16 Down-Home Foods That Johnny Cash Loved

Walk the line and stay true to food loved by the King of Country Music. You bring the soundtrack, we'll serve up the recipes.

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johnny cASH
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Johnny Cash is a country music legend—but he and June Carter Cash were well-known for loving down-to-earth Southern food, too. The dinner table in their Nashville home was a welcome stop for country stars, friends and family.

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Ring of Fire Chili

Johnny’s love of fiery hot chili was legendary. Peggy Knight, who cooked for the Cash family for over 30 years, includes his favorite chili recipe in her book Cooking in the House of Cash. Our recipe is tasty and warming, and you can choose your own level of heat!

Dig into all our best-loved chili recipes.

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Jalapeno Buttermilk Cornbread

If you’re from the South, you have to have a good cornbread recipe. Here’s a lightened-up version of my mom’s traditional cornbread that tastes just as delicious. —Debi Mitchell, Flower Mound, Texas

You can’t eat chili without cornbread, as Peggy Knight attests. This mouth-watering cornbread is made with buttermilk, and gives a further kick of heat by including jalapeno peppers.[/rms_recipe]

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Secret Ingredient Fried Catfish

John Carter Cash told Reddit about his dad’s most-loved meals. High on the list was a Southern staple: fried catfish. Check out our recipe with its secret ingredient to create the most delicious fried catfish. Round out the meal with coleslaw the way Johnny would have.
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Mom's Meat Loaf

According to Peggy Knight, the family’s cook, Johnny Cash loved his mom’s meat loaf. This delicious recipe will quickly become as much of a favorite in your home as it was in Johnny’s.

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Parmesan-Breaded Pork Chops

Johnny’s son, a country singer himself, also told Reddit that his dad loved fried pork chops. Our recipe adds a touch of Parmesan to the coating for some extra zing, and you can get it on the table in no time.

We got the scoop on Dolly Parton’s favorite foods, too.

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Best Ever Mac & Cheese

When restaurants host Johnny Cash tribute nights (yes, they’re a thing!), mac and cheese is often on the menu. If your mouth waters at the thought, look no further than this comfort food version with three cheeses and a textured crunchy topping.
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My Favorite Avocado Salad

The Cash & Carter Family Cookbook includes a recipe for June’s tomato, red onion and avocado salad. You can mimic her salad with this colorful version that tastes as good as it looks.
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Best-Ever Fried Chicken

What could be more down home than Southern fried chicken? Chef Peggy says that Johnny Cash was a huge fan, so try his pick for yourself. The breading includes thyme, paprika and garlic powder for the best-ever flavor.

Loving this Southern comfort food? Here’s more.

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Cream Cheese Pineapple Pie

Carrie Cash, Johnny’s mom, was famous for her pineapple pie. Our classic version includes a juicy pineapple layer, topped with a cream cheese filling and crunchy pecans. It’s hard to eat this pie one piece at a time.
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Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie

When I first made the original recipe for this bourbon-splashed pie, I added some vanilla extract and eliminated the flour. We loved the result. —Paul Falduto, Efland, North Carolina
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White Fruitcake

The Around the Opry Table cookbook includes one of Johnny’s best-loved desserts: scripture cake with fruit salad. Scripture cake is a traditional fruitcake, made by deciphering a recipe based on Bible verses. Here’s one of our best fruitcake recipes (but you won’t need to consult a Bible as you cook!).
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Fruit Salad

…and for the accompanying fruit salad, put together this retro combination of pineapple, mandarin, strawberries, and grapes, drenched in white wine and club soda for a little bit of sparkle.

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Jam Cake

June’s Blackberry Jam Cake was another firm favorite, John Carter Cash told Reddit. The jam inside makes your cake meltingly moist and tempting, so check out our recipe to create your own.
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Pineapple Upside-Down Dump Cake

According to the Herald Dispatch in Huntington, West Virginia, Johnny liked dump cake before it was cool. To make your own, here’s a similar recipe to satisfy the sweetest tooth.
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Chippy Peanut Butter Cookies

John Carter Cash settled the crunchy / smooth peanut butter debate decisively—Johnny preferred crunchy. So treat your family to these crunchy cookies, complete with peanut butter and chocolate chips, and see what the fuss is about!
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French Silk Pie

I first made French silk pie when I was in high school. Years later, I tinkered with the recipe until I was happy with it. Now it’s one of my husband’s favorites. —Lisa Francis, Elba, Alabama

Elizabeth Manneh
Elizabeth is an experienced freelance writer, specializing in health & wellness, education & learning, family life & parenting, and women's equality & diversity. She's been published on ReadersDigest.com, Paysa.com, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Red Tricycle, and The Good Men Project. She was also a regular contributor to Love Live Health and Daily Home Remedy. Elizabeth is a retired primary school principal and education consultant, with a continuing passion for education and learning. She's familiar with writing newsletters, reports to stakeholders, financial reports, business plans and evaluation reports.