eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI - October/November 2023

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VOLUME 12, NUMBER 3 October/November 2023 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Classic Soup Recipes for Fall, p. 10 From the Bookshelf: “Recipes From the Grave,” p. 21 Thanksgiving With Nana in Natchez, p. 26 October/November 2023 DISPLAY UNTIL November 30, 2023 $7.95 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Blue Cornmeal Cake | Hickory Pit | “Tiny Chef” Simms Powell Soup for Falling

25 Thoughtful Foodie Finds for Thanksgiving

26 Feature: A Special Thanksgiving with Nana in Natchez

28 Chef Spotlight: “Tiny Chef” Simms Powell

32 Grandma’s Cookbook: Party Salmon Pâté, Aunt Fern’s Thanksgiving Cheese Ball, and Super Simple Pumpkin Pie Dip

34 Fresh from the Farm: Mississippi Pecans Six Ways

36 Feature: Sunflower Oven’s Slow Rise to Bread Success

38 Recipe Index

39 Till We Eat Again: Spice Is the Variety of Life

2 • October/November 2023 in every issue 4 From the Editor 5 What’s Happening 8 A Taste of Magnolia 16, 20, 25 Fabulous Foodie Finds 38 Recipe Index 39 Till We Eat Again 19
October/November 2023 Volume 12 Number 5 in this issue 15 33
the Best Food Holidays Ever
What’s Happening: Flowood
Bay St.
Perry Co. Pecan Festival + Chipotle Grill in Olive Branch
Taste of Magnolia: Blue Cornmeal Cake
Warmth for the Soul: Four Classic Soup Recipes Perfect for Fall 16 Foodie Finds for Oktoberfest
Raise Your Glass: Grilled Orange Old Fashioned
Spooktacular Foodie Finds for Halloween
From the Bookshelf: “Recipes From the Grave”
What’s inside
4 From the Editor: Oktoberfest, Halloween and Thanksgiving: Three of
Aldi + Dolce
Louis +
Spotlight: Hickory Pit
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Oktoberfest, Halloween and Thanksgiving: Three of the Best Food Holidays Ever

I don’t know about you, but fall is my favorite season and October is my favorite month. The weather is finally cool, the leaves are changing to beautiful scarlets, oranges and golds, and all the best food is on the menu!

October is also the month of Halloween, which happens to be my favorite holiday. I think this stems from when I was a child in the 1970s in Hattiesburg. I was that child with hippie dippy parents who believed sugar was evil; we ate only free range, farm to table, organic foods. As you can tell, my parents were way ahead of the trend and now I consider myself lucky, but at the time I thought it was a horrible imposition because none of my classmates ate that way. I used to go over to a friend’s house each day after school because her mother had an entire cabinet full of Little Debbie snack cakes, potato chips, and Pop-Tarts and the refrigerator always had 2-liter Cokes in it (and Diet Coke, Sprite, and Fanta orange soda). For lunch at school, my brother and I ate freshly prepared chicken salad on whole grain bread with raisins as a snack – in recycled paper lunch bags, no less – but my friends had metal Superman lunchboxes from which they pulled bologna and Kraft cheese slices on Wonder bread with yellow mustard… and Pringles.

However, Halloween was the great equalizer. It was the one day a year when I was allowed to dress up like Princess Leia (my brother was Darth Vader) and go house to house begging for food like a street urchin from “Oliver.” I always came home with my plastic pumpkin bucket brimming with treats, and my brother and I would spread our hoard over the living room floor and spend hours swapping candy for what we liked best: we learned the art of negotiating in those sessions! I wanted anything chocolate, and he was more a Twizzlers and jelly beans kind of guy. (We also secretly made fun of the neighbors who bought cheap hard candies from the dollar store and praised those who gave out full size Snickers bars.)

In this issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI you’ll find plenty of great recipe ideas for all the fall holidays: Oktoberfest, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. We also share recipes from cooks from just a few of the amazing food cultures that make up our state’s tasty food tapestry.

So no matter how you spend your fall – with friends at home, at Oktoberfest or a Halloween party, and whether you do Thanksgiving big or small – I wish you a fabulous, healthy, and delicious fall!

Until next time,

4 • October/November 2023 { 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

ALDI Supermarket Opens in Flowood

ALDI’s new Flowood store includes organic meats, fresh produce, gourmet cheeses, sustainable seafood, gluten-free products, and specialty wine, all at unbeatable prices. The discount German supermarket chain is known for carrying a smaller selection of products than other stores -- only about 900 core items, meaning they need less warehouse space -- of which 90% are “private label.” They keep prices low by offering these generics and sourcing local meat from regional farms, translating to lower transportation costs. The stores also use energy saving refrigerators, LED lights and support a bring-your-own-bag policy, which means they are also eco-friendly.

Dolce Bakeshop Opens 2nd Location in Bay St. Louis

Long Beach bakery Dolce Bakeshop in has opened a second location in downtown Bay St. Louis this summer. The “bakery by the sea” is only a block away from the water. “We’ve watched it grow and boom down here,” said owner Brooke Rester. “We thought we could fill a niche because there wasn’t another bakery in Old Town.” Rester said they are glad to be part of all the “excitement” and recently joined the Old Town Merchants Association.

Patrons can enjoy coffee, pastries, muffins, scones, and danish and Dolce has started shipping their cookies nationwide. Learn more about weddings, cakes, classes and events at and through Facebook and Instagram at Dolce Bakeshop.

35th Annual Mississippi

Pecan Festival in Perry Co.

Held September 29 - October 1 in Perry County, the festival is sponsored by Fulmer’s Farmstead, a horse-powered farm with old-fashioned charm. There’ll be horse drawn carriage rides, vendors selling vintage clothing, arts & crafts, and homemade goodies of all kinds; a pecan bake off; the “purtiest rooster contest;” the annual talent show with singing and dancing; and cafe and General Store will be open for you to pick up jams, jellies, cinnamon rolls and all your other favorite baked goodies, all in a historic homesteading atmosphere! Learn more at

Chipotle Mexican Grill Now Open in Olive Branch

Open since early September, a new location of the franchise Chipotle Mexican Grill is now open in Olive Branch on McGregor Crossing. The franchise is famous for fresh, “real” food, with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, no freezers, no can openers, and no shortcuts. In fact, they claim that they only use 53 ingredients and the hardest of those to pronounce is chipotle (it’s chih-poat-lay). They are also one of the first national brands to commit to goals on local and organic produce and responsibly raised meat with no added hormones. The store also features the brand’s signature “Chipotlane,” a drive-through lane that allows customers to pick up digital orders. The restaurant will be open every day until 10 p.m.

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


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6 • October/November 2023
Less worrying and more living. | @BlueCrossBlueShieldofMississippi

Magnolia a Taste of

Blue Cornmeal Cake

The fall décor is out and our porches are starting to match the hues that are shrouding the trees outside. Rich oranges and browns have rushed in the fall as we ready for the grays of winter. Cooler months mean heartier and more filling foods are to be had and we seem to huddle indoors away from the chilly breezes that Mother Nature is gently whispering at us. Fall in the South is a perfect balance of just the right vibe and temperatures, and it is when I bring out those dishes that will leave you nestled on the couch watching your favorite movie or reading your most recent book purchase.

