eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI - August/September 2023

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VOLUME 12, NUMBER 3 August/September 2023 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI It’s Tailgating Season: Quick & easy chef-approved recipes A Tale of Two Skillets Foodie Finds for Tailgating and Back to School August/September 2023 DISPLAY UNTIL September 31, 2023 $7.95 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Fan & Johnny’s | Beer Shandy | Vintage Party Recipes O k r a f o r O v e r b o a r d
2 • August/September 2023 in every issue 4 From the Editor 5 What’s Happening 8 A Taste of Magnolia 16 Fabulous Foodie Finds 38 Recipe Index 39 Till We Eat Again 23
inside August/September 2023 Volume 12 Number 4 in this issue 9 14 4 From the Editor: Feeling Grateful for Fall and Food 5 What’s Happening: Pelican Pound + Bourbon on Front + Guy Fieri’s Tunica Kitchen & Bar + The Tiger Den 8 Taste of Magnolia: Dutch Baby Pancakes 10 Overboard for Okra 16 Foodie Finds: Back to School and Tailgating 18 Raise Your Glass: Shandys 19 Restaurant Spotlight: Fan & Johnny’s
Grandma’s Cookbook: Fruit Pizza, Veggie Pizza, Sausage & Cheese Balls
From the Bookshelf: The Herbalist’s Bible 28 A Tale of Two Skillets 30 Back to School Suppers Made Easy 34 Tailgate Touchdown 38 Recipe Index
Till We Eat Again: Smoke: It’s What’s for Dinner
SUBSCRIBE NOW Newsletter Member $0 Get the latest recipes sent to your e-mail! Weekly Newsletter Online Membership $2/month Weekly Newsletter Exclusive offers and discounts Members-only articles and Digital magazine access Print Membership $5/month Weekly Newsletter Exclusive offers and discounts Members-only articles and videos Digital magazine access Bi-monthly magazine delivered to your house Visit our website to subscribe or email us at eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 5 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI for a taste of Mississippi all year long! drink.MISSISSIPPI October/ November eat. drink. 12To-Die-ForFriedChickenSandwiches CookingAs FirstLanguage OktocCountryStore drink.MISSISSIPPI VOLUME NUMBER eat. drink. 9TastyGingerbreadTreats Bill’sCreoleandSteakDepot SalvationArmySouperBowl eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI VOLUME NUMBER Smoke-RackGrilled ThymeofLamb LoafLemonand Cake ArugulaWatermelon Salad eat.MISSISSIPPIdrink. OldWaverlyFarmHam’s Johnnie’sDrive-In FrenchHermitOysterCompany Hoorayfor Herbs SUBSCRIBE NOW MY SUBSCRIPTION 1-year $24 2-years $36 FROM: NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE ZIP PHONE E-MAIL ADDRESS Subscribe online at or cut out this form and mail to us at P.O. Box 1663, Madison, MS 39130 PAYMENT ENCLOSED BILL ME LATER TO: NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE ZIP GIFT SUBSCRIPTION 1-year $24 2-years $36 Makes a gift!great Only $24 for six issues! eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 5 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI for a taste of Mississippi all year long! drink.MISSISSIPPI OLUME October/November MISSISSIPPI eat.MISSISSIPPIdrink. 12To-Die-ForFriedChickenSandwiches CookingAsaFirstLanguage OktocCountryStore drink.MISSISSIPPI VOLUME NUMBER eat.MISSISSIPPIdrink. 9TastyGingerbreadTreats Bill’sCreoleandSteakDepot SalvationArmySouperBowl Terrific Holiday Trifles eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI NUMBER Smoke-RackGrilled ThymeofLamb LoafLemonand Cake ArugulaWatermelon Salad eat.MISSISSIPPIdrink. OldWaverlyFarmHam’s Johnnie’sDrive-In FrenchHermitOysterCompany Hoorayfor Herbs SUBSCRIBE NOW MY SUBSCRIPTION 1-year $24 2-years $36 FROM: NAME ADDRESS CITY __________________________________________ STATE ZIP PHONE E-MAIL ADDRESS Subscribe online at or cut out this form and mail to us at P.O. Box 1663, Madison, MS 39130 PAYMENT ENCLOSED BILL ME LATER TO: NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE ZIP GIFT SUBSCRIPTION 1-year $24 2-years $36 Makes a gift!great Only $24 for six issues! eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 5 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI for a taste of Mississippi all year long! drink.MISSISSIPPI OLUME NUM October/November drink. MISSISSIPPI eat. drink. 12To-Die-ForFriedChickenSandwiches|CookingAs FirstLanguage OktocCountryStore drink.MISSISSIPPI VOLUME NUMBER eat. drink. 9TastyGingerbreadTreats Bill’sCreoleandSteakDepot SalvationArmySouperBowl Terrific Holiday Trifles eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI VOLUME NUMBER Smoke-RackGrilled ThymeofLamb LoafLemonand Cake ArugulaWatermelon Salad eat.MISSISSIPPIdrink. OldWaverlyFarmHam’s Johnnie’sDrive-In FrenchHermitOysterCompany Hoorayfor Herbs SUBSCRIBE NOW MY SUBSCRIPTION 1-year $24 2-years $36 FROM: NAME ADDRESS CITY __________________________________________ STATE ZIP PHONE E-MAIL ADDRESS Subscribe online at or cut out this form and mail to us at P.O. Box 1663, Madison, MS 39130 PAYMENT ENCLOSED BILL ME LATER TO: NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE ZIP GIFT SUBSCRIPTION 1-year $24 2-years $36 Makes a gift!great Only $24 for six issues! eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 5 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI for a taste of Mississippi all year long! drink.MISSISSIPPI VOLUME NUM October/November 2019 drink. MISSISSIPPI eat.MISSISSIPPIdrink. 12To-Die-ForFriedChickenSandwiches CookingAsaFirstLanguage OktocCountryStore Mississippi Food Network’s annual turkey drive drink.MISSISSIPPI VOLUME NUMBER uaryer/Jan MISSISSIPPI eat.MISSISSIPPIdrink. 9TastyGingerbreadTreats Bill’sCreoleandSteakDepot|SalvationArmySouperBowl Terrific Holiday Trifles eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI VOLUME NUMBER April/May drink. MISSISSIPPI Smoke-RackGrilled ThymeofLamb LoafLemonand Cake ArugulaWatermelon Salad eat.MISSISSIPPIdrink. OldWaverlyFarmHam’s|Johnnie’sDrive-In|FrenchHermitOysterCompany Hoorayfor Herbs SUBSCRIBE NOW MY SUBSCRIPTION 1-year $24 2-years $36 FROM: NAME ADDRESS CITY __________________________________________ STATE ZIP PHONE E-MAIL ADDRESS Subscribe online at or cut out this form and mail to us at P.O. Box 1663, Madison, MS 39130 PAYMENT ENCLOSED BILL ME LATER TO: NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE ZIP GIFT SUBSCRIPTION 1-year $24 2-years $36 Makes a gift!great Only $24 for six issues! WWW.EATDRINKMISSISSIPPI.COM FOR A TASTE OF MISSISSIPPI ALL YEAR LONG

Feeling Grateful for Fall and Food

The beginning of fall is such a wonderful time – it’s still hot, but the days are a bit shorter, and there is a promise in the air that soon it will be cooler. There’s much to be grateful for: enough daylight for long picnics, abundant fruits and vegetables bursting from backyard gardens and farmers’ markets, and the many culinary giants who call Mississippi home.

August also brings with it my birthday, and as I look forward to turning 53, I reflect on the journey that brought me here and now, as editor of a food magazine. My whole life has revolved around food. From the time I was in elementary school with my friends from Turkey, India, Spain, and Iceland – and eating the lunches their moms packed – I have loved food.

