Eat Drink Mississippi December/January 2018

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Mississippi’s Bicentennial | Backroads and Burgers | A Taste of Home Town

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Short Rib Crostini Orange Slice Candy Cake Christmas Breakfast Casserole



+ The Rainey + Mai Little Chinese + The Anthony + Sonny’s Smokehouse + Dempsey’s Seafood & Steak eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1



07 2018



6:30pm 7:30pm


7:30pm 10:00pm



A L Z H E I M E R ’S M I S S I S S I P P I




CALL TOLL FREE 877.930.6190

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 3

Help Us Decide which Mississippi Restaurants have the Best Burger & Steak Go online by January 8, 2018 to nominate the Best BEEF Burger and Best Steak in the state!

The Mississippi’s Best Burger contest aims to find the single best beef hamburger and steak served in a Mississippi restaurant. Help us out by nominating a great tasting burger and/or steak from your favorite restaurant in the state. If your restaurant makes it to the top 5 you could win a gift certificate to dine! Support the BEEF industry and get others involved by eating more BEEF! The winning restaurants will be awarded a $1000 advertising package in February at the Dixie National by the Mississippi Beef Council.

Cast your vote at: Mississippi Beef Council 680 Monroe St. Suite A • Jackson, MS 39202 • (601) 353-4520 Sponsored by Mississippi’s Beef Producers through the Beef Checkoff Program 4 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018

CONTENTS December/January 2018 • Volume 7 Number 1


in this issue 13 WHAT’S HOT Pull-Apart Rosemary Sausage Rolls

16 CHEF’S CORNER Q&A with Chef Vishwesh Bhatt of Snackbar in Oxford

20 MISSISSIPPI Celebrating 200 Years of Statehood and Eatin’ Good


28 FIG AND WALNUT FRUIT CAKE A Fresh and Tasty Take on a Much-Maligned Holiday Staple

36 HOT DOUGHNUTS Krispy Kreme Celebrates 50 Years in Mississippi

40 MEMORY LANE Our Christmas Visit With Miss Ida

42 FRESH FROM THE FARM Lise Foy Uses Life Experiences to Grow Successful Business

17 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 5

Bake Bread at Home

Missing an issue? Back issues are available for order on our website! VOLUME 6, NUMBER 2


Chocolate Share the Love

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3720 Hardy Street, Suite 3 Hattiesburg, MS





eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI APRIL/MAY 2017

February/March 2017

- The Debutante Farmer + -Catfish


ELIZABETH+ Lillo's Family Restaurant

It’s Time for a


+ Taste Bistro & Desserts


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI


Walthall County


April/May 2017


+ McEwen’s + Ground Zero Blues Club + Betty’s Eat Shop + Phillip M’s

TheMISSISSIPPI Wayward Kraken eat.+drink. •1

Summer’s eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

BOUNTY Fresh-From-the-Garden Recipes

in Mississippi

Mississippi Seafood Trail | Berry Picking | The Great Ruleville Roast



eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI + Steak by Melissa + Bellazar’s

Gourmet Ice Pop Shops June/July 2017

Feast Like ++ Drago’s Bin 612 The King + Jack’s by the Tracks • in Tupelo


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

Elvis-Inspired Recipes


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

Palate to Palette | Gucci to Goats | The Great Mississippi River Balloon Race


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI August/September 2017

+ Forklift + Downtown Grille + 303 Jefferson + 1884 Cafe + Sully’s

Pumpkin Palooza

Crunchy Grilled Snapper Burritos Classic Southern Tomato Pie Quickie Pie

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

Old Biloxi French Gumbo Baked Ricotta Pasta Jambalaya



October/November 2017

+ On a Roll Gourmet Egg Rolls + Dino’s Grocery + Saltine Restaurant + Commodore Bob’s Yacht Club + Charred DISPLAY UNTIL NOVEMBER 30, 2017

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1


CONTENTS December/January 2018




Backroads and Burgers

48 FROM MISSISSIPPI TO BEYOND Ole Miss Grad Carlyle Watt Finds Recipe for Success in Anchorage Bakery

52 FROM THE BOOKSHELF A Taste of Home Town Staff of the Laurel Leader-Call


56 THE HILLS The Rainey - New Albany

60 THE DELTA Mai Little China - Greenwood ON THE COVER: Piña Colada Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce, page 34. Recipe and photography by Lisa LaFontaine Bynum

64 THE PINES Sonny’s Smokehouse - Ackerman

The Anthony - Vicksburg

72 COASTAL Dempsey’s Seafood & Steak - Kiln


FEATURED FESTIVAL International Christmas Festival and Pastry Sale - Biloxi

in every issue 8 From the Publisher 10 From Our Readers 14 Fabulous Foodie Finds 18 A Taste of Magnolia 78 Events 80 Recipe/Ad Index 82 Till We Eat Again

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 7

{ from the publisher }


ur state has reached a monumental milestone. On December 10th, we celebrate 200 years of statehood. There have been celebrations from Oxford to the Gulf Coast plus countless stories and photos shared online and in print to commemorate the occasion. We couldn’t let the opportunity to reflect on our foodways through the years pass by without sharing a little history with you. Beginning on page 20, Susan Marquez gives us a more in-depth look into our rich culinary heritage. She points out that corn has had a vital role in our diet and economy for generations. Whether it’s in cornbread or grits, corn is a staple on tables throughout Mississippi and the South. One dish every Southern cook should master is cornbread; and my mother has done just that. A key ingredient is butter...and lots of it. She shared her recipe, which calls for a whole stick of butter–real butter, not margarine. I’ve tried to be a little healthy many times by making it with less butter. It has been okay, but not like my momma’s. Hers is extra crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Every time I deviated from her recipe, my kids were sure to point out that “it’s not like mamaw’s!” I’ve given up and given in, so now I just throw the health aspect out the window and put the whole darn stick in there. It makes a world of difference. When it comes to cornbread, nothing is worse than it being dry and crumbly. I’m sharing her recipe so there’s no excuse for you to not master it as well. Will travel for food – that’s a phrase I live by often. Whether it’s right here in the Magnolia State or half-way around the world, I’m always ready to embark on a new culinary adventure. When traveling, I always keep my eyes open for tasty stops along the way. There’s one that stops me in my tracks nearly every time. When the “Hot Doughnuts Now” light is on at Krispy Kreme, you can bet I’m stopping. It feels like a sign from above beckoning me to indulge in warm, sugary pillows of heavenliness. When they’re hot, Krispy Kreme doughnuts just melt in your mouth. The Dorgan Family is celebrating the 50 year anniversary of introducing Krispy Kreme to our state. Be sure to read their story beginning on page 37. We’re now heading into the party season, and we’ve got some delicious recipes for appetizers that can be made ahead. I love make-ahead recipes because they allow you to spend more time with family and friends and less time in the kitchen during party time. I wish you a delectable Christmas and a flavorful New Year. I’m looking forward to another year of bringing you the best bites our state has to offer.

photo by joy wallace

Cornbread by Joy Wallace

Vegetable or canola oil 1 cup self-rising cornmeal mix 1/2 cup self-rising flour 1 egg, slightly beaten 1 cup buttermilk 1 stick butter, melted Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, pour just enough oil to lightly cover bottom. Place skillet into oven while it’s preheating. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together cornmeal mix and flour. Add egg and buttermilk and stir until combined. Add butter and stir. When oven is hot, remove skillet and pour in cornbread batter. Place back into oven and bake until edges begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and invert onto large plate. Slide cornbread back into skillet and return to oven for about 5 minutes to brown second side.


“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:3


EAT DRINK MISSISSIPPI (USPS 17200) is published bi-monthly by Carney Publications LLC, 296 F.E. Sellers Hwy., Monticello, MS 39654-9555. Periodicals postage paid at Monticello, MS, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to EAT DRINK MISSISSIPPI, P.O. Box 1663, Madison, MS 39130.


The Perfect Gift

Do you have a family-favorite dinner recipe? Or a favorite dish that never lasts long at get-togethers? Eat Drink Mississippi wants to feature your recipes in future issues. Please send recipes to info@eatdrinkmississippi. com, or mail them to PO Box 1663, Madison, MS 39130.

3 J A C K S O N FAV O R I T E S 1 CONVENIENT C ARD Make Us Part Of Your Giving Tradition

AVA I L A B L E I N - S T O R E & O N L I N E


Visit our websites to place your order. Offer valid through December 25, 2017.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 9

{ from our readers } Thank you for spotlighting my Gucci to Goats blog and recipe in the October/November issue. The feature was beautifully written and I’m honored to be included with so many interesting and influential people. Thank you for considering me. Jake Keiser Oxford I just love Eat Drink Mississippi!

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

{ in the blogligh


J.J. Carney Publisher/Editor J

By keLsey weLLs LamBer t | photog raphy By ake Keiser, a the oLmste self-proclaimed ads former city girl background, had with no rural possibility. Havingnever really thought of farm of challenge s. She has a well life as a lived in Tampa 15 years, she and is responsib water. Caring Bay, Florida, was tired of for for over le the relentless and polluted garden are not animals properly and growing for her own work pace, anxiety, air that come easy with city life. closer to nature garden was especiallytasks, and she admits that food in a With a desire and change her learning to to live and moved to difficult when lifestyle, easy. She also she packed a farm in rural she thought admits that the transition from Oxford in Novembe her bags her, coming physical isolation it would be wearing Gucci from an r 2012. The was a shock and milk goats to to In spite of the area where people are in was a challenge raising chickens, turkeys, no short supply. challenges, Keiser peacefulness for Keiser, but has been very of her new lifestyle. says that life she loves the rewarding. She on her farm Keiser documen resourceful in has learned to order be creative and website, guccitogo ts her experiences in rural stressful environm to solve problems. The living on her Visitors fresh air and ent have been Daffodil Hill less to the site can wonderful. She also says Farm, Keiser’s learn about that her new home. They that Keiser has cooking, lifestyle can also view for sale, contact is “conducive” often all animals about the farm, to her for more have expanded day and from scratch. Her information and read her creative efforts to blog documen Her blog posts windows, using her kitchen, where she opens ting her adventure include many farm-fresh ingredien her doors and stories living and cooking s. She also ts to cook up values her in a rural area. about her animals and tasty dishes. Keiser admits time-consuming food more now that she that her move understan processes required to the farm came cheese. When to make products ds the with plenty living such as an easily accessible in the city, foods came prepacka grocery store. Now, she follows ged from 46 • OCTOBE a different R/NOVEMBER 2017

recipe. “If I want to make lasagna, the milk, and then make the I have to milk the goats, filter cheese, make pecan pie takes the sauce, etc. longer to make A pecans and shell because I have them while trying to collect the admits to buying not to eat them.” She also while living in eggs that came from “vegetari the an fed” hens diet and collects city. Now, she better understan eggs ds a chicken’s As she continues from her free range hens. her work on her lifestyle with her farm and visitors, she also begins plans to continue sharing the Gucci

cajeTa – GoaT

MilK caraM

2 quarts whole milk 2 cups sugar (i use organic, but any granulat 1/2 teaspoon ed sugar works) baking soda, dissolved into 1 to 2 teaspoon 1 tablespoon s vanilla milk Salt, optional

(i use this for salted caramel – add this slowly and to taste) add the milk and sugar to and bring to a large (preferab slow, rolling ly tall) pot boil. once it’s simmerin g well, remove add the baking from heat and soda mix. usually slowly often double it will bubble in size, which up and can is why you want a large pot.

to Goats website understand rural and work on a book to help others better been positive, living. Responses to her blog and posts have posts food-rela many have requested recipes ted when she cooking methods articles. She admits that her “mad make food posts Through all and recipes more scientist” of her work, difficult. Keiser wants lifestyles just to show rural as they are. As she said, “I enjoy gain insight into helping people this lifestyle, edm the good, bad, and ugly parts.”

el Sauce

once the mixture has settled, and stir often put it back on while you cook start to see down the mixture.the heat it thicken and you’ll turn caramel medium to color. medium high heat, but i prefer i usually use and tend to keep it a more a slower process to medium. easily take an This process hour or can When the caramel longer. is the consisten add the vanilla cy of syrup you (and salt), remove can thicken a bit from the heat. as it it will ease of pouring. cools. i add it to jars before it cools for Depending upon how much usually makes you reduce three small the sauce, it jars of sauce. an extra quarter Sometimes jar. i have

Susan Holmes Montevallo, Ala.

eat. drink. MISSISS

IPPI • 47

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.