Fall is also the time when we start our family/friend game nights. The cooling air has made everyone more comfortable and relaxed, and we can whip up warming ciders and cocoas. We shop around for new games; we play the tried-and-true ones and we have a night full of good snacks and good laughs. I guess the summer heat tires us out so by the end of a summer night you just want to relax and cool off. Come fall, all bets are off and we ramp up the indoor activities and the food flows in form of small appetizers, dips, and drinks.

Speaking of food, the Brunswick stews, the hearty chicken and dumplings, all the dinners that summer banished into time out, make a hasty breakout and are now front and center again. I am big on one pot meals like soups, stews and casseroles. It seems that fall and winter are perfect casserole months. You can’t have a good stew or casserole without a nice bread to go with it, and cornbread is my go- to for any southern stew. It is the diversity of cornbread that amazes me. Not only can it act as an accompaniment for your dinners, but it can also easily transform into a dessert.

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.

I recently traveled to Taos, New Mexico and picked up a ton of blue corn meal. I have never had any dish using it and was curious about the taste. Since I have been back in Mississippi, I can’t stop using it. It tastes very similar to yellow cornmeal but there is a slightly sweeter taste with a strong “fresh corn” flavor. I have been making so many things using it and my family has decided that blue cornmeal cake is their favorite. This recipe is not overly sweet and can even be used to scoop up thick stews full to the brim with nice roasted vegetables and meats.

Of course, substitute regular white or yellow cornmeal for the blue if you can’t find it (but it’s available online). I urge you to try it; it does change the taste and is amazing! edm

8 • October/November 2023
8 • October/November 2023


• 1-¼ cups all-purpose flour

• ¾ cup blue cornmeal (or regular cornmeal)

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

• ¼ cup vegetable oil

• 3/4 cup granulated sugar

• 2 large eggs

• 1-¼ cups milk

Maple Chili Glaze:

• ½ cup maple syrup

• 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder (more chili powder for more of a kick)


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients well but gently in medium bowl. Pour batter in greased cast iron skillet or baking dish of your choice. Bake for 20-30 minutes until cakes have puffed and are slightly

brown around the edges and in middle.

Allow to cool and top with maple chili glaze or your favorite jam or cream.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 9
Blue Cornmeal Cake

Warmth for the Soul

Old Fashioned Potato Soup

10 • October/November 2023

After the brutal triple digit temperatures we experienced during the summer of 2023, we welcome cooler autumn weather with open arms. Crisp fall air brings with it cravings for warm comfort foods like homemade soup. This fall, add these four soup recipes to your dinner rotation and you’re sure to stay warm, cozy and full! edm

Four Classic Soup Recipes Perfect for Fall

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 11

Vegetable Beef Soup

12 • October/November 2023

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup From Scratch

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 13



• 5 slices bacon, diced

• 1 cup diced celery

• 1 cup chopped onion

• 1 teaspoon minced garlic

• 2 Tablespoons flour

• 6 cups uncooked baking potatoes, peeled and cubed

• 3 cups chicken broth

• 1 Tablespoon dried thyme

• 4 cups heavy cream

• 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream

• Salt and pepper to taste

• ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, optional


1. Cook the bacon in a large stock pot over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pot and drain on paper towels but reserve the bacon grease. Set aside ¼ cup of the bacon for garnish.

2. Add the celery and onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

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

4. Sprinkle in the flour and stir the vegetables to coat. Cook for two minutes.

5. Add the potatoes, chicken broth and thyme. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

6. Return the bacon to the pot.

7. Mix in the heavy cream and sour cream.

8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

9. Garnish with the reserved bacon and chopped fresh parsley if desired.



This soup freezes well!


1. Combine tomato juice and chicken broth in a large stockpot over medium high heat.

2. Add onions, potato, celery and garlic. Bring to a boil.

3. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 40 minutes.

4. Add lima beans, black-eyed peas, roast and frozen mixed vegetables. Simmer until heated through, about 10 more minutes.

5. Season with salt and pepper.


If making ahead, wait to add the tortellini until right before serving.


• 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

• 1 (16 oz.) package Italian sausage

• 3 cups chicken broth

• 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

• 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

• 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

• ¾ cup chopped carrots

• ¾ cup chopped yellow squash

• ¾ cup chopped zucchini

• 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 Tablespoon dried basil, optional

• 2 cups frozen cheese tortellini

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Grated Parmesan cheese, optional


1. Heat vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.

2. Form sausage into 1-inch meatballs.

3. Working in batches, add the meatballs to the pot. Cook the meatballs until they are browned on all sides and no longer pink in the center, about 7-10 minutes. Remove meatballs from the pot and set aside on paper towels. Drain any grease from the pot.


• 4 cups tomato juice

• 4 cups chicken broth

• 1 small onion chopped (about 1 cup)

• 5 small-to-medium red or yellow new potatoes, cubed

• 2 cloves garlic minced

• 1 stalk celery diced

• 1 (15 ounce can) lima beans

• 1 (15 ounce can) black-eyed peas

• 1 ½ – 2 cups cooked pot roast or ground beef

• 1 (12 ounce bag) frozen mixed vegetables

• Salt and pepper to taste

4. In the same pot, add the broth, fennel seeds, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and carrots. Bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.

5. Add the squash, zucchini, basil, and tortellini. Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat and cook until the tortellini is tender, about six minutes. Add the meatballs and heat through.

6. Season with salt and pepper to your preference. Garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired.

14 • October/November 2023



• 4-5 pieces uncooked chicken

• 8 cups water

• 2 cups sliced carrots

• 2 cups sliced celery

• 1 ½ Tablespoons dried parsley or 3 Tablespoons fresh

• 1/3 cup cooking sherry

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 2 ½ cups uncooked egg noodles or other pasta


1. Place the chicken pieces in a large stock pot. Cover with the water.

2. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and boil for 20-30 minutes until the chicken pieces are cooked through.

3. Remove the chicken from the broth and set aside to cool. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred it.

4. Return the chicken stock to a boil over medium high heat.

5. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes.

6. Add the celery and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

7. Add the parsley and sherry.

8. Return the chicken to the pot. Cook for an additional 7 minutes until the chicken is heated through.

9. Season the soup with salt and pepper to your preference.

10. In the meantime, bring six cups of salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

11. Drain the pasta. Add noodles to individual bowls before serving.

Garden Vegetable Meatball Tortellini Soup

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 15


With the beautiful beer drinking festival Oktoberfest happening across our great nation, you may want to get into the mood with some beer-themed accessories. Any of these fun foodie items is sure to please your beer-loving friends!

Personalized Beer Chiller Sticks by Oakdene Designs for Etsy, $33.89

Unless you’re a full-blooded German, it doesn’t get much worse than drinking warm beer, and these beer chiller sticks ensure that it won’t ever happen again. Place these personalized stainless-steel sticks in your freezer for at least 45 minutes, and then pop them directly into any bottle of room-temperature beer to chill your beverage within mere seconds. Ah, the beauty of science! Find them at

Beeropoly Board Game, $35

This hopped-up game of Beeropoly is a great way to get all beer lovers involved. This game invites players to indulge in their favorite brews while completing a series of beer challenges such as busting out your best dance moves or playing a classic round of Never Have I Ever. Roll the dice and complete the challenge or risk elimination! Get the game on Etsy.

