Page 1

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI APRIL/MAY 2016

Best Gas Station

EATS Martha Foose’s


Mother’s Day Brunch page 25

+ Ciao Chow + Crawdad’s + Restaurant 1818 + Thai by Thai + The Greenhouse on Porter eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1




APRIL 2, 2016 R E N A I S S A N C E AT C O L O N Y P A R K T I C K E T S N O W AV A I L A B L E AT S A N T E S O U T H . C O M VIP TASTING 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM $125 in advance i n c l u d e s G r a n d Ta s t i n g

GRAND TASTING 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM $80 in advance $90 at the door IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

Alzheimer’s Association | Mississippi Chapter

2 • APRIL/MAY 2016

24-hour helpline 1.800.272.3900


AT THE MANSHIP! Give the special ladies in your life the day they deserve. Serving brunch from 10:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. on MOTHER’S DAY.

Call to make reservations today!


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Missing an issue? Back issues are available for order on our website! eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI JUNE/JULY 2015

+ Ravine + 1933 + Henri's + Coffee Pot Cafe + The Sicilian II




12:31 PM


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI BILOXI Shrimping Trip


Watermelon FESTIVAL

page 41

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Peachy page 34



+ Vicari Italian Grill + Rose’s Downtown Bakery & Tearoom + Sway’s Bistro + Stromboli’s Italian Eatery + Cast Iron Cafe

August/September 2015

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Recipes Fire & Feast



FLAVORS of Fall eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1

+ AC’s Steakhouse • Pub + Five O’clock on Deer Creek + Lou’s Full Serv + The Twisted Burger Company + The Blind Tiger

Day in the





Saucisson au Chocolat • Chocolate Bars Hot Chocolate • Hand-painted Caramels


Say Happy Mother’s Day with artisanal chocolate!






October/November 2015

Roasted Brussels Sprouts + The Auction Block Steakhouse + The Blue Biscuit + 10 South Rooftop Grill & Bar + Taste & See page 31 + Keg & Barrel

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

Eudora Welty's White Fruitcake page 30


Cooking With

December/January 2016

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Heritage Breed





Mississippi FARM TABLES


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eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

Supper Club Sensible Switches FOR HEALTHY

EATING + Orleans Bistro + Rust + The Palette Café + DeRego’s Bread + Corks & Cleaver Wine Bistro

February/March 2016

Bringing Mississippi Roots to the Table page 68

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3720 Hardy Street, Suite 3 | Hattiesburg, MS | 601-261-2224 4 • APRIL/MAY 2016

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56 39 “Always serve too much hot fudge sauce on hot fudge sundaes. It makes people overjoyed, and puts them in your debt.” • Judith Olney •

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Visit our website for Mississippi culinary news, recipes, cooking tips, culinary events, and more!

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Summer Visiting Exhibit

MAY 21-SEPT 11, 2016 601.981.5469 • Jackson, MS SPONSORED LOCALLY BY

© 2014 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails! was created by Minnesota Children’s Museum, presented by Fisher-Price and sponsored by 3M. This project is partially funded by the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

6 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Eat.Drink. Apr/May 2016 MCM 4.625x4.75.indd 1

3/3/16 3:43 PM

www. eatdrinkmississippi .com


19 23 14 WHAT’S HOT

Perfect Pops for Every Occasion


Strawberry Agua Fresca


Boiled Peanuts and Green Tomatoes Give Comfort Dose of Home for Chef and Pitmaster Melissa Cookston

30 MISSISSIPPI MADE Chocolate Gravy


Fill Up More Than Just Your Gas Tank With These Infamous Pit Stop Treats


Martha Foose Transforms Kitchen in Her Greenwood Bungalow Into Happy, Workable Space


Mississippi Church Suppers



Mess of Greens - Biz Harris


Ciao Chow in Ashland


Crawdad’s in Merigold


Thai by Thai in Columbus


Restaurant 1818 in Natchez


The Greenhouse on Porter in Ocean Springs


Taste of Ocean Springs

IN EVERY ISSUE 8 From the Publisher 10 From Our Readers 16 Fabulous Foodie Finds 18 Deep South Dish 78 Events 80 Recipe/Ad Index 81 Coming to Terms 82 Till We Eat Again

46 FROM MISSISSIPPI TO BEYOND Delta Native Richard Ragan Fights Hunger Around the World

ON THE COVER: Make Mother’s Day special with a special brunch. See page 25. Recipes, food styling, and photography by Lisa Bynum. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 7

{ from the publisher }


ust in case you don’t already know, I love our state. I love that we’re known as The Hospitality State. As the saying goes, we never meet a stranger. It’s not unusual for us to offer someone we’ve just met something to eat either. We simply can’t let a person go hungry. My mother is the most hospitable person I know. I once witnessed her meet a couple who was bicycling across the country and happened to stop in our town for a short rest. Within 15 minutes, she had invited them to our home for dinner. On other occasions, she delivers plates of food to her neighbors who live alone and don’t cook. She’s fed countless meals to our pastors through the years. When a friend or family member loses a loved one, she will be there with a truckload of food. If one of my kids mentions how much they love her tea cakes or biscuits, you can guarantee they’ll have some before the sun goes down. And she performs these acts of hospitality with a cheerful heart, never expecting anything in return.

My momma, Joy Thurman, right, and I love to travel and eat together. Last fall we enjoyed discovering apple cider doughnuts and the back roads of Michigan.

With Mother’s Day soon approaching, I’d like to take this opportunity to say, “Thank you, Momma, for everything you do for me, our family, and the rest of the world. Thank you for feeding us so well. And thank you for showing me what true hospitality looks like. I love you more than cupcakes!” Don’t let Mother’s Day pass by without thanking your mom. You can make it even more special by cooking and serving her a special brunch (beginning on page 25). Lisa Bynum put together a delicious menu to help make planning easy. Plus, on page 16 you will find several neat gift ideas she will love. I wouldn’t mind having all of them myself (hint, hint). Last fall, we ran a subscription promotion offering to make a donation to Mississippi Food Network from every subscription sold during a specified time. I am proud to report that we recently donated $615 to MFN. This will provide 4,305 meals to hungry Mississippians. Thank you for your generous support and for helping feed our neighbors. You can also help by volunteering your time. MFN holds Volunteer Saturdays on the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. - noon. It’s such a rewarding experience knowing you’re taking an active

We recently presented a check to Mississippi Food Network to help feed hungry Mississippians. Pictured are, from left, Marilyn Blackledge, MFN Director of External Affairs; myself; my husband and executive editor, John; and Charles Beady, MFN’s CEO.

part in fighting Mississippi’s hunger problem. For more information, visit Now, go feed your neighbor and let's eat!

hospitality.” q "When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practiceRomans 12:13 r EAT DRINK MISSISSIPPI is published bi-monthly by Carney Publications LLC, PO Box 1051, Monticello, MS 39654-1051. Periodicals postage pending at Monticello, MS, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to EAT DRINK MISSISSIPPI, PO Box 1051, Monticello, MS 39654.

8 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Why advertise with us? Reach over 40,000 readers with each issue. Distributed throughout Mississippi and more than 35 states. Mississippi’s only magazine dedicated to the food and hospitality it’s famous for. For more information, call 601.540.5858 or email:

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI JUNE/JULY 2015



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eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI + Ravine + 1933 + Henri's + Coffee Pot Cafe + The Sicilian II




Kitchen Tools







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+ Bishop’s BBQ + Yazoo Pass + J. Broussard's + Miss D’s Diner + Deli Diner


page 34


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI eat. drink. eat. drink. CHICKEN & WAFFLES MISSISSIPPI MISSISSIPPI Shrimping Trip



Summer Treats page 41

April/May 2015

page 44


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Fire & Feast

Eudora Welty's White Fruitcake HONEY & FRIENDS

Day in the


Supper Club Heritage Breed




December/January 2016




page 30




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Cooking With

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

+ AC’s Steakhouse • Pub + Five O’clock on Deer Creek + Lou’s Full Serv + The Twisted Burger Company + The Blind Tiger





August/September 2015

- The Not So Odd Couple -


+ Vicari Italian Grill + Rose’s Downtown Bakery & Tearoom DECEMBER/JANUARY 2016 Sway’s Bistro eat. drink. +MISSISSIPPI •1 + Stromboli’s Italian Eatery + Cast Iron Cafe VOLUME 5, NUMBER 2


+ The Auction Block Steakhouse + The Blue Biscuit + 10 South Rooftop Grill & Bar + Taste & See + Keg & Barrel

Jerky - Sauces - Rubs - Marinades - Jams - Jellies - Popcorn - Snacks - More




+ Orleans Bistro + Rust TABLES + TheFARM Palette Café eat. + drink. MISSISSIPPI DeRego’s Bread • 1 + Corks & Cleaver Wine Bistro


page 31

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February/March 2016

October/November 2015

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Bringing Mississippi Roots to the Table page 68

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Visit our website to order online and we’ll ship it to you!


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{ from our readers } We're thrilled to be featured in Eat Drink Mississippi's newest issue (February/ March 2016)! A special thank you to Gennie Taylor for such a wonderful article! Mississippi Cold Drip via Facebook

Just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated the beautiful article Kathy Martin wrote about me (February/March 2016) and the extra copies you sent – they did not go to waste! My mother has been sending them to friends and relatives all over the country! It is a wonderful magazine and I am truly honored. All the best, Susan Puckett Decatur, Ga.

VENDORS WANTED We are currently seeking magazine vendors in all areas of the state. If you would like to sell this magazine at your business, call 601-756-1584 or email for more information.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI J.J. Carney Publisher/Editor John Carney Executive Editor Anne Morgan Carney Executive Assistant Wendi O'Neill Advertising Executive Joe Luca Newsstand Sales Consultant




eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI is published six times a year by Carney Publications LLC


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P.O. Box 1051 Monticello, MS 39654

DROP US A LINE! Thank you for your interest in this magazine. We would love to hear from you. Please understand that letters submitted become the property of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI and may be edited for length and clarity. E-mail us at, leave a comment on our Facebook page, or write to P.O. Box 1051, Monticello, MS 39654.

NEW ADDRESS? If you're a subscriber and your address has changed, please let us know. The post office doesn't provide forwarding service for the magazine and we don't want you to miss an issue. Send your change of address to us at P.O. Box 1051, Monticello, MS 39654 or e-mail us at 10 • APRIL/MAY 2016




b © eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or reprinted without written consent from the Publisher. Advertising rates and more information are available upon request. Subscriptions are $24 for one year and $36 for two years. Subscribe online or make checks payable to: eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI 4500 I-55 N Ste 253 Jackson, MS 39211

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{contributors} articles appear in magazines around the Southeast. She has taught Communication Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi and operates a marketing and public relations firm. She has served as a pageant judge, corporate trainer, and public speaker. JULIAN BRUNT is a food and culture writer from the Gulf Coast whose roots run more than three hundred years deep in Southern soil. He is deeply concerned with culinary and cultural traditions and thinks no man worth his salt that cannot hold forth in tall tale and willingly endure the heat of the kitchen.

technical writer for L-3 Communications in Fayetteville, N.C. and a freelance writer, graphic designer, and photographer. She previously served as the publications coordinator at East Central Community College in Decatur. She is the former editor of The Demopolis Times in Demopolis, Ala. and former managing editor of The Scott County Times in Forest. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, she has received numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Mississippi and Alabama Press Associations. She and her husband, Steven, have one daughter, Mallory. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading and cooking.

SUSAN MARQUEZ lives and writes in Madison. She has a degree in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Southern Mississippi and had a long career in advertising and marketing before stumbling into a freelance writing career in 2001. Hundreds of published articles later, Marquez still loves to tell the stories of the interesting people, places, and events throughout the South. LISA LAFONTAINE BYNUM is a freelance writer from Grenada. Her work has appeared in several publications in Mississippi. She is a graduate of Delta State University where she received a BA in Marketing and her MBA. In her free time, she enjoys food writing and photography. She currently resides in Brandon. Photo by Alisa Chapman Photography ANNE MARTIN is a freelance writer, columnist and journalist. She has spent the better part of the past 28 years covering the Mississippi Delta as a broadcast journalist. Her passion is writing about anything related to Mississippi and the South. Her work has appeared in several local and regional magazines. She is a graduate of Mississippi Delta Junior College and attended the University of Southern Mississippi. She lives on a farm in Rosedale. KIM HENDERSON is a freelance writer living in Copiah County. While at Mississippi College, she was named their most outstanding journalism student and has since been published by sources ranging from the Associated Press to LifeWay Christian Resources. She currently writes a weekly slice-of-life column for Brookhaven’s Daily Leader.

KELSEY WELLS is a news writer at Lawrence County Press in Monticello. She is a graduate of Southwest Mississippi Community College where she served as editor of The Pine Burr. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications at William Carey University and served as a staff writer and life editor of The Cobbler student newspaper until she became managing editor her senior year. She currently resides in the Divide community where she is active in her church and community.

KATIE HUTSON WEST is a freelance writer from Tupelo. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University where she earned a B.S. degree in Marketing, Communications, and Business Psychology. An avid traveler, when home she resides in Starkville. KATHY K. MARTIN is an Ole Miss journalism graduate who currently lives in Collierville, Tennessee with her husband and two children. She works as a freelance writer and chairs her church’s Christian writers group.

KARA KIMBROUGH is an Associated Press award-winning journalist from Magee who enjoys interviewing everyone from ordinary Mississippians to celebrities. She writes a syndicated food column published in state and national newspapers. She is a restaurant reviewer and her travel, food, and lifestyle

12 • APRIL/MAY 2016

GENNIE TAYLOR, a native of Forest, is a

MEGAN WOLFE is a freelance writer and photojournalist from San Francisco. Her work can regularly be found in the Collierville Herald, The South Reporter, and other midSouth publications. She is currently based in Holly Springs, where she spends her free time creating multimedia projects to promote community events and the local arts.

