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  • A Chef-Inspired Father’s Day

    By Kathy K. Martin Who better to give advice for a flavorful Father’s Day meal than our own Mississippi chefs? Several culinary masters share their menu ideas and tips to give dads the special day they deserve. A Trio of Chefs Cameron Bryant (follow him on Instagram), executive chef of The Sipp on South Lamar in Oxford, comes from a family of great Southern home chefs, so he says that Father’s Day is a group effort. “For us, it’s as much about family time as it is about the food or celebrating Dad.” His family cooks outside on the grill and then spends time together playing board games, cards, and cornhole. Pork is usually on the menu in some way, either a tenderloin or chops, with simple side dishes such as sweet and sour green beans and buttery, mashed sweet potatoes. His sister, Carrie Browning, also usually makes her recipe for blueberry sour cream pie to end the day. Nick Wallace (see his Instagram profile), Jackson-based private chef and owner of Nick Wallace Culinary and father to six children, says that unless his mother cooks, he mans the kitchen for Father’s Day. Mississippi born and raised, Wallace represents the state on many national cooking shows such as Top Chef and Chopped, which he won in season 34. His traditional menu features pressed-brick chicken served with charred Brussel sprouts and whipped potatoes with his homemade butter. The sprouts are mixed with balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and goat cheese. His chicken recipe, which he demonstrated on an episode of the Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters TV show, comes from his grandfather. “He taught me how to grill a de-boned chicken thigh on an open fire with garlic under the skin to make a good crust.” The foil-covered brick presses the thyme and rosemary-seasoned chicken firmly down onto the grill. The meal concludes with his old-school recipe for jelly cake. Wallace bakes a pound cake and cuts it into three layers. Next, he covers each layer with plum jelly. The entire cake is frosted with a combination of plum jelly and whipped cream cheese, which is topped with a little salt to balance all the sweetness. “I love complete meals, so I always have a vegetable with every meal and a dessert to end on a sweet note.” As the only female to be named a world barbecue champion, Melissa Cookston (follow Melissa on Instagram) knows all about grilling for competition, as well as for family. While she has plenty of suggestions for grilling, she says that the best way to show Dad some love on Father’s Day is to not expect him to grill that day. “We take moms out to lunch on Mother’s Day and then on Father’s Day the dads have to grill their own food.” Since the heat is strongest in the summer, she advises simply ordering barbecue and having it shipped through an online company like Goldbelly. Her barbecue, Melissa Cookston’s Memphis BBQ, ships through the site, in addition to many other favorites. If you choose to grill at home, her first choice is ribs since they are the easiest to grill and they don’t take as long to cook. “My two biggest tips for grilling are to control the temperature and select the proper wood.” Her favorite wood for cooking ribs is apple, peach, or pecan. Cookston pairs her ribs with a few cold salads, such as broccoli or grape salad, and some grilled fruit because she says, “I do all my cooking outside on the grill.” Pineapple and watermelon are two of her favorite choices for grilled fruit. She also puts a spin on the familiar Waldorf salad by using prunes or grapes and walnuts or another nut for texture. For dessert she even bakes peach cobbler in a cast-iron skillet on the grill. Culinary Gifts for Dad Wallace recommends supporting local Mississippi businesses with a gift of locally-made bourbon honey molasses or seasoning blends such as his own, Nick’s 26. This all-purpose seasoning blends 26 different seasonings that compliment any meat or poultry. Bryant says that for his father it’s less about a gift and more about the experience of family time together. He usually gives him a bottle of his favorite wine and a card signed by everyone. Grilling gadgets, gizmos, and other accessories make ideal presents, says Cookston. “I say skip the Italian silk ties and give dads a new spatula or tongs to accessorize their grilling toolbox,” she says. About two miles away from her Horn Lake restaurant, Memphis BBQ Company, her retail store, The BBQ Allstars, offers many culinary products that make ideal gifts. However you decide to celebrate Dad, make this Father’s Day unforgettable with a focus on family, followed closely by the food. Father's Day Recipes from Our Chefs Cameron Bryant’s Spice Rubbed Pork Chops Ingredients: 8 oz. light brown sugar 3/4 cup kosher salt ¼ cup sweet paprika ¼ cup ancho chili powder 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 Tablespoon onion powder 1 Tablespoon garlic powder 2 Tablespoons ground mustard 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 Tablespoon ground ginger 1 Tablespoon ground coriander ½ cup apple cider vinegar 6 bone-in double cut pork chops Method: Preheat the grill. In a bowl, combine the sugar and all the dry spices; mix well. In a plastic bag, combine pork chops and apple cider vinegar to marinate and chill for at least 30 minutes. Pour the dry spice mixture onto a dinner plate and press both sides of each pork chop into the spices to coat. Replenish the plate as needed to coat all the chops. Cook pork chops on the hottest part of the grill until marked on each side; move to the cooler side to finish cooking to your desired level of doneness without burning your spice mixture. Let rest for 10 -15 minutes before enjoying with corn salsa, a cold beer, and good friends. Melissa Cookston’s Grape Salad Serves 6 to 8. This fresh summer side dish is the perfect accompaniment to heavy meats hot off the grill. Ingredients: 1 cup sour cream 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened ⅓ cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 lbs. seedless green grapes, rinsed 2 lbs. seedless red grapes, rinsed 1 cup packed light brown sugar 1½ cups pecan halves Method: In a large mixing bowl, mix the sour cream, cream cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Fold in the grapes, then pour the salad into a nice serving bowl. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, then arrange the pecan halves over the top. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Melissa’s Cayenne Grilled Peaches Serves 4. I’m big on different flavors in the same dish. This has the sweetness of the brown sugar, the luxurious freshness of the peaches, and a little kick in the back from the cayenne. Ingredients: 4 peaches 3 tablespoons light brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon cayenne Whipped cream for serving Method: Prepare a hot grill. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, vanilla, and cayenne. Place the peach halves in a baking dish cut side up and spoon the sugar mixture over the peaches. Allow to sit for 20 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Place the peaches on the grill skin side down and cook for about 3 minutes or until they develop some char, and the sugar is slightly set. Turn over and grill for 1 minute, then quarter turn them to develop a nice diamond-shaped grill mark. Remove, place on serving plates, and serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Nick Wallace’s Pressed Chicken Serves 6. Brick-pressed chicken cooks quickly and evenly. Spatchcock the bird, then press it down flat on the skillet with a foil-wrapped brick or cast-iron skillet. Ingredients: 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh Oregano 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme 3 Tablespoons olive oil 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 (4-5-lb.) whole chicken, split in half 4 lemon wedges Nick’s 26 Seasoning (optional; available at Method: Preheat a cast iron skillet to medium. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Spatchcock the chicken: place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board. Remove and discard backbone (or reserve for stock). Turn chicken breast side up; open the underside of chicken like a book. Using the heel of your hand, press firmly against breastbone until it pops. Tuck wing tips under. Loosen and lift skin from chicken with fingers; spread herb mixture under skin. Coat cast iron skillet with olive oil and place chicken in skillet, skin side down. Top with another cast-iron skillet or aluminum foil-wrapped brick on chicken to flatten. Sear chicken 8 minutes or until well browned. Turn chicken over and replace skillet (or brick). Sear for about more 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 165° F. Remove from skillet; let stand 10 minutes. Cut chicken into pieces. Serve with lemon wedges. Nick’s Seasonal Vegetable Hash Serves 4. Substitute your favorite diced seasonal vegetables for any of the vegetables in this deliciously easy and versatile recipe. Ingredients: 3 red beets, diced 2 carrots, chopped 1 sweet potato, chopped 2 zucchinis, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 1/4 cup olive oil, divided 1 cup sliced mushrooms 1/2 cup fresh green peas 1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped 1 cup smoked sausage, sliced 2 oz. goat cheese Salt and pepper, to taste Method: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining vegetables, season with salt and pepper or Nick’s 26 seasoning. Add remaining olive oil and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes or until veggies are soft and caramelized. Stir in sausage, sage and cook another minute or two. Remove from heat and top with crumbled goat cheese and serve.