John Carney Executive Editor Paige McKay Associate Editor Anne Morgan Carney Executive Assistant Joe Luca Newsstand Sales Consultant




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

b P.O. Box 1663 Madison, MS 39130


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 1663, Madison, MS 39130.

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 1663, Madison, MS 39130 or e-mail us at 10 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018



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Looking for more recipes?

Check out our recipe collection on our website!

Eat.Drink. NovDec 2017 MCM 4.625x4.75.pdf



10:40 AM eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 11


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. 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

JO ALICE DARDEN is a book editor and freelance writer. A former lifestyles editor for the Greenwood Commonwealth, she is a regular contributor to its quarterly publication, Leflore Illustrated. She grew up in Greenwood, graduated from Delta State University with a major in English, and now lives in Cruger with her husband Bob, also a writer, on his family’s farm.


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. 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. PAIGE MCKAY is Associate Editor of Eat Drink Mississippi. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in communication from Mississippi State University and currently lives in Madison. She spent five months in Washington, D.C., as a Legislative and Press Intern for Representative Steven Palazzo. She returned to Mississippi to work for the magazine. In her free time, she enjoys visiting Starkville and trying out new restaurants with friends.

JANETTE TIBBETTS is a ninth generation Mississippian. She grew up on a Jones County dairy farm, attended Millsaps, taught school, and was a merchant. She is the founder and curator of “The Sandbank,” a Beatrix Potter Collection, at USM. She is a freelance writer and photographer. Janette writes weekly garden and food columns for magazines and newspapers. She was awarded a writer’s grant from the Mississippi Art’s Commission and the National Endowment of the Arts. She lives with her husband, Jon, and writes in their home near Hattiesburg. A published author of short stories, she is presently completing a novel. 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.

{ what’s hot }

Holiday Flavor This season, think outside the dinner table and incorporate tasty brunch dishes into your holiday planning to help keep guests satisfied morning, noon, and night. Serve guests these Pull-Apart Rosemary Sausage Rolls made with premium pork sausage and flaky biscuits for robust flavor any time of day.

Pull-Apart Rosemary Sausage Rolls Servings: 20 biscuits 1 pound Smithfield Hometown Original Fresh Sausage Roll 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves, plus sprigs for garnish (optional) 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 egg 1 teaspoon water 2 cans (12 ounces each) refrigerated small biscuits (20 biscuits total) Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In bowl, unpackage sausage and lightly mix with rosemary and pepper.

Divide into 20 pieces, rolling into little balls; refrigerate until needed. In small bowl, whisk egg and water until frothy. Remove biscuits from packaging and carefully dimple centers with thumbs. Insert sausage balls in centers and place biscuits close together on lightly sprayed or greased cookie sheet. Brush exposed biscuit dough with egg wash and top with rosemary sprigs, if desired. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until biscuits are golden and sausage is cooked through. Serve warm. Substitution: Smithfield Hot Fresh Sausage Roll or Sausage Patties can be substituted for Original Fresh Sausage Roll. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 13

{ fabulous foodie finds }


Plaid has been a staple in our wardrobe and décor for years now. It’s a classic that seems to tie everything together, especially in the winter months. This holiday season, break out the plaid and make your home welcoming and warm with these plaid-patterned home décor items.

Caspari Plaid Cocktail Napkins, $5.50 pack of 20 The Kitchen Table Hattiesburg

Beaded Plaid Coasters, $19.95 set of four Pier 1 Imports

Classic Tartan Adult Apron, $39.95 Williams-Sonoma Ridgeland 14 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018

Plaid Dinner Plate, $58.00 Garland Salad Plate, $46.00 Snowman Selfie, $32.00 Etta B Pottery

Home Essentials & Beyond Insulated Casserole Carrier, $9.99 Bed Bath & Beyond

Peace on Plaid Gift Box, $22.00 and up The Mississippi Gift Company, Greenwood

Faribault Woolen Mill Wine Sleeve, $15.00 Laurel Mercantile, Laurel

see page 80 for store information

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 15

{ chef’s corner }

Q&A with Chef Vishwesh Bhatt of Snackbar in Oxford


native of Gujarat, India, Chef Vishwesh Bhatt has been a part of the City Grocery Restaurant Group in Oxford, Mississippi, since 1997. Under the direction of Chef John Currence, Bhatt began working as a line cook at City Grocery. After a short time off, he returned to the group in 2001 as a catering chef. Bhatt worked his way up before going on to open his own restaurant, Snackbar, in 2009. With his years of culinary experience and exposure to worldwide cultures, he has developed a menu that intertwines both Southern and subcontinental foodways. Snackbar is an upscale restaurant that serves Southern food with a twist. He uses traditional southern ingredients, like catfish, grits, and cheese – but he prepares them using flavors and techniques of his native India. Snackbar is also celebrated for its raw bar and cocktail program. Snackbar has been recognized by local and national media as one of the finest restaurants in the South. The highlight of Bhatt’s eight years as chef at Snackbar has been the recognition by the James Beard Foundation as a finalist for Best Chef: South from 2014 to 2017. His work even earned him a People’s Best New Chef nomination from Food & Wine in 2011. Chef Bhatt resides in Oxford with his wife, Teresa, his dog, Tula, and his cat, Bitbit. Who or what influenced you to become a chef? It was an accidental discovery. I started working in restaurants for beer money while in college and just kept doing it. Cooking and eating is something I have always enjoyed. I have been very fortunate that my mother was a great cook and that I landed in Oxford when Chef John Currence opened City Grocery and hired me.

things that I really enjoy cooking that it’s hard to pick just one. But a nice, rich braise when there’s a chill in the air is definitely very high on my list.

What is your favorite food memory? There are so many to list. Any time I’m sharing food with family and friends is special to me.

What do you enjoy doing on your days off? Being lazy or having people over for casual supper.

How would you describe your cooking style? Cooking off the cuff and from the heart. What are your signature dishes? Okra any way I can cook it, roasting or frying chicken, vegetables, and soups. What’s your favorite ingredient? Summer vegetables. What’s your favorite dish to prepare? Again, there are so many 16 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018

What’s your favorite dish to eat? Absolutely anything that someone else cooks for me.

What do you enjoy cooking at home? I love one-pot meals, stews, pastas, pizza, and Gujarati food that I grew up eating. When you’re not at work, where do you like to eat? In Oxford, City Grocery, St. Leo, or at someone’s home. Tell us a little bit about your restaurant. Snackbar is a great little neighborhood restaurant. It’s the place that has allowed me to grow as a chef. It is a perfect place to enjoy food and friends. edm

photography by jeffrey grimes

Corn Salad 6 ears of corn, charred and kernels cut off the cob 1 small red onion, minced 3 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, and diced 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced 2 serrano chilies, minced 2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and crushed 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted and crushed 2 tablespoons black peppercorn seeds, toasted and crushed 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/3 cup mint, chopped 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped Zest and juice of 2 large limes 2 tablespoons sorghum Salt Gently combine everything, except the sorghum, in a bowl. Season with salt as needed. Serve on a platter or bowl, and drizzle sorghum on top.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 17

Taste of Magnolia a

Let the Party Season Begin BY DIVIAN CONNER

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

DIVIAN CONNER is a Mississippi mama of four ‘not so little’ little ones. Coming up with recipes, trying new ones, and feeding her crew of tweens and teens is her passion. Southern recipes, easy recipes, sorta hard recipes, but always delicious recipes is what you will find on her food blog, www. Now venturing into outdoor cooking over an open fire, Divian is fascinated with camp cooking and entertaining.



hen I was growing up, my parents always threw parties. They would invite the most amazing people and plan the most epic of menus. My mother would write out her entire playlist, in her infamous calligraphic handwriting, for the entire party. Originating from her bedroom stereo, song after song seeped loudly from the speakers in the ceiling that were in each room of the house. Platters of cheddar, colby, and pepper jack cheeses that were wrapped in black forest ham and honey roasted turkey neighbored intricately cut out watermelon filled with fruit covered the kitchen and dining room tables. Drinks were plentiful and readily available, and everyone was always in the best of spirits and laughing. Peeping from my cracked bedroom door, I could not wait until I was able to host my own parties. Mistletoe hung in the arch of the doorway at Christmas and the fireplace was always burning. Chestnuts were roasted and, if you stepped outside, Jack Frost would most certainly nip at your nose. Dinner parties consisted of hearty comfort food accompanied by golden slices of cornbread, and throughout the days of December, we were greeted with the luring aromas of dressing, sugar cookies, pineapple studded hams, deep fried turkeys, and tastes of Mississippi barbecue. As you plan your epic holiday menu, why not give these a try? Wow guests with this simple, delicious mini version of a combination of Southern tastes. Thinking about all my childhood memories, the forbidden parties I was not allowed to attend, and the comforting feeling that is tasting Southern barbecue, led me to this holiday party hors d’oeuvre idea. Cornbread – check. Pulled pork – check. Tantalizing coleslaw check. BBQ sauce – check. Bite size – check. These amazing bite-size appetizers are sure to be a winner at any of your holiday parties! edm

Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Cornmeal Cakes with Coleslaw and Tangy BBQ Sauce


2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/3 cup cornmeal 2 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk 1 large egg 2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil 1 cup peeled, coarsely shredded sweet potato Pulled pork or chicken Coleslaw, recipe follows Tangy BBQ Sauce, recipe follows

1-1/2 cups chopped cabbage 1/2 cup shredded carrots 1/3 cup mayonnaise 1-1/2 tablespoons white sugar 1 tablespoon vinegar

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (the batter may be lumpy). Fold in the shredded sweet potato and set aside to rest. Scoop batter into a zip top bag or baker’s piping bag. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Slightly wet a folded paper towel with oil and rub the pan to coat it. Carefully pipe batter into pan about the size of a quarter. (Don’t crowd the pan.) Cook the pancakes until the tops are covered with bubbles, about 1-2 minutes. Keep your eye on them so that they do not burn. Flip and cook the other side until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove mini pancakes and place aside. Once cornmeal cakes are done, place on serving tray, top with pulled pork or chicken, then drizzle with BBQ sauce. Add a dollop of coleslaw and a snippet of dill, parsley, or freshly sliced jalapeño to garnish.

2 tablespoons of soy sauce 1/3 cup of ketchup 1 tablespoon butter 2 tablespoons hot sauce 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon chili powder Pinch of black pepper 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt 1 teaspoon mustard

Add everything to a bowl and mix well. This coleslaw will be less runny to avoid a mess on the serving platter. You can add more mayo to your liking.