Digital Subscriptions Now Available! R2


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CH 2016


Supper Cl


Sensible Switches FOR HE ALTHY

EATING + Orleans Bistro + Rust

+ The Pale tte Café + DeRego’ s + Corks & Bread Cleaver Wine Bist ro

ch 2016


Download the free Eat Drink Mississippi app to purchase and view in app.


Access issues on all your devices - iOS, Android, and desktop computer.

Bringing Mis sissippi Roots to the Ta ble page 68 eat. drink


IPPI • 1

On desktop computer, visit and search for Eat Drink Mississippi or visit for a direct link.

Getting a taste of Mississippi has never been easier! eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 13

{ what's hot }


n o i s a c c O for Every

14 • APRIL/MAY 2016


o matter what kind of events you have on your social calendar, you can pop up delicious treats that are sure to be a hit. Whether hosting a get-together for the guys and tuning into the game or having a night in with the girls, freshly popped popcorn, which is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free, can help you please every palate. Sweet, spicy, salty, or served in more non-traditional ways, the possibilities are endless, and perfect for everything from date night to a family movie night or even a sleepover or kids’ party. And since it’s healthy and whole grain, popcorn is a satisfying snack suitable for every occasion that you can feel good about serving.

Cookies ‘N Cream Popcorn 12 cups popped popcorn 1 package (11 ounces) white chocolate chips 2 teaspoons coconut oil 15 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside. In medium saucepan on low heat, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil; stir until blended. Pour melted chocolate over popcorn, stirring until well-coated. Stir in chopped Oreos. Spread mixture on baking sheet and chill until chocolate has set. Break into pieces to serve. Yield: 12 cups

Popcorn Party Pizza 3 tablespoons butter 1 bag (10.5 ounces) mini marshmallows 2 quarts popped popcorn 1 tube (.68 ounces) red piping gel 1 package red raspberry fruit roll-ups Green jelly beans Coconut Candy-coated chocolate pieces Spray 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray; set aside. In large saucepan over medium heat, heat butter. Stir in marshmallows until melted.

Stir in popcorn until well coated. Spread mixture evenly onto prepared pizza pan. Drizzle red piping gel over “pizza” to make “sauce.” Cut small circles (about 1 1/4 inches in diameter) from fruit roll-up and place on pizza for “pepperoni” slices. Decorate as desired with jelly beans, coconut and candies. Allow to cool completely before cutting into wedges to serve. Yield: 8 slices

Popcorn and Peanut Truffles 6 cups popped popcorn 1 cup roasted and salted peanuts 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup honey In large bowl, stir popcorn and peanuts together; set aside. In microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips 10 seconds. Stir chips and repeat, stirring after each 10 seconds, until chips are melted. Warm honey in microwave 10 seconds and stir into chocolate until well blended. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn mixture and stir until popcorn is evenly coated. With small ice cream scoop, push popcorn mixture into scoop and release onto wax paper to form truffles. Refrigerate until firm. Note: Truffles can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days. Yield: About 30 pieces recipes courtesy of the popcorn board

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 15

{ fabulous foodie finds }

MustHaves for

Mom Flour Sack Kitchen Towels, $12 each J. Olive, Oxford and Ridgeland

Etta B Pottery Cheese Board, $58 DeShea’s and Sugar Magnolia Antique Mall, Oxford 16 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Hand-stamped Spoon, $9.95 Etsy - A Vintage Parcel

Kate Spade New York® Cookbook Oven Mitt, $15 Pot Mitt, $12 Belk

Whisk Necklace, $66 Food52 Mother’s Day Mugs, $15 each Mud Pie Glass Measuring Cup Candle, $19.99 Opry Store

see page 80 for store information

Hand-painted Caramels by MarieBelle New York, price begins at $7.50 for 2 piece box The Kitchen Table, Hattiesburg eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 17

DEEP SOUTH DISH Food. Family. Memories.

Memorial Day Is Perfect Day for a Shrimp Boil BY MARY FOREMAN

M Mary Foreman, a native of Biloxi, is the author of the popular website, where she shares her favorite, homespun, mostly from scratch and, very often, heirloom and heritage, Southern recipes. She is also author of her first cookbook, Deep South Dish: Homestyle Southern Recipes.

18 • APRIL/MAY 2016

emorial Day is on the horizon. Alongside the true meaning of the day as an observance for our country’s servicemen and women who have died in the line of duty, it also kicks off the unofficial beginning of summer, with sporting events like the Indianapolis 500, family gatherings, picnics, and, of course, yummy barbecues! Even though the Deep South doesn’t really “shut down” for winter and then have to dig out of the snow like our northern neighbors, there’s something about that unofficial kick-off celebration that sets the scene for summer. Although, by this time it’s usually already pretty hot and humid down here along the Gulf Coast region. It’s a day that’s all about gathering with friends and family for a break from work, and reconnecting with our children, who have likely just begun the freedom of the school’s-out-for-summer routine. It’s about trips to the beach or splashing in the backyard pool. It’s the first of the summer, fresh-squeezed lemonade for the kids and homemade frozen watermelon margaritas for the adults. The first home-churned ice cream. Ribs, backyard barbecued chicken, meats on the smoker, burgers and hot dogs, and, here on the Gulf Coast, it’s likely to include a seafood boil. My son sets the stage for summer with a big crawfish boil gathering at his house every year for Memorial Day, with his long time friend and boil-master, Brad, manning the outdoor cooker. My husband’s aunt and uncle open the pool and their home to the whole family, hosting a cookout with all the fixings, and the biggest shrimp you’ve ever laid eyes on, boiled in a massive outdoor cooker. Our celebration at home with the two of us is on a much smaller scale, with some chicken or ribs on the smoker, burgers and hot dogs on the grill, and this recipe of boiled large or jumbo shrimp that I’ve scaled down for inside cooking. Our boils always include small, red-skinned potatoes, smoked sausage, and chunks of corn, but I also like to add smashed garlic, sliced lemon, and quartered onions to mine. Some folks add in extras like chunks of celery ribs for flavoring and even button mushrooms. On the larger boils, there are always plenty of potatoes left, and with those boil seasonings infused, they sure make for a mighty tasty potato salad. So, I’ve included my after-the-boil seafood potato salad recipe, too. Happy Memorial Day, y’all! edm

Shrimp Boil ©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

5 pounds jumbo (16 - 20 count) raw shrimp, shells and heads intact 2 large onions, peeled and quartered 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil 1/2 cup ketchup Couple dashes hot sauce 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 1 tablespoon Creole or Cajun seasoning, or to taste 2 large lemons, sliced 1/4 cup white vinegar 3 tablespoons liquid crab boil, or to taste 8 ounces loose crab boil seasoning, divided, optional 1 pound of andouille or other spicy smoked sausage, cut into 3-inch sections 3 pounds small red potatoes 4 ears corn, shucked and cleaned, each cut into thirds 1 cup kosher salt Rinse the shrimp with cold water and set aside. Fill an 8 quart or larger stockpot about 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Add the next nine ingredients and return the water to a boil. Add the liquid crab boil, including half of the loose boil seasoning if using, the sausage and potatoes; boil for 10 minutes. Add the corn, boil for another 5

minutes, then add the shrimp and immediately remove the pot from the heat. Add the salt and stir well to dissolve. Cover the pot and allow to soak, about 10 minutes, or until shell pulls away from shrimp. Spread newspapers across table for shells. Drain or use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp, potatoes and sausage to large platters. When finished, gather up newspaper and discard. Cook’s Notes: Multiply as needed for larger outdoor batches. Try to avoid adding ice to the boiling water when you add the shrimp as this will drop the water temperature. You can still use a larger quantity of smaller shrimp, but you’ll need to adjust your soaking time down to avoid overcooking them. Potatoes, corn and sausage may be boiled separately from the shrimp, simply reserve the seasoned water. When cooking fresh caught crabs or crawfish, remember they must be alive when you boil them and you’ll want to purge them first before boiling. Simply add them to a large tub and soak in clean, fresh, salty water. If the water gets very muddy, drain and repeat as needed until it runs clear. We prefer to cook crabs separate from shrimp; drop the crabs in, cover and bring up to a boil, uncover and boil for about 15 to 18 minutes, then test for doneness.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 19

After-the-Boil Seafood Potato Salad ©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

4 cups rough chopped, leftover boiled red-skinned potatoes 1 cup real mayonnaise 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/4 cup chopped celery 1 tablespoon Creole mustard, or to taste 3 large boiled eggs, peeled 2 cups leftover cooked and picked seafood (shrimp, crabmeat and/or crawfish tails) Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, only as needed, to taste 1/4 teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning, for garnish, optional Heat leftover potatoes in the microwave just to warm through, then toss them with the mayonnaise while warm.

20 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Add onion, celery, and mustard. Chop the eggs and add to the potatoes; add the seafood and gently toss, adding additional mayonnaise as needed for desired creaminess. Taste and add salt and pepper, only as needed. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, to allow flavors to develop. Keep refrigerated. Just before serving, sprinkle the top very lightly with additional Cajun or Creole seasoning for garnish, if desired. Cook’s Notes: No leftover potatoes? Boil about 3 pounds of red potatoes in water with 1 tablespoon salt and 2 tablespoons crab boil, until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes, depending on their size. Drain potatoes well and set aside until cool enough to handle, then dice. Add mayonnaise while potatoes are still warm and proceed with recipe.

{ raise your glass }

Strawberry Agua Fresca by Nikki Gladd

Yield: 2-3 servings 1 pound strawberries, stems removed and sliced in half 2-1/2 cups cold water 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar Juice of two limes

NIKKI GLADD was born and raised in the Mitten State. She has also tasted life in Tennessee, Chicago, and Southern California before feasting in Mississippi. She is passionate for community with friends, family, and even strangers at the table, as she shares through her writings on On her blog, you will find easy recipes using everyday ingredients, along with family stories, house projects, favorite products, and travel adventures.

Puree the strawberries in a blender. Set a fine mesh strainer on top of a pitcher and pour the strawberries through to filter out the seeds. Push the strawberries into the strainer to release all of the juices. Discard the seeds. Add water, sugar and lime juice to the pitcher; stir well until sugar dissolves. Chill or pour into individual cups with ice before serving.

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Thursday, May 12


L&N Depot Plaza Downtown



Main Event 6-8:30 p.m.

Enjoy an evening showcasing a delicious selection from some of our best restaurants in Ocean Springs.

Tickets go on sale April 1.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 21

{ chef's corner }

Boiled Peanuts and Green Tomatoes Give Comfort Dose of Home by chef and pitmaster melissa cookston


’ve been pretty lucky in my life – I was born, raised, and still live in Mississippi. I have a good husband, a wonderful daughter, and four dogs who love me. And I know how to appreciate green tomatoes and boiled peanuts. In the past few years, I’ve managed to win some pretty big barbecue awards, and parlayed that success into Memphis Barbecue Company restaurants, two published cookbooks, TV appearances, and being able to travel and taste some of the best food in the world. However, when I need that comfort dose of home, I always look for boiled peanuts or green tomatoes. When I was younger, my grandfather, Quinton, was my role model and mentor. He is still the best man I’ve ever known. He had a soft spot for a nice BBQ sandwich or a moist piece of coconut cake, but his true delicacies were fried green tomatoes and boiled peanuts. The times he shared with me a bag of boiled peanuts, fresh from a roadside stand or from the old pot on his stove, were magical moments for a young girl. His peanut patch was the envy of the county. My grandfather grew up during the Depression in the 1930s, so he was taught from a young age to raise animals and grow crops for survival. It was a way of life for him. When I reached an age where I could walk with some stability, he took it upon himself to teach me those skills. The smells of the smokehouse or peanuts freshly pulled from the ground evoke fond memories that I will always cherish. As a child, the waiting for hams to cure, gardens to bear fruit, or peanuts to boil can seem like forever. That’s the great thing about green tomatoes, you don’t have to wait on them to ripen. They just have to get big enough to slice and you’ll soon be in a Southerner’s version of heaven. A just-picked green tomato, firm, fresh, and sporting its namesake vibrant hue still thrills me to this day. No wonder my favorite color, as an adult, is green. In Mississippi, we can definitely pull a “Forrest Gump” treatment of a few food items, most notably sweet potatoes, catfish, and green tomatoes. For example, everyone knows the ubiquitous fried green tomato, but outside of Mississippi, there are relatively few devotees of green tomato chow chow, green tomato pie, pickled green tomatoes, green tomato pizza sauce for a smoked chicken and truffle crema pizza, green tomato pasta sauce, or green tomato soup. I like using ingredients commonly indicative to the South in ways that create unique dishes that speak to a modern culinary South. I much prefer the acidity and texture of a green tomato to its ripened state. Therefore, a caprese salad at my house consists of green tomatoes, aged balsamic vinegar, homemade mozzarella, and basil picked fresh from my herb garden. Sprinkle a little fresh ground pepper and some sea-salt on that, and you’ll have a dish worthy of any restaurant. Boiled peanuts definitely do not fall into the category of “versatile,” they are what they are, a salty, soft treat that is definitely an acquired taste. Frankly, I know of no other uses for peanuts after they have been boiled, and have never even thought about it. I just enjoyed them because my grandfather taught me to enjoy them. WARNING: They are addictive! For those of us raised in Mississippi, we appreciate the natural rhythms and bounty of our state. We love the sometimes 22 • APRIL/MAY 2016

© 2016 by Stephanie Mullins

glacial pace of life set against the sweltering heat of summer. We understand that the seductive aroma of springtime wisteria is a sign that perfectly formed green tomatoes are coming soon. When I get to enjoy Mississippi as my grandfather taught me, I realize I am very lucky indeed. edm Pitmaster Melissa Cookston is the only female barbeque world champion and the “Winningest Woman in Barbecue.” Her passion for barbecue is the natural product of a childhood spent around pit-fire grills and Southern Delta cooking in Mississippi. At 13, Melissa’s first job was at a restaurant, and she has remained in the food industry ever since. These early culinary experiences helped define her style of Southern Delta cuisine as one that focuses on fresh ingredients used in new ways and intense flavor prepared with love, care, and passion. A successful Southern chef and entrepreneur, Cookston owns three locations of her popular Memphis BBQ Co. restaurant across the Southeast. She has served as judge on season 4 of Destination America’s ‘BBQ Pitmasters,’ was named one of ‘America’s most influential BBQ Pitmasters and Personalities’ by Fox News in 2015. Cookston will release her second cookbook “Smokin’ Hot in the South: New Grilling Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue” (Andrews McMeel), a follow up to “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room,” on May 10, 2016. She will also head back to compete in Memphis in May that same week.

