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From the Editor: Oktoberfest, Halloween and Thanksgiving: Three of the Best Food Holidays Ever

By Michele D. Baker

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!

Happy Halloween! A Jack-o-lantern is just one of the many wonderful things about my favorite holiday

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: Vietnam and Germany.

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,



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