  • Cutest Ever BBQ Grill Cupcakes

    These darling desserts are the perfect addition to a Father’s Day picnic featuring meats on the grill. (This recipe is adapted from an Instagram reel created by Rachel Lindsay of Australia (@CakedByRach). Follow her for more unique and beautiful dessert decorating ideas!) Step 1: Make the grill tops Melt 1 cup of your favorite milk or dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water or in the microwave. Transfer the melted chocolate to a small piping bag fitted with a small circular nozzle (such as size 3, 4 or 5). Using wax or parchment paper as a base, pipe 2" circular “grill tops” with bars. Pipe enough for each cupcake plus a few extras in case of breakage. Allow to dry until hard, about 1 hour. Step 2: Make the body of each grill While the “grill tops” are firming up, use your favorite recipe to make a batch of chocolate cupcakes. If you are planning to make and eat the cupcakes right away, allow to cool completely and remove the cupcake papers. If you make the cupcakes ahead of time, or are using for an event later, consider using bright red or green metallic papers to mimic the body of a barbecue grill and leave the papers on so the cupcakes don’t dry out. Step 3: Prepare the “fire” While the cupcake “grills” are baking, make the buttercream “fire:” 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 lb. confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar), sifted 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract 1-3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream yellow and red food gel Method: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip the butter and salt for about 1 minute. Sift in the confectioner’s sugar in several batches, beating on low after each addition. Scrape down the bowl between each addition. With the mixer on low, add 1 tablespoon of cream and the vanilla. Beat until you have an even, fluffy consistency. (If needed, add more cream to thin.) Separate the frosting into two bowls; color one vibrant, golden yellow. Color the other half of the frosting dark, fiery orange. Step 4: Assemble the BBQ Grill Cupcakes For decorating, you’ll need some simple items: Popsicle or lollipop sticks (you can also use wooden coffee stir sticks) Wooden toothpicks Large chocolate chips or chocolate buttons Assorted small jelly/gummy candies, small jelly beans, mini marshmallows, etc. Here’s how: Gently insert 3 lollipop sticks into the bottom of each cupcake to create grill legs. Use a dab of icing to “glue” a chocolate chip or chocolate button to the bottom of each stick like the grill’s wheels. Transfer some of each color frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Carefully pipe a deep swirl of orange/yellow “flames” on top of each cupcake. Balance a chocolate “grill top” on the “flames.” Make mini candy kebabs with brightly colored jelly/gummy candies threaded onto a on a toothpick and gently lay on top of the chocolate grill top. Happy grilling!

  • Poem: For All The Hands I've Had to Grab Before I Could Grab a Plate, by Jason McCall

    This poem is presented in partnership with Southern Foodways Alliance, first published in the “Gravy for Breakfast” e-newsletter There are the nieces and cousins happy to be included in the circle to show they can hold hands and hold their eyes shut during the prayer like the big kids they’re watching from the corner of their squinted eyes. There are the teenage boys who never know how to hold a hand without squeezing or pulling away at the first syllable of “amen.” There are the grandparents and aunts and uncles whose hands carry my family history of failures and factories and fieldwork and footholds all cashed in to buy us a seat at the table, to buy the table, to buy the food on the table, to buy the gas and tickets and hotels it took to make sure we were all at the table. There are hands that you’ll swear are bigger every year. Hands you’ll swear aren’t getting smaller every year. Hands that talk and tell you “I love you,” “I missed you,” “I know you didn’t mean it,” “I know you meant it, but you can’t stop me from loving you” just by the way they tap the back of your hand before locking your fingers in place. Hands that feel like a door closing and leaving the weight of a wet winter in the yard. Hands that feel like a door opening and setting you free into the first bite of spring. Jason McCall is the author of one essay collection and half a dozen collections of poetry. An Alabama native with an MFA from the University of Miami, he spends his days teaching at the University of North Alabama and his nights praying for the day that Florence (AL) gives him a restaurant that serves gyros and fries.