Skyline Workshop Beer Cap State Map, $39.99

Ideal for the beer buff who loves to travel and explore, this state-based Beer Cap Map includes 70 empty slots to fill with the bottle caps of your most beloved brews. Smooth, sturdy, and made of polished maple, it makes a great gift for collectors. Choose the Mississippi state option and crack open a cold one! Available on Amazon.

Beer-Infused Hot Sauce (3 Pack Variety), $26.99

A great option for the foodie and beer geek in your life! Made with real beer, this hot sauce pack comes with three different flavors: Asian Sriracha, Garlic Serrano, and Roasted Chiptole. They all have a different level of spice, so your beer-loving friends can add a little oomph to their favorite foods. Available on Amazon.

16 • October/November 2023
{ fabulous foodie finds }

German Gingerbread Hearts

Lebkuchenherz (gingerbread hearts) are traditional German gingerbread biscuit-like cakes decorated with icing. They are typically flat, plate-sized hearts decorated with royal icing. They are made of “Lebkuchen,” a gingerbread like cake made from honey and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves.

You will find these gingerbread hearts typically sold at large German fairs such as Oktoberfest and Christkindl (Christmas) Markets. They are popular souvenirs and are great as gifts. This recipe makes 8 hearts each about 6” x 7” (dinner plate sized)


• 1/2 cup unsalted butter (7/8 stick)

• 1 cup honey

• 1/2 cup brown sugar, well packed

• 2 Tablespoons gingerbread spice (buy in the store or make your own; see sidebar)

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

• 4 cups flour (loosely tipped in, not packed)

• 1 egg


1. Place the butter, honey and brown sugar in a small pot and place it on the stove. Melt the ingredients over low heat.

2. Remove pot from the heat and leave to rest until it reaches room temperature.

3. Add in the gingerbread spice, baking powder, cocoa powder and egg to the honey mixture. Using a hand or stand mixer, mix the ingredients until combined.

4. Slowly add in the flour and knead to a thick dough.

5. Cover the dough, or place in an airtight container, and leave to rest for at least 5 hours at room temperature.

6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

7. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a approximate thickness of 1/4”.

8. As the dough is very sticky, use a non-stick baking mat, roll out directly on the baking parchment, or use plastic wrap to encase the dough. If the dough is too dry and starts cracking, brush a little milk on top.

9. Using a large heart-shaped cookie cutter or a sharp knife, cut out hearts and place them on a tray lined with parchment.

10. Cut out two holes for the strings to thread through with a straw.

11. Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. Check that they do not turn too dark.

12. Leave to cool completely before decorating.

Royal Icing Decorations:

• 4 cups powdered sugar

• 2 egg whites

• 1 pinch of salt

• 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

• Food coloring


1. Place the egg whites in a clean, dry mixing bowl.

2. Add a pinch of salt and whisk the eggs until you can see soft peaks forming.

3. Add the icing sugar and lemon juice in several additions. The icing should stick to the whisk but still be soft enough to be piped.

4. Divide the icing into little bowls. Add the food coloring as desired. Remember that if the food coloring is liquid, you might need to add a little more powdered sugar again to gain the right consistency.

Traditionally, the edges of the heart are scalloped and there is a message inside such as “Ich liebe Dich,” (I love you) “Liebling,” (Beloved) or “Gruβ aus Oktoberfest,” (Greetings from Oktoberfest), or “Frohe Weihnachten” (Merry Christmas).

German Lebkuchen Spice Blend:

• 4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 2 teaspoon ground cloves

• 2 teaspoon ground coriander

• 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

• 1 teaspoon ground ginger

• 1 teaspoon ground anise

• 1 teaspoon ground allspice

Mix together thoroughly in a small bowl and store in an airtight container.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 17
{ Mississippi food culture spotlight }


Pho is the comfort food of Vietnamese cuisine and has gained its popularity more recently among all cultures. I am fortunate enough to grow up on Pho; it was a comfort food in my family. We came to the United States in 1980. We were sponsored first in Memphis, then moved to Maine, where my dad found factory work for most of our childhood lives. We moved to the coast in 1999 and here we remain.

Pho is a labor of love that consists of a quick boil, then a long simmer to bring out all the flavors of the bones and spices. A bowl of Pho is made up of rice noodles, meats, bean sprouts, Thai basil, and the broth. The broth is what knits the soup together.

Ingredients for the broth:

• beef bones

• bone marrow

• charred onion

• charred ginger

• Pho spices packet*

• rock sugar

• salt

• fish sauce


1. Remove impurities from beef bones and marrow with a 5-minute boil – this quick boil is the path to a beautiful clear soup – then wash the bones to remove the residue.

2. Fill a large pot with water and add cleaned bones, beef, water, charred onion, charred ginger and spices (cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, star anise). Simmer for 3 hours.

3. Season broth with a couple cubes of rock sugar, a couple teaspoons of salt, and couple Tablespoons of fish sauce.

Ingredients for the bowl:

• rice noodles

• Thai basil

• bean sprouts

• cilantro

• beef eye round (thinly sliced)

• thin sliced raw onion

• hoisin sauce (to taste)

• sriracha sauce (to taste)

• lime

4. Prepare the bowl with rice noodles, thinly sliced eye round, bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro, and sliced raw onion.

5. Pour boiling Pho broth over and season with the desired amount of hoisin and sriracha sauces. Finish with a squeeze of lime.

6. *Pho packages with all the spices can be bought at any Asian market.

18 • October/November 2023
{ Mississippi food culture spotlight }

Grilled Orange Old Fashioned

It’s been a good run, pumpkin spice latte, but it might just be time to hang up your hat. According to, this sweet, smoky bourbon cocktail is the real drink of the Thanksgiving season.

Since Prohibition ended in Mississippi in 1966, the road was cleared for manufacturing spirits manufacturing. Now, Kiln’s Crittenden Distillery and Jackson’s Cathead Distillery craft local bourbon and gin options for holiday cocktails. Image courtesy of edm


• 1 navel orange, sliced

• 4 dashes Angostura bitters

• 4 maraschino cherries

• 8 oz. good bourbon or rye

• ¼ cup simple syrup

• 4 large marshmallows

Heat a grill to medium-high. Grill sliced navel orange, turning occasionally, just until charred, 2 to 4 minutes.

Muddle oranges, Angostura bitters, and maraschino cherries in a pitcher until fruit is slightly mashed. Stir in bourbon or rye and simple syrup.

Thread marshmallows on skewers and grill, turning, until charred, about 1 minute.

Divide into four glasses half filled with ice and garnish each with a roasted marshmallow.

{ raise your glass }
Image courtesy of


Halloween is primarily known for its child-oriented food items, but these Foodie Finds are for grown-up kids of all ages!

DASH Mini Pumpkin Waffle Maker, $24.99

With over 200,000 reviews on Amazon, this 4” mini waffle maker is a must-have kitchen tool. The adorable single serve waffle maker in festive, bright orange makes mini pumpkin-shaped waffless perfect for Halloween breakfast with… what else? Pumpkin butter! Get one on Amazon.

