Known as the South, the southern region of the United States contains 17 states, enjoys a warm climate and produces several indigenous crops. Indian, African-American, French, Spanish and Mexican influences contribute to the southern region's food.
The South is considered the area south of the Mason-Dixon line and the Ohio River. The South contains 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 southern region enjoys warm weather most of the year and abundant rain. This type of climate has enabled southern farmers to traditionally grow popular crops such as cotton, sugar cane and tobacco.
In the past, the South's involvement in the international African slave trade and the local people's relationship with American Indians and other cultures led to a variety of foods that are now considered "Southern." Slaves brought watermelon, eggplant, collard greens and okra from Africa. The American Indians introduced Southerners to corn. French settlers brought spices now used in Creole seasoning and Cajun cooking. Mexicans popularized what is now known as Tex-Mex cuisine. Popular foods that resulted from these influences are cornbread, sweet potato pie and grits. Other foods include fried chicken, fried okra, crawfish and catfish.