  • Mississippi to Beyond: YouTube’s “Dirty Napkins” Spotlights Positive People and Restaurants

    By Susan Marquez There is no doubt that when the napkins are dirty, the food is good. At least, that’s how Kayland Partee thinks. “If the food is good at a restaurant, the napkins should be dirty!” That is how the Jackson native came up with the name of his online show that highlights Jackson and Mississippi in a positive way through his love of food. “I began going to different restaurants when I lived in New Orleans, and that gave me a greater appreciation of good food,” says Partee. “I started taking pictures of the food I ate.” The pandemic lockdown gave Partee time to think about things he would like to do. A professional photographer and videographer by trade, Kayland thought about how he could combine his talents and skills with his love for food. “I also wanted to spotlight the positive places and people in this area. There is so much bad news every day, but at the same time, there are people who are doing great things and I wanted to recognize them.” The result is a YouTube show called Dirty Napkins. The format is simple. The setting for each show is a different restaurant. The show opens with scenes from the restaurant, and viewers get a good idea of what the specialties are. Food may be served while the guest is introduced. The guest may be a local politician, a musician, a businessperson, or someone else who is doing something interesting. “We don’t shut down the restaurant or find a quiet place away from everything to do the interviews,” Partee says. “We are in the middle of the restaurant, and you hear all the ambient noise. A waiter may pass by from time to time, even refill the water glasses. We want our viewers to feel the real ambiance of the place.” Dirty Napkins recently wrapped its third season. “We had five episodes the first season, in 2020, followed by 10 episodes in season two and 10 episodes last year in season three,” he says. All episodes were hosted by Jeremy Taylor, with Partee handling the bookings for each show. The show’s production is handled in-house, with Partee in charge of multiple cameras for each shoot, as well as audio and lights. “I have been fortunate to have talented people around me,” he says. “They make it easy to see the possibilities of where this show can go.” While it’s been shot mostly around the Jackson area, Partee says he’d like to take it statewide. “There are so many good restaurants across the state, and so many people statewide who are doing such positive things. I don’t think we’ll ever run short of good material.” With a fourth season about to start production, Partee has exciting things in store for viewers. “We have a really big season coming up, and we are looking to diversify," he says. "We have a new host for the Jackson episodes, Chief Anu-Seti Amen-Ra, an entrepreneur with an emphasis on fine cigars.” Partee met Amen-Ra through Oxfam America, and he learned about his cigar rolling skills. “He has a big personality and a curiosity about people that will make him a great host for Dirty Napkins. I am excited to announce that we will have our own Dirty Napkins cigar.” Partee also says that as they look to branch out across the state, Jeremy Taylor will host those shows. “The response to the first three seasons has been strong,” finishes Partee. “We really hope to grow this into something big, like our own mini food and travel network.” Learn more on the Facebook page or Instagram feed.

  • Grandma’s Cookbook – 3 Vintage Cake Recipes That Stand the Test of Time

    By Michele D. Baker This article first appeared in the April/May 2023 issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. My grandmother used to tell me it wasn’t a coincidence that our last name is Baker. We were that family that contributed to church bazaar cookbooks, charity fundraising cookbooks and sent recipes to the local paper. The women – and most of the men, too – would pore over stacks and stacks of cookbooks on every culinary topic imaginable, and my grandmother (and then my mother) had the entire 1970s “Good Cook” cookbook set published by Time Life. My favorites were always the baking books. I continue to be fascinated by bread, rolls, baps, breadsticks, cottage loaves, brownies, cookies, cakes, and anything else containing flour. Thank heaven I’m not gluten intolerant! These three vintage cake recipes are adapted from Grandma’s church picnic cookbooks, updated slightly using companion recipes from Taste of Home. I encourage you to bring back these well-loved treasures from another era and remember why they are classics! Classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake Ingredients: 1/3 cup butter, melted 2/3 cup packed brown sugar 1 can (20 ounces) sliced pineapple 1/2 cup chopped pecans 3 large eggs, separated, room temperature 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 9 maraschino cherries Whipped topping, optional Directions: Preheat oven to 375°. In an ungreased 9-in. square baking pan, combine butter and brown sugar. Drain pineapple, reserving 1/3 cup juice. Arrange 9 pineapple slices in a single layer over sugar (refrigerate any remaining slices for another use). Sprinkle pecans over pineapple; set aside. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Blend in vanilla and reserved pineapple juice. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to batter, beating well. In a small bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Spoon into pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before inverting onto serving plate. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple slice. If desired, serve with whipped topping. Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients for the cake: 2/3 cup shortening 1-1/2 cups sugar 2 large eggs, separated, room temperature 2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 medium) 1 cup 2% milk 3 cups all-purpose flour 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt For the cream cheese frosting: 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup butter, softened 4 cups confectioners' sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Dash salt Sliced banana, optional Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside. In another bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add bananas and milk; mix just until combined. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix just until blended. Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter. Pour into a greased 9” x 13” baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt; beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cake. Store in the refrigerator. If desired, serve with sliced bananas. NOTE: Avoid overmixing banana cake! Stirring too much will create more gluten, which will lead to a dense cake. To get a soft and light cake, stir just until the ingredients are combined. Chocolate Icebox Cake Ingredients: 2 cups heavy whipping cream 2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 package (9 ounces) chocolate wafers Chocolate curls, optional Directions: In a large bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff. Spread heaping teaspoonfuls on the cookies. Make 6-8 stacks of cookies; turn stacks on edge and place on a serving platter, forming a 14” long “cake.” Frost top and sides with remaining whipped cream. If desired, garnish with chocolate curls. Refrigerate 4-6 hours before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or freeze, wrapped in foil, for up to 1 month. Thaw before serving. NOTES: This is a fun recipe to really make your own. Swap out the chocolate wafers with your favorite cookie or add layers of chocolate, chopped nuts, fruit, or peanut butter between the wafer layers.