Tangy BBQ Sauce

In skillet on low heat, add in all ingredients. Let butter melt and stir until everything is blended. Turn off heat and drizzle atop Pulled Pork Cornmeal Cakes.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 19

grits ∙ cornbread ∙ sweet potatoes ∙ watermelon okra ∙ tomatoes ∙ catfish ∙ shrimp ∙ oysters ∙ rice cornbread ∙ sweet potatoes ∙ watermelon ∙ grits tomatoes ∙ catfish ∙ shrimp ∙ oysters ∙ rice ∙ okra sweet potatoes ∙ watermelon ∙ grits ∙ cornbread catfish ∙ shrimp ∙ oysters ∙ rice ∙ okra ∙ tomatoes watermelon ∙ grits ∙ cornbread ∙ sweet potatoes shrimp ∙ oysters ∙ rice ∙ okra ∙ tomatoes ∙ catfish grits ∙ cornbread ∙ sweet potatoes ∙ watermelon oysters ∙ rice ∙ okra ∙ tomatoes ∙ catfish ∙ shrimp cornbread ∙ sweet potatoes ∙ watermelon ∙ grits rice ∙ okra ∙ tomatoes ∙ catfish ∙ shrimp ∙ oysters sweet potatoes ∙ watermelon ∙ grits ∙ cornbread okra ∙ tomatoes ∙ catfish ∙ shrimp ∙ oysters ∙ rice watermelon ∙ grits ∙ cornbread ∙ sweet potatoes tomatoes ∙ catfish ∙ shrimp ∙ oysters ∙ rice ∙ okra grits ∙ cornbread ∙ sweet potatoes ∙ watermelon catfish ∙ shrimp ∙ oysters ∙ rice ∙ okra ∙ tomatoes cornbread ∙ sweet potatoes ∙ watermelon ∙ grits shrimp ∙ oysters ∙ rice ∙ okra ∙ tomatoes ∙ catfish sweet potatoes ∙ watermelon ∙ grits ∙ cornbread 20 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018

MISSISSIPPI: 200 Years of Statehood and Eatin’ Good story by susan marquez


hink about some of our favorite foods in Mississippi: grits, cornbread, sweet potato casserole, juicy watermelon, fried okra, and red, ripe tomatoes. Don’t forget pond-raised catfish, Gulf seafood, and a staple at nearly every meal, rice. With Mississippi celebrating its bicentennial year in 2017, we can’t help but think of how Mississippi’s foodways have developed from what was found in nature 200 years ago to the dishes that are now quite common on tables across our state. It’s that perfect intersection of food in our culture, traditions, and history that make Mississippi unique. It began with the Native Americans who made the land that is now Mississippi their home hundreds of years ago. Corn was a crop crucial to Choctaw and Chickasaw agriculture as well as for their religious rituals. It is estimated that corn was introduced to Mississippi through a vast trade network that connected the Valley of Mexico with North America in the eighth or ninth century AD. Among the earliest achievements of Mississippi’s native women was the cultivation of corn. It was a central feature of Native American life in Mississippi, and according to Ted Ownby who wrote about the evolution of corn in the book he co-edited, Mississippi Encyclopedia, that set the stage for a diet and economy in which grits and cornbread have played a major part for generations. “The issue of how to prepare corn—

with beans, as hoecake, as grits, on the cob, as moonshine, and eventually other products—became central to Southern foodways.” Corn production in Mississippi declined sharply after the Civil War as landowners focused on a more lucrative cotton crop. According to Ownby, Mississippi’s corn production fell from a record high of more than twenty-nine million bushels in 1860 to just fifteen million bushels in 1870. Corn production rallied in 1900, and by the mid-to-late twentieth century, corn became a large-scale commercial agriculture crop. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mississippi’s corn production approached one hundred million bushels per year. Seafood and freshwater fish have been staples of Mississippians’ diets for centuries as well. Catfish can be found in every fishable body of water around the state, from farm ponds and streams to lakes and rivers. They are omnivores, meaning they eat practically anything. Native Americans were among the first to eat catfish, followed by Americans of African and European descent. Catfish has been especially adaptable to aquaculture and became a significant form of farming around the 1960s, particularly in the Mississippi Delta. It quickly became the largest-selling farm-raised fish in the United States. If fed a grain-based diet, catfish flesh has a neutral flavor which is favored by chefs, as it will take on whatever spices are used in its preparation. Gulf shrimp, oysters, and fish are celebrated in Mississippi, literally, with festivals all along the Gulf Coast. Improved transportation and preservations methods contributed to the rise of the seafood industry in the 1880s on the Gulf Coast. Charles Bolton wrote in Mississippi Encyclopedia that a group of Gulf Coast men started a company in 1881 that utilized new techniques to can shrimp and oysters caught off the Gulf Coast. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 21

Another staple of the Mississippi diet over the years is okra. It makes sense that okra grows so well in Mississippi—it’s a member of the mallow family, which is related to cotton. It is said to have been brought to the South via the Caribbean and American colonies in western Africa during the 1700s. Okra has been used as a thickener, particularly in soups and gumbos. Southern cooks began using a pod or two of okra in peas or beans for extra flavor, and practically no Southern meal is complete without delicious bites of fried okra. Another popular pairing for okra is stewed with tomatoes. For years, the best tomatoes are believed to come

from Crystal Springs, the self-proclaimed Tomatopolis of the World. The whole town embraces its special tomatoes each June at the annual Tomato Festival. The lobby of the post office is embellished with a large mural that depicts a scene of men and women working in a field of tomato plants carrying boxes of green tomatoes for shipping. Seeds from tomatoes traveled across the ocean and back again to put forth roots in Mississippi soil. Spanish explorers discovered the fruit in South America and introduced to Europe. In the mid-1800s, a citizen of Crystal Springs received a few seeds from his native Italy. The seeds grew well in the area and other farmers began growing tomatoes, and a new industry was born due to tomatoes being in demand in eastern markets. Vardaman, located in Calhoun County, has become synonymous with sweet potatoes. As a matter of fact, there is probably not a single facet of life in the town that has not been touched by the industry of growing, harvesting, storing, marketing, and transporting sweet potatoes. The vitamin-rich root vegetable has been grown in the area since settlers first arrived, and by 1860, it was the most prevalent crop in the area according to that year’s Federal

photo by john carney

The lobby of the Crystal Springs Post Office features a large mural depicting a scene of men and women harvesting tomatoes and preparing them for shipping. 22 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018

Agricultural Census. The beginning of the commercial sweet potato industry in Vardaman came around the time of World War I. It continued through the Depression years of the 1930s and through the World War II years. The equipment used to plant and harvest the crops has improved over the years, and the Vardaman sweet potato continues to be the industry standard. The starchy vegetable is celebrated each fall with the Vardaman Sweet Potato Festival, which draws over 20,000 people to the event. Watermelons are to Smith County what sweet potatoes are to Vardaman. Like many of the foods we enjoy today, recorded history reveals that watermelon originated in Africa. There are hieroglyphics on the walls of ancient Egyptian buildings that depict watermelon harvests. Merchant ships spread the melon seeds along the Mediterranean Sea and on to China before spreading to Europe in the 13th century. During the 16th century, Native Americans were cultivating watermelons. When the seeds were planted in the rich soil around Sullivan’s Hollow in Smith County, they grew with wild abandon. By the early 1920s, the word about the sweet watermelons got out and people traveled for miles to purchase one of the “Cuban Queen” watermelons. Each July, folks in the town of Mize celebrate all things watermelon. While often associated with Asian countries, rice has become a popular crop in Mississippi as well, and it’s certainly a popular dish on Mississippians’ plates. African slaves brought knowledge of rice cultivation to port cities in South Carolina and Georgia. The slaves taught plantation owners how to dyke marshes and flood the fields to grow and harvest the rice. As techniques to mill the rice evolved, the crop became more popular. Since the 1800s, Cajun farmers have been growing rice in wet marshes and low-lying

prairies of Louisiana, where they could also farm crawfish. Farmers further north in the Mississippi River Delta area began growing rice as well. Rice is more popular than ever, with several successful Mississippi artisan rice companies spreading the word about the benefits of eating rice. While not grown in Mississippi, comeback sauce was certainly born in Mississippi. There are differing stories on the origin of comeback sauce, but the most popular tale points to The Rotisserie restaurant in Jackson, owned by Greek immigrants who settled in the area. They first made the creamy, mayonnaise-based sauce in the 1930s. It is similar to remoulade sauce, but there is something different about it that makes it unique. Ingredients include chili sauce, ketchup, hot sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, and other ingredients, including smoked paprika, which gives comeback sauce its distinctive color. The name perfectly describes the sauce, because once you taste it, you will want to come back for more. Foodways continue to develop across the state, as chronicled by the Southern Foodways Alliance. With the influence of immigrants to the area, international flavors are combined with more familiar dishes to create new and exciting dishes. Two hundred years from now, the foods eaten by Mississippians of the future may be totally different from what is common here today. edm

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 23

Y'all Come Back Now!


hile not as old as Mississippi, comeback sauce has been around for nearly 100 years and is a favorite condiment in many Mississippi homes and restaurants. Of course, it is popular on salads, but is also used to flavor po’boys, French fries, and as a dip for many hors d'oeuvres. Today, there are many varieties and each of them has that “special ingredient” that makes it appeal to the taste buds. Many recipes are closelyguarded secrets, handed down from generation to generation of families and restaurateurs. Comeback sauce is popular in many well-known eateries around the Magnolia State including the Mayflower, the Elite, Crechale’s, Primos, C.S.’s, Hal & Mal’s, and Walker’s Drive-In in Jackson, Ajax Diner in Oxford, Giardina’s in Greenwood, and Robert St. John’s restaurants in Hattiesburg. There are also several commercial producers that bottle it for shipment to all those homesick natives who cannot get their taste buds satisfied locally. Bullshed in Pelahatchie, Oxford Falls in Starkville, and Thames Food in Oxford sell commercially bottled sauces. If you are interested in making your own to celebrate our great state’s bicentennial, here is the original recipe from The Rotisserie. edm photo by lisa lafontaine bynum

Rotisserie Come-Back Dressing 1 clove garlic, grated 1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup chili sauce or ketchup 1 teaspoon yellow mustard 1 cup Wesson© oil 1 teaspoon Worcestershire 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon paprika 1 small onion, grated Juice of 1 lemon 24 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018

1 tablespoon water Dash of Tabasco Salt to taste Measure out all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until everything is well-combined. Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate any unused dressing. Makes approximately 1 quart of sauce.

Serving Jackson for Over 10 Years

• •

Lunch served Monday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Dinner served Thursday to Saturday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. 1491 Canton Mart Rd. Ste. 12, Jackson 601.957.1441

Showcase your restaurant here!

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Contact Paige McKay to reserve your space! 601.427.5694

Bin 612 boasts a cafe-like atmosphere popular with college students and locals alike. The Bin’s menu offers an eclectic blend of pizzas, panini, burgers and more made with fresh local ingredients.



Southern-Inspired. Seasonally-Crafted. Devilishly Good.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 25

{ mississippi made }


Family Is Key to Success for Yazoo Toffee story by paige mckay | photos courtesy of terry vandevere


or Terry Vandevere and her daughter, Brittany Ketchum, it all started in 2012 when they were looking for a business project that they could work on together. They decided to base their project on Vandevere’s mother’s English toffee recipe. They started producing small batches of toffee and sold it in a local vendor market in Yazoo City, and it has since grown into something bigger than they could imagine. Today, Yazoo Toffee is sold in 100 stores in seven states throughout the southeast. Yazoo Toffee started small at Downtown Market in Yazoo City, and when it kept selling out at the market, Vandevere and Ketchum decided to take it a step further by participating in local and regional trade shows and markets. It was such a hit at their first show that they sold out on the first day and had to make more for day two. “For our first two-day trade show in Jackson, we packaged what we perceived to be an overabundance of toffee, and we sold out by mid-afternoon of the first day,” Vandevere said. “Not willing to have an empty space at the show for the entire second day, we drove back to Yazoo City, made more toffee, packaged it, and drove back to Jackson.” Once they began to get wholesale orders, Vandevere said that’s when they realized that they might be onto something. “We have been very fortunate to have been so well received and to have experienced steady growth since we first placed Yazoo Toffee in a small booth in Downtown Market.” When Yazoo Toffee first started, Chocolate Pecan was the only flavor offered. A few years later, White Chocolate Almond and Plain Toffee flavors were added to the assortment. In addition to being enjoyed by those who purchase Yazoo Toffee, it has also been provided to guests at weddings, given as corporate gifts, and even offered at a luncheon hosted by one of our Mississippi Congress members in Washington, D.C. Vandevere said that her and Ketchum’s favorite part of Yazoo Toffee is that it is truly a family business. They both do all the cooking, and everyone in their family has been part of the many other tasks related to the completion and delivery of toffee orders and, ultimately, the progress of Yazoo Toffee. Vandevere said that her mother has been dubbed ‘Head of Packaging,’ and has spent countless hours tying bows, putting on stickers, and packing orders. Vandevere also credits her other daughter, both of their husbands, her sister, her sister-inlaw, and friends for the success of Yazoo Toffee.