While I was in high school, my family belonged to the local food co-op and so I had the good fortune to have fresh vegetables and organic flour and coffee delivered straight to our door step. When I went away to college, my father and stepmom moved to Massachusetts and had a huge backyard garden. Periodically, I’d

get packages at my college PO box filled with preserves, homemade soap and other goodies. Around this time, I also began collecting cook books from across the globe.

I also had the good fortune to live in Germany for two years, and to enjoy the incredible traditional foods prepared there, everything from Wienerschnitzel to sauerkraut to brez’n (pretzels). Of course, Oktoberfest was also a treat – I’m sure that’s the origin of my deep love for beer.

I began writing for Jackson Free Press and doing freelance restaurant reviews. I also wrote for the (now sadly defunct) DeSoto Magazine for the amazing Mary Ann DeSantis and Chere Coen, whom I credit with teaching me how to craft stories in an interesting way, and who recommended me to eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. When our editor left for a new position, she recommended me as her replacement. That was nearly one year ago, and I haven’t stopped thanking the heavens yet.

So to you, loyal readers, I say this: THANK YOU for allowing me to think, write, and dream about food every day. You’ve made my passion a reality, and I am grateful for it. I now have an entire shelf dedicated to cookbooks which I browse like novels for inspiration, so bon appétit!

4 • August/September2023 { from the editor } EAT DRINK MISSISSIPPI (USPS 17200) is published bi-monthly by Connected Community Media Group, 10971 Four Seasons Pl. Ste. 211, Crown Point, IN 46307. Periodicals postage paid at Madison, MS, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please mail changes of address to 10971 Four Seasons Place Suite 211 Crown Point IN 46307.
Photo by James Patterson

What’s Happening

Join Pelican Pound, explore Ocean Springs, and make a positive impact on the community while enjoying your shopping experience! The $5 wooden “coin” boosts the Ocean Springs economy by encouraging people to shop and eat local. Available at the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce, pick up free Pelican Pounds and use at participating shops and restaurants until September 29 during regular business hours. Simply present the Pelican Pound at the time of purchase to redeem its full value (one per person per transaction). The initiative is a project of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street and funded in part by the 2% Food and Beverage Tax.

TV chef Guy Fieri is bringing Flavortown to the Mid-South with Guy Fieri’s Tunica Kitchen + Bar to debut at Horseshoe Tunica this summer. The menu will feature his Americanstyle cuisine including sandwiches, burgers, desserts and the famous trash can nachos. “We’re thrilled to add Guy Fieri’s Tunica Kitchen + Bar to our culinary lineup on property,” said Derrick Madison, SVP & General Manager of Horseshoe Tunica. “We’re confident that our guests will love what Guy has to offer and we can’t wait to bring the flavor to Mississippi.” The restaurant will be located on the main casino floor across from the World Series of Poker room.

Another addition to Front Street Eats, Bourbon on Front offers steaks, seafood, cocktails, and of course, bourbon to the downtown mix. (The restaurant joins the likes of Hattiesburg’s Blu Jazz Cafe, Hattiesburgers and Blues, Southbound Bagel & Coffee and Nellie’s Chicken and Daiquiris.) At Bourbon on Front you’re treated to one of the best views on Front Street from the rooftop patio, and sample top notch bourbons from the well-stocked bar including Yellowstone Limited Edition, Blood Oath, Kentucky Owl and Elijah Craig, just to name a few. Open Tuesday - Saturday 3-10 p.m. Reservations recommended.

The Tiger Den in Saltillo, open since late February, offers breakfast, a salad bar and cafeteria-style hot options for a quick lunch, and a tasty, scratch-made dinner menu. The well-stocked salad bar has a cornucopia of topping choices, and daily lunch options include American favorites like meatloaf, pork chops, chicken strips, green beans, mashed potatoes & gravy, fried squash, and cornbread or rolls. Dinner menu items include crab claws, chargrilled oysters, shrimp several ways, steak and catfish. Grab a Blue Bell ice cream sundae to finish your meal. Closed Mondays. Get a full menu and more info on Facebook. e d m

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 5 { what’s happening }


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Debbie Hansen Publisher

Michele D. Baker Editor


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eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI is published six times a year by Connected Community Media Group


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6 • August/September 2023
Less worrying and more living. | @BlueCrossBlueShieldofMississippi

Magnolia a Taste of

Dutch Baby Pancake

If I told you I never fell down a YouTube rabbit hole, that wouldn’t be accurate. Truth is, I get sucked down the vortex of video after video all of the time and most often than not, it leads to many a note being jotted down as I find inspiration in abundance. I watch documentaries, funny compilations, blast music videos at sonic levels and dance around the living room to the point that my children either shake their heads or join in.

Recently I found myself immersed in the YouTube world of glamping. “Glamping” is camping on an entirely different (glamorous) level. It combines a luxury experience amidst outdoor settings under the stars. Attention to detail is a must and the aesthetics range from old western, boho chic to ultra-modern. Watching, I found myself making a seemingly endless list of ideas to create my own glamping experience. This fall will be the first time that I tackle and experience true glamping.

My online shopping cart runneth over. It is filled with string lights, floor pillows, mini side tables and comforters. Just thinking about all the amazing campgrounds Mississippi has to offer, I am excited about the possibilities. I am a huge fan of camping, usually going the backcountry bare bones route. I am quick to pack up a tent and head off to the middle of the woods and do primitive camping. This year, I seek a different experience. I want to decorate that tent like it is a Hollywood mansion being featured in a top interior design magazine, lay back on a comfy cushioned mattress complete with a down cover and look up at the stars.

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, Now venturing into outdoor cooking over an open fire, Divian is fascinated with camp cooking and entertaining.

Glamping not only involves decorating your tent and surroundings beautifully like a tiny home, but food also plays an important role. It is about the ambiance and the experience, and the cooking is more like a fine dining with nothing off limits. Oh, the breakfasts and dinners I have seen prepared on a camping stove in the middle of nowhere would leave even five-star restaurants in awe.

There is just something about connecting with people over food and adding an outdoor element that is always a win. To treat my family to a camping experience that is hyper-personalized and showing much effort and thought makes my heart swell.

Not only am I getting enjoyment in planning the decor for my glamping adventure in the Mississippi wilderness, but I am also finding myself even more excited about coming up with an outdoor cooking menu that will leave me satisfied and my family amazed. This will be something that they remember for many years to come. edm

8 • August/September 2023
8 • August/September 2023

Ingredients for 2 pancakes:

• 3 large eggs (room temperature)

• ½ cup all-purpose flour

• ½ cup whole milk (room temperature)

• 1 Tablespoon sugar

• 4 Tablespoons salted butter

Topping Options:

• Powdered Sugar

• Fresh fruit of choice

• Honey or nutella

• Whipped Cream

Instructions: Mix milk and eggs completely and

Campfire Dutch Baby Pancake

then add the other ingredients except for the butter. Mix well and let sit for at least 10 minutes for the batter to rest. You can prepare ahead of time and keep cooled until ready to make the pancakes.

Campfire instructions:

Place a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over the fire coals. Add in butter and allow to melt before adding the batter. Cover with lid, placing hot coals from the fire on top of the lid and allow to cook for about ten minutes until it puffs and is golden brown. It should be puffy, similar to

a popover. If additional time cooking is needed, place lid back on top for a few minutes.

Oven instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place butter in cast iron skillet in the oven and allow to melt. Once butter is melted pour in batter and cook for 1520 minutes until pancake is puffy and golden brown in spots.

