieces, just halves.
Pecans vs. walnuts in divinity can spark a hot debate. I use walnuts.
Great party food: two butter toasted pecan halves with a bleu cheese/cream cheese mixture seasoned with Worcestershire sauce in the middle.
Spiced or candied pecans packed in pretty tins are common Christmas presents.
My brother has the allergy so I grew up with out them. My mother used to sneak away from the house to have a RC cola (from a bottle) with salted peanuts in it. She loved green peanuts and boiled peanuts, they just couldn’t come in the house.
I could eat them, just never did because they were so lethal to my brother. My first encounter with fresh boiled peanuts (you can get them in a can at the grocery store and can find hot ones in gas stations) was at an Auburn football game. My husband was an assistant athletic director so we had access to the boxes and I was VERY pregnant. So I stayed in the box for easy access to the bathroom and constant air-conditioning. He spent most of the game on peanut runs for me.:rolleyes: I must have eaten 10 of 15 pounds of them. I’ve made them at home, but it has been awhile.
Allie is right, all those syrups are used for sauces, glazes and confections. You don’t find corn syrup on the baking aisle here; it’s on the syrup aisle.
From time to time at the grocery store and frequently at farmer’s markets you can buy sugar cane, which is just fun to chew on.