Green Tomato Pizza with Smoked Chicken and Truffle Crema

© 2016 by Stephanie Mullins

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 23

Green Tomato Pizza with Smoked Chicken and Truffle Crema by Chef and Pitmaster Melissa Cookston

Many grills can handle a pizza, especially if you slightly precook the crust. Pizzas really work well on Big Green Eggs. The ability of a ceramic cooker to hold high temps on a grill gives the pizza a “brick oven” flavor, but usually better! Most brick oven pizzerias use gas to heat their ovens, but on a grill you’ll get the authentic wood-fired taste. This dough recipe can handle being rolled thinner to develop a crisp crust. If you like a littlemore “chew,” substitute bread flour to increase the gluten and don’t roll it quite as thin. Sometimes when I’m missing ingredients for a recipe, I substitute unlikely candidates just to see what will happen. The fire-roasted green tomato sauce turned out to be “a winner” and a huge hit with the family, making them happy I didn’t have any red tomatoes on hand. Crema is a Mexican sour cream that has a thinner consistency than regular sour cream. Sour cream is a fine substitute, thinned slightly with water.

TOOLS Big Green Egg or other dry-heat grill holding at 600°F Ceramic pizza stone Pizza peel PIZZA DOUGH 1 cup warm water 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon active dry yeast 3 cups all-purpose flour 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (optional) 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided GREEN TOMATO PIZZA SAUCE 2 tablespoons olive oil 5 medium green tomatoes 1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet or white onion 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon sugar 1 tablespoon white vinegar 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped 1 teaspoon diced fresh oregano TRUFFLE CREMA 1/4 cup crema 1-1/2 teaspoons white truffle olive oil TOPPINGS Enough for 4 small pizzas 8 ounces smoked chicken 1/2 red bell pepper, slivered 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices, or 1 cup shredded mozzarella 2 tablespoons fresh corn kernels (drain well if using canned) 4 or 5 fresh basil leaves, lightly chopped Run warm water until it is around 110°F, then place 1 24 • APRIL/MAY 2016

cup in a small bowl. Add the sugar and whisk, then sprinkle in the yeast and let sit until it blooms, 5 to 10 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the flour, salt, and Italian seasoning. Pour in the water/yeast and blend on low speed until combined. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and continue to blend until a dough forms, then keep mixing for 5 or 6 minutes. Lightly flour a cutting board, dump out the dough onto it, and form into a ball. Drizzle the remaining teaspoon of olive oil into a large mixing bowl to coat the inside of the bowl. Transfer the dough ball to the bowl, cover the bowl with a damp towel, and let rise until it doubles in size, about 1-1/2 hours. While the dough is rising, prepare the sauce. Use 1 teaspoon of the olive oil to lightly oil the green tomatoes and char on a hot grill or on a pan under a broiler, then set aside. In a small stockpot over medium heat, heat the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, add the onion, and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Core and chop the tomatoes and add them along with the salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar, and red pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, then decrease the heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft. Stir in the basil and oregano, then, using an immersion blender (or food processor), blend until smooth. To make the crema, whisk the crema and truffle oil together. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. When the dough has risen, place the dough on a lightly floured cutting board and knead 4 or 5 times, then cut the dough into 4 parts. Roll out each piece of dough into a 10inch circle (the thinner the better). To assemble, spoon about 1/2 cup sauce onto each crust and spread with the bottom of the spoon. Slice fresh mozzarella cheese into thin slices and lay on the pizza, then sprinkle pulled smoked chicken, red bell pepper slivers, and fresh corn kernels over the pizzas. To bake, prepare a ceramic grill to 600°F on indirect heat, preferably with a baking stone (or precook the crust for 2 or 3 minutes on a pan or until it is cooked just enough to hold together, then add toppings and slide directly onto the grill grates for a little more grill flavor). Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal, add a pizza, and slide onto the pizza stone and grill for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the crust is browned and any cheese is melted. Remove and drizzle the Truffle Crema over the pizza, using a fork. Then sprinkle on the basil and serve. Melissa’s tip: Baking stones make great grilling accessories, but you want to be sure to heat them up gradually and not “shock” them as this can lead to cracking. Just place the stone on the grill as soon as possible while the cooker is still at a lower temperature and let it heat up with the cooker. Makes 4 (10-inch) pizzas

Mother's Day Brunch

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 25

Bacon Cheddar Mini Muffins 26 • APRIL/MAY 2016

recipes, food styling, and photography by lisa lafontaine bynum


t would be impossible to ever repay Mom for all the things she’s done for you. So when it comes to Mother’s Day, it’s important to make sure she feels appreciated. Whether you are celebrating a mom, a wife, grandmother, sister, or other special lady who played an important role in your life, honor her with a special Mother’s Day brunch that’s bursting with flavor, but not a lot of stress.

Goat Cheese and Tomato Tart 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed 1-1/2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse grain Dijon mustard Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 large leeks, white and green parts only, chopped 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 3/4 pound small roma tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick 2 ounces goat or feta cheese 8 to 10 small basil leaves Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to slightly larger than 9 x 13. Transfer to a foil-lined cookie sheet. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and mustard. Spread mixture in a thin layer over puff pastry. Season puff pastry with salt and pepper. Fold pastry edges over to create a ½ -inch border. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill pastry for 10 minutes.

Bacon Cheddar Mini Muffins

Rinse leeks to remove sand and grit. Coursely chop then set to dry on a layer of paper towels. Melt butter over medium heat in a medium sauté pan or skillet. Add leaks and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. In the meantime, blot tomato slices with paper towels to absorb some of the juice. Remove pastry from the refrigerator. Spread cooked leeks over cream cheese mixture. Top with sliced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Sprinkle goat cheese over tart and return to the oven for the last five minutes. Tart should be golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool slightly before garnishing with fresh basil leaves. Serve warm. Serves 4

Goat Cheese and Tomato Tart

2 cups all-purpose flour 3 teaspoons baking powder 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese 2-3 slices cooked bacon, chopped (or 1-2.5 ounce bag of store-bought real bacon bits) 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream 1/2 cup milk Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cheese, bacon, chives, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, sour cream, and milk. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Batter will be thick. Spoon batter into a greased mini muffin pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serves 10-12 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 27

Chicken, Cheddar, and Black Bean Quiche 28 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Chicken, Cheddar, and Black Bean Quiche Pie crust dough for one 9-inch pie (if using mini tart pans, you will need two) 8 ounces shredded cooked chicken 1 cup black beans, rinsed, drained 8 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, grated 4 eggs, slightly beaten 1 cup whole milk 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper Fit pie crust into a 9-inch pie dish, fluted tart pan, or six mini tart pans. Place pan(s) in the refrigerator and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove pan(s) from the refrigerator. Fill

Blackberry Lime Spritzers

crust(s) with pie weights or line each pan with waxed paper and fill with dried rice or beans. Bake for about 12-14 minutes, remove weights or beans, then bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until crusts are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Do not turn off the oven. In a large bowl, combine chicken, beans and cheddar. Add eggs, milk, salt and pepper, and mix until well-combined. Pour mixture into the cooked pie shell(s). Return to oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until tops are slightly browned and the middle of the quiche is set. Remove from the oven and allow quiche(s) to sit for 10 minutes before serving Serves 6

Blackberry Lime Spritzers 1 cup sugar Peel from 1 lime 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 4 cups fresh blackberries 1/2 cup lime juice 2 cups sparkling wine or ginger ale Combine sugar, lime peel, and nutmeg in a small saucepan. Add one cup of water, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until mixture becomes a simple syrup. Allow to cool. In the meantime, place the blackberries in a blender. Puree the berries, then pour the puree out into a fine mesh colander over a large bowl. Use the back of a spoon to help strain the juice from the pulp. A food mill also works well for this process. This should produce about one cup of blackberry juice. Discard pulp. In a large pitcher, combine simple syrup, blackberry juice, and sparkling wine or ginger ale. Mix well. Pour beverage over ice cubes and serve with lime wedges for garnish. Serves 8

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 29

{ mississippi made }

Yeehaw Yummy 30 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Family Recipe for Chocolate Gravy Turns Into Growing Business By GENNIE TAYLOR


escribed as “Yeehaw Yummy!,” The Cowgirl Gourmet’s Chocolate Gravy is a taste of family rolled into a gravy full of richness, goodness, and chocolate. The Cowgirl Gourmet is a family-owned-and-operated business in Northeast Mississippi. The “chocolate gravy” recipe has been a family tradition for more than 40 years in the Wilburn family and is Tina Wilburn’s own recipe. The product is packaged on the family farm located in the Eggville Community in Saltillo. In addition to The Cowgirl Gourmet, Wilburn is co-owner of Country Road, Inc., located in Tupelo, which specializes in western-themed, hand-made rocking chairs. The idea for the business started over a conversation Wilburn had with a fellow entrepreneur at a furniture trade show in 2007. “I had been seeking God’s guidance for a part-time homebased business,” said Wilburn, recalling the conversation with a colleague who sells home-made salsa online. “Something that I could continue into my retirement and also give back to people in need. I had no idea what was about to unfold!” Wilburn said she was impressed with the salsa business and told the owner, “You know, I have something that I have made since I was 11 years old!” Wilburn said when she was growing up, her mother worked at a medical center in Tupelo at night. “If I ate… I cooked!” she said. “And, I have perfected this recipe over the years!” Wilburn said as she began to tell the salsa entrepreneur about her special recipe, she inquired about what exactly the recipe was. “Being in the furniture business, you have to fight off all of the copycats,” Wilburn said. “I looked at her and said, ‘I can’t tell you my trade secret!’” She told Wilburn to tell her about her special recipe and she would let her know if it would be successful. Wilburn shared her chocolate gravy idea that she serves over biscuits and that she didn’t think anyone had marketed chocolate gravy before. “I told her about how excited people would get when I served it to them,” Wilburn said. “Also, that I had practically raised the entire football team and cheerleaders on it when my girls were in high school and they loved it!” Wilburn said she looked at her so funny and said, “I have never heard of chocolate gravy and biscuits in my entire life! If you don’t do it, I will!” Wilburn said within two weeks her friend had her company eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 31

name, brand, logo, colors and bag. In the spring of 2014, Wilburn was approached by Charles “I took her seriously,” Wilburn said about her colleague “Bubba” Weir of the Mississippi Development Authority’s taking the idea and using it. state office, and Vaunita Martin from the regional development Therefore, The Cowgirl Gourmet was established in July of authority office. 2007, under the legal name, TeenTeens Farm and Ranch, LLC. “They came to visit and to see if I would be interested in Wilburn said she chose a dark chocolate bag for the presenting the chocolate gravy to Wal-Mart,” Wilburn said. “I chocolate because it was chocolate gravy; and selected thought I was hearing things. Of course, I said yes.” turquoise as the bag’s accent color which related to cowgirls. “I will be forever grateful to these two individuals for my “The little bag was a hit and a show stopper,” Wilburn opportunity for The Cowgirl Gourmet.” said. “We sold these little bags at trade shows and festivals. We As Wilburn had the Wal-Mart door opening, other doors in also had wholesale distribution out west. It became known at her life began to close, she said. markets as ‘the cowgirl gravy.’” After the death of three close family members including The family-owned-and-operated business’ products are her son-in-law, brother, and mother, who all were Wilburn’s mixed and sold with “love” as the main ingredient, said Chocolate Gravy’s biggest cheerleaders, in just a seven-week Wilburn. “From the box design to the mix, we put our whole period at the time she was trying to complete the vendor heart into the product line. We agreement with Wal-Mart, consider the comfort of family Wilburn said she was left more and home, and the art of cooking, than devastated. when we add a product to our “It rocked my world,” Wilburn line. We do consider the ease of said. “But knowing they were so preparation for each product as excited for me, I pressed on.” well. Everything we do, there is a On January 27, 2015, the reason and it is symbolic of love. agreement was approved and It is way more than gravy, we are The Cowgirl Gourmet was on a mission here.” accepted as a vendor for WalIn addition, The Cowgirl Mart. The buyer placed it in 25 Gourmet plans to “spread the stores in Mississippi and in North love” by donating one percent of Alabama, and the Chocolate all sales to cancer victims. Gravy began to ship in July 2015. Kicking off her business Wilburn said the company adventure, Wilburn said she had has since added two new Walmany talks with the Lord. One Mart stores and are carefully day it dropped in her spirit, “it’s monitoring its growth. right at your own back door.” “More will be added as we I said, “What is at my own grow,” Wilburn said. back door?” Wilburn said. “All I “After Wal-Mart, everything see is a two-story shop. Is that it? changed,” she said. “We no longer Lord, are you trying to tell me that hand mix. That’s not to say we I am not utilizing the shop?” never will, but right now we Wilburn said she immediately have to keep up with supply and knew where the chocolate gravy demand.” had to be mixed. “I began to mix Wilburn said the company’s Tina Wilburn the product in the upper level focus now is to “spread of my two story shop behind chocolate!” my house,” she said. “I mixed for several months as orders Shortly after the Wal-Mart placement, Wilburn sent a demanded.” sample to Kroger and they placed it in their support local Wilburn said she had one friend who helped, along with her displays. The chocolate gravy is now in 30 Kroger stores in niece and Wilburn’s sister-in-law who filled orders. “We would the Memphis and west Memphis area. “They are rolling out in produce several cases for inventory,” she said. “When they sold Mississippi as we speak,” Wilburn said. “We are truly excited and we received orders, we would produce a few more. We did about both of these customers. It is a blessing.” this for seven years. Nothing big, just produced as needed. As I She said the company has another distributor who has 80 listened to people, I knew I had something that one day would stores looking at the chocolate gravy for placement in Missouri grow. I had that much faith in my product and design.” and Oklahoma. Wilburn said after the recession hit it was a struggle for the In addition to the store locations, consumers may order the furniture business. chocolate gravy through The Cowgirl Gourmet’s website. “I sold a little gourmet, but had to put the gourmet on the “We have the chocolate gravy ready to sell online,” Wilburn back burner and take care of business,” she said. “I knew I said. “Our other products will be available soon.” The Cowgirl could work the gourmet later, but the furniture business was in Gourmet can ship to 48 states in the U.S. intensive care.” The gravy is packaged in a 13-ounce family gathering pack 32 • APRIL/MAY 2016

