Do you have a recent case of serious summer wanderlust? Fire up the travel bug with some fun facts on our newest blog post.
There’s a heatwave rolling through Southern California including the greater Los Angeles area this week. Temps are also blazing through Utah and Arizona as well. Despite triple digit temperatures, the official first day of summer is on June 21st, which is just six days away.
The US is a huge country with so much to explore. Sunny days abound throughout the Southland and Southern US. We have been dreaming of a getaway for a while and bet you have too your own summer wanderlust plans. There are thousands of places to visit without crossing international borders.
Here are a few informative facts about all that craveable sunshine, as well as a healthy serving of some tasty tidbits about the Southern food in the Southern United States and even some geography facts. Pack those bags and let’s go!
Summer Wanderlust & Southern Food
- We are lucky to have 284 days of sunshine on average (according to Google) in Los Angeles area. Rest assured, it’s not your imagination, there literally is near endless sunshine in the Southland.
- Compared to Juneau, AK, which only gets 44 days of sun per year, yikes! In the Southern US, Birmingham, Alabama leads the pack with sunny days 58% of the time. That roughly translates to 2641 hours of golden rays every year. Followed by Fort Smith, Arkansas shining in 2771 bright days. In contrast, San Diego, California gets 3055 hours of sun annually. Macron, Georgia enjoys 2986 hours of sun yearly. Don’t forget to pack your SPF friends.
- The Southern US is known agriculturally for producing corn, wheat, rye and soybeans.
- Did you know that the mainland United States, aka the lower 48, covers a whopping 3,119,884.69 square miles? Tally up the land total of the entire United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, you probably want a calculator for this one. The country encompasses a staggering grand total of 9,629,091 sq. km (according to Google search)! That a heck of a lot of summer wanderlust, bucket lists and exploration, right? If somehow that just wasn’t enough, the United States of America is also the fourth largest country in the world.
- The following states make up the Southern United States per Encyclopedia Britannica and the US federal government (bear in mind that other outlets compile their own lists of what they consider to be the “South”) Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
- The Eat This Not That site (great book series too!) shares an appetite wetting list of 50 Foods You Can Only Find In the South (The Southern Food). We compiled a few of the Southern food dishes that sent our taste buds into overdrive. If you have not tried Pimento Cheese spread on Ritz or other crackers or crusty oven fresh bread then you are missing out. Pimento Cheese is a dip that is popular in the South and graces tables small and large. It is a dairy (mayonnaise) based dip that is served cold and has a glamorous nickname of the “caviar of the South”.
Martha Stewart shares her recipe, which features two types of cheese. Her recipe includes both shredded sharp yellow cheddar and shredded mild white cheddar, other recipes only call for one type of cheese in the Southern food list. The other ingredients include mayonnaise, pimentos, (those are the inside bits of those green stuffed olives you see in delis), usually sold diced in small glass jars. She adds in a bit of the pimento juice, cayenne pepper, and finishes off the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Martha’s recipe calls for serving pimento cheese with sliced celery sticks or crackers. Freshly sliced cucumber spears or even jicama slices would be a delicious base too. Goodness the caviar of the South would be pretty darn tasty smeared on a Crimson Coward chicken tender, extra yum! Regardless of whether you call the creamy, craveable and indulgent dip Pimento Cheese or “caviar of the South” your taste buds are winning when this dish is in sight.
Some Facts About The Southern US
- The largest city in the south is Jacksonville with a population of 868,031.
- The peachy state of Georgia holds the Sweet Auburn Springfest every May. It is special for a number of reasons. It’s the largest free event held in the Southeast and to commemorate and honor the church where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr served as pastor.
- The oldest town in the southern United States is St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine, was founded in the 1500s by European settlers. The charming old city streets are lined with cobblestone carrying a true feel of Europe despite being in Florida. The legendary fountain of youth is also in St. Augustine. The historical past is alive in St. Augustine and really comes alive when you visit the Fort Matanzas National Monument, “built in 1742 to defend the city of St. Augustine from British attack.” A trip to St. Augustine really should be on your bucket list for history buffs and those who love to be on a beach with warm waters practically year-round.
- If you happen to have a pet skunk don’t plan a trip to Tennessee as “No Skunk Smuggling is allowed, according to Deep South Magazine. Kind of a weird law if you ask us. Have you ever known anyone btw who even owns a pet skunk?
- According to the 2019 census, the total population of the entire Southern US is 125,580,448.
- In Louisiana the famed state dish of Jambalaya is not subject to “the state’s sanitary code…” when it is made traditionally, “… using wood fires and iron pots…” We can imagine how epic jambalaya would taste if cooked over an open fire and trusty iron pot. Would you try traditional jambalaya or stick with a version that is subject to Louisiana’s health code?
- Heads up to all the skateboarders out there. You might really want to think twice about jumping on your board in Florida without proper documentation. A license is necessary to skateboard in this state, who knew?
- If you are a fan of BBQ then you certainly don’t want to miss out on a trip to the South. BBQ reigns supreme in the Southern food list with regional BBQ sauces and styles that vary by region and pit master. Alabama style BBQ sauce really stands out from the others firstly because it is white, yes a white, dairy based BBQ sauce. Alabama BBQ sauces are mayonnaise based and are delicious served with chicken or just about anything. Regional differences in BBQ sauce stand out the most in the Carolinas. Opposite of the rich Alabama BBQ sauce is out of East North Carolina. Their BBQ sauce is a “…pungent, thin sauce made from little more than cider vinegar, red pepper flakes and some salt. “
Over in West North Carolina their BBQ sauce mimics East North Carolina but differs by the extra additions of ketchup and brown sugar to mellow out that vinegar tang.” In South Carolina they take it in a totally different direction by ditching ketchup and tomato base altogether and lasering in on good old plain yellow mustard. Which one of these Southern food and regional specialty barbecue sauces would you want to try at your next summer cookout?
We hope you enjoyed this serving of our summer wanderlust blog post and perhaps it inspired some future summer travel. Or maybe you will get into the kitchen and try out some popular Southern food recipes for your next cookout. Literally counting the days down until the first official day of summer. Stay cool fellow hot chicken lovers!