12. Chicken-fried steak
Adults might feel indifferent towards a cheap cut of beef, breaded and deep-fried to oblivion, but for Southern school children, chicken-fried steak day ruled the hot lunch meal plan. Douse that sucker in white gravy and it'll be so succulent, hot, rich, and filling, you'll feel like you're swaddled in a warm blanket -- and millions of miles away from Ms. Taylor's math quiz.
If the only Holy Trinity you know involves a wallet and watch, you better stop messing around and find yourself a bowl of gumbo. Celery, bell peppers, and onions are the backbone of Cajun cooking and the almighty three shine in this stewy Southern mainstay. That, and a supple array of shrimp, crab, oysters, okra, obscure Creole spices, and, of course, piquant andouille sausage, all swimming atop a fluffy rice pillow. It's not the most universal dish by any means, but every chef in New Orleans would disown us if we didn't include it somewhere on here.