Williams Sonoma Skull Ice Mold Set, $19.95

A hosting gift for whisky aficionados and Halloween fans alike, this novelty ice mold serves up skull-shaped whisky stones that’ll make any cocktail feel a bit more bone-chilling. For added spookiness, check out the companion glasses etched with skull and crossbones. Find it at Williams Sonoma.

Halloween Bamboo Serving Utensils, $16.01

Why stir chicken soup when you can brew up a potent potion? Anytime you cook, it’ll feel like conjuring a spell with this set of bamboo Halloween spoons. Lightweight, eco-friendly bamboo won’t scratch your hands or pans, and the six-piece set comes with a bonus storage canister. Grab on at

Teaspressa Minute Cocktail Sugar Cube Trio, $30

Sugary candy? Save that for the little ones. Drop one of these wondrous cubes into a shot of booze, wait a minute, stir, and drink up! Hand-infused with concentrated cocktail ingredients like spiced cherry and Angostura bitters, vermouth extract, and spearmint leaves, these miraculous little sugar cubes make instant, delicious Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds, and Mojitos. Find them at

20 • October/November 2023
{ fabulous foodie finds }

Two years ago during the pandemic, TikTok user Rosie Grant discovered how many people left recipes on their tombstones – a way for some to share their love through food even after they pass away. After spotting “Kay’s Fudge” followed by the words, “Wherever she goes, there’s laughter,” Grant started photographing the recipes and learning about the authors. Most were dessert recipes on women’s tombstones. Grant considers herself a “culinary archeologist” as she recreates the treats in her own kitchen. So far, she’s collected 22 recipes and finds it comforting that someone’s legacy might be their carrot cake recipe, so Grant started making and bringing snickerdoodles and guava cobbler to the graveyards to share with visitors and honor the cooks’ memories.

Grant’s passion for the project is obvious; one of her cemetery videos garnered over 7 million views. She now travels to cemeteries collecting recipes from gravestones. She never cooked before but now says, “I’m literally learning how to cook through the dead,” and wants her own tombstone to share a clam linguine or mac ‘n cheese recipe. “The two things we inevitably do in life are eat food and die someday,” Grant says, “so it’s a shared experience and to many, it brings back memories of their grandparents.”

“Recipes from the Grave, Wonderful Dishes for the Here and After” by P. Arden Corbin

Her 195,000+ TikTok followers are begging her to compile a cookbook.

Writer P. Arden “Doc” Corbin has done just that in “Recipes from the Grave, Wonderful Dishes for the Here and After,” collecting over 100 recipes and including brief biographies about the contributor, cooking suggestions, measurement substitutions and tips for baking bread, pies and cakes. He includes Ann Landers’ meatloaf recipe, and a recipe by Ruth Corbin Graves called “How to Preserve a Husband.” “For a finished product, husband should be wrapped in a mantle of kindness, kept warm with the fire of devotion, and served with peaches and cream. Husbands prepared this way will keep for years.”

Corbin admits that most of these family recipes are probably 100 years old and were baked on stoves fueled by wood or coal or cow chips but “all are well crafted,” he says, “and all harken back to a time in America when the supper table was a place for the family to recharge, unwind, and enjoy each other’s company.” Grant and Corbin remind us of the importance of food in our lives, as food for the body, food for the soul, and as memories that bind us across generations. edm

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 21 { from the bookshelf }

Saving the Barbecue: Hickory Pit Gets New Owners, New Look

Alex and Sarah Frisbee considered it “saving the barbecue.” While having a pleasant drink at Amerigo’s bar with friend and Hickory Pit owner Ginger Watkins, Watkins mentioned she was ready to either sell the famous Jackson pig joint or close it down altogether. “We bought it to keep it open,” says Alex, grinning through his beard from beneath a cowboy hat. “It was a fixture from our neighborhood, and I grew up on the family meal party packs,” chimes in Sarah.

The couple had no restaurant experience, although Alex Frisbee’s dad Ted had run two restaurants – Café Beignet and Nana’s on the River – in Vicksburg. The Frisbees joked that in the 15 years of their marriage they “ate out a lot” and had joked about owning a restaurant, so when Watkins mentioned Hickory Pit, they jumped at the chance. Using skills honed through her work as an interior decorator and painter, Sarah began the process of respectfully redesigning the interior, adding her own touches and updating the décor. Alex jumped into the deep end of running a kitchen, learning everything there was to know about meat, spice, and grilling.

“Everything we serve is made from scratch onsite except for the onion rings,” brags Alex. “All the sauces are made in house, the comeback, the ranch, and the salsa. Even the tortilla chips.” Many of the reasons that people love and continue to visit Hickory Pit will remain the same: a menu of 95% scratch-made items, best

22 • October/November 2023
{ restaurant spotlight }

quality meats with no additives or preservatives (including meat by the pound and the ever-popular Party Packs), and a delicious range of sides and desserts.

Although the staples are staying much the same, the Frisbees are excited about some of the additions to the much-beloved menu. “We’ve started a Taco Tuesday – which is very popular – and added a Korean BBQ Brisket taco, and on Freedom Fridays there is a beer and sausage dog special,” says Alex. The updated menu includes the new Brisket Grilled Cheese (or any of Hickory Pit’s meats), a melt-in-the-mouth comfort; the Big A’s Slaw Burger, a

single burger with slaw and pepperjack cheese; and the “Queenie,” a full barbecued chicken.

Sarah’s artistic influence is also apparent. In addition to freshening up the look inside and out, the front counter area will offer additional cold case space for chicken salad, pimiento cheese, and smoked egg salad, available as sandwiches or prepackaged for purchase. Any of their meats can be bought by the pound as lunchmeat, and the Frisbees plan to begin offering more salads (including a chopped salad), green beans, and mac and cheese as side options. Both Frisbees follow a gluten-free diet, so expect

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 23

more gluten free options such as gluten free bread and gluten sensitive desserts (all meats are naturally gluten free).

There will also be a beer cooler inside featuring locally made beer including Vicksburg’s gluten-free Key City varieties, and patrons will also be able to buy many of the house-made sauces, freshly made and bottled on site, and HP merchandise like shirts, hats, koozies and mugs. The couple has also doubled down on their catering, partnering with Fresh Cut.

Changes are also coming to the outside of the restaurant, too, and after the proposed patio expansion, the Frisbees want to encourage brown bag beer and “well behaved dogs.”

The couple is also excited about the possibilities for collaborating with other restaurants and nearby farms. “We’re talking to Sal and Phil’s about potentially offering our Hershey Pie there, and we are hoping to partner with Taqueria Guadalupe to serve tamales,” says Alex.

Hickory Pit’s new incarnation is proving to be an exceptional success. “We welcome everybody to drop on by for all your old favorites and take a look at the new changes,” says Alex. “Don’t worry,” he finishes, “you’ll still find all the things you love.” The Frisbees have saved the barbecue after all, and despite the refreshes, updates, and changes, all is firmly within the spirit (and the palate) of the beloved original.

Follow them on Facebook for updates, specials, and the latest news. edm

24 • October/November 2023


When it comes to food holidays, Thanksgiving is probably the Super Bowl! These fun and thoughtful Foodie Finds make great hostess gifts or holiday happies for your own kitchen.