and soon will have a 6.5-ounce small family size option. The family gathering pack is the company’s new box size and will serve 22 people a portion of 1-2/3 tablespoons. “Unless you drown your biscuit like my family does,” Wilburn said. It can also be used for a chocolate pie…just follow the directions on the back. Wilburn said this box is designed with two symbolic images: the cow and the barn. “The turquoise and chocolate cow represent the little bag that we first sold; the red barn represents our growth,” she said. The small family-size chocolate gravy is in production but will have the same box design, just smaller. “We also have a wonderful line of gourmet flavored coffees,” Wilburn said. The coffees are roasted in Brooklyn, N.Y, and are private labeled for The Cowgirl Gourmet. “The next product out of the corral will be our new biscuit mix,” Wilburn said. “The box design is in the development stage right now. It is going to be a winner. I am so excited about this mix. Plans are to feature this mix right beside the chocolate gravy on the shelves,” she said. The biscuit mix is projected to be in stores in early Spring 2016. The Cowgirl Gourmet has sold tea cakes in a gold bag for the past seven years. “Our tea cakes will now be in a beautifully designed box,” Wilburn said. “These cookies taste just like grandma’s.” The tea cakes are also expected to be available Spring 2016. In addition, The Cowgirl Gourmet sells cowgirl boots. “We do sell corral boots… We wear them and sell them.” Wilburn said the company’s growth and exposure is steadily climbing. “I have prayed that I would be able to handle the growth and it would not overpower us,” Wilburn said. “I feel

that we have been strategically placed and are in good hands which will allow us to grow. Sales have definitely increased. Having both Wal-Mart and Kroger is a plus. This causes others to have an interest in our products.” As far as who will handle the business in the future as it grows, Wilburn said she has a good idea. “There will probably be four girls (two daughters, two baby grand girls),” she said. “If the Lord allows me to still be around, I will be right in the middle of them: stirring it up (with love of course).” edm The Cowgirl Gourmet 662.231.6199

Tina's Suggestions for Eating Chocolate Gravy •

• • • • •

I tell everyone that I know to do this: serve your chocolate gravy over a hot melted cheese biscuit. You will never be the same again. It is a tradition at my house. We also serve bacon on the side and scrambled eggs. Delicious! My nephew, Trent, loves to dip our tea cakes in the chocolate gravy. Perfect as a fruit dip (strawberries, bananas, apples slices) My grandmother always ate cantaloupe and brown gravy. I use chocolate gravy! Perfect over pancakes or ice cream If you have any left over, place it in a mini pie crust and top with cool whip. Delicious!

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Gas Station Grub Fill Up More Than Just Your Gas Tank With These Infamous Pit Stop Treats

By Lisa LaFontaine Bynum

You’re cruising down the road when suddenly you hear a strange noise. Thankfully, it’s not your transmission. It’s your stomach. Instead of pulling into the drive-thru at the first fast food chain you see, check out the road trip refreshments at these most unlikely places – the fill up station. 34 • APRIL/MAY 2016

photo by j.j. carney

Caramel Cake Buck’s One Stop

601 N Main St., Calhoun City If you happen to be traveling along Highway 8 through Calhoun City, the Texaco station on Main Street is worth a visit. Honestly, even if your travel route doesn’t pass through the city of a little over 1,700 people, if you are anywhere in the vicinity it’s worth the detour. The Texaco station, known to the locals as Buck’s One Stop, is probably one of the few gas stations that smells more like a bakery than a gas station. That’s because it has been home to Ann Langford’s cake and pie

business for more than 10 years. Langford makes all the traditional Southern favorites – meringue pies, pound cakes, fried pies. However, they are known far and wide for their decadent caramel cake. Multilayered and drenched with a sweet layer of amber-colored caramel icing, Langford’s caramel cake is touted by some as the best cake in the state. Buy it by the slice or take home an entire cake. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 35

Real Deal Sandwich

Walthall Quick Stop 6388 MS Highway 9 Walthall

If you’re still hungry after a Buck’s Caramel Cake, travel south on Highway 9 out of town to the little town of Walthall. Here you’ll find the Walthall Quick Stop, home to the Real Deal Sandwich. Why is is called the Real Deal Sandwich? Because it’s four ounces of real ribeye steak, sliced by hand and piled on a sourdough bun. Add sautéed onions, peppers, melted Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce, and a side of spicy fries and you’ve got yourself one heck of a meal for under $10.

photo by jay reed

Chicken Salad James Food Center

505 Jackson Ave. E, Oxford Apparently, Oxford residents love their chicken salad. When we polled our Facebook fans, the chicken salad at James Food Center was mentioned numerous times. Sold strictly for on-the-go, James’s chicken salad comes in pints or quarts. It’s sold alongside several other homemade Southern staples, like pimento cheese and pasta salad. It’s great for lunching in The Grove, road trips, or just to hoard in your fridge.

photo by j.j. carney

36 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Royale Cookie Lindsey's Chevron

321 N Lamar Blvd., Oxford Don’t be fooled by this inconspicuous little gas station. Considered one of the best kept secrets (until now) in Oxford, Lindsey’s is also home to some of the best homemade chicken salad. There is a reason Lindey’s was voted the best convenience store/gas station in 2015 by residents. In addition to chicken salad, Lindsey’s also sells pimento cheese, pasta salads, and banana pudding. Make sure you try their Royale Cookie, a chocolate chip cookie with coconut and macadamia nuts. Another popular food items is Greek Fetta Cheese Dressing made by legendary Oxford restaurateur Angelo Mistilis.

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The Biscuit Pit

1983 Commerce St., Grenada In the last thirty or so years, the sign out front advertising the brand of gas sold at the little station on Commerce Street has changed quite a few times. But locals know, it’s not gasoline that transformed this gas station into a cultural icon. It’s the biscuits. They are made from scratch every morning from a recipe that’s been in use for decades. Beyond the biscuits, it’s also the women in the back known as “lifers,” who have been cutting rounds using the rim of an empty aluminum can for the last 20 years. It’s the retirees that sit in the dining room every morning to shoot the breeze and sip coffee. It’s the generations of teenagers who stop by every morning to grab breakfast before crossing the street to the local high school. Should you stop in, make plans to order a fried pork tenderloin biscuit and leave some time to people watch.

photos by jay reed

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 37


Double Quick

Various locations throughout The Delta Stop into any Double Quick gas station in the Mississippi Delta and chances are you will spy a jar of fluorescentlyhued pickles sitting prominently by the cash register. These pickles didn’t acquire their dayglo color naturally. In fact, some people might argue that Pickoola, commonly known koolickles, are one of the most unnatural things to ever happen to a dill pickle. No one knows for sure how this oddity originated, but the process of making them is quite simple. Two packets of Koolphoto by anne martin Aid drink mix, a few cups of sugar, and water is all it takes. Let the pickles sit for a few days and let osmosis do the rest. Pickoolas come in a variety of colors, it just depends on the flavor of the drink mix. However, fruit punch seems to be the predominant favorite. The taste is described as both sweet and sour. It’s an acquired taste, but it definitely has a cult following.

photo by j.j. carney

Choo Choo Chips

Junction Delis & Fuel Centers

Carthage, Louisville, Macon, Newton, Oxford, Philadelphia, Ridgeland, Scooba, Union You can walk into any convenience store and find chips. But it’s not every store that sells them homemade and hot straight out of the fryer. Junction Deli takes thinly sliced potatoes and fries them until crisp and golden. They are then dusted with a special seasoning and served with a side of Southwest dipping sauce. It’s the ultimate guilty pleasure.

Truck-Stop Fried Peanuts Spaceway Truck Plaza

10580 Old Highway 80 W, Meridian

photo by j.j. carney

38 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Boiled peanuts have been a favorite Southern pastime for decades. But fried peanuts? If you are craving something salty, make sure you try Spaceway’s unique treat. Spanish red-skinned peanuts are deep fried then salted for an insanely addictive snack. You’ll find them in conveniently bagged for travel in the refrigerated case with their ready-to-eat sandwiches.

Roast Beef Po' Boy

photo by julian brunt

Fayard’s Marathon

1757 Popps Ferry Rd., Biloxi

e l b a r o Mem s e i h c n u M

Baklava, Pastrami Sandwich United Deli & Grocery 212 Tuscaloosa Rd., Columbus ••• Barbecue Breakpoint Marathon 203 Edgewood Dr., McComb ••• BBQ Ribs Exxon 401 E Northside Dr., Clinton ••• Boudin Maddox Grocery 4058 Hwy 1 S, Greenville ••• Bread Pudding Chevron 40 Cowart Ln SW, Brookhaven

Breakfast Sandwich, Jo Jo Potatoes, Cheeseburger Davis Grocery 304 Plum St., Satartia ••• Burger Berry’s Quick Shop 1296 Old Highway 16, Benton ••• Flying Pig Sandwich Crazy K’s 1873 U.S Highway 45, Buckatunna ••• Fried Chicken M&M Food Marts/Texaco 25066 Highway 51, Crystal Springs ••• Fried Chicken Dodges 874 US-90, Gautier

Po’ boys are not just a New Orleans thing. The Mississippi Gulf Coast makes some great ones, and one of the best can be found at Fayard’s. Elvis Fayard started selling his po’ boys in a grocery store in D’ Iberville. Seventeen years later, the Fayard family owns gas stations all along the Gulf Coast, from Biloxi to Moss Point. Fayard’s is known for their “pressed po’ boys,” which is pressed between a hot grill right before serving. They make their po’ boy bread fresh daily and they come with a variety of fillings, including shrimp, oyster, or soft shell crab. However, their best seller is the roast beef po’ boy drenched in gravy and trimmed with lettuce and tomato.

Fried Moon Pies BMW Pit Stop 4850 Moon Lake Rd., Dundee ••• Fried Pies Lott’s Exxon 615 Middleton Rd., Winona ••• Fried Pork Chops, Hamburger Steak Log Cabin Store 4128 Springridge Rd., Raymond ••• Hot Tamales Rick’s Express 2309 MS-1, Greenville ••• Steak Sandwich Dan’s Truck Stop and Cafe 4878 U.S. 49, Hattiesburg eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 39

{ dream kitchen }

40 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Bright & Cheerful

Martha Foose Transforms Kitchen in Her Greenwood Bungalow Into Happy, Workable Space eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 41

Martha Foose turned a dream into reality when she converted a vintage library card catalog into a storage piece in her newly renovated kitchen. 42 • APRIL/MAY 2016

A banquette built into one wall in the kitchen provides a comfy spot to hang out or even take a quick nap.

story by susan marquez | photography by Edward H. Blackstone iii


t’s not a grand kitchen, the kind you see on the pages of slick national magazines or on websites like Pinterest or Houzz. It doesn’t have soaring ceilings with skylights, an island as big as a small country, nor does it have pretentious appliances and gadgets. No, the kitchen of Martha Foose is understated, much like the author of the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award–winning Screen Doors and Sweet Tea and the more recently released A Southerly Course. Her kitchen, newly renovated, perfectly suits the 1923 bungalow in which it’s located, on the outskirts of downtown Greenwood. Bright and sunny, the kitchen has a happy vibe. There’s no doubt it’s the heart of Foose’s home. “When I’m working, I’m in my kitchen,” muses Foose. “I wanted it to be more of a hangout room instead of a work

room.” Mission accomplished, with a comfy banquette built into one wall, covered in assorted pillows. “I plan on covering the cushions with an old quilt. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.” Foose said when she’s waiting for something to bake in the oven, she’ll often curl up on the banquette and take a quick nap. The renovated and remodeled kitchen is a treat for Foose, who said her other kitchen simply “quit.” “Everything quit working. Even the tiles quit. We cook a lot here, and we’re hard on a kitchen. I cook for my family, three meals a day in the summer, and when I’m working on a cookbook, I’ll cook 125 recipes or more in this kitchen.” One of Foose’s favorite things about the kitchen is her new Kitchenaid gas stove. “I have been cooking on an electric stove eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 43

for ten years. I love how when you turn off the eye, the heat goes off instantly.” The oven is both electric and gas on the inside, giving Foose an option when baking. The kitchen was reconfigured a bit from the original. “We tore down a wall and opened up the back which brings in even more light.” An oversized window above the sink overlooks the side yard, facing north. “In the winter, the kitchen heats up early. I rarely turn on lights at all during the day.” The pale yellow walls in a paint color called “hummus” adds a cheery glow to the room. To the right of the refrigerator stands a large library card catalog. “I’ve always wanted one,” said Foose. “I got this 44 • APRIL/MAY 2016

one when the Greenville Library got rid of theirs. This one dates back to 1939.” Dozens of drawers are filled with spices, kitchen utensils, seeds, napkins, tin fish, grits and grains, and wine. “Look how a bottle of wine fits perfectly in the drawers!” Foose has spices divided by ethnicity. “I have Thai spices here, Indian here, Latin here…” She then pulled out a shelf in the middle to demonstrate how she could use it as a work surface to make spice rubs. Funky folk art decorates the walls around the banquette, including photographs of the Delta Kream and a hand reaching out for a newly opened can of Vienna sausages by photographer Jane Rule Burdine, and a canvas collage with a

More About Mississippi’s Martha

picture of James Beard, complete with a mustache drawn on by Foose’s son. Draped across the corner of the canvas is the James Beard award Foose received for her cookbook Screen Doors and Sweet Tea. Her cookbooks are filled with stories as well as recipes, as Foose herself is a natural-born storyteller. That’s what makes her kitchen so special, it’s filled not just with things, but things with memories and those memories come with stories. Even the linoleum floor has a story. “My grandmother had a sleeping porch with a linoleum floor just like this. I remember how cool it was on my bare feet in the summer.” edm

Martha Foose is both a gifted chef and a storyteller. Her 2009 cookbook, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, is not only filled with delectable recipes, it is a unique look inside Foose’s world and her strong connection to place in the Mississippi Delta. The book won the James Beard Award for American Cooking and the Southern Independent Booksellers Award. Her 2011 release, A Southerly Course: Recipes and Stories from Close to Home continues with more wonderful recipes and, of course, stories that both entertain and inspire. Foose began her cooking career as a pastry chef at La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles. She studied at Ecole l’Notre in Plaisir, France then returned to Mississippi and founded Bottletree Bakery in Oxford. Her varied culinary career also includes being a cookbook writer and editor for The Pillsbury Company in Minneapolis, starting Mockingbird Bakery, an artisan bakery in Greenwood, and serving on the opening team of The Alluvian and Giardiana’s restaurant, as well as serving as the executive chef for the Viking Cooking School. She has had stints on television as a sous chef for Cat Cora on “The Iron Chef,” and she has made appearances on “Paula’s Best Dishes” with Paula Deen. Her handiwork as a food stylist can be seen in the movie “The Help.”

