Southern Food Heritage Day

Southern Food Heritage Day is a holiday that celebrates Southern U.S. food in all its glory. Although southern food is seen as the quintessential American cuisine, it’s actually a blend of different culinary traditions from around the world that all came together in the American South.

This day is observed on the 11th of October each year and encourages people to try out some tried-and-true southern staples such as country ham, fried catfish, bread pudding, fried okra, fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, peach melba, and about a dozen other savory and sweet dishes.

The History of Southern Food Heritage Day

Southern cuisine is such a fusion of different heritages that it’s almost impossible to track down every single one of its culinary roots, although we’ll certainly give it a try here. The basic foundation of southern food is corn, which came from Native Americans.

Early pioneers used corn to make cornbread and hoecakes, two items that are now southern staples. The tradition of making these cornbreads was passed down not only to white pioneers but also to enslaved workers working in Southern cotton fields.

West African slaves used the salting and frying techniques they learned from Native Americans and combined them with traditional vegetables known to the region—particularly, okra.

Because African slaves often had to make do with cooking lesser cuts of meat that were given to them by the plantations, these slaves became experts in cooking organ meats, chicken, and other lesser cuts of meat. This would form another essential branch of southern cooking.

Europeans brought pork to the American South, particularly Germans who brought their traditional dish of Schnitzel covered in a cream sauce known as Rahmsauce. This would become the basis for country-fried steak.

The American South also borrowed foods from India, China, Scotland, England, and other areas of the world. This would form the basics of southern cuisine. At this time, we don’t know who invented Southern Food Heritage Day or even when it was invented. All that we know is that it’s been around for a few years and is observed by people all across the U.S.

Observing Southern Food Heritage Day

On this day, everyone is encouraged to enjoy southern cuisine. People are also encouraged to spread the word about this holiday using the hashtag #SouthernFoodHeritageDay on social media.

When is it?
This year (2024)
October 11 Friday
Next year (2025)
October 11 Saturday
Last year (2023)
October 11 Wednesday
Food & Drinks