  • 60+ Beer Themed Holidays for those Who Adore the Hops & Malt

    For those of you who love beer in all its forms and flavors, this list is for you! Compiled from multiple web sources, it lists over 60 beer-themed holidays from across the globe. No matter what the season, no matter what the weather, there's probably a good excuse to drink beer coming up really soon. Cheers! JANUARY January 1: National Hangover Day New Years’ Day is dubbed national hangover day, because it’s a universal unspoken tradition to spend the night before drinking your weight in craft beer (We don’t condone this). But we do hear the best way to get over a hangover is to (moderately) drink more. So grab another beer, and drink your hangover away. (Or try these actual remedies for your hangover.) January 18: Baltic Porter Day January 24: Beer Can Appreciation Day Beer Can Appreciation Day is all about appreciating your favorite beer can designs (duh). Head over to your local liquor store, pub, or brewery, and pick up a few of your favorite beers that come in cans! Check out these beautiful beer can designs to help you celebrate! January 25: Burns Night January 25 is the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. Robert Burns is known as Scotland’s national bard. Burns Night celebrations are all about eating Scottish food, drinking Scottish beer, and listening to Scottish verses. FEBRUARY February: Stout Month February 2: Groundhog Day You might be thinking, “What does Groundhog Day have to do with beer?” It doesn’t! But grab some beer and drink it anyways! Check out these beer hogs to give you some inspiration on what to drink this Groundhog Day. February 13: Super Bowl Sunday (LVI) What pairs better together than beer and football? We couldn’t think of an answer either. We know you’ll be drinking your favorite brews this Super Bowl Sunday, but what will you be eating? Here are some beer snacks for the big game so that you can fill up on beer and snacks while you cheer on your favorite team! February 14: Valentine’s Day Valentine’s Day is all about love…ing beer! Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with a sweetheart or not, here are some great beers to drink while celebrating the day of love. February 24: World Bartender Day Head over to your local pub and grab a beer from your favorite bartender and make sure you let them know how much you appreciate them! If you’re a bartender yourself, then cheers to you! Are you an aspiring bartender? Here are some tips to make sure you’re the best! MARCH March 8: International women’s Collaboration Brew Day March 17: St Patrick’s Day St. Patrick’s Day. Beer. Need we say more? March 20: Bock Beer Day March 23 or 26 (seen this listed on both days): Orval Day The Orval legend began almost 1,000 years ago, when a princess accidentally dropped her ring into a spring and a trout returned it. It continues now, with a day to reflect on and enjoy amazing Trappist ale. Read more about Orval Day. March 27: Michael Jackson Day No not that Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson was actually a famous beer critic who wrote many books about beer and whisky. Celebrate today by picking up your favorite beer and giving it your best review using your JustBeer App. APRIL April 6: New Beers Eve 1920 – 1933 was the period of Prohibition in the United States. No doubt was it a dark time. Thankfully, in 1933 the government came to their senses. On this day in 1933, people lined up around the block at the doors of their favorite public house, anxious to imbibe in the first legal brews since 1920. Ever since that night, this day has been referred to as ‘New Beer’s Eve,’ a precursor of ‘New Beers Day.’ April 7: National Beer Day (USA) This is the anniversary of the end of Prohibition in the United States. Celebrate on this day and be thankful you weren’t on a dry spell between 1920–1933! Wikipedia covers some additional details of National Beer Day in the USA, but admittedly we’re not sure what the difference is between this holiday and the October 27th, “National American Beer Day.” Another excuse to enjoy beer is alright by us though. April 11: King Gambrinus Day King Gambrinus, A.K.A “The King of Beers,” learned how to brew beer from the Egyptian gods Iris and Osiris. The legend states that K.G. sold his soul to the devil to become the first mortal brewer, then outdrank the devil when he came to collect. King Gambrinus once drank for three days and three nights at a banquet, and everyone was so impressed, they crowned him king. He lived to be 100 years old and it was said that he was buried in a beer barrel instead of a coffin. King Gambrinus will always be remembered as an icon of beer, brewing, and joviality. All we can say is, do not try this at home. April 17: Saison Day Saisons (French for ‘seasons’) is a traditional pastoral ale originating in the farmhouses of Wallonia, a French speaking population in Belgium. It’s characterized by a low alcohol content, light body, and intense carbonation. Celebrate today by sipping on your favorite Saisons from your favorite local breweries. April 23: German Beer Day Drink all of your favorite German beers today! To learn more about German beers, and German beer styles, check out JustBeer University. April 27: King’s Day in Holland MAY May 1: National Rotate Your Beer Day May 5: Cinco de Mayo The ideal time to try any of the fine Mexican cervezas. Cerveza mas fina. Ole! May 6: Beer Pong Day May 7: National Homebrew Day Today is all for the home-brewers. Try brewing something new, or give all your friends some of your own home-brewed beer so they can celebrate today with you. May 7: National Lemonade Day – When I lived in Germany, one of my favorite drinks was a Radler (half beer, half lemonade, called a Shandy in the US – maybe this is a day to celebrate lemonade + beer?) May 16: National American Craft Beer Week May 23: National Drinking With Chickens Day JUNE June 8: National Name Your Poison Day June 14: National Bourbon Day (beer geeks enjoy barrel-aged beers on this day) June 15: Beer Day Britain June 17: National Stewart’s Root Beer Day June 25: Organic Beer Fest JULY July 3: National Independent Beer Run Day July 4: Independence Day July 12: Michelada Day ("cocktail" made with beer & tomato juice) July 18: St. Arnoldus Day St. Arnoldus was the patron saint of Belgian Brewers and hop-pickers. Celebrate St. Arnoldus on July 18 by drinking hoppy Belgian brews and eating amazing Belgian beer food pairings. July 21: Belgian National Day Belgian National Day is like Belgium’s Independence Day. July 21 is one of Belgium’s ten public holidays, and it’s a holiday that honors King Leopold I, the country’s first monarch, in 1831 after the Belgian Revolution. Celebrate today but drinking great Belgian beers! AUGUST August 3 or 4: IPA Day/National IPA Day Finally, a day dedicated for all you Hop Heads! The first Thursday in August is IPA Day. Celebrate IPA Day by sipping on your favorite India Pale Ale, or step outside the box and try one you’ve never had! August 4 or 5: International Beer Day International Beer Day = the best day of the year! Celebrate alone, with friends, or with your dog. We don’t care what you do today as long as you have a cold brew in your hand! And, if you’re throwing a beer-themed celebration, we’ve got you covered with a few ways to decorate your beer party. August 5: Mead Day August 7: New Brunswick Day SEPTEMBER September 7: National Beer Lover’s Day September 8: National Sour Beer Day September 17: First Day of Oktoberfest Get out your Dirndls and Lederhosen folks! It’s the first day of Oktoberfest! Check out our many Oktoberfest articles to help you get prepared. September 20: Sour Beer Day Are you a sour beer lover? This day is perfect for you! Not a sour beer lover? That’s ok! Take today to try to find a sour beer you love. September 27: Crush A Can Day Take out all your anger and frustrations on Crush A Can Day! Spend the day drinking your favorite brews with your friends. You know what to do with the empty cans. September 28: National Drink Beer Day Drink Beer Day? Isn’t that everyday? OCTOBER October 3: Last Day of Oktoberfest The last day of Oktoberfest is always a sad one. End on a high note by drinking your favorite German beers and singing songs with your best pals. October 9: Beer and Pizza Day This day is perfect for anyone who commonly wonders “What should I have for dinner tonight?” October 14: Homebrewing Legalization Day October 14 is the anniversary of the day that homebrewing was legalized in the United States, thanks to President Jimmy Carter, in 1978. October 27: National American Beer Day Today’s the day to whip out all your favorite American beers. The second best American holiday besides the 4th of July, of course…oh, and also second best to the other “National Beer Day” in the U.S. that falls on April 7. October 31: Halloween We know that Halloween doesn’t really have anything to do with beer… but let’s drink it anyway! The kids get their candy and the adults get their beer. Here are some of our favorite beers to drink on Halloween night. NOVEMBER November 3: International Stout Day (1st Thursday in November) Finally a day for all you stout lovers! Not sure about stouts or don’t know anything about the beer style? That’s okay! Learn more about stouts. November 5: Learn How To Home-brew Day The first Saturday of November is Learn to Homebrew Day. If you’ve been thinking of getting into home-brewing, today is your day! November 12: National Happy Hour Day November 23: Drinksgiving November 28 (4th Thursday): Thanksgiving DECEMBER December 1: First Day of Your Beer Advent Calendar If you’ve ordered a beer advent calendar, this is usually the day you get to open up your first beer and begin your 24 days of drinking! (Some calendars are only 12 days, so you would start on December 12!) December 3: Crate Day December 5: National Repeal Day Did you know that there was a 13-year-long nation-wide Prohibition that criminalized the consumption of alcohol in the United States? On December 5th, the Prohibition (a.k.a. the “Great Experiment”) was lifted and Americans were free to consume alcohol again. December 10: National Lager Day Lagers are some of the most popular beer styles in the world. Celebrate today by cracking open your favorite lager beers and learning more about lagers. December 24: Christmas Eve December 25: Christmas December 31: New Year’s Eve Cheers to the New Year! New Year’s is usually associated with champagne, however, beer is so much better. Don’t believe us? Check out these beers to pop instead of Champagne on NYE!

