19 Things Tennesseans Always Have to Explain to Out-of-Towners

Tennessee Student Work
by Shannon Dell May 15, 2015

1. Nashville isn’t the birthplace of country music, okay?

Bristol gave birth to the genre in 1927. Nashville just had the show that made it famous.

2. And believe it or not, we’re more than just twang.

The Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash, Kings of Leon, Paramore, The Black Keys, Jack White’s Third Man Records, Blackbird Studio, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Bessie Smith, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Muddy Waters, Ike Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Rich — you can thank Tennessee for each and every one of them.

3. We’re not all homophobic, racist rednecks that bleed red, white, and blue.

Not saying you won’t see a few beer guts hanging out of Bud Lit- stained white tanks with Confederate flag tattoos faded against farmers’ tans here and there; but don’t act surprised when you meet a Tennessean who happens to not be that person you graduated with 8 years ago who only posts pictures of skinning hogs on Facebook and backward articles with the caption “I’m not racist, but…”

4. That being said, yeah, we are pretty Conservative.

You see that tiny little blue dot in a sea of red? That would be Memphis.

5. If there’s a chance of flurries, don’t go to the grocery store.

It’s like a scene from World War Z.

6. You just think you’re a badass when it comes to spicy chicken.

Shut the cluck up with that one. Nashville will slam your taste bud’s pride with its notorious slap your mama Hot Chicken that will make you wish you had never bitched about places not making food spicy enough for you.

7. The first friday of every August is kind of like The Purge.

We’ve got one of the highest sales tax in the country, so when Tax Free Weekend rolls around and we can buy certain items with zero sales tax, excuse us for going a little psycho.

8. Yes, we really like our Civil War reenactments here.

Some Tennesseans just can’t let that one go.

9. You may need to drive to the bordering county — or state — to get alcohol. Get used to it.

On Sundays, you can buy beer — but not wine or liquor — after 12 pm. Liquor sales on any other day end by 11 pm. That is, unless you live in a county where the bars close earlier than 3 am, which means that beer sales stop when the bars close. And then you’ve got 26 out of Tennessee’s 95 counties being completely dry — including the one where Jack Daniel’s is distilled.

Screw it. Just start making moonshine. Speaking of which…

10. Moonshine is a real thing here.

Don’t worry — you don’t have to be a mountain hermit to enjoy some moonshine in a variety of flavors like peach, blackberry cobbler, apple pie, and pumpkin spice. But you do have to drink it out of a mason jar; that’s required.

11. We don’t want to hear your childhood treehouse story.

Because we can guarantee that your treehouse wasn’t a 97-foot tall structure made up of 80 rooms with porch decks, a church that doubles as a basketball court, and a bell tower, all fastened by 258,000 nails like the one built by Horace Burgess in Crossville, Tennessee.

12. You don’t need sauce to make barbeque ribs damn good.

Unless you like it wet, your slow-cooked ribs should be covered in a dry rub of salt and various spices and paired with three vegetable sides to get your daily meat and three in. And yes, mac n’ cheese is totally a vegetable.

13. We root for the Denver Broncos.

But only for Peyton Manning.

14. It’s perfectly normal if a total stranger invites you to church.

And no matter how weird or off putting you may find this, it’s actually meant to be a nice gesture.

15. Everything should have an egg on it.

Biscuits, BLTs, pizza, pulled-pork sandwiches, salads, soups, pasta, more eggs, whatever. It all tastes better with a fried egg thrown on top.

16. Roadkill is totally okay to eat.

Because feasting on flattened fauna is totally legal here.

17. Not every lake is above ground.

The Craighead Caverns, located between Sweetwater and Madisonville, is famous for the United States’ largest — and the world’s second largest — non-subglacial underground lake.

18. That vegetarian dish you just ordered probably has meat in it.

“Yeah sure it’s vegetarian! I mean, it’s made with chicken stock and there’s bacon in it, but it’s a green bean casserole!”

19. Tennessee whiskey is better than any other whiskey you’ve been privy to.

And it’s is definitely not the same thing as Bourbon.

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