Hey, good lookin', whatcha got cookin'? How's about cooking something up for this year's Academy of Country Music Awards? You can explore some of the greatest hits of Southern cuisine, while sampling this year's awards-worthy playlist.
Whether you're hosting a viewing party or just looking for down-home dishes to cook while you duet with your favorite crooner in the kitchen, here are some ideas to whip up a meal with a show stopping twang:
TennesseeFor any country music lover, there's no better place to start than in the country music capital of Nashville, Tenn. From classic to contemporary, countless country stars have called this city home. A southern-fried Hot Chicken Sandwich is sure to get your mouth watering. Don't forget the biscuits — this savory recipe with white cheddar and thyme goes great with any meal.
Kentucky is where bluegrass, the spark of today's country music, really caught fire. It also boasts a star-spangled stretch of U.S. Route 23, or the “Country Music Highway," home to Loretta Lynn, Billy Ray Cyrus and other industry pillars.
Many songs, including new ACM co-host Dierks Bentley's “Bourbon in Kentucky," tip a hat — and a glass — to the state's famous liquor. You can do the same in the comfort of your kitchen with a batch of Bourbon Milk Punch, or for a truly Southern dessert, Bourbon Pecan Pie.
GeorgiaKeep going on your culinary tour by sending your appetite to Georgia, the birthplace of many a top country musician. The syrupy sweet Georgian drawl finds an appetizing harmony in the state's famous peaches. Serve up an irresistible tribute to Georgia's homegrown talent with a big slice of Peach Cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
TexasTexas has a formidable star on its belt when it comes to country music, and for good reason: Artists from Willie Nelson to Miranda Lambert hail from the Lone Star State, and it's got enough country cooking to feed an arena full of hungry fans. Appreciate the state's renowned beef, and put some sizzle on the grill with a Spicy Blackened Steak, or impress your guests with Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Chili. Finish with a Texas-sized helping of Lemon Sheet Cake.
LouisianaCountry favorites Tim McGraw and Hank Williams Jr., are just two of the top acts to emerge from Louisiana. It's easy to imagine their creative juices getting a boost from zesty native dishes like Blackened Cajun Catfish and Spicy Shrimp Remoulade. Don't forget to be generous with the Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper to capture some real Louisiana spirit.
SouthwestWith this year's ACMs taking place in Las Vegas — not far from traditional cowboy country — it's a natural fit to try out some Southwestern fare. You'll be singing the region's praises, after sampling Southwestern Chicken Pasta and Chile and Mushroom Tamales.
Anne Delatte is a freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys covering food, drink, and culture in South Louisiana and beyond and has written for area publications and national sites including Apartments.com and Marriott Travel. Anne lives and writes in New Orleans.