As for the future of Yazoo Toffee, Vandevere says she plans to continue to grow the business and expand their customer base. They are constantly exploring new flavors and plan to introduce a new addition to flavor options in 2018. edm Yazoo Toffee 4680 Eden Midway Rd., Yazoo City 662.571.1032

From left, Debbie Holt, Brittany Ketchum, Terry Vandevere, Katie Jones, and Doty Jones

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 27


A Fresh and Tasty Take on a Much-Maligned Holiday Staple


ertain foods are synonymous with the holiday season. Thanksgiving turkey. Holiday cookies. Fruitcake. While those first two make mouths water, fruitcake rarely inspires stomachs to rumble in anticipation. But fruitcake is more than just something

to go ignored on holiday serving tables. The following recipe for Fig and Walnut Fruit Cake is chewy, crunchy, and wholesomely rich, making it something holiday hosts will be proud to serve to their holiday guests, who might just come away with a whole new appreciation for fruit cake. edm

Fig and Walnut Fruit Cake from Andrew Schloss’ Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More (Chronicle Books)

Makes 12 servings Vegetable oil spray 1 pound walnut halves and pieces 1 pound dried figs, stems removed, quartered 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 1 cup sugar 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup diced candied orange peel 1/4 cup walnut brandy, such as Nocello Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9x13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray; set aside. Toss the walnuts and figs in a large mixing bowl; set aside. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Toss 3 tablespoons of the dry ingredients with the nuts and fruit to coat. Add the eggs and vanilla to the remaining dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon to form a smooth batter. Mix in the candied

orange peel. Scrape into the nuts and fruit and toss with a rubber spatula until everything is evenly coated. Scrape the batter-coated nuts and fruit into the prepared pan, wet your hands with cold water, and pack the nuts and fruit firmly into the pan. Set in the oven and bake for 8 hours, until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the cake should register 215 to 225 degrees F.) Remove the pan from the oven and spoon the brandy over the top. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen, invert onto a rack, remove the pan, turn right-side up, and cool to room temperature. Variation: You can “bake” this in a slow cooker; you will need a 1-1/2-quart soufflé dish and a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Once the batter is in the soufflé dish, put it in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 29


HOLIDAY APPETIZERS recipes, styling, and photography by lisa lafontaine bynum


osting a holiday party? Planning and executing the menu can bring on a host of holiday stress. Your guests will rave over these easy and delicious appetizers. But the best part? Most of the components can be made ahead of time. edm


Baked Brie

with Spicy Cranberry Sauce

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 31

Short Rib Crostini

with Horseradish and Caramelized Onions


Short Rib Crostini with Horseradish and Caramelized Onions For the shortribs: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2-1/2 pounds beef shortribs 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce 1/2 cup beef broth 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed 3 cloves garlic, minced For the caramelized onions: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 large yellow onions, sliced into rings 1-1/2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup bourbon For the horseradish sauce: 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish 1 tablespoon mayonnaise 1 tablespoon sour cream 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce Other: 1 long French baguette, cut into 1/4-inch slices. Chopped parsley, optional For the shortribs: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the shortribs on all sides with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, brown the shortribs on all sides. Transfer the shortribs to a slow cooker. Do not remove the skillet from the heat. Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet. Scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the brown sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture over the

shortribs. Cook on low heat for six hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Transfer the shortribs to a large bowl or cutting board and shred. For the onions: Heat oil in a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat in the oil. Reduce heat to medium low. Sauté for 10 minutes. Add salt, stir to coat. Sauté for 10 minutes. Add brown sugar. Stir to coat. Sauté for 10 minutes. Add the butter. Stir to coat. Sauté for 10 minutes. By this time, the onions should look caramelized. Pour in the bourbon and scrap up the bottom of the pan. Sauté for another 10 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked off. Use onions immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For the horseradish sauce: Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl until combined. To assemble: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes, just until the bread slices are toasted. Allow the baguette slices to cool slightly. Spread the horseradish sauce over each slice. Top with a tablespoon of shredded meat and a teaspoon of the caramelized onions. Place the crostini back in the oven and heat through, 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired. Make ahead: The shortribs, onions, and sauce can all be made several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

Baked Brie with Spicy Cranberry Sauce 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries 1 cup water 2 apples (sweet variety such as Gala), peeled, cored and diced 1 orange, zested, peeled, and diced 1/2 cup golden raisins 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup chopped pecans Toasted bread or crackers Place the cranberries and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Simmer for about five minutes until the berries begin to pop. Add the apples, orange and zest, raisins, jalapeño, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and

simmer on medium low for about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend to desired consistency – you can leave it slightly chunky or purée it until it is the consistency of jam. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the brie on a foil lined cookie sheet or in a cheese baker. Bake the brie for 12-14 minutes. Allow it to cool for about five minutes. Drizzle the cranberry sauce over the brie. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Serve with toasted bread or crackers. Make ahead: The spicy cranberry sauce can be made several days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat the sauce on the stove or in the microwave before serving. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 33

Piña Colada Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce


Piña Colada Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce Serves: 8-10 4 cups heavy cream or whole milk 1-1/2 cups crushed pineapple, drained 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted 1-1/2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans 1/2 cup golden raisins 2 cups frozen piña colada mix, thawed 2 tablespoons vanilla 2 teaspoons nutmeg 2 tablespoons cinnamon 2 cups of sugar 3 eggs, lightly beaten 1 loaf of day-old French bread, cubed (about 6-8 cups loosely packed) Rum Sauce: 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 egg, lightly beaten Rum or rum extract to taste to taste, about 3 tablespoons

For the bread pudding: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the bread. Mixture should be moist, but not soupy. Fold bread into mixture and stir until bread is thoroughly coated. Pour into greased 9x12x12-inch glass baking dish. Allow mixture to sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours to allow the bread to soak up the custard. For individual mini bread puddings, spoon pudding mixture into medium greased muffin pans or ramekins. Place in a cold oven. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour, or until the top is golden brown. Serve warm with rum sauce, ice cream, or whipped cream. For the rum sauce: Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla. Slowly stir in the egg, and then add the rum. Heat and stir over low heat about 10 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Serve warm over individual puddings. Make ahead: The rum sauce can be made two days before your party and stored in the refrigerator. Simple reheat over low heat before serving.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 35


HOT DOUGHNUTS Krispy Kreme Celebrates 50 Years in Mississippi story by paige mckay


o one can resist a Krispy Kreme doughnut – especially when the hot light is on – and Mississippians have been enjoying the iconic doughnuts for now half a century. Krispy Kreme recently celebrated 50 years in the state of Mississippi. The doughnut retailer opened the doors of its first location in our state in Biloxi on August 15, 1967, and residents of the state have been enjoying them ever since. It all started around 1952 with a man named Joe McAleer, who worked for the founder of Krispy Kreme, Vernon Rudolph, in the state of Alabama. McAleer worked his way up the chain and eventually got involved in management, and was eventually offered the position of Associate Operator. Once Rudolph passed, Krispy Kreme was bought out by

a large food conglomerate out of Chicago, and McAleer was given the opportunity to be an Associate Owner. McAleer didn’t care for the direction the large, corporate company was taking the Krispy Kreme stores, so he and a few other associate owners pooled together their financial resources and bought Krispy Kreme back from the large company that had bought them out. At that point, McAleer became President and CEO. Once McAleer gained his new title, he also gained a new work partner, his family member Billy Dorgan, Sr. After returning from serving in Vietnam, Dorgan, Sr. was offered the opportunity by McAleer to work in the business and, together, they opened the first Krispy Kreme in the state in 1967 on the beach in Biloxi. “Since that day, I have seen my children and grandchildren

Original Biloxi location on the beach eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 37

begin working in our shops, and I that is something I could have never imagined when we first opened our doors,” said Dorgan, Sr., current Owner of Krispy Kreme in Mississippi. The Dorgan Family now owns four Krispy Kreme locations throughout the state. The Biloxi location was open for 25 years and then relocated to Gulfport in 1992. The Hattiesburg location opened in 2003, followed by Ocean Springs in 2011 and Columbus in 2012. “The good Lord has shown us that this a unique opportunity to serve people,” Billy Dorgan, Jr., said. “We want to carry on the legacy of McAleer and continue to serve the community as he did.” Dorgan, Jr., added that he enjoys creating magical moments for customers through the creation of the iconic doughnuts. “That’s what sets us apart, the fact that you can watch the show happening right in front of your eyes,” Dorgan Jr., said. Dorgan, Jr., added that while there are no plans for new locations in the near future, he said he always has his eye on whatever lies ahead. In the meantime, be sure to stop by any of the Dorgans’ Krispy Kreme locations and enjoy a hot, glazed doughnut. edm

Billy Dorgan, Jr. with The Krispy Kreme Cruiser

The original Biloxi Beach location of Krispy Kreme 38 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018

The Dorgan Family and two of their daughters, from left - Pam Lee, Patty Dorgan, Billy Dorgan, Sr., George Newman, Maureen Newman, David Newman, and John Aaron Newman eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 39

{ memory lane }

Our Christmas Visit With Miss Ida story and recipe by janette tibbetts | photography by j.j. carney


iss Ida lived down on Little Creek and was our farthest away neighbor that Temple and I were allowed to visit. We walked to her house several times during the year and she was always glad to see us. To get to Miss Ida’s house, we had to climb three tall hills. After walking to the top of the last one, which was called Buffalo Hill, we could see down toward Little Creek, but tall pines blocked our view of it. We had to walk down the little WPA dirt road that was only two ruts, which seemed to twist toward the creek. Finally, after crossing the wooden bridge over the branch in the last bend, we could see her little house and her standing in the door looking down the road. She lived alone as her husband had died during the Depression and all six of her children were grown and had moved away except for Joseph, her youngest son who was in the Air Force flying bombing missions in the Pacific. In late winter, when Papa butchered a veal, we would carry Miss Ida a small roast. In early spring, we usually brought her a mess of greens. In the summer, Mother might send Miss Ida some Dixie Lee Peas or speckled butter beans. Later in the fall when the apples were ready and Mother was making jelly, she always wrapped a jar up tight in newspaper for us to take to Miss Ida. However, our favorite trip to Miss Ida’s occurred the week before Christmas. Mother always baked two Orange Slice Candy Cakes. One for us and one for Miss Ida. When we arrived at her door with her cake, Miss Ida would take a sniff and smile. Miss Ida cooked dinner for us every time we went to visit her. If we were there on a warm day and the fish were spawning, she carried us down to the creekbank and allowed us to watch while she waded out into the edge of the water and stood perfectly still until a mud cat swam between her legs slow enough for her to grab him. If we didn’t have fish, she cooked warm eggs she sent us to gather from beneath her hens. She scrambled the eggs in butter with the strong wild onion tops she showed us how to pinch from where they were


growing near the edge of the path going down to the creek. She mixed them with tips from the asparagus bed behind her barn. Watercress grew naturally in one of the many springheads that fed into the creek. She would allow us to help her reach over into the clear, tinkling water and pick a bowl of the small identical bunches of greens. She spread the egg mixture over the watercress. We sat at her kitchen table and ate the tender dish. She served our dinner on the most beautiful plates we had ever seen. They were painted in bright colors and were covered with birds and flowers. Miss Ida never ate with us. She carried her plate to the front porch and even in cold weather ate out there. Once, Temple told her we would slip down and there was plenty of room for her to eat at her table. Miss Ida said she liked to eat on the porch where she could be looking down the road when Little Joe came home. The saddest thing that ever happened in our community was when the Air Force came to see Miss Ida and told her that Joseph’s plane was missing in action and was down in the Pacific. Except for Miss Ida, everyone cried. It was the first time I saw my father cry. Miss Ida said her Little Joe was just lost and could not find his way and that he would often get turned around and it would take him the longest to find his way out of Little Creek swamp. She kept standing in her door watching down the road for Joe until after the war was over and an Air Force Captain accompanied by a chaplain went back to see Miss Ida. They showed her a picture of the place in the Pacific Ocean where the officials had determined her son’s plane had been shot down. They gave Miss Ida a neatly folded flag and placed a Gold Star in the window of her little house. When we walked back over to Miss Ida’s to take her Orange Slice Candy Cake, we saw all of her beautiful dishes thrown under the wooden bridge. Although they were broken, we could still read on the bottom – Made in Japan. edm

Orange Slice Candy Cake 1 cup butter (room temperature) 2 cups sugar 6 large red eggs 1 teaspoon soda 1 cup buttermilk 4 cups Swans Down cake flour 2 pounds orange slice candy, chopped 1/2 cup chopped dates 2-1/2 cups chopped pecans 1-1/2 cups Baker’s Sweetened Angel Flake Coconut 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided 8 ounces Kentucky bourbon 1/2 cup candied orange rind curls Cool Whip Butter two 14x9x2-inch cake pans and line with waxed paper. Butter and flour paper. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs individually, beating after each addition. Dissolve soda in buttermilk and add to mixture. Sift flour into large mixing bowl. Add chopped orange slices and rotate until each piece is separated and coated. Add dates and pecans in similar manner. Add coconut and blend. Combine flour mixture and creamed mixture. Mix stiff dough with heavy wooden spoon. Divide dough between prepared pans. Bake 2-1/2 hours or until tester comes out clean. Combine orange juice and 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar. Pour over hot cakes and allow to stand overnight.