Serve immediately topped with melted butter, powdered sugar and fruit of your choice. Makes two pancakes.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 9

Oven Cornmeal Cakes

10 • August/September 2023
Going Overboard

Okra is a very under-rated fruit. Yes, it’s a fruit! Not only is it easy to grow in a backyard garden, but it’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients, low in calories and carbohydrates, but high in protein. However, beyond tossing cut pods in a pot of gumbo or rolling it in cornmeal to be fried, most people don’t know what else to do with okra. Turns out, okra is a whole lot more versatile, if you know how to prepare it. edm


for Okra

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 11

Oven Roasted Okra

12 • August/September 2023

Spicy Pickled Okra

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 13


Cutting the okra in half before roasting prevents the okra from being slimy.

For the Coca-cola marinade:

• 1 lb. fresh okra

• 1 1/2 Tablespoons paprika

• 1 Tablespoon onion powder

• 1 Tablespoon garlic powder

• 1 Tablespoon dried oregano

• 1 teaspoon dried thyme

• 1 teaspoon dried basil

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut off the stems and cut the okra in half.

3. In a small bowl, combine all the seasonings.

4. Place the okra in a medium mixing bowl or gallon-size plastic freezer bag. Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the okra, followed by the seasoning mixture. Stir until the okra is evenly coated.

5. Spread the okra in an even layer on a foil-lined, greased baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes until the okra is tender and starting to brown in some places.


edges. Turn and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the other side is golden brown.

6. Remove the cakes to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain the grease. Repeat with the remaining batter.




• 2 teaspoons dill seed

• 2 teaspoons minced garlic

• 1 teaspoon dill weed or 1 large dill head per jar

• 1 teaspoon mustard seed

• ¼ cup dried onion

• 1-3 whole jalapeños or other hot peppers, seeded and chopped

• 2 ¼ cups water

• 1 ¼ cups apple cider vinegar

• 2 Tablespoons kosher or pickling salt

• 2-4 clean pint jars

• Fresh whole okra, rinsed


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tea, lemonade, orange juice, pineapple juice and bourbon and pour the mixture into a 9” x 13” x 2” casserole dish.

2. Place the container in the freezer for eight hours until firm.

3. Fifteen minutes before serving, remove the dish from the freezer. Scrape the frozen liquid with a fork, then scoop individual servings into glasses.


• 1 cup self-rising white cornmeal

• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• 2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

• 2 eggs, slightly beaten

• 1 cup fresh or frozen okra, stems trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick

• Vegetable oil for frying


1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine self-rising white cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder and cayenne.

2. Add the buttermilk and eggs and stir to combine.

3. Gently fold in the okra until it is dispersed through the batter evenly.

4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

5. Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot oil. Cook the cornmeal hoe cakes for about 2 to 3 minutes until the bottoms are brown and bubbles form on the tops and

14 • August/September 2023

Annual Fundraiser


TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3RD, 2023 • 6 - 9 PM

Town of Livingston at the corner of Highway 463 and Highway 22

Tickets: $65.00 per person and may be purchased online at

Food and beverages provided by numerous local favorites




and more...

Adults Only 21 Years and Over No Pets, Please Casual Attire

To learn more about how MadCAAP’s programs assist the poor visit

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 15
Dianne Anderson Gary Anderson Mike and Janie Jarvis Jim and Amy Streetman


Mesa Tabletop Fire Pit, $79.99 and up

This amazing little outdoor tabletop fire pit is sized perfectly for outdoor dining tables to stylish end tables. Great for ambience, warming hands on a cool autumn evening, or toasting marshmallows. Includes heatproof stand. Can be adapted to use wood pellets. Two sizes available at

Simply Genius Large and Tall Pop-Up Mesh Food Covers, $14.35 and up

These lovely lace-edged food covers are generously sized and can handle serving dishes up to 16” in diameter and 10” high. The set of 6 collapsible mesh food covers allows heat to escape and keeps food visible. Easy to open, collapses like an umbrella and stores slender. Available in large (17” x 17”) or jumbo (47” x 26”). Find them at Amazon.

Boska Cheese Curler, $44.99

Boska represents beautiful, smart products for cheese. With the Boska cheese curler, you can turn home cooking into a fine culinary experience. The cheese curler slices off a very thin slice allowing the delicate flavor of cheese to develop, as curls release the best of its authentic taste. For a sweet dessert, use to slice off sensational chocolate curls! Available at Amazon.

Nostalgia Two Slot Hot Dog and Bun Toaster, $27.99

There’s not much point in having just one... That’s why this toaster is designed to fit two buns and two dogs at the same time! It delivers juicy, ready-to-eat hot dogs in no time at all. Showing off classic vintage style, it’s a fun and quirky attention-grabber that features a convenient timer and a portable, counter-friendly size. This fun retro item is available on Amazon.

16 • August/September 2023
{ fabulous foodie finds }

This handblown whiskey decanter (850 ml) features an etched globe design and antique ship in the bottle to enhance your drinking experience while making a bold impression; the gold stopper adds a touch of class while keeping your spirits sealed. The handstained dark wood tray is polished to a high gloss; color of each unique tray will vary from dark brown to black. Each 300 ml glass is also etched with a globe design. Available at Amazon.

Marcato Atlas Pasta Drying Rack, $64.99

Love homemade pasta? Then this rack is for you! The Atlas offers ample space for drying up to 4.4 lbs. of all types of homemade noodles and pastas. Made in Italy, the aluminum rack is sturdy and durable with 16 rods (8” each) that fan out for quick access and fold in for compact storage. The multipurpose wand picks up freshly cut pasta and transports it to the drying rack or cooking pot. Easily dry all long noodles like spaghetti, Angel hair, fettuccini, fusilli, and even lasagna! Available on Amazon.

Adorable and durable, our metal lunch box is perfect for those in love with the classics! Enjoy the 1960s inspired pattern, or customize the front and back with images, text and designs for a fabulously fun lunch time for your kids (or yourself)! Measures 6.75” L x 8.625” W x 3.75” H. Made of durable and food safe tin plate with a food contact safe interior material. Grab one at

1960s Green & Orange Retro Floral Metal Lunch Box, $26 Godinger Whiskey Decanter Globe with 2 Etched Whiskey Glasses, $59.95

The Classic Shandy Is Perfect for Football & Fall says a shandy is a beer cocktail made of equal parts beer and citrusy lemon-lime soda. A popular British pub drink, a shandy can be easily customized with the beer and soda of your choice, but if you want a traditional British shandy, stick to the 50/50 beer and soda mix.

Germany’s version is called a Radler, meaning “cyclist.” Its origin story involves a hot day, a pack of thirsty Bavarian

The Classic Shandy


• 1 part beer

• 1 part lemon-lime soda

• Lemon or lime slice (optional, for garnish)

• Ice (optional)

Add ¾ cup of cold beer to a glass, and top with ¾ cup lemonlime soda such as 7-Up or Sprite

Based on your ability to get great local or regional craft beer, here are some other delectable suggestions. Although 50/50 is the traditional ratio, play around with the proportions, add ice (or not) and find what works for you!

It’s Peary Good

A nutty/malty/smooth brown ale (such as Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan) + sparkling pear juice + a lemon twist + a pear slice

Cherry Radler

A botanical porter (such as Abita’s Vanilla Bean Porter) + black cherry soda or cherry juice + a lime wedge

Spanish Main

A Belgian tripel (such as 1817 Brewery’s Belgian Triple) + pomegranate juice + a lime wedge

All Hallow’s Eve Shandy

A pumpkin ale or stout (such as Fertile Ground Brewery’s Pumpkin Stout) + ginger beer + a squeeze of orange juice + an orange slice

cyclists, and the owner of a beer garden who didn’t have enough to go around so he got inventive with beer and lemon soda.

