Barack Obama Eats Family Style

Greetings from Savannah! I’m down in Georgia with my family having a terrific time enjoying all that Southern hospitality has to offer: long strolls under the live oak trees, big bowls of shrimp and grits, and beautiful Victorian squares for cooling off and chasing the kids. We came down for a wedding (this photo is from the reception buffet: tomato pie! deviled eggs!) but who am I kidding, I’m also here for some low country cuisine.
On our very first day we went to the famed Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room—a former boarding house that now serves a Southern home-style lunch (it’s only open Monday thru Friday from 11am to 2pm). We were told to get there early and be prepared to wait in line, which we did with the kids but it wasn’t so bad, there were nice people with us visiting from Jacksonville, plenty of stone steps and benches for sitting, and a little shop on the corner that sold gorgeous and breakable things (I took Conor in and then whisked him right out). When we finally made it inside we were seated at a big table with our Jacksonville friends, and in front of us were already bowls and plates filled with every imaginable southern delicacy: amazing fried chicken, grits, sweet potato souffle, greens, okra gumbo, squash, hot and cold macaroni salad, noodles with peas, cucumber salad, black-eyed peas, and a pitcher of sweet tea that was filled as soon as it was emptied.
Everything is served family style, which is part of the fun (a blessing was said before we dug in) and we all talked about our favorite dishes and whether we preferred thighs or legs, okra or greens. At one point, as the peach cobbler and banana pudding was getting passed around, the waitresses annnounced that it’s custom to bus your own plate, cutlery and glass to the kitchen. We had learned earlier that President Obama had been to Wilkes’ on a recent visit to Savannah so my mom wondered if he also bussed his own plate–I asked the waitress…what do you think?

Of course he did! That’s our President.
Now I have to start working on my cheese grits so we can have it on a regular basis: if any of you have a good recipe, technique,or tips on making grits I’d love to hear about it!

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