Remove cakes from pans, paper from bottom of cakes, wrap in cheese cloth, and moisten tops with 1 ounce bourbon. Place in large zip top storage bag and store in refrigerator. Repeat bourbon application on alternate days. To serve, garnish with candied orange rind curls and a dot of Cool Whip. On Christmas Eve, leave Santa a generous slice beneath the tree. Cook’s notes: Best if baked 10 days before serving. Chopping the orange slice candy is the most tedious and time consuming ingredient in this recipe. This task is made easier by generously flouring a cutting board with 1/2 cup or more powdered sugar. Place board on counter of comfortable height for sitting. Flour knife and cut edges of orange slices during process. Dates and pecans are best if purchased whole and freshly chopped.

CANDIED ORANGE RIND CURLS Oranges 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup hot water Peel orange rind into narrow 1/8-inch strips without pulp. In a small saucepan on stovetop, dissolve sugar in hot water and bring to a boil. Add orange strips and separate. Cook for 2 minutes. Cover and allow to stand until barely warm. Spread candied rind in curls on wax paper to set. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 41

{ fresh from the farm }


Farm Girl Charm

Jo Anderson and Lise Foy

Lise Foy Uses Life Experiences to Grow Successful Business story and photography by Lisa LaFontaine Bynum


t’s a beautiful morning to travel the back roads in Holmes County. Summer seems to have finally loosened its tight grasp. While it’s still warmish for fall, the cooler tinge in the air is welcomed. A mailbox at the end of a wooded dirt driveway reads “Foy.” The driveway eventually leads to a clearing. A pristine pond and the “main house” are on the right. On the left is a little clapboard building accented with a metal roof, red front door, and a welcoming red porch swing – the official headquarters for Farm Girl Grocery. Owner Lise Foy comes by her moniker naturally. She was born into a farming family, growing up on 300 acres

between Kilmichael and Winona in Montgomery County. Not surprisingly, the way-of-life seeped into her blood like rainwater into Mississippi clay. Foy studied agriculture in college, gaining a degree in Agriculture Pest Management from Mississippi State University, and later a master’s degree in Agronomy from the University of Wyoming. She even married a farmer – her husband Jamie is a third-generation commodity farmer. With farming so deeply intertwined in her life, it’s no surprise she became the proprietor of a small but successful farming operation herself. Like many small businesses, Farm Girl Grocery began as eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 43


a hobby. In 2010, Foy helped launch a local farmers market in Greenwood through her job with the Main Street Association. To support the effort, Foy became a market vendor, selling fresh vegetables from her booth. A few years later, Foy and her husband moved to Canton. She began working with the Canton Chamber and Main Street Association and continued her support of the local farmers market. In addition to selling fresh vegetables, she added homemade pepper jelly and her mother’s Country Fair Egg Bread to her product line. Eventually, Foy felt the call to stay home with her children. That’s when Farm Girl Grocery went from part-time hobby to full-time job. She began as a cottage food business operating out of her home. Within six months, business was booming and Foy quickly outgrew her kitchen. She and her husband decided to build a 500-square foot commercial kitchen adjacent to their home in Pickens. Of course, one person can only do so much. In May, Foy added Jo Anderson to her team. Anderson’s sixteen-year-old son worked for the Foys as a summer job. One afternoon, Anderson and Foy were chatting while waiting for him to get off work when Foy realized she needed to haul some vegetables to the wholesaler. Foy said, “I looked at Jo and said, ‘I need to go to the wholesaler! Can you watch the kitchen?’ I basically gave her a crash course in selling bread.” Anderson ended up making around 20 sales that afternoon, and she’s been Foy’s right-hand woman ever since. “People call me Farm Girl 2,” she jokes. “But we’re really a team,” Foy points out. “I grew up shelling butterbeans,” Anderson explains. “I fell in love with Lise’s concept. Working here brings me peace and makes my spirit happy.” In the spring and summer months, Foy grows kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash, cucumbers,

zucchini, tomatoes, and bell peppers. On this particular fall day, Foy shows off her cabbage, peppers, and broccoli, two long rows of green and purple okra, along with the last of her tomatoes for the season. Much of her produce is sold to Up in Farms, which provides assistance to small- and medium-sized farms as well as a means to sell their produce to commercial buyers. Foy also sells retail, stating that the majority of her orders come through the Farm Girl Grocery Facebook page. Once a week, she shares what produce she has available, along with other items from her product line, including a wide variety of homemade artisan bread, canned preserves, pickles, salsa and relishes, and seasonal spice mixes. Foy even sells farm fresh eggs. The product list changes frequently because everything is either grown right there on the farm or sourced locally. Customers can leave a comment on Facebook to order, then pick up at Foy’s drop off location in Canton on Thursday or directly from the farm on Friday morning. Foy also takes orders through her website. She is able to ship her bread, canned goods, and seasoning mixes, stating that her products have been mailed to Wyoming, California, Texas, and Georgia. Foy’s life, by all accounts, has come full circle. She’s gone from a little girl growing up on a farm, to successful business owner and raising her own girls the way she was raised. She has stayed true to her roots to become the real-life farm girl behind Farm Girl Grocery. edm Farm Girl Grocery 1773 Way Rd., Pickens 662.858.0279

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 45

{ in the bloglight }

Backroads and Burgers


story by paige mckay | PHOTOS SUBMITTED

ost everyone remembers what it was like the first searching for the weird and unique in everything they do and time they had a taste of true Southern cuisine. For everywhere they eat. the team members of Backroads and Burgers, that “I love finding things and places that we’ve heard about, experience is what sold them on eventually calling Mississippi but most people don’t get to see,” Southerland said. “When we home and starting a food and travel blog about their find somewhere we want to visit, we just pick a day and go.” adventures and culinary experiences. Friends Brandi Perry, Jeni Perry added that she and the Backroads staff are getting Southerland, Mark Rogers, and the late Amelia Rogers make up to live the dream of not only seeing the ins and outs of a team of bloggers whose goal is to promote Mississippi and Mississippi and other states, but also having the opportunity to the South, promote tourism and tourist attractions, and allow share it with followers from around the world. their followers to experience Mississippi through their blog, The Backroads staff has been fortunate enough in their Backroads and Burgers. All current residents of Marion County, everyone is heavily involved within their community. Perry is a published author of four books and is working on her fifth, and Southerland is a paralegal at a local law firm. Mark Rogers is the Managing Editor at The Columbian Progress, and was married to Amelia Rogers, who unfortunately passed in early October. The Backroads staff decided to continue Backroads and Burgers in honor of Amelia. Aside from their day jobs, the group of friends has always enjoyed cooking for friends and family and visiting locally-owned restaurants, but starting a blog wasn’t something they ever considered at first, until others began Brandi Perry, Jeni Southerland, the late Amelia Rogers, and Mark encouraging them to do so. Rogers enjoy a visit to Zip's Cafe, home of the famous Zip Burger, in “The four of us would travel once or Magee. twice a month, and we would just pick a direction and go,” Perry said. “We would share our backroad finds, photographs, and food adventures travels to visit little treasures in our state, such as the Old to our social media accounts and kept getting asked to start a Country Store in Lorman, and Arlington, a home in Natchez food and travel blog.” that was built in 1819, and everywhere in between – even So, that’s exactly what they did. The group came together Baton Rouge and other out-of-state cities. Along with sharing on one platform and thus, the creation of Backroads and their experiences to their followers, the Backroads staff also Burgers. Since starting their official blog, it has accumulated believes in giving back to their community of Columbia and followers from all 50 states and 28 countries. By the end of this Marion County in as many ways as possible. year, the group will have traveled 10,000 miles. The Backroads staff hopes to continue to grow Backroads On the blog, you can keep up with the adventures of the and Burgers to promote Mississippi and the South in a positive Backroads staff from local eats to tourist attractions and other light. Perry said that she and the team hope to eventually get hidden gems they find along the way. The group takes their involved with chambers of commerce and tourism committees readers off the beaten path of Mississippi and highlights things to work on promoting their communities to the rest of the that readers might not have known about, and they’re always world. edm


The Backroads and Burgers team visit with Mr. D at the Old Country Store in Lorman.

Brandi Perry and Mark Rogers attend Stewpot's Taste of Mississippi event in Jackson.

Yemple Cake 2 packages crescent rolls 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract 1 can apple pie filling, or any other fruit pie filling Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar 1/4 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract Approximately 2 tablespoons of milk Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange crescent rolls into a circle on a non-stick cookie sheet. Cream together the cream cheese, sugar, and extract, and spread along the center of the crescent roll circle. Place pie filling on top of cream cheese mixture and then fold over the tails of the crescent rolls. Bake for 13 minutes or until the crescent rolls are browned on top. For the glaze, mix powdered sugar, extract, and milk, adding more milk if needed, until the mixture forms a thick glaze. Pour over warm cake and serve. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 47

{ from mississippi to beyond }

Ole Miss Grad Carlyle Watt Finds Recipe for Success in Anchorage Bakery


story By Kathy K. Martin | photography by brian adams and ash adams

arlyle Watt has gone from cornbread and collard greens to salmon and caribou. After working in many Oxford restaurants while attending Ole Miss, he found his way to Alaska. Today he is head baker at Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop in Anchorage. He was also recognized as an outstanding baker by the James Beard Foundation last year. “The nomination was the highlight of my career, just getting noticed by the culinary scene is great,” Watt said. Although he grew up in South Carolina, he followed his two older brothers to Ole Miss and graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management in 2005. He pursued a career in the food industry, he said, because of his many fond memories


of his family and food. His grandmother prepared iconic Southern dishes such as Charleston red rice, which she made only on days when a ham was roasted so she could add the drippings to the rice. She also cooked butterbeans, which she simmered in ham hock, as well as custardy macaroni and cheese, and tall, layered coconut cakes. His mother grew a huge garden that supplied the family with fresh vegetables. “Like most Southern families, everything we did was based around the table.” While pursuing his degree at Ole Miss, Watt worked at restaurants such as Proud Larry’s, Boure, and the now-closed Oxford Steak Company. After graduation, he returned home and worked at restaurants there until he moved to Jackson

for a year and worked for his friend, Andy Cook, who owned The Parker House in Ridgeland. His experience there solidified his intent to sharpen his culinary skills, so he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of American in Napa, California in 2008. “I spent eight solid months there, but wish I could have stayed there for eight years.” He received great advice, he says, such as when a baking instructor told him to “bake like a chef and cook like a baker.” He puts that advice to use every day as a baker. The economy was depressed and jobs were hard to find after culinary school, so he decided to accept a personal chef position that was available in Alaska. He worked for a family there for two years and then left when he started his band, Super Saturated Sugar Strings, and traveled throughout the West on tour. “I came back broke and needed a job, so I remembered how much I liked Fire Island. I felt like we were aligned philosophically.” He also liked the hours. He could work in the morning at the bakery and then play alternative folk, jazz, and blues with his band in the evenings. His wife, Theresa, plays the cello in the band, and when they

Super Saturated Sugar Strings

travel, their young daughter, Lily, comes along with them in their Winnebago. His job at Fire Island begins at 7 a.m. when he checks on the bread team, which includes the employees who mix eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 49

and shape the dough and those who man the ovens. He also oversees the savory program and manages those cooks and orders produce from farmers. He especially enjoys making savory pastries, focaccia, and Danish pastries. One of his favorites at Fire Island is a breakfast focaccia that features sausage, egg, roasted potatoes, and aged cheddar. When he cooks a meal at home, he usually prepares a one-pot stew so he can build on the flavors and have only one dish to clean. He might use caribou (he has a whole one in his freezer right now) or salmon. A hunter and fisherman, he often catches about 40 salmon all in one day so he can freeze them and be prepared with food for a long time. The state of Alaska allows residents to “dip net” for salmon every July, which involves a six-foot-wide net on a 20-foot-long pole that can be placed in the mouth of a river. He explains that the salmon swim up the river and hopefully get caught in the net. “On a good day,” he says, “you can fill your freezer with bright-red sockeye filets.” While Alaska doesn’t have strong culinary traditions like the South, he says that his new home has many good people just like Mississippi who like to host potlucks that feature salmon and wild game. “I do miss the rich culture of the South and its hospitality,” he says, but he enjoys being around a diverse group of people, including all of the Alaskan sportsmen, as


well as the different weather. Some are born and raised there, but most come from all over the country and bring their culture and traditions with them. In December, he says that they have just four hours of sunlight a day, but in the summer, they have about 21 hours a day. “The summer brings long days, which means we go all the time while the sun is up, playing music festivals and chasing the fish and wild game to prepare for winter and to be outside as much as possible.” By winter, he says that they are prepared for the shorter days. “We are exhausted and ready to hunker down for a few months with a bowl of hearty stew.” edm Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop 2530 E 16th Ave. Anchorage, Alaska 907.274.0022 1343 G St. Anchorage, Alaska 907.569.0001



• Almost 1 in 4 Mississippians — about 690,000 people — don’t have enough to eat. • More than 1 in 4 children (28.7%) go to bed hungry most every night. Stomachs are growling all over the state. Hunger is a problem all across America, but in Mississippi, it’s practically an epidemic.