Julie Pedersen Gourmet Oil Dipping Spice Kit, $42.

You could give your loved one a fancy set of gourmet olive oils, or you could let them make their own with this set inspired by international flavors. Stocked with 15 different types of herbs and spices (think: oregano from Italy, smoked paprika from Spain, za’atar from Levant), each tin comes with recipes and bread pairings so they can get the full tasting experience. Mix into EVOO and go! Find at

Lemon-Lime Citrus Bush Aurantifolia, $74.95

If you’re anything like us, you probably use lemons almost every day, so how would you like to enjoy your favorite ingredient fresh off the tree? Reaching about two feet tall, the potted bush will thrive by a sunny window, on the porch, or planted in the yard, and will eventually produce little Meyer lemons perfect for freshly baked scones, delicious dressings, and your favorite Thanksgiving cocktail. Order from

Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey, $45

This blend of premium aged whiskies is made by Uncle Nearest, a brand created in honor of an enslaved man named Nathan “Nearest” Green, the master distiller who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey. “Folks who love diversity in business and a superb drink will be glad to unwrap this gift,” said Oprah, when she picked it for her 2020 list of Favorite Things. Small batch made in Tennessee by a Black-owned, Woman-owned business. Available in select Mississippi stores or visit

High Point Coffee Roasters, $17.99+

Craving coffee? Look no further than New Albany-based High Point Coffee Roasters, one of the top producing coffee roasters in the Southeast United States! They can accommodate any order from restaurants and convention centers all the way to individual bespoke coffee sales. Try the breakfast, campfire, or Mississippi Magnolia blend, or one of their single origin coffees. Available as whole beans or pre-ground. Get caffeinated by

25 • October/November 2023
{ fabulous foodie finds }

A Special Thanksgiving with Nana in Natchez

My family celebrates Thanksgiving in Natchez at Nana’s house. This has been our tradition since I married my husband, Chuck, over 30 years ago. “Nana” is Betty Jennings, my mother-in-law, but everyone calls her Nana, especially all her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She has always said that Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday because the focus is on family, food, and thankfulness to God. She’s now 89 years old and when you ask her how she’s doing she usually replies with, “I’m blessed beyond measure,” or “I’m better than I deserve,” or with a little chuckle, “I can still walk and talk.”

Her residence has changed locations around Natchez several times. However, the atmosphere of her home, which she shares with her husband, Charles, remains the same. It’s peaceful, comfortable, and the epitome of motherly love. The busyness of life seems to completely stop when you walk inside and she greets you with a warm hug and a reminder to make yourself at home. She decorates the house with many framed pictures of family and overflowing candy dishes. Needlepoint pillows, many of which she made herself, adorn chairs and couches in the living room and sun room. Quilts are usually stacked nearby for napping after the Thanksgiving feast. The back patio is where we all gather before a meal to visit as we look out at the trees and watch birds come to the feeders hanging in the yard. The Thanksgiving menu remains the same through the years and echoes her feeling of tradition and comfort. Her cornbread

dressing continues to be the star of the meal. Now that she’s older, instead of standing in the kitchen chopping vegetables, we take over that task and she comes in at the end to complete the final seasoning and the first taste with Chuck. Another one of her signature dishes is broccoli cheese casserole. It was made for many years with garlic cheese rolls that we can no longer find in the grocery stores. Today we just make our own with shredded Cheddar, Velveeta, cream cheese, garlic, and other seasonings, finished with a drop or two of liquid smoke. This is melted with cream of mushroom soup, cooked broccoli and chopped, sauteed onion and baked in a casserole dish.

26 • October/November 2023

Of course, we also roast a large turkey to go with the dressing and broccoli casserole. My sisters-in-law, Catherine Fisher and Elizabeth Lestelle, and their husbands bring appetizers, bread, and other accompaniments. The usual dishes include an English pea salad and sweet potato casserole. I make a few cheeseballs for our appetizer and then homemade cranberry sauce to round out our feast. Dessert follows with pecan pie and caramel cake. After holding hands together in a circle to pray and thank God for all of our blessings, we gather around the large dining room table to eat, followed by naps on Nana’s couches, and then later we watch the Egg Bowl on TV.

The next day it’s all about leftovers and shopping in Natchez. Darby’s on Main Street in downtown is always on our list. The original store sells decadent homemade fudge that is hard to pass up, especially when we’re offered a free sample. The store also has everything from clothes to candles and furniture and more home décor upstairs, in addition to two other furniture and interior stores nearby. Sometimes we have lunch at Magnolia Grill in Natchez Under-the-Hill along the Mississippi River or we grab some tamales and a Knock-You-Naked margarita at Fat Mama’s Tamales, another Natchez original on Canal Street. If we’re able to extend our stay through Sunday, sometimes we go to Nana’s church, followed by lunch at the Carriage House Restaurant, known for its biscuits and fried chicken.

Time with family is the main focus of the Natchez holiday. We save the antebellum home tours and other activities for another time. Nana says she’s just glad we’re all together for another Thanksgiving.

Natchez Restaurants

• Biscuits & Blues

• Fat Mama’s Tamales

• Carriage House Restaurant at Stanton Hall

• Magnolia Grill at Natchez Underthe-Hill

• Restaurant 1818 at Monmouth

Historic Inn

• The Castle Restaurant at Dunleith

Historic Inn

• Wardo’s New Orleans-Style Po’boys

Many of the antebellum homes serve a Thanksgiving feast, as well as provide lodging. The Natchez Garden Club’s Christmas Pilgrimage Tour of Historic Homes begins November 24, the day after Thanksgiving.

English Pea Salad

• ½ cup sugar

• ½ cup white wine vineagar

• ½ cup oil

• 1 Tablespoon salt

• 1 Tablespoon black pepper

• 1 Tablespoon water

• 1 can of shoe peg corn, drained

• 2 cans of English peas, drained

• 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

• 1 cup of celery, finely chopped

• 2 bunches of green onions, finely chopped

• 1 medium-sized jar of chopped pimentos

1. Mix together the sugar, vinegar, oil, salt, black pepper, and water.

2. Combine the corn and peas. Add the chopped vegetables, pour mixture over the vegetables, and mix well with a spoon. Let it sit overnight in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 27

“Tiny Chef” Simms Powell Creates Big Flavors

Thirteen-year-old Simms Powell (@tinychefsimms on Instagram) picked up a knife at four years of age and has been going strong ever since. With most kids, they find an interest for a while and move on to another, but Simms keeps building on the same theme. It started with wanting to try everything in the produce section at the grocery store. Simms touched and smelled everything. He wanted to help in the kitchen. And he loved raw oysters at four years old. He wants to taste everything, cook whatever he finds intriguing, but he also wants to know how things grow and then grow them in his garden, and he’ll fish any body of water and attempt to make every fish he catches taste good. He regularly talks with and learns from Jackson’s finest restaurants’ chefs and most of the vendors at the High Street Farmer’s Market know him by name. Over a bowl of ramen in the Fondren district, in between unfocused, silly young teenager talk, I interviewed my nephew – or “chephew” as I call him – to learn why he has such a great fascination with food.

