Note: To any MS/AL natives, proponents, defenders, or Mississippi/Alabama state tourism bureau officials who may read Hungry Sam -- this list of food-oriented lessons learned is not exhaustive, significant, or even planned out. Don't worry about it.
1) Lesson Number One: Sweet Tea is Sweet
Sweet tea, as it turns out, is very sweet. Very, very, very sweet. Wicked sweet. Extraordinarily sweet. And is served in quantities far greater than I could reasonably stomach.
I have somehow lived my life to date without ever trying true southern sweet tea. Now, that has been rectified. Let's move on, before I offend anyone.
2) Lesson Number Two: Birmingham has Pretty Damn Good Barbeque
I have a hard time comparing barbeque because of the endless varieties and styles and meats and all that good stuff. You might say I'm a barbecue relativist -- I appreciate (most) individual barbecue experiences for what they are.
That said, I managed to find some seriously legitimate barbecue in Birmingham, at a joint called Jim 'N Nick's BAR-B-Q. Below, revel in the glory of my combo pulled pork and spare ribs platter with a side of corn muffins, bacon collard greens, and baked beans. (I wasn't hungry for another 18 hours.)
3) Lesson Number Three: At Mississippi State University, You Can Obtain a Giant Ball of Cheese
I know this because I was given a four-pound ball of Edam cheese from Mississippi State University as a thank-you gift by the members of my org's Mississippi state affiliate. I kid you not. It's the size of a medium-sized canteloupe. Or a canonball, which was apparently the origin of the mold size.
IT'S AS THOUGH THEY ALREADY KNEW I LOVED CHEESE!!!
Thank you, AAUW of Mississippi, for the cheese.