DONATE NOW! Every $1.00 donated provides seven meals to hungry Mississippians.

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A gift subscription to Eat Drink Mississippi makes the perfect gift! eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 51

{ from the bookshelf }

A Taste of Home Town The People, The Places, and The Food

of Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi By the Staff of the Laurel Leader-Call Published by Gin Creek Publishing Company


by paige mckay

ften times, certain recipes and dishes are connected to beloved memories. A Taste of Hometown is just that: a collection of favorite recipes and memories, along with the reasons why they’re so cherished. With A Taste of Hometown, readers get more than just recipes — they get to experience the city of Laurel in their own home. Along with family recipes from notable citizens of the Laurel community, such as Ben and Erin Napier, Parker Posey, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Lance Bass, Tess Holliday, Leontyne Price, Charlie Mars, and more than 80 others, including honorary resident Matthew McConaughey, readers will also get the inside scoop on personal stories and history of Laurel. A Taste of Hometown takes readers on a cultural and culinary journey of Laurel and Jones County, giving them their chance to own a small piece of the small, Southern town. A Taste of Hometown is creatively divided by groups of people in Laurel, such as “Hometown Headliners,” “Free State Foodies,” “A Taste of Reality,” “Appetizing Athletes,” “Chairman of the Smorgasbord,” “Culinary Artists,” “Downtown Delicious,” “Public Service with a Smile,” and “Extra Bites.” This is a bit of a twist compared to other cookbooks that might typically be arranged by categories such as appetizers, desserts, casseroles, and other classifications. The chapter of “Free State Foodies” comes from the movie Free State of Jones, starring Matthew


McConaughey. The movie is based on and was filmed in Jones County. McConaughey and other influencers from the movie share their favorite recipes and give insight as to why they cherish it. McConaughey’s provided recipe is a juicy McConaughburger, which takes a twist on the runof-the-mill burger. Another unique chapter in A Taste of Hometown is “A Taste of Reality.” This section features residents of Laurel that have previously been on reality television shows. Here, you can find recipes from Dr. Lake Gardner, who finished sixth place in The Amazing Race, vocalist and The Voice contestant Samantha Landrum, and Miss Mississippi 2001 Becky Pruett-Denham. Other names you can find in other chapters include U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn and her mother, Mary Jo Wedgeworth; Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge; Olympic gold medalist Ralph Boston; and 1996 Miss Mississippi USA Caroline Ramagos Walters. Each share their stories of why their recipe is their favorite and the memories behind it. Food brings everyone together, and with A Taste of Hometown on your shelf, you can bring everyone together, too. Whether you’re looking for a meal for your family’s dinner table, a dish to take to a party, or anything in between, A Taste of Hometown will be your go-to for Southern comfort recipes. After all, the South is exactly where they came from. edm

Christmas Breakfast Casserole

If you’re looking for ideas for breakfast on Christmas morning, this Christmas Breakfast Casserole is your go-to make-ahead dish that can be popped into the oven while the family opens presents. This recipe comes from the famous MM Bake Shop in Laurel. MM Bake Shop opened in 1933 and closed for good in 2003, but this recipe and a few others from MM Bake Shop can be enjoyed forever.

1 pound pork sausage or venison (can use maple, mild, or spicy sausage) 6 slices of bread, cubed into small pieces 1 (8 ounce) package shredded cheddar cheese 8 large eggs 2 cups whole milk or half & half 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper Brown sausage in large skillet and drain. Cut and discard the crust from bread, arrange in a single layer in a 9x13-inch baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover bottom of dish. Sprinkle with sausage and cheese. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over the sausage and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F until set and golden, about 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Best made on Christmas Eve and put in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Bake while opening gifts, then eat! eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 53

{ raise your glass }

Got Milk Punch?


uring the holiday season, eggnog seems to be the seasonal drink of choice, but not everyone is so keen to the eggy beverage. If you want to get in the holiday spirit and sip on something else, try out this Milk Punch recipe from the family of Bush Dairy in Jones County. This recipe is from the new cookbook, A Taste of Home Town: The People, The Places, and The Food of Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi. It’s available in various shops across the state or online at www.leader-call. com/product/a-taste-of-home-town. edm

M.L. Bush’s Milk Punch Serves 8-10 1 gallon whole milk 1/2 gallon quality vanilla ice cream 1 pint heavy cream 1/2 cup simple syrup 1 tablespoon vanilla 1-1/2 teaspoons nutmeg Cinnamon, to taste Rum flavoring, to taste Mix all ingredients in large punch bowl. Serve over ice and garnish with dusting of nutmeg and a vanilla bean, if desired.



MaiGreenwood Little China -


The Rainey -

New Albany

The Hills The Delta -

Sonny'sAckerman Smokehouse The Pines

- Vicksburg The Anthony -


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.

Dempsey's Seafood & KilnSteak -


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 55

The Hills

The Blue’s and Blackened Ribeye 56 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018

The Rainey

The Hills

104 N Railroad Ave., New Albany • 662.539.7732 • story and photography by megan wolfe


ississippi tourists and natives alike travel to New Albany for boutique shops, festivals, and outdoor recreation. However, in recent years, the town has gained enough popularity that, in early 2017, New Albany was named “America’s Best Southern Small Town” by USA Today. One of only twenty nominations, the award raised New Albany to the national spotlight, and with it, some of the best food in the state. The Rainey joins Ciao Chow, Sugaree’s Bakery, and Tallahatchie Gourmet as yet another reason to see this small town. At the time of my visit, The Rainey was still tweaking a few details, but they had already well established a reputation for high quality service. The restaurant had a hugely successful soft opening in early June 2017, with a grand opening in September. Each weekend, the house has been bustling with new and returning customers, and online reviews have garnered them five stars around the board. The decor is stylish with dark wood tabletops and chairs. At night, music reminiscent of a downtown city hotspot beats amid soft light and a sophisticated ambiance. In a place like this, you may not expect to find traditional, southern cuisine, but The Rainey doesn’t shy away from its southern roots. It simply builds on them. “Some people didn’t understand our concept at first,” said David Wilson, Director of Operations. “Yes, we are a nice place, but we still have southern cuisine like fried chicken and catfish. We still have to focus on that as our heritage.” That heritage is honored by Chef Stevens Flagg, who brings his past experience as Executive Chef at Giardina’s in Greenwood to the hill country. Awarded last year with an invitation to cook at the James Beard House, Flagg’s menu at The Rainey boasts a few staples, but is hardly static. Flagg is foremost an artist with his food, and he has been known to swap out a popular dish for a new inspiration. To give a general idea of The Rainey’s offerings without guaranteeing any one particular dish, the menu I saw had everything from a cup of Gumbo (said to have been the best Chef John Currence had ever tasted), to Filet Mignon, to more unique items like the Bison Pockets (deep fried pockets stuffed with bison meat, bell peppers, and onions), and the Mango Chop (grilled double-boned pork chop glazed with mango pepper jelly). Some dishes are definitely classical southern, while others are southern fusion, and yet others are not southern at all.

Chelsea Davis prepares a cocktail at the bar of The Rainey in downtown New Albany.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 57

The Hills

Mango Chop 58 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018

The Hills It’s good news for those who may be burnt out on traditional southern dining, and great news for those of us who can’t get enough. In addition to high quality dishes by an award-winning chef, The Rainey’s bar is a key highlight. Each and every cocktail is hand-crafted with juices and syrups made from scratch by the restaurant’s mixologists. Yes, there are real mixologists here. In fact, should any bartender come to work at The Rainey, a large part of their training is a deprogramming of past experience. To become a Rainey ‘mixologist’, one must forget everything and be trained from scratch to ensure a particular level of excellence from

start to finish. This commitment to quality all around is what puts The Rainey a step ahead in the southern food experience. In terms of where the southern narrative may go from here, David Wilson presented an interesting thought. “I think ‘Southern’ will be defined by southern people creating it, rather than it being about specific dishes,” said David Wilson about Southern Fusion dishes. “Some things may not have a traditional, southern background, but because someone southern is creating it, you can taste the soul in it.” We may not be quite there yet, but southern diners will be delighted by the high level service provided by The Rainey. edm

Mint Berry Crush

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 59

The Delta

ABOVE - Catfish Mai features farm-raised Delta catfish, breaded and fried, with jumbo shrimp, lump crabmeat, prosciutto, and sugar snap peas in a silky cream wine sauce. RIGHT - Mai Bass consists of hot and sour striped bass that has been breaded and fried, with green peppers, grape tomatoes, and onions in a sweet and spicy sauce.


The Delta

Mai Little China 617 W Park Ave., Greenwood • 662.455.1101 •

Story by Jo Alice Darden Photography by Jo Alice Darden and Matthew Mai


ay you’re on a tight lunch hour, and you have an unusual craving for a couple of egg rolls— with some meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and sweet tea. And wouldn’t banana pudding just top that fusion off perfectly? If you’re in Greenwood, you’d head to the one-stop shop for such an eclectic meal—Mai Little China, in the Highland Park Shopping Center on West Park Avenue. “We offer a buffet at lunch and serve from the menu at dinner,” said Cathy Mai, the restaurant’s co-owner with her husband, Chef Matthew Mai. On weekdays, the hot buffet presents food that is fast, but that is not fast food. “When people are on their lunch hour, they know they can come here and quickly get almost anything they want off the buffet,” Cathy said. One of the two buffet lines offers Chinese fare from egg drop soup to egg rolls and pepper steak; the other offers selections cooked Southern-style—greens, fried chicken, breaded pork cutlet in gravy, cornbread, for example. Customers can choose items from both lines (or from the menu, if desired), and there are always at least a couple of desserts. Selections on both lines change daily. Cathy said the decisions about what to offer

Cathy and Matthew Mai, owners of Mia Little China

are based mainly on a mix of customer preference and their own family favorites. “We just wanted to make a place where everybody can feel comfortable,” Cathy said. “They can dress up or come in shorts and a T-shirt and feel welcome. And they can eat as much as they want and get back to work on time.” Opened in 2007, Mai Little China was the dream of Cathy, who grew up in Greenwood, and especially Matthew, who was formally trained as a chef in Hong Kong. Cathy and her mom traveled to China to visit family in 1997. While they were there, the couple, who had already “met” on the phone, connected face-toface through her mom and his grandmother, who had always known they’d be a perfect match. The two ladies were right: Cathy and Matthew married while she was on that trip, and Matthew joined her in the United States the following year. They have three children, ages 17, 15 and 5, who all love to eat at their family’s restaurant. Dinner at Mai Little China dials back the pace from the lunchtime rush. Out come the white tablecloths and napkins and sparkling wine glasses. Candles are lit. And menus are presented— no buffet service at dinner. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 61

The Delta


The Delta Lingering over Matthew’s finest dishes, diners can take the time to appreciate the original paintings by Greenwood’s own Angie Crick Cole, and feel their warm reds and golds encouraging appetites. One of the most popular dinners at Mai Little China is Catfish Mai, sort of a United Nations on a plate—Asian, French, and Italian elements and farm-raised Delta catfish, breaded and fried, with jumbo shrimp, lump crabmeat, prosciutto, and sugar snap peas in a silky cream wine sauce perfected by Matthew. Other favorite proteins include beef, lamb, and chicken entrées. A 14- to 16-ounce dry-aged, hand-cut ribeye or

a pair of peppercorn-encrusted lamb chops with rosé au jus, both cooked to order, paired with almost unbelievably fresh broccoli or garlic-sautéed asparagus, can satisfy the heartiest of appetites. And true to his Cantonese background, Matthew composes each plate as he would a vibrantly colored masterpiece, almost too beautiful to eat. It’s not difficult to understand what makes Mai Little China so popular; in fact, readers of the local newspaper, the Greenwood Commonwealth, have voted it their favorite buffet or place to eat Chinese food every year since 2009 in the paper’s annual People’s Choice Awards. “We just want to make people happy here,” Cathy said. edm

TOP: Mai Lamb Chops - Black peppercornencrusted lamb chops are cooked to order and served with rosé au jus and fresh steamed broccoli. BOTTOM: Mai Ribeye - A dry-aged, hand-cut 14- to 16-ounce ribeye is cooked to order and paired with fresh garlic-sautéed asparagus.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 63

The Pines

BBQ Potato and Pulled Pork Sandwich


The Pines

Sonny's Smokehouse 8936 MS Highway 15, Ackerman • 662.285.8074 story and photography by paige mckay


f you’re not paying close attention while driving through Ackerman, you just might miss a hidden treasure. Tucked back off Highway 15 is Sonny’s Smokehouse, a small restaurant with big time flavors. Owner Sonny Strickland has been serving up burgers, steaks, and hickory-smoked meats since 2003 and has received praise from customers from all over the country. One stop at Sonny’s, and you’ll understand the hype. At first glance, Sonny’s might not look like much, but big things usually come in small packages. It’s a small, wooden building with a take-out window for ordering. A large portion of Sonny’s business is take-out, but if patrons wish, they can dine on the front lawn at the picnic tables, or they can step inside a quaint, air-conditioned room to enjoy their meal. The smokers and other equipment can be seen off to the side. You know you’re guaranteed fresh meat when you can see smoke billowing out from the smokers. One of Sonny’s claims to fame is his steaks, and after tasting one, it’s no surprise why. Strickland cuts each steak himself and cooks them to order every single day. Some have even called it the best steak in the world.