Simms, do you remember when you first picked up a knife?

I don’t remember how old I was, but maybe three or four, and my Dad always made salads and I’d watch him chop vegetables. I think the first thing I chopped was a cucumber with a miniature cleaver. It was the only knife that was small enough that I could hold. I still have it. Maybe I should frame it.

Now that you use a knife like a professional, is there anything you find great joy in chopping or cutting?

I hate cutting garlic, onions, and shallots. But it’s pretty satisfying to cut pandan jelly. And if I have a really sharp knife, slicing chashu pork. I also really love smashing cucumbers and then chopping them to make Asian cucumber salad.

What motivates you to cook?

Because I want to try new foods, I browse YouTube for interesting food and chefs and then lots of times we don’t have restaurants that serve that type of food, so I’ll ask my Mom to drive me to Mr. Chen’s Market, Valdez Market, Patel Brothers, Aladdin Mediterranean Grocery, Whole Foods, or the farmers market so I can get the ingredients and try making it myself.

What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

I really like Korean food because it’s savory and rich and spicy and has fermented flavors. I also love Filipino food (his maternal grandmother is from the Philippines) because it has

28 • October/November 2023

a great mash up of flavors – vinegar, garlic, shrimp paste and fish sauce. It’s like a mix of Spanish and Chinese and Indonesian and American foods and flavors. I also like Thai food, but I don’t have much experience yet in cooking it.

I didn’t realize that Korean was your favorite, but I guess that explains why you make your own kimchi. I’ve watched you before, but I’m not sure of all the steps and what goes in it. Tell me about how you make it.

Well, it depends on what kind you make – the kind you cook with or the kind you snack on and use as a condiment? How about the one you cook with?

Okay. Well, the ingredients are napa cabbage, gochugaru chili flakes, Korean pear because it has enzymes that break down things like meat and cabbage and it has sugar to feed on as its fermenting, onion, rice flour and water. I don’t know the amounts. I’m still experimenting to make it how I like it. But it’s pretty good. So you’d put all the ingredients (except for the cabbage) in the blender to make a paste. You have to brine the cabbage overnight. Then you put the paste on each leaf and place them in a jar that can breathe (otherwise you’ll have to burp it regularly). And it’ll sit in a cool, dark place for two days to a week. The longer it sits the sourer it will be. And then you refrigerate it. It will continue to get sour, but a lot slower. If you want the

snacking kind of kimchi, you’d cut the cabbage differently and add carrot, daikon radish, ginger and green onions. I taught Chef Paz at Sunflower Oven how to make kimchi. She said she only really knew how to bake and I’m not very good at baking. So I taught her kimchi and she teaches me to bake. She even used the kimchi in their daily quiche!

Besides the chefs at Sunflower Oven, what other chefs inspire you?

Chef Hunter at Elvie’s and Chef Sean (but he’s now in New Orleans). Chef Sean and I like similar things like breaking down animals and he’s also part Filipino like me, so we have that in common. At Elvie’s, I like that Chef Hunter has dishes that combine things I would never think of. Their new fall menu has a tuna crudo which has a coconut curry sauce – at least I think it’s coconut – I would never think of that. It’s so good. I also like the vibe in the restaurant, it’s like a petite restaurant – it’s professional, but relaxed.

Other chefs that inspire me that don’t live here are Senyai Grubs and Joshua Weissman. Senyai Grubs likes all kinds of simple, unfussy foods. He’s like me – just likes food and wants to try things. He lives in Thailand right now. And Joshua Weissman cooks all kinds of cuisines and he’s really funny. I have his cookbook and it has my favorite bimbimbap recipe I’ve tried. His gojuchang recipe is perfect with bean sprouts and carrots as

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 29

condiments. It’s so simple, but so perfect. I also took inspiration from his ramen and pho recipes and mixed his with a pho recipe from a Vietnamese grandma. He also has this Taiwanese popcorn chicken and I tossed it in a Filipino adobo sauce. It’s chicken battered in a wet batter of potato starch (all fried chicken should use potato starch) and tossed with fried basil leaves and coated in some leftover adobo sauce I cooked down just because I had it. Adobo has soy sauce, vinegar, crushed whole peppercorns, and garlic. It’s tangy, salty, and garlicy.

Do you like fusion cooking?

Not really. But I’m still learning and experimenting. I don’t think most restaurants do well with fusion cooking, but I’m also not great at it. But sometimes something will work out.

I know you’ve had a garden out back for quite awhile. Why did you start it?

So I can grow stuff that I can’t buy in stores. And also what you grow usually tastes better like tomatoes and cucumbers and radishes and you can grow so many varieties. At the grocery store, there’s usually only one kind. I grow different lettuces, heirloom tomatoes, varieties of cucumbers and eggplants, peppers, ground cherries…

Will you have a fall/winter garden?

I’m too late for a fall garden, but I have plans for winter. I want to grow some of my favorite root vegetables like the Tokyo Globe

(I think that’s what it’s called). It’s a small white Japanese turnip. And this giant sugar turnip from Sweden. It’s massive and it’s yellow inside and out. And wasabi radish, daikon radish, globe carrots, ox heart carrots, a couple cabbages and lettuces, kale, mizuna greens, and colossal collards which can get three feet long, two feet wide, and 12 feet tall! And parsnips – I just learned they grow well in gravel because they elongate to reach the water below the gravel which makes them long and skinny so they won’t be tough. Baker Creek Seeds in Arkansas is my favorite place to buy seeds. They have amazing heirlooms.

What have you foraged recently?

On our summer trip on the East Coast, I picked lots of wild blueberries. They have the highest amount of vitamins and antioxidants. We have them here, but they’re not very prevalent and other creatures get to them before we have a chance to. I also picked wild muscadines, possum grapes, elderberries and elderflowers last month. And I did some urban foraging for some figs. I’m waiting for the pawpaws, persimmons and maypops to get ripen! But I’m worried about the maypops because of the caterpillars and the drought. You’ve had a maypop, right? They’re like really small, super sweet passion fruits.

What do you forage around here at other times of the year?

Mulberries, mushrooms – chanterelles, lions’ mane, chicken of the woods, oyster, and cauliflower.

30 • October/November 2023

You like to fish, too. What do you like to catch?

Anything that swims and bites! Catfish, sunfish, bass, crappie, bowfin, gar, carp. I like to catch gar because they fight hard and because I want to prove that there’s no such thing as “trash fish.” People say that carp, fresh drum, gar, and bowfin are trash fish and not worth cooking. I disagree, but I do agree with the bowfin, though.

What are your dreams for the future?

I used to want a food truck, but they don’t seem to be successful in our area and I’m not sure I could showcase how I like to cook in a food truck. So instead of saving up $50,000 for a food truck, I’ll use that toward a restaurant. I want to have seasonal foods and cook a lot of seafood. Similar to Elvie’s.

I also want to fish!

And also make videos about fishing and cooking. I haven’t really seen many videos of people in the south fishing and cooking. And also not very many southern foraging videos. I only see pictures on Instagram. So I might make foraging videos, too!

Anything else, Simms?

Thanks for the ramen.

(Simms is up and running, acting silly and telling jokes with his cousin – my son – without skipping a beat. He is still a pre-teen, after all!)

