Celebrate the Georgia Senate Win by Eating Southern Food

Lizzy Saxe

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A historic victory happened today.

Mitch McConnell is no longer the majority leader in the US Senate, and suddenly, Joe Biden’s first two years in office look quite a bit sunnier.

With the Senate in firm control of the Democrats, new senators Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff are poised to give Washington a whole new feel come the inauguration.

Warnock invoked his mother when he stated in his victory speech early this morning that: “The other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else's cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator," is the first Black senator from Georgia in American history.

Black folks picking someone else’s cotton, on the other hand, is practically a national tradition.

With that—and the fact that much of Southern cuisine has deep roots in West Africa—in mind, I think today is an excellent day to, as T.S. Elliott once suggested, dare to eat a peach. If you can find one.

Since peaches are out of season, maybe we can expand our celebration with some other treats from the South, though? While they're best known for peaches, Georgia's official state crop is actually the peanut. Fun fact, peanuts are actually legumes, not tree nuts, and thus they're frequently eaten boiled both throughout the American South and West Africa. Boiled peanuts are cooked in the shell with lots of salt and have a soft texture like a bean, rather than the crunchy one you're used to.

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Boiled peanuts are a lot of work, but they're worth it

But wait, maybe trying to find raw, unshelled peanuts and cooking them for three whole hours when you should really be staying home as much as possible isn't going to happen for you today, and as much as you love fried chicken, you never seem to get the results you want at home.

You could order takeout, but if that feels daunting for your budget right now, then may I suggest another alternative. Today, dear reader, is the day to try making pimento cheese.

This cheddar, cream cheese, and roasted red pepper spread, sometimes affectionately referred to as Southern pâté, is a staple of the Georgia table and an excellent celebration food. Somewhat reminiscent of a Midwestern cheeseball, it can be used as a dip, spread onto sandwiches, or even incorporated into deviled eggs.

Pimento cheese is delicious, decidedly Georgian, and has the distinction of including only ingredients that are easy to find, even in a pandemic.

It's a day to celebrate the Peach State, so break open a bottle of something special and eat some cheese. After the year we've had, we all deserve it.

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I write about the past, present, and future of food and the human condition. Also sometimes snacks.

Brooklyn, NY
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