It's also Chinese char siu pork, Mexican posole, Thai larb, Venezuelan arepas and Korean grilled beef ribs.
These are among the 80 recipes in "Secrets of the Southern Table" by Virginia Willis, a book that is as much about diversity as it is about food.
Born in Augusta, Georgia, she notes that people outside the South don't understand it. As a result, she gets saddled with old-fashioned expectations.
For TV appearances to promote the new book, she's asked to make biscuits rather than something that would reflect the subtitle, "A Food Lovers Tour of the Global South."
Of course the book includes biscuits and a 12-photo layout on how to make them and also recipes for gumbo Z'herbes, Nashville hot grilled chicken, peach upside-down cake and other regional favorites.
The Chinese have been in the Mississippi Delta since the 1860s, when they came to supply labor after emancipation of the slaves, she said during a talk at Melissa's Produce.
By 1870, there were more Italians in New Orleans than anywhere else in the United States. Birmingham attracted a large Greek population. Mexicans came to work for Kentucky horse farms. And the war in Vietnam brought in so many Vietnamese that Houston is now the second largest Viet settlement after California.
Some global recipes have acquired southern flavor. There is ketchup in the char siu glaze, for example, and Georgia peanuts in larb. The reverse is true too, as shown by lemongrass in Cajun BBQ Shrimp, basmati or jasmine rice in jambalaya and fresh ginger in the green beans she is showing here instead of the usual bacon, fat back or hog jowl.
True southern cuisine is basically agricultural, Willis said, and so the book deals with farms and food producers, local products, cooks, markets and eating places as well as recipes, captured in enticing photographs by Angie Mosier.
At Melissa's, a Mexican chocolate pudding with bourbon cream was a top draw--"one of the best things I've ever had," said one enthusiast. The Mexican touch comes from cinnamon and a dash of cayenne. Here is the recipe.
MEXICAN CHOCOLATE PUDDING WITH BOURBON CREAM
From "Secrets of the Southern Table" by Virginia Willis
6 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream plus 1/2 cup for topping
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon bourbon
Whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, espresso powder, cinnamon, cayenne and salt in a saucepan. In a large measuring cup, combine 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, the milk and vanilla. Add to the saucepan and whisk until smooth.
Place the saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the chocolate and cook, whisking continuously, until the chocolate has melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat. Whisk in the butter until melted. Divide the mixture equally among 6 serving dishes such as dessert coupes or ramekins. To prevent a skin from forming, place plastic wrap directly against the surface of each pudding. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
To make the bourbon cream, combine 1/2 cup heavy cream and bourbon in a large bowl. Refrigerate, along with a whisk, for at least 15 minutes. Once chilled, beat the cream with the chilled whisk until it holds soft peaks, 3 to 5 minutes.
When the pudding is chilled completely, top each glass with a spoonful of bourbon cream and dust with cocoa powder. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.