Here’s the classic recipe and four variations - a refreshing way to cool down in the hot weather we love in August and September, but the perfect accompaniment for football and tailgating. edm

18 • August/September 2023
{ raise your glass }

Artfully Crafted Fare at Fan and Johnny’s Feeds Body and Soul

Chef Taylor Bowen-Ricketts is easy to be around – she exudes artistic energy, but in an unruffled, everything-will-get-done manner. In the brief pause between the lunch crowd and the dinner rush, she relaxes in a vinyl and chrome kitchen chair at a yellow Formica table. The dining cubicle is tucked into the middle of her latest culinary adventure: Fan and Johnny’s.

The downtown Greenwood restaurant, located just half a block from the picturesque Yazoo River, has been serving delicious food since 2016. The architecture and furnishings are industrial chic, with 15-foot exposed brick walls, skylights, poured and stained concrete floors, and artwork by both Bowen-Ricketts and her chef/artist husband, Darby Ricketts, adorning the walls. Like colors on an artist’s palette, no two tables are alike – the yellow and gray Formica table perches near a formal wooden dining table and six shield back chairs. Further along, a standard restaurant booth with double benches squats beneath a mounted quilt-turned-artwork. Hanging lamps made from jelly jars and milk bottles illuminate each carefully considered space, almost as if each table is the focus of its own personal dining room. A wooden hutch with a marble top and leaded stained-glass inserts holds menus, mints and a stack of local magazines.

Bowen-Ricketts was clearly born an artist, and now uses both pigments and foodstuffs with equal flair to express her values and ideas. At Ole Miss, she studied art, created beautiful art, curated art

shows and sold her artwork. “After graduation, I needed something to do every day, so I started working in a restaurant. Everyone worked together as a team and they showed art on the walls – it was a family,” she remembers. “I’ve always loved food, hospitality and entertaining. I worked in several fun restaurants –very well run – that served real food prepared with proper techniques. It was another medium for creativity.” As proof, a cozy round booth in the back houses just one of BowenRicketts’ awards, a ceramic plate bearing the proud moniker: “James Beard Award Nominee 2016.” Several large canvases lush with bold strokes, vivid colors and remembered stories, hang next to her accolades.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 19
{ restaurant spotlight }

Fan and Johnny’s, her seventh restaurant in a nearly 30-year career, is named for her maternal grandparents, a natural continuation of her artistic and culinary career. Her Cajun grandparents’ kitchen, always full of locally sourced, seasonally available “real food,” was an early inspiration for the chef, and one of the culinary themes that has followed Bowen-Ricketts from the Yocona River Inn early in her career, to The Hoka (a whole food restaurant), through her time working at Viking and Delta Fresh Market, to the present restaurant.

Open for lunch and dinner, starters here include a thick Caribbean black bean soup with cornbread croutons, oranges and onions; black-eyed pea cakes with baby greens and remoulade; and lemon pepper fried shrimp. Po-Boys are served on Gambino rolls, including The Hoka BBQ Shrimp Po-Boy with mayo, tomato and spring mix; Nashville Hot Chicken tossed in hot sauce butter with homemade pickles and ranch dressing; fried catfish with bacon tartar, cabbage and crispy onions; and a ginger pecan chicken salad with oranges and lettuce. Decadent desserts

are also available to put the finishing touches on any meal: bread pudding, hot fudge pie and blueberry crisp, all homemade and served with local gelato, are sure to please.

She credits her long success with the people, opportunities and experiences – both good and bad – working in high profile positions at Viking. “My friend Martha [Foose] had moved to Greenwood,” she explains. “She thought I might do well at Viking, and I had many opportunities through that connection. I attended the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa, took weeklong continuing education classes to learn more about cooking techniques, and cooked for executives and visitors from around the world. I had access to the Food Network, and one of my colleagues there nominated me for the James Beard [Award].”

Fully immersed in the Delta now through her children, her restaurant and her art, Bowen-Ricketts is a staple ingredient in this community. “People followed me from Delta Fresh Market and The Hoka, asking me, ‘When are you going to open another restaurant?’ Well, I finally did, and I can do what I want now. I’m

20 • August/September 2023

only open about 15 hours a week, so I can do other things, too.”

Pointing to the cabbages and herbs in a large container garden in the cobbled alleyway beside Fan and Johnny’s, she explains further: “This is where we set up the long tables for about a hundred people,” says Bowen-Ricketts. “We do a fundraiser for ArtPlace Mississippi, a nonprofit dedicated to creating access to the arts for everyone in Leflore County. And I finally have time to tell my girls to slow down, because it all goes so very fast.” edm

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 21

Grandma’ s cookbooK Fruit “Pizza,” Veggie “Pizza,” Sausage

& Cheese Balls

Following along with the football and tailgating theme, we offer three perfect-for-a-church-picnic recipes from the 1960s and 70s. Each has been tried, enjoyed and has appeared in a small town church’s fundraising cookbook. As with all our vintage recipes, we encourage you to use these recipes as starting points! Feel free to switch out fruits or vegetables for your own favorites and to adjust seasonings. edm


• 1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick)

• 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

• 1 cup flour

• 8 oz. cream cheese

• 1 cup sugar, divided

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• Banana, cut into 1/2” circles

• Strawberries, cleaned and sliced

• Kiwis, peeled and diced

• Peach, peeled and sliced

• Blueberries

• Maraschino cherries, halved

• 2 Tablespoons cornstarch

• 1 cup pineapple juice

• 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1. Using a blender or two forks, mix the cold butter with the powdered sugar and flour until crumbly. Pat into pizza pan or 9” x 9” pan, going up the sides.

2. Bake 10 minutes at 350 and allow to cool.

3. Beat the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar and vanilla together until

creamy. Spread over cooled crust.

4. Arrange cut fruit in a pretty pattern. (Note: Grandma’s recipe says you can also use well-drained canned fruit.)

5. In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Cool, then pour over the “pizza” to seal the fruit.

22 • August/September 2023



• 2 packages crescent rolls (she recommends Pillsbury in the handwritten recipe)

• 1/3 cup mayonnaise

• 1 teaspoon onion salt

• 16 oz. cream cheese (2 bricks)

• 1-2 teaspoons dill

• 1 teaspoon minced garlic

• Tomato, cucumber, celery, carrots, black and green olives, mushrooms, cauliflower florets, green and red pepper, cleaned and diced/chopped/sliced

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the paper. Spread the crescent roll dough onto the pan, pressing lightly to seal the seams. Bake according to package directions.

2. Combine cream cheese, mayo, and spices. Spread over cooled crust.

3. Arrange vegetables over the top.

4. Cut into squares and serve.


Makes 7 dozen appetizers


• 3 cups baking mix (such as Bisquick or Pioneer)

• 1 lb. pork sausage (uncooked)

• 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• 1/2 cup milk

• 1 teaspoon rosemary

• 1 teaspoon parsley

• 1/4 teaspoon sage

• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

• Barbecue sauce or sweet and sour sauce (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2. Using clean hands, mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into 1-inch balls.

3. Bake 20-25 minutes or until brown.

4. Remove immediately from the pan and serve warm with sauce if desired.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 23

Magnificent Mississippi Mud Cake

This recipe is adapted from Morgan Murphy’s book “Southern Living: Off the Eaten Path: Favorite Southern Dives and the 150 Recipes That Made Them Famous” (Oxmoor House, 2011)

What could be better after a summer barbecue than a thick piece of Rocky-Road inspired Mississippi Mud Cake? Serve with homemade vanilla ice cream for an extra special treat.

Ingredients for the cake:

• 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)

• 2 cups granulated sugar

• 4 large eggs

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1/3 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s Special Dark)

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

• 3 cups mini marshmallows

Prepare the cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Beat the butter at medium speed with a mixer until creamy; gradually add the sugar, beating well.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Stir in vanilla extract.

4. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; add in two additions, stirring well between each so the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

5. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9” x 13” pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6. Sprinkle with 1 cup pecans and the mini marshmallows; bake 2 minutes more.

While the cake is baking, make the icing.

• 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

• 3/4 cup powdered sugar

• 1/4 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s Special Dark)

• 1/4 cup evaporated milk

• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans


1. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.

2. Whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and add to the melted butter.

3. Add the evaporated milk to the pan and stir until smooth.

4. Stir in pecans.

5. Spread icing over warm cake; let cool completely before cutting. Makes 12 servings.

24 • August/September 2023

Lemon Garlic Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

Adapted from a recipe by Julie Moskin from The New York Times.

This lemony, superfood kale salad has tang and crunch. The simple dressing has a base of lemon juice, olive oil and spices blended together for the perfect light summer side dish.


• 1 cup pine nuts

• 10-12 oz whole kale leaves, washed and dried, with stems removed (weight after trimming)

• 1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

• ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-4 lemons)

• 1-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

• 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

• 1-2 teaspoons mayonnaise

• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

• Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper


1. In a dry skillet, spread the pine nuts and toast until light golden brown and fragrant (about 3-5 minutes). Watch them carefully – they burn in a flash! Set aside to cool.

2. Make the dressing by combining the fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, mayonnaise and mustard in a blender or food processor. Process on high for 2 minutes to allow the dressing to completely emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish (1.5 cups) or store refrigerated in an airtight container.

3. Fold over each piece of kale and with a knife close to the stem, cut the leafy green part away from the woody stem. Repeat until all kale stems have been removed. Discard stems.

4. Loosely chop the leaves (or tear with your hands) into bite size pieces. “Massage” the kale, repeatedly rubbing the pieces and combing through it over and over until you are confident all pieces have been broken. (Massaging kale for salad makes the vegetable more palatable by releasing its bitter compounds and—as a result—makes the kale less bitter. This simple process breaks down the fibrous texture, making kale more tender, easier to chew, and more digestible.)

5. (If needed, make the salad to this stage and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.)

6. Just before serving, place kale in a large salad bowl, top with pine nuts and cheese, and pour over half the dressing. Toss well to coat. Serve within one hour with additional dressing on the side.

7. Store any remaining kale salad in the refrigerator and use within 1 day.

*Other options for versatile kale salads:

• Instead of parmesan, substitute goat cheese crumbles.

• Use toasted sliced almonds, chopped pecans, or chopped walnuts instead of pine nuts.

• Instead of nuts and cheese, try fresh avocado cubes and grapefruit segments.

• Add raisins, chopped apples, or both.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 25

The Herbalist’s Bible: John Parkinson’s Lost Classic – 82 Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses, by


Images from the book

Always interested in the idea of “food as medicine,” I picked up “The Herbalist’s Bible” while browsing in a local bookseller, only to discover what a magnificent book it truly is. Authors Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal’s connection with John Parkinson began in 2005 with a peek at Parkinson’s “Theatrum Botanicum” (1640) in a rare books collection in Norwich, England. The huge folio contained 1,788 pages of illustrated text in a leather cover and was in mediocre condition – it had formerly been available in the lending library and was marked with rain spatters from a careless patron.

Sensing the importance of this weighty collection of botanical lore, the Seals created a book dedicated to the spirit – if not the entirety – of the book; the result is “The Herbalist’s Bible.” It begins with a history lesson on John Parkinson, the historical context of the mid 1600s, and his career path from apprentice botanist to experienced apothecary. Parkinson was also an accomplished gardener, and even did

woodcuts of flowers and plants. His life’s work was the production of the “Theatrum Botanicum,” which he dedicated to “the Kings Most Excellent Maiestie” Charles I, calling it a “Manlike Worke of Herbes and Plants.”

26 • August/September 2023 { from the bookshelf }

Like the Theatrum Botanicum before it, the 256page Herbalist’s Bible is laid out in the same fashion, with the Latin name of the plant, an image, and a list of “vertues” (uses) such as staunching wounds, treating high blood pressure, or for stomach complaints. The most interesting feature of the book is that the multipage article on each plant shows first the original “Theatrum Botanicum” page, then translates that information into modern English, including updated uses, with color photos. For example, Parkinson’s page for elder (Sambucus) begins with this introduction paragraph: “Both Dioscorides and Galen doe attribute to the Wallworte, as well as to the common Elder, (for they account their properties both one) an heating and drying quality, purging watery humors aboundantly, but not without trouble to the stomack. The first shootes of the common Elder boyled like unto Asparagux, and the young leaves and stalkes boyled in fat broth, draweth forth mightily choler and tough flegme; the tender leaves also eaten with oyle and salt doe the same.”

The fascinating book continues, mirroring and updating each of Parkinson’s entries page for page, and adding commentary where needed for modern readers. The book translates and comments on 82 plants still in common use today, in both culinary and in medicinal use, and organized alphabetically by the common English name, such as: betony, burdock, chicory, daisies, elder, goldenrod, honeysuckle, hyssop, jasmine, liquorice, mint, onion/leek/garlic, rosemary, sage, seaweed, St. John’s wort, watercress and yarrow.

In the “note to the reader,” the Seals also invite us to browse the book, to dive in and discover –along with Parkinson – the joys and uses of plants and seeds sent to Parkinson by friends overseas in North and South America, China, the East and West Indes, India and the Middle East. Share in Parkinson’s excitement as he experiments with exotic and unheard-of plants such as chili peppers (cayenne), coca, corn, love apples (tomatoes), sassafras and tobacco.

Readers will also want to take advantage of the extensive end notes, appendices, glossary, index, and the brief biographies of well-known botanists, apothecaries, healers, scholars, and surgeons throughout history, all of which make this book both interesting and highly informative. Happy reading! edm

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 27

Pots and Pans as Memory Keepers: A Tale of Two Skillets

“What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents.”

My grandmother Margaret was a force to be reckoned with. She was the youngest girl of 15 children – all single births – and by the time she came along, several of her older sisters were already married and had children, so she grew up with nieces and nephews who were older than she was. Very early, she discovered a couple things: she didn’t like to sit still, she loved children, and she was a good cook.

When her little brother came along, she helped take care of him, working in the garden, weeding the flower beds, and making dinner. In those days, most of the cookware was made of durable cast iron, suitable for cooking evenly on a wood-fired farmhouse cookstove. Because of the large family, she used an oversized cast iron skillet for many meals – it was large enough to hold a five-pound pot roast with potatoes, carrots and onions. This particular skillet has cradled cornbread, hosted a mountain of mashed turnips, and even broiled to perfection a whole Thanksgiving turkey with stuffing around the edges.

Later, when my grandmother married and had five children of her own, she used this skillet for the Easter roast lamb, Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas goose. My father would bring us grandkids over to his parents’ house for holidays, and that skillet would be on the stovetop, the meat resting before my grandfather carved it

with the electric knife that was all the rage in the early 70s.

When my grandmother died, I was the lucky recipient of this skillet, and I began to understand its true value. The inside has been seasoned to perfection with the juices and fats of hundreds of meats and sauces over nearly a century. It can hold ten pounds of potatoes and ten decades’ worth of memories. It can withstand the heat of the oven, can sit atop campfire coals, and has withstood the proverbial heat of the kitchen. It has held meals and memories of weddings, graduations, church picnics, christenings, and funerals.