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 45

{ from mississippi to beyond }

Feeding the Need Delta Native Richard Ragan Fights Hunger Around the World By Kathy K. Martin | photos courtesy of richard ragan


ichard Ragan is a long way from his days in the Delta hunting and fishing along the Mississippi River. Today he serves as a United Nations diplomat and lives in Tanzania. He says, “I still live a stone’s throw from water and thrive on being in the elements, except now it’s the Indian Ocean and instead of hunting, I’m a fanatical surfer.” His growing-up years were spent outdoors and helping in his family’s food businesses. While growing up in Rosedale, he explored the woods with Jack Carter, a father figure and namesake of his son, Carter. His mother moved the family there from New Iberia, Louisiana when his father passed away when he was just four. Later, they moved to Cleveland and he grew up around Michael’s Café, a restaurant owned by his grandfather and great uncle in the 1950s. After it was destroyed in a fire, his grandfather began a local grocery store and café by the same name in Rosedale while his great uncle re-opened in Cleveland. His uncle, Lattie Michael, was one of the original owners of the Lamar nightclub in Jackson in the 1970s and later began the Back Yard Burgers fast food chain. “Although I didn’t realize it at the time, being involved in the service sector and dealing with people every day was probably good training for a career in diplomacy,” he says. Ragan attended Ole Miss while working at The Gin, The 46 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Hoka, and Syd and Harry’s restaurants. After college, he moved to Aspen and worked at restaurants there before going to the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer. “I was looking for a grand adventure and wanted to do some good at the same time.” He spent three years there living with the semi-nomadic group of hunters and gatherers in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Northern Luzon Island, where he helped to set up a forest reserve that protected the Ilongot’s traditional area from timbering and gold exploration. “I ended up in a place about as far away as any middleclass American kid could every land…That experience opened a door and showed me the power of political action.” He returned to graduate school at Brattleboro, Vermont, where he studied international development and then moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Les Aspin and for President Bill Clinton’s first Secretary of Defense. His work included peacekeeping and civil crisis situations in Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, and the Balkans. That experience led him to serve as a director on the National Security Council, where one of his main duties was covering United Nations’ issues for the President. He was later recruited by the UN World Food Programme, where he has served as a career UN diplomat for the past 17 years. Danger is often a regular part of his job. He felt most at

risk when he was working on the Ebola crisis in West Africa last year. “I was asked by the UN’s Secretary General Special Representative to lead the UN’s operational response to the crisis in Liberia. That country was recently declared Ebola-free, so I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.” Another time while he was serving Bosnians in Sarajevo in the early 1990s, he said that snipers were a constant threat on the streets and no one could leave their homes. One of his biggest accomplishments was leading the design of the Humanitarian Daily Ration (HDR) product, an airdroppable ready-to-eat meal that doesn’t require water or fuel to prepare and can be dropped from an airplane from as high as 20,000 feet, while working for the Secretary of Defense. “Today the U.S. government uses HDRs in crisis situations all over the world,” says Ragan. In addition to the gratification of helping people all over the world, Ragan says that his job is fun, too. He enjoys managing the fleets of trucks and overseeing airfields. He has worked as a heli-ski guide snowboarding down Annapurna, the tenth highest mountain in the world, and he climbed Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain, while stationed in Nepal. “Along with my wife, Marcela, and our oldest daughter, Zoey, we are the only American family to have ever officially lived in North Korea, which always makes us interesting dinner guests.” In Tanzania, the whole family, which also includes Carter’s twin, Emma, surfs, paddles standup boards, or dives in the ocean almost every day. Ragan admits that his job has taken him to places of great tragedy. “Seeing so much suffering isn’t pleasant. I spent the summer managing the response to Nepal’s recent earthquake where thousands of years of history was lost and over 10,000 people died in a matter of minutes.” With his extensive travels and a Cordon Bleu-trained chef as a wife, his food profile is also full of adventure. “I may work for the United Nations, but she cooks like the United Nations,” he jokes of his wife’s global cuisine after working at restaurants in Washington, D.C., Beijing, and North Korea. Together they have harvested wild morels in the Himalayas and eaten Peking duck, truffles, and foie gras next to the east gate of the Forbidden City. Ragan returns home at least once a year and makes Abe’s Barbecue in Clarksdale his first stop. Another favorite food is Ms. Grazi’s hot sauce, which he grew up eating when his family bought the rights and made it a staple of Back Yard Burgers. “We always carry the sauce in whiskey bottles to wherever we are in the world,” he says. While pecans are ubiquitous to the South, Ragan says that they are hard to find anywhere else in the world, so he loads up on pecans when he comes home. “Pecan pie a la mode would certainly be the dessert feature in my last supper.” His main priority now is feeding the hungry all around the world. edm FROM TOP: Richard Ragan sails in the Indian Ocean with his cousin, Madison, a Memphis-based neurosurgeon, and his uncle, Lattie Michael, who founded Back Yard Burgers; Ragan walks to surf with kids Emma, Zoey, and Carter; Ragan and wife Marcela sailing to Zanzibar.

Join Richard’s efforts to feed the hungry around the world by making a donation to the World Food Programme at

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 47

Marcela’s Beef Bulgogi This is popular Korean dish that we learned to make while living in Pyongyang.

Beef: 6 garlic cloves, minced 1 cup soy sauce 3 large garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated 3 green onions, chopped 1 tablespoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted and crushed 1 tablespoon sesame oil 1/4 cup sake 1 beef filet, quartered into long strips Garnish: 1 bunch lettuce to wrap all ingredients 1 bunch green onion 1 bunch cilantro 1 bunch mint 3 carrots, thinly sliced 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced 48 • APRIL/MAY 2016

In a large pot, combine all the ingredients except the beef and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let the marinade come to room temperature before adding the beef. Add the meat to the marinade and let sit for at least 3 hours in the fridge or even overnight. Bring meat to room temperature before grilling. On a very hot barbeque grill, cook meat until preferred doneness. Cover with aluminum foil and let beef rest. Slice before serving. Take reserved marinade and bring to a boil in a pot. Thinly slice beef. Serve sliced meat on a platter with all the garnishes. NOTE: You eat this with your hands and roll meat and garnish onto a lettuce wrap. Use the leftover marinade to dip wraps, if desired.

Ugali with Cheese Ugali is the East African version of grits. Corn was introduced to Africa in the late 19th century during the great Colombian exchange and is a staple all over the continent.

1 quart chicken broth 1 cup ugali 1/3 cup sliced fresh chives or green onions 4 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (such as Bûcheron or Montrachet) Fresh chives or green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces

Bring broth and water to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually stir in ugali. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 4 minutes. Uncover; simmer until thickened to consistency of thin mashed potatoes, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add sliced chives and cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with chive pieces.

Lemongrass Vichyssoise We often eat light dinners and prefer soup. This is one of our favorites, sort of an Asian version of a French classic.

4 thick stems of lemongrass – smashed and chopped 1 bunch coriander (reserved leaves for garnish) 4 spring onions – chopped (reserve some for garnish) 1 onion, chopped 3-1/2 tablespoons butter 3/4 pound potatoes 2/3 cup milk 3-1/2 cups stock Salt and pepper to taste Remove coriander leaves from the stems – the leaves will be used for garnish and the stems in the broth. Gently sweat the first four ingredients with the butter in a stock pot. Do not let them brown. Add stock to the saucepan. Bring to the boil. Simmer very gently for 30 minutes. Add the milk and let simmer very gently for 30 minutes. Puree in a blender until very smooth and season with salt and pepper. Pass soup through a fine mesh and chill until service. Serve cold with spring onion, coriander and ice cube garnish.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 49

{ from the bookshelf }

Mississippi Church Suppers Published by Great American Publishers


by kelsey wells

sk anyone from across the nation what Mississippi is known for, and they’ll probably respond in either a positive or negative tone with two answers- religion and food. The naysayers will point out Mississippi’s supposed religious intolerance and obesity rates, but those who have experienced our worship services and dined on our cuisine are much more likely to respond positively. Combine church services with food prepared by Southern cooks, be it through a revival or homecoming service or any special celebration, and you have a recipe for some of the greatest fellowship on earth. Mississippi Church Suppers brings together some of the best of the best from churches across the state into a mouthwatering volume sure to please any palate. From the modest Carmel Baptist of Monticello to the predominant Temple Baptist of Hattiesburg, churches of all sizes are brought together through the pages of this cookbook. To whet the appetite before the main course or provide the perfect snack for a bridal or baby shower, the book includes recipes for Black Bean Dip, Buffalo Chicken Dip, and three kinds of Shrimp Dip, among numerous others, in the 50 • APRIL/MAY 2016

appetizers section. If dips aren’t your choice of appetizer, try Stuffed Mushrooms, Glazed Pineapple Kielbasa Bites, or Cheddar and Sausage Mini Muffins. When Mississippi gets her annual three weeks of winter weather, the cooks hit the kitchen to make up hearty soups. Options from Mississippi Church Suppers all sound tasty, especially the Loaded Chicken Soup, Shrimp and Corn Chowder, and the plethora of potato soup options. Summertime means readily available fresh vegetables and fruits that somehow make the heat and humidity seem more bearable when combined into tasty salads such as Strawberry Pretzel Salad, Broccoli Salad, or Seven Layer Salad. These salad recipes don’t tend to lean towards lean, as most contain a healthy dose of mayonnaise, sour cream or bacon. The staple of the church social is the casserole, and this volume certainly delivers several tasty options to create for your next Sunday lunch or supper. Try Squash Delight Casserole, Eggplant Casserole, or Ms. Maggie Black’s Hash Brown Casserole. The Main Dish Section continues the one-dish trend with Sour Cream Chicken and Italian Spaghetti. Of course, no true Southern cookbook

enchilada casserole by Mary Morris, Robinhood Baptist Church - Brandon

2 pounds ground chuck 2 (10.25-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup 2 (16-ounce) jars picante sauce (mild or hot) 4 large tortillas 1 (12-ounce) package shredded cheddar cheese 1 (12-ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown ground chuck and drain. Add soup and picante sauce and mix well; set aside. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with 2 large tortillas. Layer with half the beef mixture. Sprinkle with half the cheeses, and put remaining 2 tortillas on top. Spread remaining beef mixture on tortillas. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Top with remaining cheeses and let melt. Optional: One-half can of cheddar cheese soup can be added to meat mixture. Makes it cheesy.

would be complete without chicken and dumplings, and this one gives three recipe options from easy to more difficult. If you manage to still be hungry by the end of the meal, desserts are plentiful and rich in Mississippi Church Suppers. Chocolate Pie, Egg Custard Pie, Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, VBS Tea Cakes and many more recipes, all famous at their home churches, end the book on a note as sweet as a talented soprano’s solo. This book is much more than food for the body, however. It is inspiring for the soul. The Plan of Salvation is placed at the front as is only right, for the contributors to the book know that without the presence of God in a person’s life, the best food in the world will leave him or her hungry after

a short time. Short histories from contributing churches are included throughout the book, and a directory of all the contributors is located in the back of the volume. Beautiful food and church photography keep readers and cooks interested. Mississippi should be proud of both its religious and culinary heritage. Mississippi Church Suppers combines these elements of our home state into an inspiring and tasty addition to any cookbook collection.edm Great American Publishers 1.888.854.5954 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 51