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 31

Grandma’ s cookbooK Cream Cheese Recipes Fit for the Holidays


Recipe by Michele D. Baker, image from

Almost any spice that goes well with fish can be added (or substituted). Be cautious with the liquid smoke, which can make this dish very salty -- use 1/2 teaspoon to begin and then taste. This recipe can be made the day before to allow the flavors to meld. Great for a Thanksgiving or Christmas party!


• 1 (14.75 oz.) can of pink salmon

• 12 oz. cream cheese, softened (1.5 bricks; can be light or low fat)

• 2 teaspoons minced horseradish

• ½ - 1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring

• 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

• 1-2 Tablespoons minced, dried onion (or 3 Tablespoons minced fresh onion)

• 1-2 Tablespoons chopped, dried parsley (or 3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley)

• Dash of hot sauce (optional)

• Paprika, parsley, lemon slices, dill, and green olives for garnish

1. Drain and carefully remove the skin and bones from the canned salmon. Using two forks, flake the remaining fish into uniform pieces.

2. Add the softened cream cheese and all the spices; mix thoroughly to achieve a smooth, stiff mixture, not quite a paste.

3. Lightly spray a fish shaped mold with nonstick vegetable spray. Press the pâté into the mold and refrigerate at least 2 hours before unmolding.

4. If you don’t have a mold, don’t worry! Wet your hands first so the pâté won’t stick. Then, on a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper dusted with cornmeal, form into the rough shape of a fish about 8” long (shape and size to fit the serving platter).

5. Sprinkle the tail area with paprika and use a triangle cutout stencil to make a paprika fin. Sprinkle on additional parsley flake scales and a sliced green olive with pimiento center for an eye. Serve on a bed of Panko crumb “sand.” Serve with Melba toast or Wheat Thin crackers.

6. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. If taking to a party, make a day ahead but wait to decorate until closer to serving time.

32 • October/November 2023


Of the hundreds of cheeseball recipes available for parties, this is one of the easiest and most delicious. Make it a day ahead, press into a pretty mold, and turn out onto the serving platter just before the party begins. Sprinkle the top with chopped vegetables and voilà! A beautiful, delicious addition to any party table.


• 16 oz. (2 bricks) cream cheese, softened

• 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

• 2 Tablespoons chopped chives

• 2 Tablespoons dried parsley flakes

• 1 teaspoon garlic pepper

• 1 teaspoon dried dill

• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

• 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

• chopped black olives, diced yellow pepper, and baby tomatoes for garnish

1. Mix together the cream cheese, butter and all the spices until well blended. Fold in the chopped red bell pepper.

2. Lightly spray a circle, pumpkin, or star shaped mold with nonstick spray or vegetable oil.

3. Press the cheese mixture into the mold and top with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. To serve, unmold the cheese and place on serving plate. Smooth the top with a spatula or knife and decorate with chopped yellow pepper, diced black olives, and baby tomatoes.


Recipe by Anna Howard, Baton Rouge


• 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree

• 8 oz. (1 brick) cream cheese (can be light), softened

• 2 cups powdered sugar

• 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Beat all ingredients until soft and smooth.

2. Pour into serving bowl and cover tightly. Chill up to 8 hours to thicken.

3. Serve with pear and apple slices and ginger snap cookies.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 33

Fresh From the Farm: Mississippi Pecans Six Ways

Fall is the perfect time to buy freshly harvested Mississippi pecans – their season is October through December. There are farms from Natchez to Tishomingo and from Tunica to Moss Point, so pick your favorite grower and opt for a bag of fresh pecans that have been cracked and blown. Grab a couple big bowls and some nut picks and spend a lovely afternoon with relatives and friends telling stories, sipping wine, and picking pecans. To find a farm near you, visit



• 1 stick butter, melted

• 4 cups pecan halves

• 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

• 4 Tablespoons hot sauce

• Salt to taste

1. Melt the butter in a heavy sauté pan or skillet. Add the pecans and pan roast over medium heat until the butter is nearly gone and almost absorbed.

2. Add the Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce a few drops at a time, stirring constantly until well mixed and fully absorbed.

3. If the pecans get soft, spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Spread the pecans onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake 5-10 minutes at 325 until crisp.

4. Allow to cool and store in airtight container.


This recipe is courtesy of Marie Asselin,


• 3 cups pecan halves

• 2 Tablespoons olive oil

• 2 Tablespoons maple syrup

• 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked sweet paprika (also called Pimenton), optional

• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, paprika and cayenne pepper. Add the pecans and stir to coat.

3. Spread the pecans onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Nuts are ready when they release their aroma, appear to be sizzling, and seem to be browned in bits.

5. Transfer to a cooling rack and store in an airtight container.

34 • October/November 2023



• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more to taste)

• 1 Tablespoon water

• 1-1/2 cups pecan halves

• Salt to taste

1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly oil with vegetable oil.

2. Combine sugar, butter, cayenne pepper and water in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat.

3. When butter has melted, add pecans. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

4. Pour pecans onto prepared foil and spread out to separate the pecans. Add salt and let cool for 30 minutes.

5. Store in an airtight container.


Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Segal


• 2 cups pecan halves

• 1/2 cup powdered sugar

• 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more to taste)

• 4 teaspoons water

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the water and stir until a sticky glaze is formed.

3. Add pecans and stir to coat evenly.

4. Transfer the pecans to the baking sheet and spread them so they do not touch. Bake 10-12 minutes until pecans are crusty on top and caramelized and golden on the bottom.

5. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.



• 2 Tablespoons salted butter

• 3 cups pecan halves

• 1/2 cup light brown sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/4 cup water

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.

2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pecans and stir constantly for 3 minutes to lightly toast the pecans.

3. Add the brown sugar and stir another 2 minutes until the sugar is melted.

4. Stir in cinnamon, salt and water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the water evaporates, 1-2 minutes. Add the vanilla and stir to coat.

5. Spread on the prepared baking sheet and bake 5-7 minutes until fragrant and lightly crisp.

6. Cool completely and store in airtight container.


This recipe is courtesy of Sally Sampson


• 4 cups pecan halves

• 1/2 cup maple syrup

• 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

• 1 large egg white at room temperature, whipped

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.

2. Spread the pecans on the prepared baking sheet and toast 10 minutes until fragrant.

3. Lower the oven temperature to 250.

4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the melted butter, syrup and spices. Whisk the egg white until frothy and fold in.

5. Add the hot pecans and mix well to coat.

6. Return the pecans to the oven for another 30-40 minutes until the nuts are golden.

7. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 35

Sunflower Oven’s Slow Rise to Bread Success

Robert Raymond says that growing up in Chicago, he wasn’t exposed to a lot of home cooking. “We joke that my mom was a master of the microwave,” he laughs. Starting at the age of 15, he worked in area restaurants before going to college in New York, where he spent time working in a bakery. “As a college student, I was interested in learning to cook for myself.”

An opportunity to work for FoodCorps, a grantee of AmeriCorps, brought Raymond to Mississippi in 2015 when he was 24 years old. “I had never been to Mississippi before, and I learned to love it,” he says. “There were nine people in my ‘class,’ and seven were not from here. Of those, four of us chose to stay.” Raymond says that FoodCorps was a good fit for him, because in his work in the food industry and during college, he became interested in how food moves our economy.