I’m not sure how my family acquired this behemoth 14” Griswold skillet that weighs nearly seven pounds when empty. When it was new in the 1930s, this skillet was the most expensive one made and cost about $2 (domed lid not included), a huge sum for the farm

28 • August/September 2023

workers and laborers of that era. My great grandfather was a blacksmith with a thriving business in a tiny village between Chicago and Des Moines, but even so, it’s unlikely anybody would have had that much available cash to spend on a skillet. The romantic side of me likes to daydream that perhaps a tinker stopped by to get his horse shod, and they “horse traded” the skillet in payment. It’s a minor mystery that, unfortunately, will remain unsolved.

The huge frying pan is too big and too heavy for the rack with the other pans, so in my kitchen it lives with the cookie sheets in the drawer underneath the oven. Despite its size, it’s one of my favorite pieces of cookware. Every time I roast or bake something, I pull out that pan, and to this day, it still cooks the annual turkey, although now I use a cooking bag to make it simpler to get out all the wonderful turkey drippings. It is a heavy pan, even more so when full of meat and memories, so I always use two hands – and two of grandma’s crocheted potholders – when taking it out of the oven.

My latest culinary prize is also a skillet. This one I purchased as an “it’s a Thursday” gift, which is what I say to myself when I really want something but don’t want to wait until my birthday or Christmas. It’s a tiny 6” Staub cast iron skillet with turmeric-colored enamel on the handle and base. Although I value well-made items

and am willing to pay for solid wood antique furniture, silk or linen clothing and hardback first editions, I’m a bit embarrassed at how much I paid for this tiny skillet, suitable only for cooking a single egg. But it was love at first sight, I’m afraid. A foodie friend had the sky-blue version and claimed it was his favorite. (Of course, then I needed one, too.)

This French-made skillet browns without sticking, sautés like a champ, and even pops right in the oven for the perfect broil. I feel so chic when using it, as if my French ancestors were standing next to me. It is the perfect pan for any recipe from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child. The surface of the skillet is nonstick without the nonstick coating, and although it could go in the dishwasher, I usually lovingly bathe it in hot, soapy water before allowing it to dry in a wooden rack. Every time I cook my single serving in it, I smile. Then I think about my friends, my family, and my grandmother, realize how lucky I am, and understand that I am making memories with this skillet, too.

As chef and author Jeff Smith says in “The Frugal Gourmet Keeps the Feast” (1995), “Feasting is… closely related to memory. We eat certain things in a particular way to remember who we are.” I’m sure that is true, and now I have two skillets to hold the memories.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 29

Back to School

Suppers Made Easy

Ushering in a new school year can also usher in a lot of stress. Thankfully, getting dinner on the table does not have to be a part it. Any of these four flavorful dinner recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less.



• 6 hamburger patties (about ½ lb. each)

• Salt

• Ground black pepper

• Onion powder

• Garlic powder

• 8 oz. sliced white mushrooms

• 1 cup thinly sliced white onion

• 2 Tablespoons bacon grease or oil

• 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

• 1 cup beef broth

• Additional salt and pepper to taste

30 • August/September 2023


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line a baking pan with foil. Place a baking rack over the foil and spray with cooking spray.

3. Season the outside of each of the hamburger steaks with the salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to your preference.

4. Place the hamburger patties on top of the baking rack. Bake for 15-25 minutes until juices from the patties are clear.

5. In the meantime, melt the bacon grease or oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

6. Add the mushroom and onions. Sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

7. Add the flour and stir until the flour is incorporated and there are no lumps.

8. Add the beef broth. Continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes until the broth begins to thicken into a gravy. Season the gravy with additional salt and pepper if needed.

9. To serve, spoon the gravy over the tops of the hamburger steaks.



This freezes well. Double or triple the recipe and save for a later date.


• 1-1/2 lb. ground beef

• ½ cup onions, diced

• ¼ cup celery, diced

• 1 small green bell pepper, diced

• 1 cup ketchup

• 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

• 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Hamburger buns


1. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until no longer pink, about 8 minutes.

2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ground beef to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Set aside. Reserve at least two Tablespoons of the grease in the skillet.

3. Add the onions, celery and bell peppers to the skillet. Sauté the vegetables for an additional 8-10 minutes until they are tender.

4. Return the ground beef to the skillet.

5. Add ketchup, Worcestershire and mustard. Stir until combined and heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Serve on hamburger buns.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 31



• 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

• 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

• 1 cup heavy cream

• 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere’s)

• 4 oz. cream cheese, softened

• 1 cup diced cooked chicken breast

• 1 Tablespoon minced onion

• 2 Tablespoons chopped pimentos

• 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

• 2 cans of refrigerated crescent rolls

• Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt three Tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for two minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to medium low. Slowly stir in the heavy cream. Bring the cream to a simmer and continue to cook until the cream begins to thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat and season with the Creole seasoning.

4. Melt the remaining butter. Whip the butter and the cream cheese together.

5. Add the diced chicken breast, onion, pimentos and one cup of the shredded cheddar. Stir together until the mixture is evenly combined.

6. Unroll the crescent roll dough and separate the triangles along the perforations. Place about one Tablespoon of the chicken filling along the wide edge of each triangle. Carefully roll the crescent rolls up around the filling.

7. Spread the sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2-inch casserole dish. Arrange the stuffed crescent rolls over the sauce.

8. Bake for 15 minutes. Top the crescent rolls with the remainder of the cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes until the crescent rolls are brown and the cheese is melted.

32 • August/September 2023


• 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

• 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

• 3/4 cup chopped onion

• 1 small green bell pepper, diced

• 1/4 cup diced celery

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• 1/2 cup chicken or shrimp stock

• 2 Tablespoons tomato paste

• 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

• 3/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

• 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

• 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Hot cooked white rice

• 2 green onions, optional



1. Melt butter in a large sauté pan or pot over medium heat.

2. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery. Sauté the vegetables until tender, about five minutes.

3. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.

4. Add the chicken or shrimp stock, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, and parsley. Stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Stir in the shrimp. Continue to simmer until the shrimp are pink and opaque, about five minutes.

6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Serve Shrimp Creole over cooked rice. Garnish with green onions, if desired. edm

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 33

Tailgate Touchdown

Tailgating is a Southern art form that blends family traditions with favorite recipes and plenty of fun memories – even if your team doesn’t win every game. Whether you’re hosting your first tailgate or you’re a tailgating veteran, these tips and tricks from some of the best in Oxford and Starkville help you kick off football season with style and ease.

According to Heidi Miller of, an ideal tailgating experience begins with the right location, excellent food, fun entertainment, sturdy tables, and comfortable seating. Some of her must-have items include hand sanitizer, wipes, trash bags, paper towels, and of course plenty of paper napkins and disposable cups, plates, and utensils. When it comes to food and drink, she recommends loading up coolers with many interesting drinks and filling thermoses to keep sweet tea cold and coffee, apple cider, hot cocoa, (or even soup) warm. Finger foods score the most points, so she prefers Buffalo chicken or meatball sliders and football-shaped brownies. For ease of set up, she suggests using a rolling table with a built-in chair rack and handles on the side. She also recommends many more recipes and easy decorations and games on her web site.

Angie Sicurezza, owner of GRIT restaurant and A&N Catering with her chef/husband, Nick Reppond in Taylor, knows plenty about catering tailgating events at Ole Miss. After working for many years with the City Grocery Restaurant Group, the couple now caters mostly large-scale events from their restaurant and the wedding reception space, The Mill at Plein Air, where they are the

exclusive caterer. Every year they provide catering for a law firm’s tailgating event for 350 people and do everything from fried chicken, chicken and sausage gumbo, and creole-roasted shrimp with remoulade. “This tailgate is like one of our weddings, but even bigger than most,” she says.