{ in the bloglight }


by kelsey wells

f you’ve lived in or visited Mississippi for even a few months, chances are that at some point a neighbor or family member has invited you to dip up your fair share of a “mess of greens.” For Southerners, coming together to dine on a portion of a steaming boiler of turnip, collard, or mustard leaves (with the necessary accompanying golden cornbread) is a tradition that bonds families and friends. Even with Mississippi’s diverse and complex population, almost everyone can be connected by a proper mess of greens. This bond of cultures and generations over a simple dish is what inspired Laurel native Elizabeth (Biz) Wilson Harris to name her blog Mess of Greens. An avid cook since her college days, she had blogged about various other subjects before settling into food blogging in 2011. Though she has taken some time away from her blog in the past, she now tries to post multiple times per week. Well-organized and intriguing from the first picture, a visit to will have your mouth watering in minutes. She divides her posts into three distinct categories with titles of Recipes, Hospitality, and Lagniappe. Foodies will enjoy her recipe section, where she posts both classic Southern recipes and new twists on traditionally Southern foods such as sweet potatoes, pecans, and cornbread. Harris loves hosting others for supper, and her hospitality posts feature events she has hosted, pointing out special details that make guests feel at home. Lagniappe is the “extras” section of the blog, focusing on the unique people and cultures found in the Mississippi culinary scene. Historical articles, restaurant spotlights, and interviews with other Mississippi foodies add variety and interest to Mess of Greens. Food and family meals have been a staple in Harris’s life, beginning with the culinary talents of her two grandmothers. One created “down-home” style meals, while the other focused on fine cuisine and hosting dinner parties. Her parents were also deeply involved in Southern hospitality and cooking. After leaving Laurel, Harris spent time in the state Virginia and in Atlanta, Georgia before returning to the Delta and, recently, her hometown. Through all of her journey, she saw how food brings people together. And this togetherness is the focus of 52 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Biz Harris Mess of Greens. “I wanted my blog to be about coming together, about the complexity and beauty of everyone’s Southern experiences and food,” she explained. With the support of her family and friends, Mess of Greens’s influence continues to expand and reach new readers. Harris’s recipes for French Market beignets and bourbon butter pecan ice cream have found popularity on Pinterest, and the blog was recently updated and moved to its current web

address. Harris is excited to continue her work with Mess of Greens, and hopes to soon include more stories about the great cooks, restaurants, and food sources of Mississippi, from Sanderson Farms chicken to a Hispanic/Latino bakery called Julia’s. She is a firm believer in the power of Southern food and hospitality. When she isn’t blogging, her full life includes being a mother to two year-old son, Wagner, a wife to Brett, and an advocate for high-quality education in Mississippi. Harris also holds a Master of Divinity degree, and her studies led her to research which kinds of experiences bond

diverse people. Theologians often refer to “radical hospitality,” meaning that connections are established through an open door policy regardless of a person’s background. Harris believes that a shared meal is an excellent example of “radical hospitality.” “Mississippi is the Hospitality State, but if I have my way, we’ll call ourselves the Radical Hospitality State,” she said. You can access Harris’s blog by visiting www. You can also follow her journey on Instagram at “messofgreens” or on Pinterest at “Messofgreens.” edm

Crawfish ElegantÉ by Biz Harris

I love this recipe because it’s super versatile. Here I’ve made it into a dip with New Orleans French Bread, but it also works really well over rice, in pastry shells, or on top of a filet of catfish. It was my Grandmother Virginia’s recipe, so it’s also special to me for that reason and is just really excellent this time of year! Serves: 8-10 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20-30 minutes

You’ll know the sauce is right when you can drag the spoon through and you have a path to the bottom of the pan left briefly. Add the sherry and the crawfish tails into the pot and season with the peppers, tabasco, and salt. Don’t cook for more than a minute and then remove the pan from the heat. Serve as a dip with sliced,toasted french bread and freeze any remaining dip for use at a later date.

1 pound peeled crawfish tails (you can buy fresh and peel them or buy the ready-peeled packages in the store) 1 stick of butter 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 bunch green onions, chopped very fine 1/4 cup chopped parsley, chopped very fine 1 pint half and half 3 tablespoons dry sherry or substitute Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste 4 level tablespoons all-purpose flour Dash of hot sauce In a skillet, saute’ your crawfish tails in the olive oil for 5-10 minutes or until you see them curl up like shrimp. Don’t overcook them as you’ll keep cooking them in the sauce later. Pat the orange “fat” off of the crawfish with a paper towel until you’ve removed as much excess as possible. Don’t rinse them as you’ll lose all the flavor altogether. Set the crawfish aside. In your skillet, heat the stick of butter and saute’ the green onions and parsley. Once they are thoroughly wilted. Gradually, spoonful by spoonful add in the flour and mix it completely, then add in the half and half, just a bit at a time, stirring constantly as the sauce thickens. DO NOT let this come to a high boil (if it bubbles slightly for a minute or so, that’s good, but boiling it with curdle everything.) eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 53

Bourbon Peach Ice Cream by Biz Harris

Prep time: 3 hours Cook time: 30 minutes Total time: 3 hours 30 mins Serves: 1.5 quarts I love this recipe… both times I’ve made it, the carton was entirely empty within two days. We just couldn’t stop eating it. It’s perfect for when our delicious peaches are in season (so soon! I can’t wait!) 4 ripe large-ish peaches, chopped 2 cups heavy cream 2 cups white sugar (divided) 2 cups whole milk 1 teaspoon vanilla 6 egg yolks 1/4 cup bourbon An ice cream maker Start steeping your chopped peaches in the bourbon and 1 of the cups of sugar for a minmum of 3 hours, although overnight is best. About an hour before your peaches have steeped fully, begin making your custard because it will need a little time to cool as well. Separate your eggs into a small to medium bowl and mix in the sugar to the yolks. Warm the milk and cream in a saucepan until it steams but IS NOT boiling, stirring it pretty regularly. Take a few quarter cups of the steaming milk and pour it slowly into the bowl with the sugar and eggs. This warms the egg yolks up slowly so they don’t scramble. Stir in at least 1 cup of milk/cream into the sugar/yolk mixture and then pour the sugar/yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Some people use cheesecloth or some other way to strain any egg that might have cooked in this process, but I’ve found if you go slowly enough, you don’t really run into this problem, so I leave out that step. But, just in case, you can use a fine strainer or cheesecloth if you’re worried about cooked egg in your ice cream. Once you’ve combined the egg, sugar, cream, and milk, add in the vanilla and then return the saucepan to the heat. You’ll want to bring the temperature back up to almost boiling here (you don’t 54 • APRIL/MAY 2016

want to curdle the milk but you DO want to cook the egg) stirring the whole time until it has thickened enough so it will coat the back of a spoon. At this point, pour in your bourbon/peach juice that you reserved after straining it. You’ve got a gorgeous warm peach-flavored custard. Your job now is to cool it so that it doesn’t unfreeze your ice cream maker bowl (which would be a mess). To do it, take a bowl and put a gallon sized plastic bag into it and then pour the custard into the bag, seal it, and lay it in an ice bath for 30 minutes to an hour. Once the custard has cooled down and feels about the same temp as the ice bath, pour it into your ice cream maker and follow whatever directions you’ve got. At the very end, right before the ice cream gets firm, pour in the chopped peaches and let that mix in. Let freeze a little longer until firm, and then serve.


C raMerigold wdad’s -


Ciao Chow Ashland The Hills

The Delta -

ThaiColumbus by Thai The Pines

- Restaurant 1818 Natchez -

The Greenhouse on Porter Ocean Springs


Our wonderful state is divided into five travel regions - The Hills, The Delta, The Pines, Capital/River, and Coastal. It is our goal to give equal coverage to all regions of the state in every issue. The following sections are color coded by region for your convenience. We hope you will take the time and travel to all regions to take advantage of the diverse culinary styles present throughout our state. We do suggest that you call to verify operating hours before visiting any of these wonderful establishments.


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 55

The Hills

An Italian Oasis

Hot Fudge Cake 56 • APRIL/MAY 2016

The Hills

Ciao Chow Draws Crowds to Ashland for Fresh, Italian Fare story and photography By Megan Wolfe


ast Snow Lake Shores and down the windy road of Highway 4, Ashland wakes with a population just above 500. The town square is home to a sparse number of businesses, including Ashland Auto & Tractor Parts, a Regions Bank, and one historical courthouse that sits idle. At night, Thursday through Saturday, the south side of the square warms with an orange glow. The parking lot fills. There’s a restaurant here, a fine Italian eatery, that patrons travel from neighboring towns, counties, and states to try. “Ciao Chow” reads the sign, and with assurance, any plate ordered at Ciao Chow, will go ‘bye bye.’ At the height of the service rush, the dining room becomes awash with plates that are colorful, plentiful, and wonderfully flavorful. Crab cakes, pasta puttanesca, shrimp scampi, and more, are delivered piping hot, with pasta perfectly tender. The aroma of garlic and creamy sauces entice even the most rigid of eaters to explore the menu, and negotiate ‘family-style’ dining. But for those craving Southern cuisine? Ciao Chow offers that as well, including fried green tomatoes, country style ribs, and, one of the chef ’s favorites, boneless

pork chops. For dessert, additional napkins may be required. The hot fudge cake drips with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, while the cannoli bursts with cream and almond slices. There’s pie, too. Coconut pie. These are just a few of the things that make Ciao Chow a true foodie oasis in north Mississippi. For selections like these, one expects to travel to Oxford or Tupelo. How did a sleepy town like Ashland get so lucky? In 2002, Ciao Chow’s chef and co-owner, Tim Satterfield, left his native state of Michigan and moved to Ashland with future husband and business partner, Mike Carroll. Carroll had made a career as an international flight attendant, but wanted to return to his hometown. The two soon opened an antiques business there, Mike’s Family Jewels, which continues to operate today. Opening a restaurant was a family tradition. Each had parents who were restaurateurs. Satterfield’s father ran several bakeries and his mother worked in the restaurant business. Carroll’s mother ran a local cafe in Ashland. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 57

The Hills


Mike Carroll and Tim Satterfield Owners of Ciao Chow in Ashland

Crab Cakes

As a young adult, Satterfield continued the tradition by attending a two-year culinary program in Michigan. He furthered his studies in New Jersey, and afterward, worked for restaurants in Detroit. Eventually, he settled into a medical career, but he had always wanted to open his own restaurant. Now, in Ashland, Carroll talked him into it. “It would be good for you, and good for Ashland,” Carroll told him. The Italian-meets-Southern menu just came naturally. 58 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Satterfield’s father was from Sicily, but his mother was from Kentucky. This heritage birthed both the menu and the name “Ciao Chow”, a nod to both the italian “ciao,” and the Southern phrase “chow-chow.” Ciao Chow opened in February of 2012. “It’s cool to have a parking lot jam-packed full of people,” Satterfield admits. When asked about his most popular dishes, Satterfield says proudly, “Everything! Tortellini with crab meat, chicken parm, and the crab cakes. People drive 60 miles just to have a crab cake here.” As for his personal, favorite dishes, Satterfield loves the traditional lasagna, the boneless pork chops, and the crab cakes. Did I mention the crab cakes? edm Ciao Chow 24 Main St. S, Ashland 662.224.3500

The Hills

Shrimp Scampi

Pasta Puttanesca

Chicken Parmesan eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 59

The Delta

Boiling Over With Goodness

Crawfish gave Crawdad’s its beginnings and is still a popular item on the menu when they are in season.

Founded in 1984 as a crawfish shack on the roadside by Andrew Westerfield, Crawdad’s has grown into a popular destination restaurant in the Delta. Jon Westerfield, from left, Chef Joey Lamb, Westerfield, and Jack Westerfield stand on the front porch of the restaurant. 60 • APRIL/MAY 2016

The Delta

Crawdad’s in Merigold Offers Much More Than Its Name Implies story and photography By Anne Martin


hen you walk through the doors of Crawdad’s in Merigold, you might think you have walked into a hunting lodge. An antler chandelier hangs from the ceiling and various mounted deer heads adorn the walls. But it’s all part of the laid back, fun, Delta atmosphere that just happens to have great food. Located in the downtown area of this small Bolivar County community, the restaurant is one of only a very few establishments still open in the once thriving business district. However, visitors to this popular eatery can quickly fill up the downtown area. “This is a destination restaurant. Folks come from all over to eat here,” said Joey Lamb, chef and proprietor. “We have customers who will drive for miles just to come eat with us.” The reputation of Crawdad’s is based on the good food they serve, using fresh ingredients and offering dishes customers want, and crave. It was a craving for good crawfish that prompted Crawdad’s to open in the first place in 1984. Andrew Westerfield has just graduated from law school and had a dream to open a restaurant in his hometown of Merigold. “I wanted to contribute to my hometown,” Westerfield said. “And there was nowhere locally at the time to get good crawfish.” So he opened a crawfish shack on the side of U.S. Highway 61 on the edge of town. During crawfish season, which is December to June, the mudbugs were served along with corn

and potatoes. It was the only item on the menu. As people began to gather in the parking lot to eat, Westerfield added one table inside that would seat six to eight people. “We slowly began added more rooms before we finally moved into downtown Merigold,” Westerfield recalled. The reputation for good crawfish was established and the rest of the menu soon followed. Steaks, including 8 and 12 ounce filets, 18 and 24 ounce ribeyes, and a 16 to 18 ounce New York Strip, are grilled to perfection over a charcoal fire, a cooking method unique to most restaurants. “The steaks are by far our most popular item. They are that good,” Lamb said. “Folks drive from near and far just to eat a steak with us.” Next in line in popularity is the hamburger steak. The hand-patted 18 ounces of beef is grilled to perfection and served with gravy. “It’s comfort food and our customers love it,” Lamb added. “We serve a lot of hamburger steak.” Lamb, who has been at the helm of the restaurant since 2012, says the menu reflects the Delta. He has recently brought back some longtime favorites such as Grouper Gautier, blackened grouper served with a crawfish cake, lemon, and a Cajun cream sauce; and Tuna Parillia, blackened tuna served over pasta in a Jack Daniels portabella cream sauce. Crawfish Alfredo and crawfish cakes are also offered as well as Lloyd’s Boiled Shrimp and fried shrimp. “Our fried shrimp is great. It’s cooked in a beer batter and it’s excellent,” exclaimed Lamb. “Mariyell ‘Manhead’ Davis eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 61

The Delta

The entrance to Crawdad’s may look like a Delta hunting lodge, but it’s all part of the laid back, fun atmosphere of this popular Delta eatery.

