7 Ways the South is the South—from Texas to Virginia (because, I’m sorry, but Maryland isn’t the South)

I’ve pondered this question more than a bit since moving to Georgia almost two years ago. I would argue Texas (my home state) is part of the south rather than the southwest as some other folks say. Then again, I was raised in northeast Texas (home of the old cotton plantations). The folks out in El Paso might have a valid argument for the southwest. And people in the deep South might argue with me on that yes-Texas-IS-the-south argument as well.

Because a few things are different from state to state.


Barbecue is a biggie. Georgia (and the rest of the southeast) is the land of pork. Yummy without a doubt. In Texas, we’re all about the beef—brisket most especially. And two barbecue side dishes I’d never heard of before moving here are chicken mull, sort of a clam chowder-y white soup served with saltines, and Brunswick stew. Now, I still don’t know exactly what’s in Brunswick stew, and maybe my first intro to it was a bad batch, but it reminds me of regurgitated baby food. Not. A. Fan. Other barbecue sides—like potato salad and fried okra—seem to be universally southern.

But that brings to mind one dish you find on the menu at many Texas barbecue joints—fried catfish. When I came to Georgia, I thought Hallelujah, I’m back in the land of catfish! Uh…not so much. Apparently, the rest of the civilized world is disgusted by catfish. But I tell you what, fry me up a batch of crispy filets, some french fries, and a whole mess of hush puppies. That, my friends, is heaven shaken in a brown paper bag and fried up in hot grease. Yes, ma’am!

The accents are a little different. Deep south is a bit more melodic and slower (if that’s even possible) than the Texas accent. A true southerner could tell you to F—k off, and in that accent, it would sound as if she was giving you a compliment. And if she says Bless your heart right after? The insult has been effectively neutralized. Oh, she still means it, but you can’t hold it against her. That’s a southern rule.

I also lived in Louisiana for a couple of years, and yes, it’s the south, but a different south made up of parishes and wild parties and beignets and chicory coffee and those fried meat pies that are so darn delicious that you could eat a bushel full of them (not that I have or anything).

So if the south is do darned diverse, what do these places actually have in common?

  1. A deep abiding love of family and faith (regardless of what that faith is)
  2. The ability to make friends in a two-person grocery store line
  3. Food that tends to make us too fat (but is SO day-um yummy)
  4. A smile, two-fingered wave, or hello greeting among folks who don’t know one another
  5. A place where men and boys still (mostly) open the doors for women
  6. “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” are still more standard than anywhere else on earth
  7. A kinship with one another, regardless of any beef or pork barbecue knock-down drag-outs that might ensue

So what do you think—is Texas the south? And yeah, feel free to weigh in on Maryland too, but you’re not gonna change my mind!

Today is National Library Day, which I just LURVE. When’s the last time you visited your local library?


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  1. says

    To me, yes, Texas is South. Southwest starts around New Mexico to me. I have lived in Illinois my entire life, though, so who am I to say? And people from Maryland really think they are part of the South? Perhaps they are not the brightest over there? But then again, until I met Nancy Naigle, I would have never considered Virginia south either. I guess it is more than just geography.
    Amy R recently posted..Review: KISS OF MIDNIGHT by Lara AdrianMy Profile

    • says

      Amy – whew! A midwestern girl who KNOWS that Texas is the south. I feel better already. Yeah – the “south” can be tricky, but southern Virginia is still the south. Go further north toward DC, and you’ll have to ask those folks. Robin Covington probably has an opinion for us ;-).


  2. Allyson Brann says

    I love this, I have lived in North Carolina all my life! I have always thought of Texas as being part of the South, but never Maryland, actually not even DC. I agree with you on the catfish, I love them( actually some in freezer now…lol) I am definitely practical to North Carolina’s Bar-B-Que ;-) Brunswick stuff is yummy if made right!

  3. says

    Uh….yeah!!! I’m in Southeast Texas, nearly Louisiana, and it’s as Southern as it gets. :) I’ve also lived in Dallas, which they call the South, but it didn’t really feel it. Very diverse and corporate feeling to me. They tend to lay on the touristy aspect of it a little thick. I’m in a small town that still has one of those little grocery stores with the cards kept at the courtesy booth you can charge to. :) Not that many use them any more, but the old folks do. Also lived in Colorado, and the stark difference was insane. Very nice, beautiful to live there, but nothing as homey as the South.

  4. says

    LOVE this post. Me…I think SOUTHERN is a state of mind … and I’ll let anyone in who acts like a real southerner. The rest of that stuff…it’s just geography…which I was never much good at.

    Hugs and love, southern sister!!

  5. says

    :twisted: What?!? “Maryland is not The South” ?? Are you trying to start a second Civil War?

    I’ve lived in Florida, Louisiana and agree — definitely The South. But Maryland deserves the following defense in its name:

    Did you know that Maryland was an occupied state during the Civil War? Its Confederate Congress had voted to join the CSA when Lincoln, realizing how close that would bring the Confederate capital to his own capital declared universal law and troops were sent to Maryland; my Baltimore-raised ancestors were imprisoned as anti-Lincoln Copperheads; their newspaper (peace activist anti-Lincoln editorials by Michael Jenkins) was shut down.

    Maryland was such a hot bed of Confederates that Lincoln’s train trip eastward from Illinois out to Washington D.C. for his inauguration sparked the Pratt Street Riots — inspiring the words to the Maryland state song, “Oh Maryland, My Maryland” by Confederate James Randall Ryder.

    My vote goes to placing Maryland squarely in The South — because stopped only by Lincoln’s troop occupation, denial of free press, free speech, and rights of Habeas Corpus; Maryland planned to joined Georgia and Florida *before* Texas stepped in to sign with the Confederates.

    Am I right, or am I right?? ;D

    • says

      Hey, Emily – yes, I knew I’d stir up trouble (and probably history) – LOL – saying MD isn’t the south. And I do get what you’re saying about the state’s involvement in the Civil War (albeit, I’m no expert in that historical era). That being said, I just can’t wrap my head around it in current day. Not only because of geography, but culture. Would you argue that most Maryland(ers???) have a southern state of mind?

      Thanks bunches for popping by, because yeah, I knew I wouldn’t totally get away with it! ;-)


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