Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Is Missouri a Southern State?



Recently the question of what is a southern state has come up again. Originally we decided to define the south by the generally agreed upon definition of the New South. This decision is not set in stone. As we approach our one year anniversary here at the Riverwalk, I have been having second thoughts about what it means to go forward and just keep doing what we have been doing because that is what we have been doing! So as not to get into a rut - and thereby let opportunity and creativity pass us by - I think that it is time to re-examine the question of what is the south?

I would like your advice and thoughts on the matter. Does Missouri qualify as a southern state? Whatever your answer is -why? What about including Puerto Rico in our embrace? It is not a state, but neither is Washington, DC, and we include it. I am throwing rules to the wind and really want to hear from you about this. Please email me at liz@southernfood.org. I look forward to hearing from you.

8 comments:

Terrell said...

the south is not defined in the states that were part of the CSA [confederate states of america] Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, all are part of the south. culturally even the southern tip of Illinois .

Hadacol said...

Well, I would say that a part of Missouri is pretty Southern, and part of it is not, but I would say the same thing about some of Kentucky, as well. So, in short, from my perspective, it's a toss.

As far as Puerto Rico, no. Not historically, not regionally. Cuba, in fact, especially from a Gulf Region, Southern, and NOLA perspective, is probably immensely more qualified.

DC absolute is. No argument there.
The Eastern Shore of MD and DE definitely are more Southern than anything else-food, culture, economy, etc.

Matthew Rowley said...

Alright, now I'm from Missouri (Kansas City, where we pronounce the "i" at the end rather than the "MizZER-uh" one finds out in the sticks). I was weaned on barbecue, biscuits, fried chicken, and sweet tea. I learned to play the tenor saxophone in imitation of Charlie Parker in middle school and greatly admired the city's jazz heritage. Though they have died off, the city had Mardi Gras celebrations (plenty of sepia photos are perennially on sale at Spivey's Books on Westport road). St. Louis may be the last of the Eastern cities, but Kansas City is undeniably *of* the South, even if it is not *in* the South.

My vote is yes: Missouri is a Southern state.

Scott Alves Barton said...

Having gone to college in Mizzurah, I would say that yes it fits neatly into the south, with St. Louis having a bi-polar identity as a Midwestern metropolis, a southerly alternate to Chi-town and southern roots under its dye job. Overall, bring on the grits and greens... The Show Me state will embrace 'em gladly

Silver Lakes said...

Now I'm from "the sticks" of Missouri - a French settlement on the Mississippi south of St. Louis - and we, too, say the "i" at the end. Dunno how this "uh" business started! St. Louis still has an active Mardi Gras every year in the Soulard neighborhood.

I always thought I was from the Midwest...until I moved away for college and was told over and over, "Missouri? Wow, you don't sound like you're from the South!" I know Iowans and Minnesotans and the like DO NOT think Missouri is the Midwest. While St. Louis is the "Gateway to the West"...Missouri is certainly not the West. The Mason-Dixon line runs right through the state. The Missouri Compromise made us a key place in defining what WAS the South.

Grits? Check. Strange parts of animals that go uneaten in other regions? Check. Sweet tea? Check, sometimes. Strangely named foods, like Dirt Cake? Check.

I say, in the grand tradition of Southern Hospitality, claim the orphaned Show-Me State and give us a home!

Rob said...

I'm originally from St. Louis and may have a slightly different view of the state. I've lived a majority of my life in 2 "southern" states - FL and VA. And, I don't think the food and culture of MO is similar to those. Tying the French influence in MO to the south is misplaced. I don't know anyone from northern half of the state that has ever even had "sweet tea" or would even know what it was. It is true that the southern part especially the "boothill" area is southern in influence does not make the state as a whole "southern." I would assert the state is a true mixture of all cultures and regional influences as it borders the North, South, East and West (or the orginal West).

Liz Williams said...

All of these opinions absolutely convince me that we must do an exhibit on Missouri as a southern state.

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