“Professional bass fisherman Hank Parker stopped in one day and told me that he’s eaten steaks all over the world, literally, and that this is the best one he’s ever had,” Strickland said. “Often times, people from all over come here just for the steak.” When he says people come from all over, he means that quite literally. Strickland says that a couple from Pearl drives to Sonny’s every few weeks just for a steak. Even Archie Manning and his family are fans of Sonny’s food. The coal mines in Ackerman also bring in people from all over the country, and mine workers stop in quite frequently to dine at Sonny’s. Customers from Ohio, Florida, Texas, and everywhere in between have experienced Sonny’s, and some Texans have even told Strickland that his BBQ is better than what they’ve eaten at home. Steak isn’t the only thing cooking at Sonny’s, though. The smokers off to the side are full of brisket, pork, ribs, and chicken. Strickland uses real hickory wood in his smokers, along with his own special seasoning, to give the meat its unique flavor. Sonny’s is only open Thursday through Saturday, so every Wednesday night, Strickland and his sister, Paige, fire

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 65

The Pines

ABOVE: Rib Plate BELOW, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Heath Bar Pound Cake, Sour Cream Pound Cake, Banana Pudding, Caramel Sea Salt Cheesecake


The Pines up the smokers to begin the cooking process. Some of Sonny’s other dishes include a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, Chargrilled Burger, Brisket Plate, Chicken Plate, Shrimp, BBQ Potato, and BBQ Nachos. Sides include Baked Beans, Slaw, and Baked Potato Salad. The ribs are tender and fall right off the bone, and the pulled pork is flavorful and delicious. Sonny’s also boasts a unique BBQ sauce. Strickland came up with the recipe himself and said that the ingredients include things you might not think to add in a BBQ sauce. Whatever it is, it adds the perfect touch to any of the dishes. Your meal wouldn’t be complete without a dessert to finish it all off. Sonny’s desserts include Heath Bar Pound Cake, Caramel Sea Salt Cheesecake, Sour Cream Pound Cake, and Homemade Banana Pudding. They’re all so tasty that it’s hard to pick which is best, but the cheesecake is near the top of my list. Paige makes all the desserts herself, so no matter what you pick, it’s sure to be fresh and homemade. Next time you need an event catered, Sonny’s can do that, too. They can cater ultimately any event, from tailgates to weddings and everything in between. They even do turkeys and hams during the holiday season. Sonny’s Smokehouse is not your average BBQ joint. Once you step foot on the grounds of the little building and see Sonny and Paige tending to the food and customers, you’ll realize just how much passion goes into the meal you get to enjoy. Strickland has been cooking for mostly his entire life, and everything he does is with intention and passion. “My favorite part is seeing people enjoy the food and being the best I can be,” Strickland said. “It feels good when people brag and come back again.” If you’re ever in the area and can make a detour though Ackerman, or if you have an open weekend to make the trip up Highway 15, a stop for lunch or dinner at Sonny’s Smokehouse is worth the mileage and time. Strickland encourages everyone to come try it at least once. But one time won’t be the only time – he knows you’ll come back for more. edm

Ribeye Steak with Grilled Shrimp

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 67


Sirloin with Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables


The Anthony


127 Country Club Dr., Vicksburg • 601.629.2003 •

story and photography by paige mckay


ine. Drink. Celebrate: that’s the mantra at The Anthony in Vicksburg. Whether it’s Sunday lunch, date night, a workday lunch, or any occasion in between, The Anthony is the perfect destination to dine, drink, and celebrate. New to the restaurant scene of Vicksburg, The Anthony opened in May 2017 and is located on the first hole of the golf course at the Vicksburg Country Club. Guests can dine in the main dining room, hang out at the bar, or enjoy the couches and tables on the back porch, all while taking in a gorgeous view of the course. Country club members, Vicksburg residents, and travelers along I-20 are all encouraged to dine in the casual-but-fine, rustic establishment. Owners Derek Howard, Matt Bell, and Clint Walker have all three been in the restaurant business for roughly 20 years, collectively, with The Anthony being their latest and greatest endeavor. Though the three are all originally from Vicksburg, this is the first restaurant they’ve opened in their hometown. “You’ve got your staple restaurants here, but not many people have been opening restaurants like this around town,” said Howard, whose father the restaurant is named after. “It’s special to us and we wanted to offer something to the people Vicksburg that they’ve never had before.” Howard, Bell, and Walker started from the ground up to create something for their community, and the response

has been outstanding thus far. Howard said that not only do they see customers from the country club and Vicksburg, but that being so close to I-20, Texas and Louisiana travelers also frequent the restaurant. The menu is what Howard defines as well-rounded. It includes everything from plate lunches to steak and fish dinners, tacos, hamburgers, and even brick-oven pizzas. No matter what you order, it’s sure to be made with passion. One dish on the menu that Howard says is a favorite is the Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Crawfish Cream Sauce. Though the tomatoes are listed as an appetizer, they’re so decadent that they might be filling enough for a meal. If fried green tomatoes aren’t your thing, try out the Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Beignets or BBQ Nachos for your appetizer. For the main course, the Filet Mignon is eight ounces of perfectly-cooked angus beef, served with Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables. If you’re feeling daring and are willing to try something spicy, the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich is a must. It’s perfectly fried with just enough kick to it that it won’t scare you off. Quench your thirst with a signature cocktail, like The Marv-arita or The Bloody Jerry, or one of the several draft beers on tap. No meal is complete without a dessert, and the Turtle Pecan Blondie is the perfect way to satisfy any sweet tooth. The staff at The Anthony is sure to pay attention to detail

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 69


Bloody Jerry


and deliver quality meals to their guests, so regardless of what you order, you won’t leave unsatisfied. General Manager Joe Love runs day-to-day operations, with Ellen Amborn alongside him as Event Coordinator. The management team and staff are devoted to exceeding customer expectations and creating a great dining experience. The Anthony can also serve as the location for your next event. With an event space that can accommodate up to 150 people, The Anthony is able to host wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, class reunions, and ultimately any event in between. Off-site catering is also available through The Anthony, as well. Though only six months in so far, the future of The Anthony is looking bright. Howard said he plans on sticking around to serve his hometown, and hopefully becoming a destination for even more events. Next time you find yourself in Vicksburg, make it a point to dine, drink, and celebrate at The Anthony. edm


Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Crawfish Cream Sauce Turtle Pecan Blondie

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Dempsey's Seafood & Steak 6208 Kiln Delisle Rd., Kiln • 228.255.2043 •


story and photography by julian brunt

here are few restaurants that can equal the overall integrity of Dempsey’s Seafood & Steak in Kiln. There is an honesty and simplicity about this place. No hyperbole, no exaggeration, just really, really good food. Dempsey’s is a Southern, country-style, restaurant with strong Creole and New Orleans influences. The portions are plentiful and the prices fair. But what is perhaps more important it that there is the same generosity in the preparation of the food as there is in the serving of it. The sauce the char broiled oysters are anointed with is not drizzled out by the teaspoon, but each oyster shell is filled to capacity. The cheese that is used in the amazingly good mac and cheese is liberally portioned, just the right amount. There is no one standing in the background making sure food costs are not affected by the abundance of the preparation. It is not wasteful, but the right amount of everything is used to get the best results. Results that are not just good enough, but the best. Obviously, I like Dempsey’s. This was my third trip and I was as excited this time to see the quality of food, and the passion that goes into making it, as I was the first and second times. Leslie Fenton, a business partner, came with me on this day trip, and she was equally as impressed in very short order. We chatted with a server and asked her what her favorite was. There was no hesitation at all when she replied, “The shrimp and grits.” Leslie has an amazing palate, far superior to mine, and I wasn’t sure she would like this Coast classic. But when the plate arrived, and we went at it with forks, we were both impressed. Dempsey’s makes their shrimp and grits with blackened redfish and shrimp, and there is the same magic in the cream sauce it comes with as the other sauces Dempsey’s is famous for. The grits are made into cakes, then browned, so there is a subtle crunch to them. That and the generosity of shrimp makes this dish a true standout. If you come to eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 73


FROM TOP: Crab Fingers, Shrimp and Grits, and Tiramisu OPPOSITE: Char-Broiled Oysters and Fried Seafood Platter

Dempsey’s for no other reason, come for the shrimp and grits. The seafood platters here are also a big draw, and there are 14 to choose from. You can pick the combination you want of stuffed crabs, shrimp, oysters, redfish, catfish, soft shell crabs, crab cakes, frog legs, and crawfish, all are perfectly cooked and served in that famous Dempsey’s abundance. Dempsey’s also is popular for its steaks, with seven choices, boiled seafood, steamed seafood, pasta, and po-boys. Dempsey’s is off the beaten path, but it is hugely popular with locals and return visitors from all over the country. The atmosphere is casual, rustic, and friendly. There are several restaurants on the Coast that attempt this same vibe, but none come close to Dempsey’s. Come hungry, don’t be in a hurry, and take your time with this menu. It deserves a long and careful look, just make sure to try the shrimp and grits. edm 74 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 75

{ featured festival }

CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT: Kourambiedes white wedding pastry. Almond cookies with cherry on top. Georgian Shoty bread. Virginia Freeman, Sheila Yurchak, and Eleni Vganges make Russian Kolachy Lekvar Cookies.


OPA! It’s Greek Pastry Sale Time at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Biloxi


story by paige mckay | photos courtesy of george yurchak

hristmas music is on the radio, houses are decorated with lights, and everyone is getting ready to be home for the holidays. There are many Christmas and holidaythemed events around our state, and one of the biggest events on the Mississippi Gulf Coast is set for December 9th in Biloxi. Come hungry and ready to celebrate at The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church for their International Christmas Festival and Pastry Sale. This event is dedicated to the spirituality, culture, art, music, and food of the different ethnic cultures that make up the church. Every holiday season for 40 years, Greek pastries, Greek bread, and Spanakopita (spinach rolls) have been sold at Holy Trinity to the people along the coast. Along with the Greek pastries that will be available, attendees can also expect pastries from other countries such as Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Hungary, and America. Indulge in bakalava, Russian rye bread, and tiramisu, just to name a few options. In addition to the pastries and breads, canned foods and dry goods will also be available for purchase from The Agora, an ethic marketplace. Like the pastry selection, the Greek Store will also include treats from Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania. Stock up on Greek olive oil, halva, olives, jellies, candies, oregano, spices, cheeses, tea, and coffee. These items make great unique Christmas gifts or items for your own home. Vendors will have booths set up with creative items for sale, such as, paintings, signs, jewelry, books, soaps, and handmade crafts. Along with the pastry sale, guests will be able to purchase lunch and dinner while they enjoy live music. The lunch and dinner menu also includes foods from several of the same countries as the pastries. If you have room to spare in your belly after eating all the pastries, items for purchase for lunch and dinner include gyros, Greek salad, borsch, sauerkraut with pork schnitzel, falafel, and hot dogs. Greek, Russian, and Romanian ice cream sundaes will be available as well. While you eat your way around the world, enjoy live music from Nick Trivelas on the Bouzouki playing “Zorba the Greek,” “Never on Sunday,” and other traditional Greek songs. The Victory Belles from the National World War II Museum in New Orleans will also perform songs of the 1940s, and the Georgian Dance Ensemble from New York City will perform their energetic, traditional dances from their native country of Georgia. Other traditional dance performances include Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, and German folk dances. Activities for kids will be also available, including an inflatable slide, face painting, glitter tattoos, Christmas crafts, and other activities.

