The Georgia Peach

missonion.jpg From tomatoes to tiaras, Southerners are notorious for celebrating a crop with a beauty queen. There's Miss Vidalia Onion, Miss Georgia Peach, Miss Georgia Peanut, Miss Sweet Potato and my personal favorite Miss Jiggy Piggy. Ok, I know there is no such thing as a crop called 'jiggy piggy' but these pageants are are always followed by a festival of fine food. Miss Jiggy Piggy represents the Pig Jig in Vienna, the biggest barbeque festival in Georgia.

I read a lot of newspapers from all over, even a lot of local newspapers and whenever I see a picture of a girl with a tiara on her head holding long stem red roses my eyes get big and my mouth starts watering. And this is coming from someone who will forever feel cheated and robbed of a crown. Back in the early 80's I was first runner up in the The Hawkinsville Harness Festival Pageant. Turns out the winner was pregnant. Shouldn't she have relinquished her crown to me or have been forced to?  To think I lost to a pregnant 16 year old and she would be giving out the trophies at the horse races instead of me because for some reason I thought beauty queens were supposed to be role models.

The good news is I have gotten past all of that and once again I am excited to see the new beauty queens in the newspapers. I am patiently waiting for the crowning of Miss Georgia Peach and Miss Vidalia Onion, my two all time favorite crops.

onion_vidalia.jpg The arrival of the sweet Vidalia onion is the symbolic beginning of Spring for us and you thought Easter was. After all, it is our state vegetable. The onions are grown in a 20 county area in southeast Georgia. What makes them sweet is the unique soil they are grown in. I read somewhere they have as much sugar as a Coca-Cola but are low in calories which works for me.

For the next several months they will be 'the' staple item in my refrigerator and my meals will revolve around them. And whenever I visit my family I will stop by Mrs. Mary Lynde's house  (she's the one who bakes Coca-Cola cakes and always has interesting things to eat at her house) and help myself to her Vidalia onion dip she always has stored in a mason jar in the refrigerator. I will find any excuse I can to make my favorite Vidalia onion dip which is truly my most favorite dip in the world. I have written down that recipe for people more times than any other recipe I can think of.

3188.jpg Summer officially arrives when I get my hands on a Georgia peach with that unmistakable intoxicating smell that makes you want to rub it on your wrists. There are over 30 varieties of peaches grown in Georgia and the cream of the crop, the top grade peaches are impossible to buy in a grocery store unless you live in a small town with a Piggly Wiggly.

I am truly sorry for those who haven't had a Georgia peach because you truly haven't lived. I grew up 30 miles or so from Peach County, where they grow most of the peaches, and the reason Georgia is called the Peach State. It's also why folks like to remind me that I am a true "Georgia Peach" when I tell them where I grew up even though I have no idea what they mean by that. Just exactly what is this title that has been bestowed on me my entire life?

peachbaskets.jpg The best peach recipes are the ones with few ingredients because you don't want to take much away or alter the flavor of the peach. One of my favorite  ways to spend a hot summer afternoon is to go to the local peach packing plant where they harvest the peaches and also have a store called "The Peach Cafe' where everything is made with peaches. I am not ashamed to admit I will order a slice of peach pie topped with peach ice cream washed down with a peach milkshake because it is just that good. I will leave with a basket of peaches and go straight home and make a peach cobbler and eat that too!

I never entered any other beauty pageants so I was never officially a queen of any crop or anything but I will always have the title of 'Georgia Peach' and no one can rob me of that.

You can order Georgia Peaches from and Vidalia onions from

Baked Vidalia Onion Dip

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I prefer Reggiano but any good quality will do)
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 cups chopped Vidalia onion.

Preheat oven to 350°F

Mixed together 1st 4 ingredients, place in a small baking dish and sprinkle with paprika
(just to give it a nice color) and bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly. Serve with your
favorite cracker.

Mrs. Mary Lynde's Vidalia Onion Dip

4 large Vidalia onions, sliced paper thin, chop into approx 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. salt
16 crackers

Combine onion, vinegar, sugar, and water in a bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for
three hours, or overnight. Drain onions. In a mixing bowl, combine onions, mayonnaise,
celery salt, and salt . Serve with favorite crackers.

Peach Cobbler
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil
and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Put the butter in a deep baking dish and place in oven to melt.

Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over
melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Batter will rise
to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice

Easy Peach Dessert

I made this up myself after quizzing the pastry chef at The Ritz Carlton in Amelia Island
at Sunday Brunch one morning. I actually watched him make this and he swore to me he made
it up and didn't have a recipe so here's my made up version.

Peel and slice 3 peaches. Saute' them in a pan with approx. 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 3
tablespoons of butter, add 1 tablespoon of red wine and simmer until the peaches get soft and

Serve immediately over a slice of pound cake, (I admit I keep a frozen Sara Lee pound
cake in my freezer in case of emergency) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle
with caramel sauce, the jar kind from the grocery store is fine.

Serves 2


Laura grew up in a small southern town in Georgia on a cotton and pecan farm where life centered around family, friends and good food. She has lived in Atlanta for 20 years and has been a Flight Attendant for a major airline for 18 years, traveling the world in search for the next best meal.