62 • APRIL/MAY 2016

The Delta

The charcoal grilled steaks are the most popular item on the Crawdad’s menu. The filet is offered in an 8 ounce and 12 ounce and is served here with jalapeño cheddar mashed potatoes. handles the fried shrimp. It can’t be beat.” Catfish Parmesan, which features a Cajun parmesan cream sauce along with grilled, blackened, or fried catfish are also on the menu. Merigold Beef Stroganoff and Merigold Chicken are a nod to the restaurant’s location. Tuna tacos are a fun dish consisting of seared tuna, johnny cakes, skillet corn, avocado, pickled vegetables, and sriracha. “The menu is just fun. And good.” And that is important for Lamb. A native of Benoit, he left in 2000 to attend culinary school in Colorado and lived in Nashville for several years, but by 2012 he was ready to come back home to the Delta and the opportunity to cook. “It just so happened that Crawdad’s was looking for a new chef when I was ready to move back to the Delta,” Lamb recalled. “It worked out perfectly.” Lamb says he has always loved to cook and it’s even more important to him now that customers enjoy their meal and have a good time when they visit Crawdad’s. “I want people to walk out with a smile, a full stomach and maybe even a slight buzz,” Lamb laughed. “I just want them to have a good time. It’s hard not to when moose heads, wild boars and even a cougar are part of the décor. The walls are covered in photographs of Delta hunts brought in by customers. Lamb says it adds to the fun and kind of what you would expect in the Delta. Live music featuring local and regional musicians is offered on weekends. “I like featuring the local musicians,” Lamb said. “It’s one of the things that make the Delta special. We have to support

our local folks.” Lamb added that everyone at the restaurant, from the kitchen staff to the wait staff, works together to give the customers the best dining experience possible. “We are a friendly, fun place. We want it to feel like your home when you come here.” Crawdad’s is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until the fun ends for the evening. Reservations are not required but are encouraged. They offer several rooms for groups of various sizes. edm Crawdad’s 100 Park Street, Merigold 662.478.2441

Grilled Catfish photo by anne morgan carney

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 63

The Pines

Cashew Chicken

Thai Time

64 • APRIL/MAY 2016

The Pines

Authentic, Delicious Dishes Make Thai by Thai a Columbus Favorite Thai spring rolls, rangoon, and Thai noodles with a pot sticker


story and photography by katie hutson west

n a time when countless restaurants boast of authentic cuisine, Thai by Thai in Columbus genuinely delivers. Their Thai food hasn’t been Americanized; instead it’s made with recipes and techniques that have been passed down through the generations. Scott Carley and wife Kannika (known as Gon to her friends) opened their restaurant in ‘The Friendly City’ almost three years ago. Scott, born and raised in Columbus, traveled around the world doing what he loves most – playing rock music. After many years and many more miles, Scott’s touring led him to meet his future wife while playing a gig in Gon’s motherland. When she began cooking as a child in Thailand, Gon didn’t know she would one day own a Thai restaurant in America, much less Mississippi. “My twin sister and I have cleaned and cooked since we were 9 years old,” Gon says of the time spent learning from her mother and grandmother. Along with technique, from them she also learned the importance of using only the best ingredients. Gon describes Thai food as spicy, healthy, fresh, and full of herbs. “We make everything from scratch. Fresh.” With a belief in balance and harmony, Thai chefs including Gon strive to incorporate different tastes and flavors; hitting on hot, sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Although it’s widely known as such, Thai food doesn’t automatically mean hot and spicy. “We can adjust every dish to desired spice level,” says Gon. For those who have never

had Thai food, Gon recommends the Drunken Noodles (wide noodles stir-fried in soy sauce with eggs, bamboo shoots, and vegetables) or Pad Thai, the most famous Thai noodle dish of all (noodles stir-fried in tamarind sauce with eggs and bean sprouts then topped with crushed peanuts). Scott, who is a selfproclaimed meat and potatoes guy, suggests the Pad Cha (beef with chilies and veggies in a spicy sauce). Another perfect dish for easing in, the Neva Yang, is full of tender beef marinated and grilled in a special sauce and served with fried rice. Whether a complex dish or simple, impeccable plating with the highest attention to detail is shown in the arrival of the first course. Fresh vegetable-stuffed spring rolls and crispy crabmeat and cream cheese filled Rangoon are flaky without the slightest greasy feel and are perfectly paired with sauces for dipping. When lunch and dinner are served at Thai by Thai, it is the place to get exactly what you want. You pick your meat and what comes with it. Chicken, beef, and pork are teamed with the freshest vegetables in every noodle, curry, and rice platter. There’s also the option of mixed seafood with squid, scallops, mussels, and shrimp piled high on the dish. “All of our seafood is jumbo size,” Gon says of their fantastic seafood offerings. For the more adventurous, basil frog legs and crispy duck take center stage. Thai by Thai is also the perfect place to finally taste that tofu and jasmine rice you’ve been so curious about. Another unique and delicious dish, the Som Tum consists of shredded papaya, tomatoes, green beans, and crushed peanuts with a spicy Thai lime dressing. Gon roasts the peanuts herself eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 65

The Pines

Scott and Gon Carley - Owners of Thai by Thai

along with the cashews she uses for her cashew chicken dish (a perfect plate made up of fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, and pineapples). With so much to choose from, the Carleys recommend coming in and doing it the Thai way. “The Thai way is having a lot of different plates and options in the middle of the table and everyone sharing,” says Scott of the perfect approach to experiencing Thai food. And no food experience would be complete without sampling the desserts. Thai by Thai’s homemade sweets include treats like sticky rice paired with mangos, fried bananas with vanilla ice cream, and rum-laced strawberry daiquiri cake. Or perhaps step out of the southern box and try a sweet Thai iced tea. Because of their authentic, delicious dishes, Thai by Thai has become a Columbus favorite. Open in their current location just over a year, the restaurant calls home an old bank that once survived the 1940s Columbus fire. The original vault is still in the back and the perfect place for a private party or to just be able to say you dined in a bank vault. Outside Thai by Thai’s walls, one can find fresh herbs growing. Gon plants her own in containers around the restaurant and at home. She then 66 • APRIL/MAY 2016

picks basil, lemongrass, and more from her garden and adds them lovingly to each dish. Gon’s love of cooking Thai food is something she hopes to pass on to her family. Gon says she would like to continue teaching Scott more of the Thai cooking method. “He needs to cook more than hamburgers and French fries!” says Gon with a laugh. She’s also been trying to teach their son, Legend, to cook. “But for now he’s more interested in video games!” exclaims Gon. Very much a family restaurant, the Carleys want to share the Thai experience and more with all. Along with food, music is still an important part of their lives. Scott continues to perform and can be found playing for guests inside the bank vault or even jamming with a band outside on Main Street’s sidewalk. So the next time you travel through the Golden Triangle, stop by Thai by Thai – where the food is authentic, the atmosphere is friendly, and the hosts always aim to please. edm Thai by Thai 509 Main St., Columbus 662.327.4001

The Pines

Masaman Pork Curry, Cashew Chicken, and Neva Yang

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 67



68 • APRIL/MAY 2016

ntebellum mbiance


Restaurant 1818 in Natchez Offers Fine Dining With a Historical Flavor Story by Kim Henderson Photos by Kim Henderson and Courtesy of Monmouth Historic Inn & Gardens


nown as the Bed and Breakfast Capital of the South, Natchez is a city that respects – and capitalizes on – its historical pedigree. But with more than 45 notable homes promising an unforgettable B&B stay in that locale, there’s only one that offers superior dining within its main quarters – Monmouth Historic Inn & Gardens. Restaurant 1818, as the former first-floor parlors of stately Monmouth are now called, has become a major player in the river city’s fine dining landscape. Entrees like duck and veal are just part of the establishment’s appeal, however. Antebellum ambiance makes up the other. At this romantic spot, diners eat their

meals on white table cloths set with china and silver, beneath the light of authentic crystal gasoliers. Oil paintings and other period furnishings decorate the walls and floors. Many nights, a pianist provides background music in the entry, happily obliging diners’ specific requests. Guests also have the option of reserving the private dining room across the hall, where candlelit meals can be served for parties of 8-12. This exceptional space reflects the type of dining experience which would have been customary in the days of the home’s longtime residents, Governor John A. Quitman and his wife, Eliza. Today, owners Warren and Nancy Reuther are at the helm of Monmouth. When the couple

Monmouth’s former Gentlemen’s Parlor is now used as a fine dining establishment. The dining room of Restaurant 1818 was once part of the home of Mississippi Governor and U.S. Congressman John A. Quitman. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 69


Food and Beverage Manager Kevin Deason (right) joins server Shirley Allen in helping a patron celebrate his birthday.

purchased the property in 2012, they made a decision to retain the services of Chef Mike Minor, a Natchez native. It paid off. “Some people come here just for his fried chicken,” Nancy admits with a laugh, acknowledging that this particular dish appears only on the lounge menu. Minor, who rose up through the ranks in several local eateries, says he honed that recipe (heavy on Tony Chachere’s seasoning) in the kitchen of his hometown’s former Ramada Inn. Work experience like that, infused with his grandmother’s culinary influence, resulted in what he describes as a “set apart Southern” style of cooking, and it’s one that keeps the inn’s cosmopolitan customers coming back for more. “People rave about his filets,” Warren notes. Although groups can request customized menus, the Reuthers purposed early on to keep the selections at their restaurant concise. They’re also committed to buying from local food providers: seafood is brought in from south Louisiana; chicken and catfish comes from Mississippi. Most meals at Restaurant 1818 (named for the year of Monmouth’s construction) begin with a serving of petite garlic biscuits. We followed ours with a delightful appetizer of fried green tomatoes topped with remoulade, jumbo lump crab and herbs. Diners then have their choice of the soup du jour (creamy mushroom on our particular night) or Chicken and Andouille Gumbo. Three salads are offered. I can vouch for the arugula, topped with a champagne vinaigrette. Both of our entrees rated high marks, although they 70 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Chef Mike Minor has manned the grill at Natchez’s Restaurant 1818 for eight years.

might be described as polar opposites on the palate scale. My husband opted for a heavy fix – the Buckhead Beef ’s certified Angus ribeye, paired with pomme puree and gorgonzola sauce. I went vegetarian with a classic (and flavorful) angel hair pasta primavera. Neither of us was disappointed. Guests at Restaurant 1818 there for the purpose of celebrating a birthday will want to make mention of it. The very attentive staff supplied our table with a slice of their popular bourbon pecan pie with caramel sauce in honor of the occasion. Chef Minor also makes a very worthy flourless dessert he calls “Chocolate Decadence Cake” which boasts a hint of kahlua. And while past history is sure to attract many to Monmouth’s doors, the property’s food and beverage manager, Kevin Deason, is intent on orchestrating momentous events still today. Most recently, he helped a groom-to-be plan an engagement scenario involving the gazebo, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a toast – all hinging on a signal given to Deason while he was crouched behind some shrubbery. “I love this place,” the former Galveston (Texas) Yacht Club maître d explains. “One of my duties is to ensure diners have an unforgettable experience. Just ask. We will exceed your expectations.” edm Restaurant 1818 36 Melrose Ave., Natchez 601.442.5852


Special offerings at Restaurant 1818 include ribeyes , fried green tomatoes, and pasta primavera.

Top of the Morning to You

Overnight guests aren’t the only ones welcome to enjoy Monmouth’s morning meals. The breakfast room (located at the south edge of the property) can often accommodate extras, but staff members say it’s important to make reservations. Here’s what you can expect: A cold buffet including fresh fruit, yogurt, toast, muffins and Monmouth’s homemade granola A served choice of either the Monmouth Southern Breakfast (eggs, grits, biscuits, and a side choice of meat) or Ms. Mary’s Stuffed French Toast (deep-fried French toast stuffed with cream cheese and a side choice of meat)

Mary Taylor has spent the last 30 years making a name for herself among Monmouth’s visitors. Her famous French toast and homemade granola receive such favorable receptions that diners often want to meet Taylor - diners like Richard Dean Anderson (“MacGyver”) and former President Bill Clinton. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 71


Undeniably Unique

The Greenhouse on Porter Brings Tasty Bites to an Unconventional Setting in Ocean Springs story and photography by julian brunt 72 • APRIL/MAY 2016


Owners Jessie Zenor and Kait Sukiennik


very once in a while a business opens that defies a conventional description, and The Greenhouse on Porter is one such place. Is it a restaurant? Nope. Is it a bar? Certainly not! Well, just what the heck is it? It is, in fact, the coolest place the Gulf Coast has seen in a long time! The building was a commercial greenhouse for years and the curved ceiling, with lots of opaque glass, and even some spaces still reserved for growing vegetables and herbs, now interspersed with tables and benches, has been turned into a magical space. The front room, once the business end of the shop, is now a communal area. Feel like chatting with some interesting people? Sit here. The greenhouse space is a little more private, and here you will find students studying, writers writing, and people talking. It's pretty cozy. But back to the original question: just what is it? Well, it is still a greenhouse, and you can get a good cup of coffee or tea

Sweet potato biscuit and homemade pimento and cheese eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 73


here. Then, there are the homemade biscuits, of varieties you most likely have never sampled before, like king cake biscuits, sweet potato biscuits, and biscuits made from onions, cheddar cheese and/or vanilla and black pepper with strawberries and cream! There is a special, inventive biscuit every day, but wait until you see the toppings! Try roasted rainbow chard and fluff, ricotta and roasted peppers, or ricotta and citrus marmalade. The toppings change every day as well. You can also get a cold beer, and on some days a cup of

74 • APRIL/MAY 2016

soup, a cheese and vegetable platter, and a biscuit sandwich. But wait! There is much more to The Greenhouse. Do they have live music? Check! Yoga? Check! Group contests? Check! Readings and lectures? Check! Bingo? Check! And just what the heck is the Opp Shop? It’s a market of locally made goods, from clothing to jewelry, with lots of good things to eat and drink as well. Well, what kind of people will you find here? An ex-bull rider turned artist, a tennis pro, students studying cyber warfare


Cheese and fruit platter Broccoli cheese and roasted tomato biscuit with fluff Steaming good cup of coffee

from Keesler AFB, a few chefs, a lovely landscape architect or two, moms and kids, old folks, and young folks, and one food writer that visits almost every day. You won’t find a more eclectic group anywhere. The Greenhouse on Porter is a one of a kind place. It’s friendly if you want it to be, or private if that's what fits your mood. The two ladies who run this place are on top of their game, creative to say the least, and just plain lovely. But a word of caution, please. Visit The Greenhouse at your own risk. The

biscuit and coffee are so good, the people are so interesting, you just may develop a Greenhouse on Porter habit. Oh, but what a lovely habit it is! edm The Greenhouse on Porter 404 Porter Ave, Ocean Springs 228-238-5681

