As a northern girl, one of the traits that I’ve found most delightful when I’ve travel in the the south is the concept of southern hospitality.
I trained in Searcy, Arkansas this week, and the participants went out of their way to make sure that I felt welcomed. Several of them gave me ideas for things to do or see after work, and many wrote down local restaurants for me to try. All-in-all, they made an effort to make sure that I was okay, and feeling comfortable while visiting their town.
I’ve had people do similar things for me at other trainings, so I can only describe this as a different feeling. There was an overall feeling of hospitality, rather than hospitality from one or two individuals.
About mid-week, one of my participants asked me if I knew what dressing was, and if I’d ever had it before.
“You mean stuffing?”
She gave me a ‘bless your heart look,’ and replied in a heavy southern accent, that I swear appeared out of nowhere, “Southern dressing is similar, but it’s not the same thing as stuffing.”
“A few of us are going to order take-out for lunch tomorrow, would you like to try it? You really should—it’s good.”
Never one to turn down the opportunity to try something new, I accepted her offer of chicken and dressing with a side of beans and cornbread.
The next day, four of us sat down to eat lunch together. I looked down at my plate and I saw a big scoop of what looked like stuffing. However, I learned yesterday, that here, at least, it’s called dressing.
I could have sworn that she has called it chicken and dressing, but I certainly didn’t see any chicken on my plate.
“Did you say that this was called chicken and dressing?”
“Yes, that’s what we call it,” she said looking over at me with a slight grin.
“Where’s the chicken?”
The ‘bless your heart,’ look washed over her face(again) as she explained, “The chicken is IN the dressing.”
I enjoyed my meal, but I do have to say that it tasted just like stuffing with chicken in it! Shhh—don’t tell! 😉