Monday, October 26, 2009
Suthun Eating - The Meat and Three
They are found the world over, but most assuredly not as prevalent nor as well done as in the Southern US. I am of course speaking of the "Meat and Three". Sounds like a good name for a punk band, but it's actually a style of restaurant. Part diner, part grandma's house, the meat and three is a style of ordering where your entree (ham, pork, meatloaf, roadkill, what-have-you) is accompanied by three side dishes, usually chosen by the diner from an array of possibles like okra, collard greens and beans, but can also include such staples as mashed potatoes and gravy or even macaroni and cheese. It's a cacophony of epicurean delight! (That means lots of good food to choose from...)
You won't see any of these dishes on Iron Chef, that's for sure. This is down home country cooking. No bechemel Cream sauce, no wedges of brie cheese no hearts of palm on a bed of radicchio with a tamarind vinaigrette. No, we're talking meatloaf, pork roast, and that family favorite: Fried Chicken to name but a few. Standards. The stuff you grew up with.
A true meat and three is a diner's delight. Not only can you get your favorite entree, but you can customize the meal with the sides of your own choosing! That's better than marriage! The main thing about the Meat and Three is that you won't find them in a chain or franchise. The good ones are owned by Mom and Pop (or Grandma and Grandpop) who've been serving the same great food for longer than most of us have been able to chew.
Next time you're in the south, ask a local or better yet, ask a truck driver where the best 'Meat and Three' is located and enjoy the flavor of the south.