  • Heritage Recipe: Butternut Squash Pie

    Recipe & Photography by Divian Conner The arrival of April is exciting. It marks the true start of really getting back outdoors. Even though this winter has certainly been one roller coaster of a weather ride, the authentic expected beginning of summer is right around the corner come April and May. Those are the months that the outdoor gatherings begin, trips and vacation getaways planned, people kneel in their gardens plucking weeds and making sure their lawns are the envy of all the neighborhood. I am a huge flower person, so these months mark the arrival of beautiful wild flowers and Queen Anne’s Lace that I can gather to top my dining room table. The thoughts of food gardens, fresh produce being sold from local farmers, the excitement of all the wonderful meals I can make, April initiates the warmness of the upcoming summer and all of the thrills that make it one exciting wave. When I think of warmer weather, being in the South, I immediately begin to think of fruits and vegetables. This brings about so many possible recipe ideas. Recently, I have had a big interest in vintage and lost recipes from the past–the ones that used to be so popular in an area but rarely get the front page like they used to. I have found cake ideas, fruit salad ideas, breads and buns recipes that are slowly being forgotten, recipes that were once staples at potlucks but not regularly showcased today as they should be. I have discovered and added so many delicious ideas to my list of things to make and a lot of them deal with fresh produce playing center stage. Not to say no one gets to savor these recipes today, but they are just lesser known or seen. I do admit it is fun presenting family and friends with dishes they have not had the chance to experience and if using fresh ingredients, that’s all the better, right? Now, as a big pie lover, imagine the joy that leapt into this wee heart of mine when I found out about butternut squash pie. Why hasn’t anyone told me of this gemstone of a pie? I have a cousin who can knock your socks off with a carrot pie and my mind was blown. The delight when I ran across a recipe for butternut squash had me doing the happy toddler dance. Of course, I had to tweak it but oh boy, so good.  Being big time sweet potato pie lovers, this pie was perfect for us and is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. I love not only discovering things that are new to me, but just knowing that in a pinch that I can substitute something for a similar experience of another is downright fascinating. If you have ever had this pie, is it a staple for you and your family? If you have not made it in a while or if you have not had this delectable experience that is butternut squash pie, this is a gentle push for you to give it a go. I am certainly glad I did. Butternut Squash Pie Ingredients: Refrigerated pie dough – pat dough into pie pan and crimp edges. Use additional pie dough for decorations if desired.* For the filling: 2 cups pureed butternut squash 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 Eggs 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg 1 tsp. Cinnamon Pinch Of Salt 1/4 cup half and half 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 stick melted butter Olive oil Directions: Cut squash in half and remove all seeds and stringy pieces. (You can allow these seeds to dry to give away or save for your own garden.) Drizzle the halves lightly with olive oil. Place cut side down on baking shoot and bake at 400 degrees for about 30-45 minutes until easily pierced with a fork. Once tender, use a spoon and scoop out the squash and place in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and tip into large mixing bowl. Combine all other ingredients and mix well. Pour in prepared pie dish over the crust. Bake for about 50-60 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. About 30 minutes into baking, you may need to cover the pie with foil to prevent the crust from burning. *I added pie crust decorations to my pie using cookie cutters. I bake covered for 30 minutes and then uncovered for the remainder of the baking time to prevent my added decorations from burning.

  • Classic Delights for Derby Day Celebrations

    This article first appeared in the April/May 2023 issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Words and Images by Lisa LaFontaine Bynum You don’t have to hail from the Bluegrass State to know about the infamous annual horse race known as the Kentucky Derby. Dubbed the “greatest two minutes in sports” – a nod to the approximate amount of time it takes for the horses to complete their gallop around the track – the Kentucky Derby is known for so much more than just horses. Ostentatious ladies’ hats and sundresses, seersucker suits for men, signature cocktails and delicious food. This year, place your bets on these Kentucky Derby themed recipes. Old Fashioned Mint Julep Cocktail Ingredients: 8 mint leaves 1/4 oz. simple syrup 2 1/2 oz. bourbon Bitters (optional) Directions: In a Julep cup or rocks glass, lightly muddle the mint leaves. Add the bourbon and simple syrup, then pack the glass tightly with crushed ice. Stir until the cup is frosted on the outside. Top with more crushed ice to form an ice dome, and garnish with a mint sprig and a few drops of bitters (optional). Apricot And Bourbon Glazed Meatballs Serves 4 Begin this delicious, classic dish by making the Apricot Bourbon Glaze: 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter ½ cup diced yellow onion 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 cup apricot preserves 1 cup chili sauce ½ cup bourbon ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar ¼ cup packed light brown sugar 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard For the glaze: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is tender and translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Combine the remaining sauce ingredients. Add to the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and set aside. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Next, make the meatballs: 2 lbs. ground chicken sausage 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 2 cups all-purpose flour Salt and pepper to taste Oil for frying Directions for the meatballs: Form the chicken sausage into 2-inch meatballs. Roll the meatballs in the eggs. Then coat with the flour. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches if needed, add the meatballs to the hot oil and fry until the outside is golden brown and the meatballs are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Drain the meatballs on paper towels. Coat the meatballs with the glaze. Kentucky Derby Chocolate Walnut Pie Ingredients: 4 large eggs 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled 1 cup light corn syrup 3 Tablespoons bourbon 1 cup light brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 9-inch pie shell, unbaked Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, melted butter, corn syrup, bourbon, brown sugar and vanilla. Whisk together until the sugar is dissolved. Evenly sprinkle the walnuts and chocolate chips into the unbaked pie shell. Pour the filling over the nuts and chocolate and bake for 50-60 minutes until the center of the pie is set. If the pie begins to brown too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil. Allow the pie to cool completely for several hours on a wire rack before serving.