Guests at the festival are encouraged to take a tour of the church and learn about the Orthodox traditions. With the many icons of the Orthodox church, there is so much to learn. Guided tours will be offered various times throughout the day. The International Festival and Christmas Pastry Sale will be held on the grounds of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Biloxi on December 9th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on this event and to see a full menu, visit edm

A popular dish at Holy Trinity’s International Christmas Festival is Sarmale – Romanian stuffed cabbage.

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Food Festivals & Events December 1-15

December 8

Gingerbread Village

Victorian Luncheon

Take a break from your busy day, and relax in the quiet and calm of a magical village made of gingerbread. Located at the Ford Center on the campus of the University of Mississippi, the Village is free and open to the public December 1-15. The Gingerbread Village supports local food banks and visitors are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate. For more information,

Join the Natchez Garden Club by bringing in the holiday season with this year’s Victorian Luncheon and Soup & Casserole Sale. The event will be held at Magnolia Hall on Friday, December 8th, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Tickets are $15 and on sale through the NGC office. Call 601-443-9065 or visit www. to learn more.

- Oxford -

- Natchez -

December 9

December 7

A Gingerbread Christmas - Pearlington -

Join the residents of Pearlington for “A Gingerbread Christmas” at the Pearlington Public Library on December 7th at 6 p.m. Families will display their best Christmas gingerbread house creations. Santa will also be there to hear children’s wishes. Light holiday refreshments will be served. For more information, visit or call 228-4675282.

Breakfast with Santa - Horn Lake -

Bring the children to sit on Santa’s lap to get in their final Christmas requests and enjoy free juice and milk and crafts. Your child will receive a letter and a keepsake picture from Santa to take home that day. This event will be held on December 9th, 8-11:30 a.m., at the R. Dye Public Library in Horn Lake. For more information, contact the Horn Lake Parks & Recreation, 662-342-3469 or visit

To have your food festival or culinary event included in future issues, please contact us at All submissions are subject to editor’s approval. 78 • DECEMBER/JANUARY 2018

December 9

Christmas Pastry Sale - Biloxi -

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Biloxi will hold their annual Christmas Pastry Sale on December 9th, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Every holiday season for over 30 years, Greek pastries, Greek bread, and Spanakopita (spinach rolls), along with delicacies from additional countries, have been sold at Holy Trinity to the people along the Coast of Mississippi. Different pastries may be ordered by the box (6 or 12 pieces), along with special assortment boxes. In addition to the pastries and breads, there are canned and dry goods available from the “Greek Store.” Orders are taken in advance, so order soon for Christmas. For more information, visit, or contact George Yurchak at 228-831-5820.

December 12

Holiday Sweets and Treats - Oxford -

Join Jeff and Kathleen Taylor, owners of Sweet T’s Bakery, and learn how to decorate cupcakes and cookies for the holidays. Jeff and Kathleen will amaze you with their skills on how to turn a simple dessert into something special. The cost is $59 and will be on December 12th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. To register, visit classes/sweetsntreats.html.

December 15

Demo Dinner with Chef Cheri Hiers

December 16, 18, 22, 23

Gingerbread House Workshop - Jackson -

Join the Mississippi Children’s Museum for a late-night pajama party. Wear your favorite holiday pajamas, enjoy hot cocoa, participate in holiday activities, and hear a special readings of classic holiday stories read by your favorite holiday characters! These special late-night evenings are an exciting time to visit the museum and get into the holiday spirit! This event is $10 a person, ages one and up, or free with your MCM membership. For more information, visit www.

December 21

Pusharatas Cooking Class - Ocean Springs -

Join Chef Robin Pate and learn how to make Croatian Pusharatas. A pusharata is a bite-sized nugget of fried dough with chopped fruit and spices. Come with a friend and learn how to make these yummy desserts yourself. You must register by December 19th. To register, visit

- Ocean Springs -

Learn how to whip up a decadent and delicious meal with Chef Cheri Hiers on December 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Mary C O’Keefe Center of Arts and Education. Cook a full course meal from start to finish and learn skills to take back to your own kitchen. Menu items include Cheddar Cheese Cookies, Seafood and Spinach, White Wine Cream Sauce, Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi, and Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Brownie Trifle. To register, visit www.

January 18

5th Annual WAMA Craft Beer Tasting - Ocean Springs -

Join the Walter Anderson Museum of Art from 6 to 8:30 p.m. for the 5th annual Craft Beer Tasting. Drink your way through a selection of beers from the best breweries on the Gulf Coast while you enjoy live music and works of Walter Anderson. Tickets are $20 for non-members and $15 for members. Attendees must be 21 or older. For more information, visit

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 79

Advertisers Index

Recipe Index Baked Brie with Spicy Cranberry Sauce, 33 Candied Orange Rind Curls, 41 Christmas Breakfast Casserole, 53 Coleslaw, 19 Cornbread, 8 Corn Salad, 17 Fig and Walnut Fruit Cake, 29 Milk Punch, M.L. Bush's, 54 Orange Slice Candy Cake, 41 Piña Colada Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce, 35

Amerigo, Anjou, Char, Saltine, Sombra, 9 Bin 612, 25 Crazy Cat Eat Up, 25 Etta B Pottery, 6 Grenada Tourism, 3 Mangia Bene, 9 McEwen’s, 25 Mississippi Beef Council, 4 Mississippi Children’s Museum, 11 Mississippi Food Network, 51 & 83 Sanderson Farms, Back Cover Simmons Catfish, 11 Sante South Wine Festival, 2 The Kitchen Table, 6 Thurman’s Landscaping, 81

Pull-Apart Rosemary Sausage Rolls, 13 Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Cornmeal cakes, 19

from pages 14-15

Rotisserie Come-Back Dressing, 24 Short Rib Crostini with Horseradish and

Bed Bath and Beyond Mississippi locations - Flowood, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson, Meridian, Southaven, Tupelo

Caramelized Onions, 33 Tangy BBQ Sauce, 19 Yemple Cake, 47

Etta B Pottery

Statement of ownership, management, and circulation for Eat Drink Mississippi. Publication number 17200 as of September 29, 2017. Six issues are published bi-monthly at an annual subscription price of $24 at P.O. Box 1051, Monticello, MS 39654. The name and address of the publisher and editor: J.J. Carney, P.O. Box 1663, Madison, MS 39130.

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Laurel Mercantile 414 Front St. Laurel, MS 39440 601.651.0016 Pier 1 Imports Mississippi locations - Flowood, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Ridgeland, Southaven, Tupelo 800.245.4595 The Mississippi Gift Company 300 Howard St. Greenwood, MS 38930 800.467.7763 The Kitchen Table 3720 Hardy St. Ste. 3 Hattiesburg, MS 39402 601.261.2224 Williams-Sonoma 1000 Highland Colony Pkwy. Ridgeland, MS 39157 601.898.8882

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Mississippi’s Bicentennial | Backroads and Burgers | A Taste of Home Town

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Short Rib Crostini Orange Slice Candy Cake Christmas Breakfast Casserole

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+ The Rainey + Mai Little Chinese + The Anthony + Sonny’s Smokehouse + Dempsey’s Seafood & Steak eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 1

Getting a taste of Mississippi has never been easier! Landscaping • Irrigation Waterfalls • Lighting Outdoor Kitchens & Patios Iron & Brick Work

Thurman’s Landscaping

Hattiesburg, Miss.

601.270.8512 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.


You Eat WHAT for Christmas Dinner?



was sitting in Sonny’s Smokehouse in Ackerman, and my thoughts turned to the holidays. Why? It certainly wasn’t because of a brisk fall breeze in the air; it was a warm day in October (because…Mississippi). It started out simply as a bucket list lunch, the direct result of a friend who continually sings it’s praises. Every time I see him, he says, “Been to Sonny’s yet?” Finally, I got my chance, so I texted him to see what I should order. In response I got a list, and ribs were at the top. A few lines down: “Can’t beat the ribs.” Two or three texts later, I learned that he and his family have eaten said ribs at multiple Thanksgiving dinners. Ribs at Thanksgiving. Take-out ribs, at that. So my thoughts turned to the holidays, to traditions – and to breaking the mold. Around that same time of year, I began to see opportunities to reserve turkeys for Thanksgiving. If I wanted a locally-raised, cage-free-range, hormone optional, antibiotic-avoidant Meleagris gallopavo, it was time to make a move. The in-laws were coming, and no matter how much I decided to branch out on the menu for Egg Bowl Day, “the bird” would be expected. When it comes to Christmas dinner, however, I sense that variations are more acceptable. In fact, the more people I asked about this, the more I discovered that variation is the norm. I asked my own mother what came to mind first when she thought about Christmas dinner; her response was “Turkey, dressing, creamed potatoes (with English peas in the middle), and carrot cake from scratch – I used to always ask Mama to make one.” But oddly enough, that’s not what we have. Ever. I’ve told about my family traditions in these pages before: we have fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, and homemade ice cream. But while she was growing up, and on holiday visits to Belmont to see Pappy and Granny, that’s what we had. I asked my brother the same question. He said, with great (and perhaps slightly exaggerated) enthusiasm, “Tamales!” It may have had something to do with the fact that we were sitting in a Mexican restaurant while I was conducting this informal survey, and we had both ordered tamales for lunch. We’ve never had tamales for Christmas, but we did set aside an entire day one holiday season to make them together. So, that at least qualifies as a happy Christmas memory. My sister-in-law quickly answered, “Christmas cookies.” I clarified the question: not just Christmas foods, but Christmas dinner foods. She clarified her answer: “Hot browns…and Christmas cookies.” Brother confirmed that she does indeed eat from that menu for most of December. Having hot browns on Christmas Eve, as I learned, was a tradition passed down from her side of the family. They can be prepped to a large degree ahead of time, leaving more time for family frolicking. I get that. Their oldest daughter agreed with the whole brood that they don’t really have any particular Christmas Day food traditions, “Except for sausage balls!” My daughter’s answer was, “That cranberry stuff…cranberry in a can…that you slice.” She doesn’t eat it, mind you, but it was still her first thought when it comes to dinner. My father’s response was expected. He always gets an asparagus casserole. Nobody else really likes it, so he gets to eat it all week and he’s fine with that. One year I tried to upscale it, with only limited success, so it was soon back to canned asparagus, boiled eggs, crackers, cheese, and white sauce. My Sunday School class offered answers on each end of the tradition spectrum. Sweet potato casserole won the day for most-celebrated side dish, as might be expected. But that’s where normal ended. Steak and crab legs for one family, chicken and dumplings for another. Christmas Eve becomes Taco Night for a third family, but that picture of a grilled raccoon they showed me made me wonder, “What’s going in the tacos?” So if turkey or ham isn’t your thing on Christmas dinner, fear not. Tamales are trending. Cookies are authorized as a main dish. Surf and turf is sanctioned. And Sonny’s ribs? Why not? But let’s skip the raccoon. edm


Fourth Annual

Moonlight Market Benefiting Mississippi Food Network

March 22, 2018 For more information, visit eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 83

Lots of people resolve to make healthier decisions this time of year. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on great taste. Find all the healthy recipes you need to make your resolutions a reality at

- 6 Sander s - 1/2 cup a on Farms Chicken Thig hs pple jelly - 1 tablespo on balsamic vinegar - 2 cooking - 1/2 cup c apples, (Braeburn, Gala hic or Granny S - 1 teaspoon ken broth, divided mith) - teaspoon salt gr - 1 tablespo ound black pepper on olive oil - 1 onion, slic ed ®