For a typical, smaller-scale tailgate with just a few friends and family, Sicurezza suggests mixing homemade dishes with purchased food to make it easier. She adds a few upscale elements to tailgate favorites such as the popular sliders by adding brisket or smoked beef tenderloin with chimichurri sauce between the small buns. She serves them alongside a smoked sweet potato salad and elote corn dip. “You need to be mindful of foods that need to stay cold like deviled eggs or chicken salad as you plan your menu and set up,” says says. “It’s also smart to consider the time of year and the opponent.” Cured or smoked meats stay fresh and keep well outside. In cooler months she recommends gumbo or red beans and rice, which works well when playing LSU. She also recommends the fan-favorite of serving miniature corn dogs too, which is another one of those football fan stories that has gone on so long that no one really knows the origins. She also often focuses on a fall theme with miniature pumpkin cheesecakes, apple tartlets or fried apple hand pies.

Ty Thames, chef of three Starkville restaurants (Restaurant Tyler, BIN 612 and The Guest Room), describes football season as magical with its combination of fall colors, smells in the air, and the energy of Starkville. “It really takes on a life of its own with football fans buzzing around town,” he explains.

Thames suggests several choices for tailgate food such as unique dips and fried chicken and pimento cheese pinwheels. Spread pimento cheese evenly along a tortilla and place a piece of fried chicken on top like a pizza topping. Roll up and place toothpicks

34 • August/September 2023

every inch and a half or so and cut into bite-size pieces. Smoked catfish dip with Mississippi red pepper jelly is another tailgate favorite of his. He places his dip on a cheese board and tops with the pepper jelly, while surrounding the dish with chips or his favorite, miniature Wheat Thins crackers.

Thames’ usual game day includes stopping by BIN 612 for a drink and food while watching fans on University Drive make their way to campus. He then also walks to campus and visits a few friends’ tailgates on the way to the stadium. Chef Thames’ pro tailgating suggestions are:

• Do the food and supply prep work a day or two ahead of time. Game day is not the time to be running out to get something you’ve forgotten.

• Have everyone who is tailgating do a small part to help. Many hands make light work.

• Get on site as early as possible. Campus traffic will be hectic, so the sooner you are settled, the better off you will be.

Bess Fisher, an attorney with Mitchell, McNutt & Sams in Oxford, is also a food blogger (Bessie Crocker) and host of a tailgate tent at every home Ole Miss football game. She begins planning in late summer by making a list of home games and their opponents, and then builds a theme around that. “Two years ago, for the Arkansas game I did a “BBQ the Hogs” theme with pulled pork nachos, queso, and accompaniments,” she said. “It was a hit with everyone!”

Fisher doesn’t over plan because weather usually impacts how many people attend the tailgate. She often opts for some kind of protein, one to two dips with chips, and a dessert. Everyone who attends contributes to the menu for a potluck-style affair. “It

takes a village,” she says. “I try not to stress about whether there will be enough food because there always is.” She also packs extra dishes and trays in case an impromptu visitor brings something to share too.

In addition to the barbecue theme, Fisher also hosts a birthday party theme in November to celebrate the birthdays of her husband, William, and her father-in-law, Bobby. A friend of hers, Mary Rosenzweig with Thanks For Everything, designed a sticker that said, “William and Bobby love the Rebs” to add another touch of fun.

She relies on tailgate favorites such as French onion dip or Captain Rodney’s dip with potato chips and chicken nuggets served with a variety of sauces. In a pinch she serves Costco frozen nuggets prepared in her air fryer that are a Chick-fil-A replica to stay true to her mantra of working smarter, not harder. As for beverages, she often provides a signature cocktail to compliment her theme. Her bourbon slushes with bourbon-soaked cherries are popular with guests.

Tailgating in the Grove at Ole Miss is a place for friendship and fellowship, says Fisher, and can be accomplished with just a few snacks and drinks. “Many opponents have beaten Ole Miss in football, but very few tailgates beat a Saturday in the Grove,” she says. “Hotty Toddy to that!”

Everything Fisher has learned about tailgating is a combination of party hosting tips from her mom and Grove tips she inherited from her mother-in-law, Catherine Fisher, the original tent host:

• Don’t overcomplicate it. Be a relaxed host by arriving early, setting out the spread, and popping open a drink to be ready to greet guests.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 35

• Always bring one more pack each of beer and bottled water than you think you will need.

• Use recipes like make-ahead dips to stay true to tip number one.

• Pack tailgating essentials in large plastic storage containers and just restock the plates, plastic utensils, napkins, and other items from game to game. Include many plastic grocery bags to place all dishes into after the tailgate to make clean up easier later.

• Whether big or small, homemade or catered, tailgating in Mississippi is always a win –regardless of the outcome of the game.

Enjoy this selection of tried-and-true large batch tailgating recipes from Ole Miss chefs!




• 2 bottles (24oz) Mississippi Red Pepper Sauce

• 4 cups water, divided

• 2 cups white vinegar

• 7 cups granulated sugar

• 5 individual powdered gelatin packets


1. Combine all ingredients except for the gelatin and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring occasionally to make sure sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom.

2. Thoroughly mix the gelatin in the cup of room temperature water.

3. Once the mixture is boiling steadily, add the gelatin mixture. Stir for one minute, then remove from heat.

4. Transfer hot liquid into sterilized pint jars and put in the refrigerator overnight.



• 24 oz. Edam cheese (shredded)

• 24 oz. cheddar cheese (shredded)

• 2 cans (28 oz. each) pimientos (drained very well)


• 8 oz. garlic, roasted

• 1 cup capers

• 3 oz. jalapeno peppers

• 24 oz. cream cheese (4 bricks)

• 2 cups mayonnaise

• 1 Tablespoon garlic powder

• 1 Tablespoon onion powder

• 1 Tablespoon celery seed


1. Combine the 8 sauce ingredients (everything except pimientos and shredded cheese) in a food processor and blend until smooth.

2. Tip the cheeses and pimientos into a mixing bowl; add the sauce and mix well. If the mixture is too wet, add more shredded cheese until it reaches desired consistency.

36 • August/September 2023




• 1 lb. smoked Mississippi catfish, skinned and boned

• 16 oz. cream cheese (2 bricks)

• 2/3 c sour cream

• 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise

• Half a red onion

• 2 oz. roasted garlic

• 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

• 1 Tablespoon Mississippi Red Pepper Sauce

• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• ½ teaspoon salt

• ½ teaspoon red pepper

• ½ teaspoon dried thyme

• ½ teaspoon celery seed

• 1 teaspoon onion powder

• 1 teaspoon bay seasoning

• Juice and zest of 1 large lemon


1. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend, serve immediately, or refrigerate overnight.






• 5 (3-4 lbs.) peeled sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes

• 6 large whole eggs

• ¼ cup whole grain mustard

• ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 2 Tablespoons minced yellow onion

• 3 large minced green onions (white and green parts) ~5 tablespoons

• ½ cup chopped red and green bell pepper

• 1 cup mayo

• 1-2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

• 1 ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning

• 1 teaspoon finely ground white or black pepper

• 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

• 1 teaspoon paprika


1. Place potatoes in large pot; add cold water to cover. Boil potatoes until tender (not mushy), about 15 minutes.

2. In a large saucepan, combine whole eggs and enough cool water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Bring the eggs to a boil over high heat. The moment the water reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium-high heat and simmer for another 10 minutes. Pour off the hot water and fill the pot with cool water to stop the eggs from cooking. Set aside at room temperature to cool, then refrigerate.