  • A Weekend of Art, Wine and Wheels In Ridgeland May 5-7

    This article first appeared in the April/May 2023 issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. Three of Ridgeland’s signature events return for Art, Wine and Wheels weekend May 5-7. The Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival, The MIND Center Santé South Food and Wine Festival, and the Natchez Trace Century Ride come together for a celebration of Ridgeland’s live music, outdoor, and dining offerings. The weekend begins and ends at Renaissance at Colony Park, where Visit Ridgeland will host a Kickoff Party on Friday, May 5. The Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival first opens its booths at 3:00 and the evening concludes with a free concert at 6:30 p.m. The Natchez Trace Century Ride rolls on Saturday, May 6 from Old Trace Park in Ridgeland. Mississippi’s premier cycling event welcomes riders off all ages and availabilities, offering various ride distances along the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway. Registration for the ride is open at and includes complimentary entrance into a Friday evening VIP Social. The Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival continues Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7. Todd Perkins has been announced as the featured artist for the annual event, a juried art festival that includes fiber, glass, painting, photography, wood, and more by some of America’s most talented artists. The pet-friendly festival footprint features live music performances, food trucks, a Children’s Corner and Artist in Action demonstration. Mississippi’s largest wine and food event, The MIND Center Santé South Food and Wine Festival, returns the evening of Saturday, May 6. This culinary showcase for a good cause benefits Alzheimer’s disease research and clinical care. At its new location of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, the event’s larger footprint will feature more vendors than ever. Attendees can sample wines from around the world paired with food from the state’s top restaurants. Santé South affords a rare opportunity for guests to speak directly with boutique winemakers and vote on a new Taste of the South competition. The ticket price includes entrance to the festival where guests can sample more over 120 exceptional wines and fine food samplings from many of Mississippi’s top restaurants as well as take home a signature festival wine glass. Learn more about Santé South and purchase tickets at

  • Tasting Menu at Vestige in Ocean Springs Is a Culinary Masterpiece

    This article first appeared in the April/May 2023 issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI Words and photos by Julian Brunt If you are looking for an absolutely unique dining experience, Vestige in Ocean Springs just may be what you are looking for. Chef Alex Perry describes it as casual fine dining, but that only tells you that you do not have to dress up to visit. What you really need to know is that at Vestige you are going to have a culinary experience like you have never had before. That’s a promise. I have been a food writer and fan of great restaurants for many years, and have written about the food culture in the South hundreds of times. But never have I encountered a chef like Alex Perry or a restaurant like Vestige. The menu is a preset tasting menu and it is not a place for the culinarily faint of heart. You have to be willing to take a leap of faith and pop into your mouth things that you have never dreamed of, like steel head trout, red kuri, miso, ground cherry, white truffle, or mizuna. If you understand the level of excellence, the passion for perfection that Chef Alex is known for, then you are on your way to a true adventure. If you fit this profile, I promise you that when you leave your table at Vestige, it will be with memories you will talk about for the rest of your life. I have known Chef Alex since Vestige opened in 2013. The menu is based on the best ingredients that can be found. Buying local and seasonal is important, buying sustainable is too, but nothing trumps quality. You will never find the same thing on this menu twice, there are no favorites, or classics. Each dining experience is unique. In the winter you may find rice from Two Brooks farm in the Mississippi Delta, just as you might find wild salmon or Pacific halibut, both highly regulated by the MSC (Marine Steward Counsel), but the preparation will be different from day to day. It’s difficult to describe Chef Alex’s style. Attention to detail is absolute. Never rush into a meal at Vestige, take your time and discover every detail of the presentation, color, and structure. When you take the first bite, close your eyes, and examine flavor combinations and textures. I once had a fried okra salad at Vestige and I was shocked to discover that there were four textures in the okra: stim, meat, skin, and seed. What was shocking was to realize that it was done on purpose and was no accident of nature. I still marvel at the genius of that dish. Chef Alex is fond of Japanese cuisine, and you will see that reflection on his plates, small, subtitle additions that are powerful, like house made fermentations (miso and soy), purple sweet potato vinegar, or the use of small flowers and always contrasting textures. Chef Alex never does anything without reason, there is no flair just to show off, no “weird for weird’s sake.” Chef Alex Perry is the most brilliant chef I know. He told me once, “The food will tell you where to go.” I will never have the vision that Chef Alex has, but I am willing to follow him anywhere he goes. Vestige is located at 715 Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs and is open Tuesday – Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

