I grew up not far from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where the South begins, feasting on crabs and oysters from the Chesapeake Bay estuaries. My father is a politician, and each summer my family traveled to a different state for the annual Southern Legislative Conference. I inhaled New Orleans beignets in a swirl of powdered sugar. I learned that North Carolinians eat tangy pork barbecue and that Texans prefer beef brisket. In 1995 I moved to Atlanta, excited to taste the city’s singular brand of Southern cooking.