1. Listening to the baptist preacher rant about a chainsaw-carved Jesus in a nearby nativity scene as your mom thumps the back of your head for slouching in the stiff pew, all so you can gorge yourself afterwards with a meat and three.
Because everyone knows the real food pyramid consists of one meat serving and three vegetable sides cooked, simmered, baked, and topped with French’s Fried Onions by little old church ladies. And yes, cornbread totally counts as a vegetable. And to those 80 year old women who eye your plate and ask if you’re eating for two — no, you’re just absurdly hungover.
2. Battling your way through East Nashville’s hipsters for cactus chorizo tacos at Mas Tacos Por Favor.
3. Stopping at a roadside stand / petting zoo to buy a wet Ziploc baggie of cajun boiled peanuts before dealing with pruny and juicy fingers for the rest of the drive.
Just try not to wreck from spilling peanut juice all over your lap while attempting to throw your soggy husks out the window. However, worth the salty discomfort and near death experience for the caviar of the South? Absolutely.
4. Getting into a heated exchange with your server when trying to explain that just because you asked for a Coke, doesn’t necessarily mean you want a Coke.
“Yes, I’ll have a Coke — the clear kind that says ‘Sprite’ on the can.”
5. And speaking of Coke: soaking some roasted, salted, and crunchy peanuts in an ice-cold bottle of Coca-Cola while sitting on a screened-in porch during a summer thunderstorm.
Otherwise, how else would you truly understand the glorious matrimony between salty, sweet, and 1920s nostalgia?
6. Put a fried egg on BLT, salad, soup, burger, pasta, pizza, pulled pork sandwiches, etc.
You get the picture.
7. Getting Corky’s smoked and dry rubbed barbecue with a side of sloppy coleslaw FedEx’d to you overnight.
Because, y’know…you can.
8. Playing a game of Lazy Susan tango with the older couple sitting across from you at Bea’s as you spin the table for your third plate of fried chicken, creamy new potatoes, fried okra, buttered yeast rolls, and coleslaw, all smothered in tangy chow-chow relish and washed down with sweet tea.
Are you pants digging into your gut yet? No? Then you’re not doing it right.
9. Redefining the term ‘Trailer Trash’ as you suffer painful brain freezes that’ll make you feel like your head is set to explode at any moment.
All for the creamy cause of Vanilla blended with Snickers, Twix, Oreo, Butterfinger, Nestle Crunch, Reese’s Pieces, and M&Ms.
10. Ordering a basket of creole seasoned fries with honey mustard after downing a strong Long Island Iced Tea from the hourly rented motel Lamar’s while listening to Muddy Waters and Clarence Carter get funky on the jukebox.
Just try to remember to wipe your hands on your napkin and not on the velvet wallpaper.
11. Smothering your “fruit of the spirit” with Deli Rose sauce after riding in the Deli Van and listening to the driver rant about the the global shortage of water and how cassette players never work.
You’ll need your strength to participate in some Israeli folk dancing following lunch and a dessert of mate bars.
12. Thinking twice about going into Cozy Corner BBQ. Going inside anyway. Then dying a a little.
Go straight to heaven and bathe in the ethereal pools of barbecue sauce while being fed corn on the cob by pork cherubs.
13. Gobbling up your plate of beans n’ greens on New Year’s Day like it’s the last meal you’ll ever have.
Considering that’s the only way to make sure the upcoming year won’t totally be screwed, it just may be.