Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Store Lunch

Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Store Lunch

Article excerpt

Throughout the rural South, men with regular business in the country--hunters, fishermen, farmers, surveyors, and traveling agents of various trades--traditionally enjoy a repast known as the Store Lunch. I say "men" advisedly, for this tends to be a gender-specific ceremony seldom enjoyed by women. The beauty of this meal lies partly in its simplicity--everything needed in the way of place setting are a knife blade and a knee to balance cans on--and partly in its comprehensive nutrition, combining as it does the four major food groups: fat, sodium, sugar, and dirt. It may be eaten in the country store where it is purchased, or on the front steps thereof, or off the tailgate of a truck somewhere beside a dirt road.

The following list is for the full complement, the High Store Lunch. Items may be omitted or recombined at will.

18-ounce can pork & beans
1 small can Vienna sausages (the real ones, with various pork
  scraps, not the effete low-fat chicken variety)
1 small tin potted meat or deviled ham
1 tin sardines packed in soybean oil and sprinkled liberally
  with Texas Pete or other hot stuff
1 pickled egg, preferably a pink one that has had beet juice
  added to the marinade
1 wedge yellow hoop cheese
1 large box saltines
1 pickled pig foot (known variously as "trotters" or "mudgrips")
1 can (size optional) mixed fruit packed in heavy syrup
1 cellophane-wrapped creme-filled oatmeal cookie or raisin cake

In these modern times, most of the cans will have easy-open ring tops. …

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