Jackson turned out to be a fantastic new home for Raymond, who made many new friends here. He loved cooking and baking and began trying his hand at sourdough bread. “I had a lot of fails,” he admitted. But he continued

trying, and mastered bread baking. “I liked the challenge of it,” he remembers. “I really wanted to understand why bread exists.” Other bakers joined him, and for six years now, they have been turning out bread and other baked goods under the Sunflower Oven name.

Sunflower Oven’s bread was sold at weekly popups in a local bar before moving to the Mississippi Farmer’s Market. “We had the whole baking operation in my house. We had enough equipment to generate a good supply of bread. As a matter of fact, most of my house was dedicated to baking bread. We kept going and going,” recalls Raymond. “We weathered Covid, which was challenging, and by late 2021 we were in a good place.”

In late August 2022, Sunflower Oven opened in a storefront in Belhaven Heights in Jackson. “We had the opportunity to pursue a storefront space, and it turned out to be a great decision,” says Raymond. “We also decided early on to structure the business as a cooperative bakery, which means that everyone who works at the bakery is a part owner. That was something that was really important to us,” he says. “We really value labor, and making sure people have a long-term interest in not only the success of the bakery, but in the success of Jackson.”

Sunflower Oven only bakes sourdough bread. “Any kind of bread can be baked with a sourdough starter,” Raymond explains. “We

36 • October/November 2023

also made a commitment to only use stone-ground flour. There are more health benefits when all the grains in the flour are accessible. We give priority to the flavor of the grain, from wheat to rye to spelt.” Raymond has also unwittingly become an educator. “It’s been a learning experience for many people who did not grow up eating this kind of bread. When eating Sunflower Ovens bread, people naturally sense that it is going to treat their bodies right.”

Raymond says he could have chosen to purchase bread flour from a big producer in bulk, but he approaches flour as many would fresh produce. “We only want to use high quality, nutritious grain, and we use it within three months of being milled.” The flour used at Sunflower Oven comes from Carolina Grounds, a small mill in North Carolina. “We wanted to keep it local, or at least Southern. It didn’t make sense to transport flour from across the country.”

Sunflower Oven also offers breakfast and lunch, and Raymond says most of the ingredients are sourced from farmers they’ve met at the farmers market or in the immediate area. “We focus on using Mississippi products as often as possible.” Menu items center around their breads.

While someone is baking there seven days a week, the bakery is open to the public Sunday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can also find them on Saturday at the Mississippi Farmer’s Market on High Street. “We sell wholesale to area restaurants,” says Raymond. “We have had a lot of growth very fast, and we still have a lot of room to grow. It’s encouraging to see how many people are still learning about us.”

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 37
38 • October/November 2023 Recipe Index Aunt Fern’s Festive Thanksgiving Cheese Ball, 33 Blue Cornmeal Cake, 9 Candied Pecans, 35 English Pea Salad, 27 Garden Vegetable Meatball Tortellini Soup, 14 German Gingerbread Hearts, 17 Grilled Orange Old Fashioned, 19 Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup from Scratch, 15 Maple Pecans, 35 Old Fashioned Potato Soup, 14 Party Salmon Pate, 32 Roasted Hot Pepper Pecans, 34 Spicy Glazed Pecans, 35 Super Simple Pumpkin Pie Dip, 33 Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Pecans, 34 Sweet, Spicy & Salty Candied Pecans, 35 Vegetable Beef Soup, 14 Vietnamese Pho, 18 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

Spice is the Variety of Life

I bet you thought this was going to be a column making fun of all things pumpkin spice. Or maybe you’re a spice jar half-full kind of person and had expectations of defending pumpkin spice’s honor by metaphorically painting its name on a water tower. Truth is, I did take a view in a previous issue that there might be too much pumpkin spice in our lives during the fall. Since then, I’ve made some observations.

One: I wasn’t wrong. There are a lot of things pumpkin spiced, and despite the mockery, they keep coming. However, many of them appear on the clearance aisle at the grocery store even before fall is over. It’s why I own a jar of pumpkin butter (spiced, of course).

Two: Feelings change. I realized later that I really didn’t have anything against pumpkin spice. Sure, there may be an excess of pumpkin-themed and fall-colored products available in the autumn months – hello, Harvest Thumbprint Cookies and Fall Leaf Tortilla Chips –but I have to believe Big Pumpkin has done their market research and deemed it a worthy gamble.

But I’m also interested in answering these questions for myself: What’s the deal with the abundance of “warming spices” during those cold-in-some-states-though-not-in-Mississippi months? What exactly are they? And if I eat them while standing outside watching the Christmas parade, am I actually going to warm up?

I hate to bore readers with lists, so if lists bore you, skip this paragraph and move on to the exciting details. But for those who like to see things in one place first, here’s a list of some common warming spices: ginger, allspice, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin, mace, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne, mustard, and horseradish. You might argue with one or two of those, or suggest a few additions, and that would be okay. We’re learning together here.

As for the Christmas parade question, the answer seems to be a resounding “yes!” Admittedly, as the junior high band marches by in elf hats playing Jingle Bells, my peppermint hot chocolate might bring the same body heat as your chai latte, even though mint is a cooling herb. Generally speaking, however, warming spices do, to some degree, raise body temperature.

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

Fall is a big season for root vegetables, which happen to lend themselves well to these spices. Consider the dessert we disguise in the South as a Thanksgiving side dish: the infamous sweet potato casserole. Now try to imagine it without cinnamon. Pumpkin and butternut squash soup are also qualified candidates for a sprinkle of spices from the list. If roasted carrots aren’t orange enough for you, add some turmeric.

Cardamom used to be a mystery spice to me. Can’t say I’d ever heard of it till we moved to the Middle East, where we sometimes we had it in our rice, and almost daily in our tea alongside cloves and cinnamon. The tea was hot, we were hot, and we added warming spices. I’m sure there was a reason for that - perhaps if we warmed our insides we’d sweat and cool our outsides?

Same song, different verse for cumin. I recognized the flavor of it when we landed on the other side of the world but didn’t know the name. There we were told the spice that was in so many of the dishes we were learning to love was pronounced “kimoon” in the local dialect. So we made sure to bring back plenty the first time we came home for a visit, only to discover that “kimoon” was just “koomin” and was in every grocery store in America.

I didn’t realize ginger was spicy until I had my first Blenheim ginger ale. Even the lowest of their two spice levels packs more heat than my favorite airplane beverage. It will most definitely warm up the inside of your mouth.

In my own kitchen, I like a little cinnamon in my chili, in homemade barbecue rubs, on roasted nuts, and in granola (even if it comes within the apple pie spice mix.) And who doesn’t love a well-made, warm, gooey cinnamon roll?

As for mace, I’ve never had the pleasure of its acquaintance. I thought it was what the drum major used to direct the marching band, or what women used to carry in their purses. I’m sure it’s a lovely flavor; I pledge to try it the next time a bottle appears on the clearance aisle next to the pumpkin spice deodorant.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 39
Bill Dabney Photography
40 • October/November 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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