B'Ham can be compared in many ways to Dallas now. The life in the city is fast, the downtown area is considered dangerous. The weather can change at the drop of a hat. The weather is moderate, it can snow at times, but it is a place where the terrain is lush. People in this part of the country are steeped in the traditional values of the old plantation life. While it is composed of a number of smaller cities engulfed by the larger city, as B'ham evolved there are a few things which remained within the structure of the foundation of the lifestyle in the south. This is an industrial city built on the sweat of the south's iron and steel mills with roots in the model of the captured and dependant labor supply namely that of blacks built squarely upon the plantation life. Once freed the labor supply was able to finally break free of the lowly positions, obtain required education to build better lives for themselves. So while there is excellent education in Alabama, life in the south is steeped in tradition. Life continues to revolve around the church, the local community, family and the local community (yes, this repeated again for EMPHASIS).
"What church do you go to?", is a common question here.
"What brought you here?", is the second question.
There are things which are steeped in life in the south, such as which churches are frequented. If you and others in the south do not cross paths often it is because your churches do not intermingle. The southern hospitality is that of making strangers feel welcome and extending hospitality but not to the extent that they let them into their communities unless they are affiliated with the local church. So, there is a bit of cultural separation if your communities and churches do not intermingle. There are neighborhoods considered better than others as far as local neighborhoods go. Homewood in B'ham is akin to the SMU area in Dallas. There is black side of town as there is a brown side of town. There are places which you do not visit alone or at night if you are a woman. Huntsville is akin to Austin, TX. Mobile, AL and the Gulf Shores areas are aking to Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, TX. There is nothing (no like city) like Houston, TX in Alabama.
Women in the south are homemakers, caretakers of the family, home decorators, nurses, gardeners, very good cooks, maids, volunteers, seamstresses, baby sitters and jacks of all trades while maintaining a cool, calm stylish demeanor. Add to this mix when a woman works -- the additional role of professional, or out of the home worker. They are much more resilient that they appear, and yes appearance is everything here.
"Simply put", as a friend of mine in Austin, TX used to always say, there is an unwritten code of politeness in the south. People are always stylish, calm, and composed. They travel locally, not much outside of the state as the state is not a wealthy state. The rural people you will find are salt of the earth people.
Barbeque in this part of the country is PORK.
In Texas we all know it is Beef.
But in both places you will find also Chicken Barbeque.
Below you will find a link for a great link to a traditional style recipe for a southern favorite: Cornbread. (southerners consider cornbread with sugar to be a northern style cornbread, So much for Texas cornbread which contains sugar):
Hispanic folks enjoy making barbeque too, but it is called ASADA. In San Antonio, TX there are these FABULOUS Anticuchos which are grilled shish-k-bobs served at this great huge Fiesta called NIOSA (Night in Old San Antonio). I grew up eating these, and learned how to make them. They are PERUVIAN shish-k-bobs. Delicious and virtually foolproof.
Here is the basic recipe.
1 part red wine vinegar
3 parts water
2 Serrano Peppers
Whole Black Pepper
1 teas garlic salt
Pinch of Oregano
Pinch of Comino
Add all ingredients in a blender, but hold off on adding meat for a bit. Blend well, pour over meat. Cover 1 -2 lbs cubed meat. Marinate 24 hours. Skewer meat cubes with Bamboo skewers. Do not reserve the Marinade as it will contaminate.
Cook over hot coals, baste skewers with butter.