• 2½ cups apple cider vinegar

• 2 cups creole mustard

• ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 2 Tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

• 1 teaspoon cayenne

• 1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning

• 2 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce

• 1 head of finely shredded red cabbage

• 1 head of finely shredded green cabbage

• 4 peeled and shredded carrots

• 2 minced yellow onions

• 2 diced red bell peppers

• 2 diced green bell peppers


1. Combine vinegar, mustard, salt & pepper, cayenne, and Creole seasoning; mix well.

2. Add cabbage, carrots, onions, and bell peppers; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge.

3. Drain the potatoes in a colander; ensure all of the excess water has been drained (about 5 minutes). Transfer potatoes into large mixing bowl. Add the mustard and cayenne pepper and mix with a large fork, carefully avoiding mashing the potatoes. Remove the shells from the boiled eggs, and place into the bowl with potatoes. Refrigerate potatoes and eggs until thoroughly chilled (about 30 minutes).

4. In another bowl combine the yellow onion, 2 Tablespoons of the green onion, the bell peppers, 2/3 cups of the mayo, and half of the Worcestershire.

5. Remove eggs and potatoes from fridge. Remove 5 of the eggs and set aside. Cut eggs in small cubes, return to bowl, and gradually stir in the mayonnaise mixture until blended. Add the Creole seasoning, pepper and chopped eggs; stir gently. Fold in the remaining 1/3 cup mayo, remaining green onion, and Worcestershire sauce.

6. Smooth the top of the salad with spatula and slice remaining egg for garnish on top, along with parsley and paprika.

7. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 37

Recipe Index

All Hallow’s Eve Shandy, 18

Aunt Lois’s Vegetable “Pizza,” 23

Cheesy Crescent Roll Chicken, 32

Cherry Radler, 18

Classic Shandy, 18

Dutch Baby Pancake, 9

Grandma Evelyn’s Fruit “Pizza,” 22

It’s Peary Good Shandy, 18

Lemon Garlic Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Parmesan, 25

Magnificent Mississippi Mud Cake, 24

Mississippi Red Hot Pepper Jelly, 36

Mississippi Smoked Catfish Dip, 37

Okra Cornmeal Cakes, 14

Oven Roasted Okra, 14

Party Size Pimiento Cheese, 36

Sausage and Cheese Balls, 23

Shrimp Creole, 33

Sloppy Joes from Scratch, 31

Smothered Hamburger Steaks, 30

Spanish Main Shandy, 18

Spicy Pickled Okra, 14

Spicy Red Cabbage Slaw, 37

Sweet Potato Salad, 37

38 • August/September 2023
MISSING AN ISSUE? VOLUME 12, NUMBER 1 February/March 2023 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Super Bowl Snacking Healthier takes on Game Day favorites Romantic Dinner for Two Surprise your special someone with a home cooked meal worthy of a fine dining restaurant February/March 2023 DISPLAY UNTIL March 31, 2023 $7.95 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Yazoo Yaupon Tea • Tico’s Steakhouse • SoLa Sizzling with love VOLUME 10, NUMBER 4 August/Septetmber 2021 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI 30-Minute and Under Meals Three all-star meals and lunches to get your family’s back-to-school season started right Festival Season is Just Starting Learn more about local festivals that are sure to be a great end to your summer August/September 2021 DISPLAY UNTIL September 31, 2021 $4.95 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Queen’s Reward Meadery | Fat Mama's Tamales | Walnut Hills Restaurant Q uick & Back-To -Scho o l Meals Healt hy VOLUME 10, NUMBER February/March 2021 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI CELEBRATE MARDI GRAS Discover three great Cajun recipes using seasonal ingredients for Fat Tuesday ---------------------VALENTINE’S DAY Celebrate with homemade chocolate treats, date night in the city or a cocktail at home February/March 2021 DISPLAY UNTIL March 31, 2021 $4.95 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Extra Table | Charcuterie Chick | Bilal’s EasyKale Tired of squash as a side dish? See 3 sides that use fresh, seasonal produce to accompany any main dish. drink. MISSISSIPPI Deli & Seafood | The Great Mississippi Tea Co. Seasonal Side Dishes See what kitchen items you need to cook to impress this season Fall-Must Haves Email us at Back Issues Available for Purchase

Till We Eat Again

Smoke: It’s What’s for Dinner

My wife found a deal on baby-back ribs: buy one rack, get one free. I decided it was time to dust the spring pollen off my Big Green Egg (it was beginning to look like a John Deere) and try my luck. If I messed them up, at least I was messing them up for half price. Naturally, the first step is to light the charcoal; I have an electric magic wand for this. Once the charcoal is glowing, it’s time to add the wood chips. They produce the smoke that will soon permeate the ribs. Because I didn’t have the smoker pushed far enough out, the smoke lingered under the porch roof, ultimately permeating my own personal ribs, or at least the t-shirt covering them. When I came back in the house, my wife said, “Wow, those smell good already.” What she meant to say was, “Wow, you smell good already.” The point is: grill smoke smells good. Furthermore, smoke-bathed foods taste good. But what is it? And why do we like it so much?

There is a lot of science behind smoking meat. What we see rising from the flames is a collection of tiny particles the heat releases from the wood. Logically, different kinds of wood release different kinds of particles resulting in different flavor profiles. Fruit woods are good for some meats, nut woods for others, and mesquite for Texans. The smoke adds flavor, but whether or not the meat gets safely cooked depends on the temperature. And let’s not forget the flip side of smoking science: it’s also an art. Any pit-master worth his rub will testify to that.

As we move into the fall, smoke rises more often than in other seasons. Football players erupt through clouds of smoke as fighter jets leave smoky trails overhead. Granted, this is not food-flavoring smoke (nobody wants jet fuel-infused brisket), but there are other offerings at these Friday and Saturday worship meetings. At our hometown high school stadium a grill is nestled behind the concession stand. As soon as I walk through the gate, I know they’re getting my smoke-kissed jumbo hot dog ready. At college games, my go-to is barbecue nachos, and if I happen to be watching from home, it’s…also barbecue nachos.

As I pondered the presence of smoke in my life, it didn’t take long to come up with a variety of ways the scent has penetrated my memories.

We generally think of smoking the main dish, the meat: pork shoulder, brisket, chicken, etc. But those sides, though. A few years ago I asked my son what he’d like to eat on his birthday. His choices included smoked mac-and-cheese. I took the challenge. A good bit of the prep took place indoors, but it was finished in a Dutch oven inside the smoky environs of a Big Green Egg, and it was worth the effort. And for those without a smoker? There are plenty of smoked cheeses around that could get you to a similar flavor destination. Smoked salts are tasty, too. As the saying (kind of) goes, there’s more than one way to smoke a cat.

My son was a Boy Scout, and in his journey to Eagle, one of the merit badges involved cooking over coals. We aren’t really a camping family unless it involves an RV with AC and a WC, so we adapted. But rather than bake biscuits in cast iron, we went off the grid with a personal-sized cake baked inside a hollowed-out orange, nestled in the coals. Yes, desserts can also be smoked. And if desserts can be smoked, why not the cocktail before dinner? Smoking your Old Fashioned table-side is all the rage right now.

Purist alert: I am an advocate of liquid smoke in limited situations. I did my research and discovered that some brands are just what they say they are: legit liquified smoke. I use it to elevate store-bought salsa. My wife has long preferred a very basic name brand salsa, and I like her to be happy even if my homemade salsa with smoked tomatoes is better. I add a dash of liquid smoke to a portion of her big-box favorite and voila: smoky goodness. But beware: a little liquid carries a lot of smoke. By the way, liquid smoke was invented by a pharmacist (like me) back in 1895. Respect.

Looking to add flavor to your meal this fall? Add smoke. It’s what’s for dinner.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 39
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, co-hosts two podcasts and blogs at
Bill Dabney Photography
40 • August/September 2023 Follow us on social media to see some of the tasty, local bites we’ve discovered! @eatdrinkmississippi eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

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