Here's the thing about Southern food: For most of our history, it was the best food in the country, prepared in the warmest and most fertile region, where biscuits and bacon practically spring out of the earth. (The vegetables are pretty good too.) But the higher quality the ingredients, the less you have to do with them, and so Southern culinary life was, until relatively recently, a long tryptophan trance of country ham, collards simmered endlessly in pork fat, creamy pan gravies and other agents of stultifying bliss. Food that good needs little in the way of adornment, and such efforts over the years generally flopped.
But a slew of young chefs are taking modern Southern cooking to a new place, forming a movement in the crucible of high ideals, virtuoso technique and hard-core attitude. Call it lardcore. It's meticulous, it's ballsy and it doesn't care what you think of it. In that, it's very Southern.
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