M. SCOTT MORRIS: Talking food with Tiger and Sergio

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

When you put a search term in Google, it’ll try to anticipate your needs.
I typed in “Sergio Garcia,” and a nanosecond later, Google responded with “racist.”
Garcia is a professional golfer, and he entered the maelstrom when he suggested eating fried chicken with Tiger Woods.
I’m a Southern white male and see nothing wrong with fried chicken, but you have to consider these things in the larger context. It’s stereotypical to say black people like fried chicken, even if a lot of black people like fried chicken.
Woods’ dad was African-American and his mom is Asian, so Woods might prefer to eat dumplings, fried rice and chicken with broccoli.
If so, that would put him in line with my son, who must be part Asian on the inside. Evan could alternate between Chinese and Japanese food for the rest of his life.
Then again, he ate fried chicken the other day and enjoyed it after I told him he could peel off the crispy, outer layer.
My mom doesn’t like fried chicken, but she’s skilled at cooking it. She comes from Scotch-Irish stock, and learned the ways of the kitchen from her mother and aunts in Tennessee.
My cousins in Tennessee, as well as those who will claim me in Mississippi, are big fans of watermelon, another hot-button food when it comes to race relations.
I’m not a fan, but my people love it. There are family pictures of great-grandfathers taking watermelons to market.
Everyone but me wore big smiles of anticipation when it was time to cut open the watermelon on a summer’s day.
I couldn’t help thinking there had to be something wrong with my kin who had red juices dripping from their chins.
Envy played a part, too, especially when they started spitting seeds. It looked like fun, if only it didn’t require munching on that vile fruit.
Watermelon aside, blacks and whites share a lot of tastes in the South. I don’t think I’ve ever been a food racist, but I’ve been a regionalist.
I’d picked up the idea that Midwesterners were capable of cooking only mashed potatoes and Jell-O. I lived under that mistaken notion until my brother-in-law from Indiana fixed a mouth-watering rack of ribs.
They weren’t anywhere close to what you’d get at Dreamland, a black-owned business in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where the humble rib has been elevated to something fine and transcendent.
But my brother-in-law’s ribs were as good or better than anything I could fix, though I’m working on my technique and hoping to improve.
I don’t know if Sergio Garcia is a food racist, like Google says. That’s not for me to decide.
If he were to try fried chicken with Tiger Woods or anybody else, he might find it tasty, unless he’s like my mother. In which case, I’d suggest fried pork chops.
M. SCOTT MORRIS is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.

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