The South (U.S.)

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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The South (U.S.) is said to have the finest bakers in the United States, directly attributable to the reputed Southern sweet tooth. Things are a bit more complicated than that. The desserts of the American South vary through geography, the economics of class and status, poverty, the legacy of slavery, and, in the twentieth century, electricity and the rise of air conditioning. Geographically as large as Western Europe, the South stretches down the eastern seaboard from Maryland to Florida and across to Texas. The region is usually defined by the 11 states of the Confederacy, plus the so-called border or slave holding states that did not secede: Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and Missouri, plus West Virginia, which seceded from Virginia after Virginia seceded from the United States. Florida, Texas, and especially Louisiana have developed their own cuisines, and their cooking is no longer classically Southern, although it certainly overlaps.