  • Green Thumb vs. Mississippi Sun

    This article first appeared in the April/May 2023 issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI By Jay Reed I’ve long been an advocate for locally grown vegetables and fruits. I love my local farmer’s market. I’ve been a member of at least two Community Supported Agriculture groups (CSA’s). But when it comes to hyper-local agricultural production- i.e., my own backyard - there has been far more advocacy than production. Ten or so years ago I attempted my first container garden. And by “container,” I mean five-gallon buckets from the hardware store, with little holes drilled near the bottom for drainage, because that’s what the article on hardware store bucket gardening suggested. I started with a couple of tomato plants and some bell peppers. And at the end of that season, for all my grand efforts, I maybe got one pepper, a literal handful of cherry tomatoes, and a stack of buckets that couldn’t hold water anymore. After that I figured I’d try my hand at raising herbs. A friend at the farmer’s market sold a wide variety of seedlings: all I had to do was keep them watered, make sure they had a bit of sunshine, and harvest to my heart’s content. Well, I harvested them just fine. Then the Mississippi sun came in full force and my watering (or lack thereof) couldn’t pass muster. I didn’t give up on the herbs quite as fast as I gave up on the tomatoes, though. Another summer I tried a cutesy little herb garden kit and got enough leaves for a couple of Caprese salads, then bye-bye, basil. Last summer I had a really good-looking basil plant grown from a flat sponge-looking thing that had seeds embedded in it. I put it in soil, watered it, and it actually worked! I still have an ice tray full of chopped basil in oil in my freezer from that plant. That one got my hopes up. A recipient (or victim) of my eat-grow-local advocacy gave me another full-grown plant, knowing (or wishfully thinking) that I was into that sort of thing and would keep it up - or at least eat more of it than they would. I set it on my back porch and promptly forgot about it. A few weeks later I went out back and found an array of black, shriveled up sticks in a pot; it took me a while to even realize it had once been a thriving basil plant. Then, last summer, I received a bit of green thumb grace. A friend of my mother’s had started way more tomato plants than he wanted to manage. They were healthy plants (I was not yet involved) in at least a half dozen varieties. He was looking to share a few, so I did my research. Of course, I didn’t look to see which ones were survivors - hindsight is 20/20 - I wanted to see if they were sweet, what size the full-grown fruits would be, and if they’d look cool in an Instagram salad. I ended up with three plants: Mountain Magic, Cherokee Carbon, and Bella Rosa. A good little variety. I did essentially what I did before: bought new buckets (the old ones had disintegrated due to lack of use), drilled new holes, put a few rocks in the bottom for drainage, and bought soil specifically for container gardens. I transplanted the seedlings. I brought antique tomato cages from my grandfather’s house in Belmont, hoping they would bring some good luck. I even staked them once they had some height. Most importantly, I set two alarms on my phone - before work and after work - reminding me to water the blessed things. Turns out that’s pretty important. Guess what? I got tomatoes this time. I didn’t have so many that I set up a roadside tailgate stand, but I did have a handful sitting on my counter on a regular basis. And I would have had more if the birds hadn’t enjoyed them as much as I did. But I got tomatoes. And I got them consistently. And I built dishes from them. I fried them green. I made a sandwich. The basil plant was still alive at the time, so I bought mozzarella for one salad, cucumber and feta cheese for another. I popped a few in my mouth straight off the vine. I was thrilled. Then came the heat wave; watering alarms turned into fire alarms. Apparently one green thumb wasn’t enough; it seems two (or more) are required to grow tomatoes through a Mississippi summer. But like a gambler with just enough wins to prod him into one more bet, I will most definitely be trying my hand at gardening again.

  • Southern Soigne is Carefully and Elegantly Designed

    This article originally appeared in the April/May 2023 issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI By Susan Marquez Southern Soigne is perhaps one of the most unique restaurants in Jackson. It’s more of an experience than a restaurant. “Southern,” because it is located in the heart of the South with a perfect view of the gilded eagle atop the dome of the state capitol building through a dining room window. “Soigne,” (swan-yay) is word borrowed from French and means carefully or elegantly done, operated, or designed. Owner/chef Zacchaeus "Zach" Golden has created a restaurant that is intentional and non-pretentious. Built as a home in the mid-1800s, the fully renovated space has three dining rooms and a foyer lounge area. An alternate meaning for soigne is well-groomed. And Golden delivers. With his pressed and starched white chef’s coat and clean-cut good looks, he presents himself as capable and confident. Raised in Belzoni, where farm-raised catfish is king, Zach and his mother lived in his grandmother’s home. “My grandmother had a convenience store with a small restaurant that served coffee, breakfast sandwiches, smothered pork chops and such for nearby farm workers,” recalls Golden. “I spent much of my childhood there, but the only thing food related I did was to watch food shows on TV.” While in high school, Golden moved with his mother to Mobile, Alabama. “I got my first restaurant job at the local Sonic Drive-In.” He liked the work, and was a fast learner. “I wanted to be good at everything. I car hopped, and I cooked. I got close to the manager, and he taught me to do different things.” When it was time to go to college, Golden chose the culinary program at Bishop State Community College in Mobile. “I knew I wanted to do something hands-on, and I wanted to be taken seriously,” he remembers. While in college he worked at various upscale casual restaurants around Mobile. “I was fortunate to have a good mentor at the college,” he says. After graduating, Zachary Engle hired Golden to cook at Shaya in New Orleans. “I began to learn modern cooking techniques, and different ways to manipulate ingredients. I began thinking about ways to take Southern food and elevate it,” he says. “I was inspired by the New York style, and haute cuisine presented as art.” After working at a few more restaurants, Golden used the money he saved to move to San Francisco with dreams of working in a Michelin star restaurant. “Those were tough times,” he recalls. Golden worked in various restaurants around San Francisco then headed back South to New Orleans, where he worked at Palace Café and Redfish Grill, then with Nina Compton: “She ran a tight ship,” he says. All the while, Golden was sending his resume and job applications to French Laundry in Napa Valley, where getting a job is harder than getting a reservation. Finally, he got the call he’d been waiting for. “Thomas Keller is one of the best chefs in the country,” says Golden. “He put forth a culture at The French Laundry that is so unique. Everyone there is mentored.” Soon, Golden was offered an opportunity to stage there, which is like a working interview. “I was put to work as a commis, or prep chef, where I learned to cook in the classic French style,” he recalls. After leaving The French Laundry, Golden did a brief stint at another Michelin three-star restaurant, The Inn at Little Washington in D.C., before heading back to his Mississippi roots. On the heels of the COVID pandemic, Golden achieved his goal of opening his own restaurant: Southern Soigne opened in December 2021. Reservations are a must at Southern Soigne. “I like to keep it at around twelve people,” Golden says. Dinner consists of several courses, and typically lasts about three hours. The food is served by Margie, Golden’s mother. “She makes sure the train arrives at the station on time,” he laughs. And while his life experiences have been vastly more sophisticated than hers, Margie, who often admits she has no idea what is on the plates she is serving, is extremely proud and supportive of her son, whom she refers to as Chef. Striving to go above and beyond on execution, Golden puts his heart and soul into his food. “I wouldn’t want a heart surgeon to put forth a halfway effort,” he says. “I’m here to satisfy people. I take it seriously.” Learn more and make a reservation at

  • Just What Are the James Beard Awards?

