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Honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day With These Southern Recipes

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January 21, 2013

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and what better way to honor an American hero than with food? Dr. King was from the South and his favorite foods prove he was a true southern comfort food lover. According to historical accounts, King’s favorite food was pecan pie. He also enjoyed other southern staples like fried chicken, sweet potatoes, and collard greens.

To showcase a true memorial to a great American thought leader and revolutionary, incorporate some southern flare into your cooking today with these Martin Luther King Jr. inspired recipes.

Pecan Pie

There is no better place to find a fantastic Pecan Pie recipe, aside from your southern grandma’s recipe box, than Southern Living Magazine. The magazine has the top 14 southern-approved pecan pie recipes all in one place. My favorite is the Mom’s Pecan Pie recipe. As the name suggests, this is the pie that will taste just like what your mom or grandma used to make. If you have never made a pecan pie before this recipe is a great starting place. It utilizes pre-made pie crust and just the essentials.

Fried Chicken

There is barely anything more southern than fried chicken. When it comes to fried chicken there is no one I trust more than the ultimate food centered Southern Belle herself, Paula DeenPaula’s fried chicken recipe is prepared in traditional southern fashion utilizing the perfect House Seasoning recipe. The seasoning on your fried chicken will make or break the entire meal. Paula’s house seasoning is some of the best out there and her recipe is simple.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

Candied sweet potatoes are a favorite of the south and can be found gracing the tables for holidays and special occasions. The following recipe is super easy and (most importantly) tasty.


  • 6 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Peel the potatoes and slice.
  2. Melt your butter in a skillet and add in the slices of sweet potato.
  3. Meanwhile mix your dry ingredients together (salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar).
  4. Cover the sweet potatoes with the sugar mixture and stir together in the skillet.
  5. Turn your heat down to low and let simmer for approximately an hour. You will know when the potatoes are near finished because the sauce will turn dark and will start to thicken and candy.
  6. Once the potatoes are candied, stir in the vanilla and serve.

Collard Greens

Collard Greens are easy to cook and taste fantastic slightly wilted and served with vinegar. However, if you are in the mood to try a fancier version of collard greens, I suggest Martha Stewart’s Collard Greens with Bacon recipe.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time to reflect and honor the words of a spectacular revolutionary and also the perfect time to pay homage to some of his favorite things with some southern inspired recipes. What is your favorite recipe from the South?

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