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 75

{ featured event }

Best of City’s Cuisine Showcased at Annual Taste of Ocean Springs By Kara Kimbrough


he 2016 version of Taste of Ocean Springs Food and Wine Festival will showcase the diversity of restaurants from throughout the Gulf Coast city, where offerings ranging from fine dining specialties to casual finger food to fresh seafood dishes attract diners from around the world. More than 20 restaurants and 10 wine vendors will line L&N Depot Plaza in downtown Ocean Springs on the evening of May 12th to sample signature dishes from area restaurants and bars in one location. In addition to the opportunity to sample the best of the city’s food and beverages, the event, now in its eighth year, offers restaurants and affiliated businesses the chance to network and meet prospective customers, said Cynthia Sutton, executive director of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce. “We have more than 100 restaurants and nightlife venues in town, so there’s no better way to market a restaurant than to have a captivated audience sample the food and drink,” said Sutton. “Proceeds of this highly-anticipated event are used to help market Ocean Springs and what our restaurants have to offer.” To sample signature dishes and fine wines, guests must purchase a ticket, which provides access to each of the restaurants and wine vendors. After sampling the food and drinks, attendees can vote for their favorite entrée, dessert, and drink. Free cooking demonstrations and other special events are also planned for this year’s event. 76 • APRIL/MAY 2016

But the best attraction is simply the food. Sutton said Taste of Ocean Springs is a chance to sample the “best of the best” dishes from local favorites as well as new eateries. “Where else can you walk from place to place and enjoy the food served at Castaways, Anthony’s, Aunt Jenny’s, Phoenicia Gourmet, Bayview Gourmet, Mosaic Restaurant, and many others?” said Sutton. “If you’re new in town and haven’t been to one of these restaurants or simply haven’t gotten around to visiting one of the newer ones, it’s one of the best, most cost-effective ways to sample the food in one location. Taste is a can’t-miss event that truly brings the best of Ocean Springs and Gulf Coast cuisine and wine to one location.” Sutton said the event has become so successful that last year’s Taste of Ocean Springs evolved into Food Month to prolong the emphasis on the city’s wealth of restaurants and bars. Restaurant Week is now a seven-day event following Taste of Ocean Springs that celebrates the dining culture of the city. Restaurants will offer prix fixe menu items for convenient dining options and the Chamber will give away gift certificates to restaurants on its Facebook page on “Free Food Fridays.” For ticket sales or more information about any of the May events, contact the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce – Main Street – Tourism Bureau at 228-875-4424; stop by the office at 1000 Washington Ave. in downtown Ocean Springs or visit edm

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 77

{ calendar }

April/May 2016


Food Festivals & Events US LOW UTH



feature a catfish cook-off, arts and crafts, and the sounds of some of the South’s top blues musicians. For more information, visit www.visitcolumbusms. org or call 662-329-1191

April 2 Ridgeland - Santé South Wine Festival




: 3 0 P M Wine – 7 : 3 0 Festival, PM 7 : 32nd, 0 P M joins – 1 0 : 0 0the PM Santé 6South on April $125 in advance $80 in advance Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival, April 2-3, as two of the i n c l u d e s G r a n d Ta s t i n g $90 at the door area’s signature events at Renaissance at Colony Park in Ridgeland. Benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association Mississippi Chapter, Santé South is a Alzheimer’s Association | Mississippi Chapter 24-hour helpline 1.800.272.3900 destination event and international showcase of the world’s premier wines and some of Mississippi’s most succulent culinary delights. Santé South offers enthusiasts the opportunity of speaking with winemakers while sampling exceptional wines and food pairings from top regional restaurants. In addition to the Grand Tasting where guests enjoy sampling exquisite wines and delectable foods, this event offers a VIP Tasting. This tasting is limited to 200 guests who want an exclusive chance to sample the wines at the top of their lists before the larger crowd arrives. For more information and to purchase tickets visit IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

April 4 Jackson - Taste of Mississippi The 29th annual Taste of Mississippi will be held Monday, April 4th from 7 to 10 p.m., at Highland Village. The event will feature 45 restaurants, 10 restaurant distributors, two live bands, and a silent auction. All of the proceeds benefit Stewpot Community Services, whose mission is to provide for the needs of the homeless, elderly, and disabled in the Jackson metro area. For more information, call 601-353-2759 or visit •••


Through April 9 Columbus Spring Pilgrimage April 2 Columbus - Catfish in the Alley The air in Columbus will be filled with the smell of fried catfish on April 2nd at the annual Catfish in the Alley festival. This family-oriented event will 78 • APRIL/MAY 2016

The 76th Annual Columbus Spring Pilgrimage began March 28th and ends April 9th. In addition to home and garden tours, there will be a crawfish and shrimp boil, Artisan’s Alley, Catfish in the Alley festival, half marathon/5K run, Tales from the Crypt, carriage rides, double decker bus rides, a garden party with mint juleps and cheese straws, and more. For more information, visit or call 800-920-3533.

Southeast to cook and sample the barbecue offerings. The festival also features live music and other activities for BBQ enthusiasts of all ages throughout the weekend. There is no admission fee. For more information, call 662-453-7625 or visit •••

April 16 Taste of Starkville On April 16th, the Starkville Area Arts Council will present the Cotton District Arts Festival and Taste of Starkville in Starkville’s historic Cotton District. The Cotton District Arts Festival blends incredible art, mood, and music into one of Mississippi’s most entertaining events.The annual Taste of Starkville restaurant competition brings together Starkville’s top local restaurants to showcase their elite dishes. In 2015, the competition included everything from chocolate-covered bacon to deep-fried avocado. The festival is host to over 125 artists, as well as a juried arts competition and show, Writer’s Village, International Village, Taste of Starkville restaurant competition, 5K and 1 mile runs, Pet Parade, student art competition, and much more. For more information, visit

May 12 Taste of Ocean Springs Food & Wine Festival The Annual Taste of Ocean Springs Food & Wine Festival features “tastes” from more than 20 area restaurants and bars. Come gather underneath the live oaks, enjoy light music and exceptional “tastes.” The festival will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at L&N Depot Plaza. Tickets go on sale April 1st. For more information, call 228-875-4424 or visit •••


May 13-15 Jackson - Greekfest

May 6-7 Greenwood - Que on the Yazoo Que on the Yazoo is a barbecue competition on the banks of the Yazoo River in historic downtown Greenwood. The event is sanctioned through the Memphis Barbecue Network and is a Patio & PRO Competition. Que on the Yazoo also features a steak cook-off, sponsored by the Steak Cook-Off Association (SCA). The barbecue competition is open to teams and judges from throughout the

Greekfest offers the opportunity to learn and experience Greek culture right here in Mississippi. The event will be held on May 13-15 at Holy Trinity - St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church in Jackson and will feature authentic Greek food, dancing, homemade goods, and games for children. For more information, call 601-355-6325 or visit

To have your food festival or culinary event included in future issues, please contact us at info@eatdrinkmississippi. com. All submissions are subject to editor's approval. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 79

Recipe Index

Advertisers Index

After-the-Boil Seafood Potato Salad, 20 Bacon Cheddar Mini Muffins, 27 Blackberry Lime Spritzers, 29 Bourbon Peach Ice Cream, 54 Chicken, Cheddar, and Black Bean Quiche, 29 Cookies ‘N Cream Popcorn, 15 Crawfish Eleganté, 53 Enchilada Casserole, 51 Goat Cheese and Tomato Tart, 27 Green Tomato Pizza with Smoked Chicken and Truffle Crema, 24 Lemongrass Vichyssoise, 49 Marcela’s Beef Bulgogi, 48 Popcorn Party Pizza, 15 Popcorn and Peanut Truffles, 15 Shrimp Boil, 19 Strawberry Agua Fresca, 21 Ugali with Cheese, 49

Etta B Pottery, 4 Flowood, 9 Mississippi Children’s Museum, 6 Mississippi Market, 83 Ocean Springs, 21 Sanderson Farms, Back Cover Sante South, 2 Simmons Catfish, 6 Taste of Mississippi, 11 The Beef Jerky Outlet, 9 The Kitchen Table, 4 The Manship, 3 Thurman’s Landscaping, 81

STORE INFORMATION from page 16-17

Belk Mississippi locations - Biloxi, Columbus, Corinth, Flowood, Gautier, Greenville, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Laurel, McComb, Meridian, Natchez, Oxford, Ridgeland, Tupelo, Vicksburg

Etsy - A Vintage Parcel

Mud Pie


Opry Store 1.800.SEE.OPRY

DeShea’s Inside Baptist Memorial Hospital 2301 S Lamar Blvd. Oxford, MS 38655 662.232.8176

141 Township Ave. Ste. 109 Ridgeland, MS 39157 601.850.3860

J.Olive Co.

265 N Lamar Blvd. Ste. J Oxford, MS 38655 662.380.5013

Follow us on Instagram to see some of the tasty, local bites we’ve discovered! 80 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Sugar Magnolia Antique Mall 1919 University Ave. Oxford, MS 38655 662.234.6330 The Kitchen Table 3720 Hardy St. Ste. 3 Hattiesburg, MS 39402 601.261.2224

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

coming to terms

Of THEKitchen IN



with julian brunt

Emulsion Sauce The most famous, or at least common, of the emulsion sauces is mayonnaise. Most people are familiar with hollandaise sauce as well, but there are also a handful of other sauces that fall into this category: aioli, Béarnaise, remoulade, and tartar are at top of the list. Most emulsified sauces are served warm and are made with beaten egg yolks and a fat, like clarified butter. Clarified butter is used as it has had its solids removed and has a higher smoke point, about 485 degrees F. There are many variations of this sauce based on different flavorings, such as tarragon in Béarnaise, tomato for Sauce Choron, or a meat glace for Sauce Valois. Here are a few points to remember: a single egg yolk can only absorb about 1/2 cup of clarified butter, add too much and the sauce will be thin. Egg yolks will also curdle if exposed to too high a temperature, that is one of the reasons a ban Marie is often used to reduce that risk. For more information on classical sauces, check out Sauces by James Peterson. edm

Hollandaise Sauce is classically used in Eggs Benedict and is shown here over deep-fried soft shell crabs.

Landscaping • Irrigation Waterfalls • Lighting Outdoor Kitchens & Patios Iron & Brick Work

601.270.8512 Thurman’s Landscaping eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 81

Till We Eat Again


Jay Reed, a graduate of Ole Miss, lives in Starkville where he is a pharmacist by day and a freelance food writer by day off. He is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and writes "Eats One Ate," a weekly column in the Starkville Daily News.

82 • APRIL/MAY 2016

Grandma's Biscuits Are Impossible to Duplicate



ot long ago, in a land not too far away (Alabama), I spent the better part of a weekend hanging out with a bunch of food writers, magazine editors, restaurant critics, and the like. In other words, some of the most fascinating people on the planet. Because we were all from the South, or at least enamored with Southern foodways, two subjects repeatedly popped up in our conversations: grandmothers and biscuits. On the grandmotherly side of things, one topic was how to best preserve and hand down her recipes to later generations. A lot of times this can be a real challenge. Recipes were not always written down, and grandmothers who cooked a fondly remembered dish may have been guided by familiarity rather than recorded quantities: how the dough felt, or how many glasses of buttermilk it took. One colleague counted with some degree of exasperation the number of people in her family who had tried to duplicate a beloved grandmother’s biscuit recipe, to no avail. Apparently biscuit duplication is a real feat even among professionals. One magazine editor told of a group of a dozen professional cooks who were given the same biscuit recipe with identical ingredients and equipment. What do you suppose happened? Yep. They got a dozen different biscuits. Turns out a major ingredient in biscuit making is finesse. When you combine that with other basic components like the brand of flour, the type of fat, and the pan you bake them in, it’s no wonder we have trouble channeling Grandma. I might have been the only one in the room who could truly duplicate my Granny’s biscuit recipe. Here it is: take can out of refrigerator, carefully peel outside layer of paper away, whack can with a spoon on the dotted line, remove biscuits from can, place on cookie sheet, then take outside layer of paper out of garbage can and remind yourself how long to bake them and at what temperature. In the early days it was Hungry Jack; later she became more fond of Grands. But when it comes to Hungry Jack, I suppose that is not truly replicable - Jack doesn’t make canned biscuits anymore. My mother tells me that once upon a time Granny did actually make delicious homemade biscuits. I do remember eating dove, biscuits and gravy at her house many times; those biscuits were most likely homemade. She learned the craft from her mother (that would be Mommaw), who ran and cooked for a hotel in Fulton. Not to be left out, her other grandmother must have had a little magic in her recipe. Ma Manie could leave her leftover biscuits on the kitchen table all day and they would never get stale. When the next generation (my mother) was ready to learn, the recipe involved self-rising flour, buttermilk, and Crisco shortening the size of a prize walnut. To this day, the size of a prize walnut still eludes her. But she tried and succeeded, because my memories of her biscuits are good. Apparently she got a lot of practice before I came along, because my father says of her first batch, “If you’d hit a dog with one, you would’ve killed it.” Something about that texture must have grown on him, however, because for years she would bake them until golden brown for us, then put a few back in the stove for Daddy. He liked them a little crunchy. I have to confess I’m something of a biscuit universalist. That’s not to say all biscuits are equally good, but I do enjoy a wide variety. The Biscuit Pit in Grenada is not at all like Mary Lou’s Biscuit Bar in Louisville, but if I’m in either city in the a.m. hours I’m stopping. The bounty of Starkville’s Biscuit Shop varies widely from what appears under the DeRego’s Bread glass, but neither are to be ignored. In a pinch, I’ll make cat heads from Bisquick, or thaw out a few Mary B’s. With a little more time I have a copy-cat Popeye’s recipe that calls for Pioneer mix and club soda. My wife has made them quite successfully with oil, butter, shortening, and at high altitudes. When we lived overseas she even took the time to sift the bugs out of the flour. That’s love. There’s bound to be a moral to this story. Unfortunately, it may have something to do with giving up on our grandmother’s biscuit and getting on with our lives. But if you find a prize walnut, call me. edm

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