    By Susan Marquez This article originally appeared in the April/May 2023 issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. There’s something very posh sounding about saying you are dining at a James Beard Award-winning restaurant, or that your meal was prepared by a James Beard Award-winning chef. But do you really know what a James Beard Award is? Let’s start with James Beard himself. Born in 1903 in Portland, Oregon, James Beard was a cookbook author and chef who celebrated American cuisine and encouraged the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients. The New York Times bestowed the title “dean of American Cookery” to Beard in 1954. He wrote twenty cookbooks between 1940 and 1983, many of which are still in print today. Recipes include regional favorites to international cuisine. Beard introduced Americans to new foods and techniques, not just through his cookbook, but through television cooking shows and at The James Beard Cooking School in New York City and Seaside, Oregon. From chefs in fine restaurants to home food enthusiasts, generations were trained and inspired by Beard’s passion for good food. Through the annual James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards, James Beard is remembered and honored. The Awards are administered by the James Beard Foundation, a nonprofit organization established 30 years ago. The mission, according to the organization’s website, “is to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability.” The road to winning a coveted James Beard Award begins with the nomination process. Anyone can nominate a chef or restaurant through an online form on the James Beard Foundation’s website, and each year there are hundreds of entrants. The Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Award committee and a large panel of judges works to narrow the list down to semifinalists. That list is then narrowed down to nominees, and finally, winners, all overseen by James Beard volunteers. This year, Mississippi is proud to have two semifinalists, both located in Jackson. The first is Hunter Evans of Elvie’s, a semifinalist for Best Chef, South, which includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Puerto Rico. As a hospitality management major at University of Mississippi, Hunter discovered his love for cooking under the helm of acclaimed James Beard award winning chef John Currence, who won the award in 2009 as chef of City Grocery in Oxford. Evans continued his training at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. A Jackson native with strong New Orleans ties, he named his restaurant, Elvie’s, after his grandmother. The food served in the restaurant is inspired by the time spent in his grandmother’s New Orleans kitchen and his travels through Europe. The restaurant’s website describes the menu as “a modern take on classic French cuisine through the lens of Southern culinary traditions and ingredients.” In the Best New Restaurant category, Joseph Sambou’s restaurant, Sambou’s African Kitchen, is one you may not have discovered yet. The restaurant on County Line Road in Jackson was opened in March 2022 by Joseph Sambou, who immigrated to the United States with his family in 2007. His sister, Bibian, is the chef. Sambou’s African kitchen serves dishes from the family’s native Gambia, as well as dishes from Ethiopia and other African countries. Sambou’s dishes are heavily spiced but can be toned down if requested. Everything is made from scratch daily. Meat is marinated in lemon juice and cooked slow to draw out the flavors. While the restaurant is their business, it is also an opportunity for the family to share African culture with Mississippians. The awards nominees were announced on March 29, and the winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on June 5 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Find out more at

  • Foodie Finds: Easter Fun

    Fun foodie finds for all things Easter! Mr. and Mrs. Ears Milk Chocolate Easter Bunnies, $59.99 The best things come in pairs. Crafted in their Oregon candy kitchen, these intricately decorated chocolate Easter bunnies are made with the same decadent and silky-smooth chocolate Harry and David use in their rich truffles. Available at Harry & David. Peter Rabbit Small Papier-mâché Egg, $29.99 This handcrafted papier-mâché egg features a charming illustration of Peter Rabbit outside and a bounty of treats inside. Created by premium confectioners, the sweets include a solid milk chocolate bunny plus fluffy marshmallow twists, sour jelly beans, sugar-sanded gummy eggs and assorted chocolates. Williams Sonoma. Ukrainian Easter Egg (Pysanka) Pin – “Pine Tree,” $14.95 A pysanka is a Ukrainian Easter egg decorated with traditional folk designs – the Pine Tree pin is based on a Ukrainian folk song about the creation of the world. 100% of profits will be donated to Ukrainian-led organizations assisting displaced refugees. Available at Brew Bunny Tea Infuser, $14.99 Made to look like a relaxing bunny with ears that drape over the edge of your teacup, this sweet little character will help you make the perfect cup of tea. All you have to do is fill with the loose-leaf tea of your choice. Hand wash. Harry & David. Caspari Party Crackers – Bunnies & Carrots, $30 Get the party hoppin’ with party crackers that every-bunny will enjoy. Just pull the ends for a “bang” that reveals the prizes inside: confetti, a bunny ear headband, a bunny figurine and a trivia question/ice breaker. 8 per box. Available at

  • What's Happening: Aplos + Zundo Ramen + Lucky Dog Bar + Bluto's Greek Tavern

    This article first appeared in the April/May 2023 issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI magazine By Paige White Aplόs Opening Second Location in Ridgeland Aplόs founder and CEO Alex Eaton recently announced that the popular Mediterranean eatery will open a second location at Renaissance at Colony Park. The Highland Village hotspot is known for casual, Mediterranean dishes, pizzas, and frozen cocktails. The Renaissance location will be near Malco Cinema and is set to open Father’s Day weekend. The Highland Village location will also unveil updates this spring, including additional seating, a new bar, and new technology. For more information, visit Zundo Ramen & Sake Bar Opens in Fondren A new ramen restaurant opened earlier this year the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson. Zundo Ramen Bar presents contemporary Japanese dining and is known for its slow-cooked approach to ramen. Broths are simmered in-house for 20 hours and noodles are house-made. The menu also includes gyoza, chash bun (pork belly bun), kaki fry (deep fried oysters), Katsu curry rice, and other Japanese favorites. Zundo is located at 3100 N. State Street, Suite 102, in Jackson. Check out their menu online at Lucky Dog Music Hall & Bar Opening at Silo Square Another unique concept is set to open this summer at Southaven’s Silo Square. Lucky Dog Music Hall & Bar will be home to live music five days a week, great food and drinks, and more. Rollup barn doors and outdoor seating will overlook the beautiful bell tower at Silo Park. Lucky Dog will also be dog friendly and the perfect spot before or after summer concerts at the BankPlus Amphitheater, happy hour, or just a night out. For more information, see Bluto’s Greek Tavern Opens in Starkville A new restaurant recently entered the Starkville culinary scene. Located in the heart of the Cotton District, Bluto’s Greek Tavern is located in the former Humble Taco location on University Drive. The menu is full of gyros, salads, Greek entrees, and appetizers like the pita mozz, Greek wings, loaded Greek fries, spanikopita, and baba ghanoush. Being in a college town, there is also a late-night menu of gyros, fries, and quesadillas. Bluto’s also boasts a creative drink menu with three specialty drinks served in a 40-ounce fishbowl. For more info and the menu, visit

  • 4 Passover Sides that Add Color and Flavor

    It’s nearly Passover (April 5 to April 13), so get ready to ditch the chametz (leaved bread products) and attend or host a Passover seder dinner. Though you’ll probably never completely get rid of some of the more traditional foods eaten during Passover (like potato kugel), those who celebrate know things can get a little repetitive after a while. The best way to avoid that is to switch up your side dishes to bring some much-needed variety, color, and flavors to your meals. Some recipes are practically synonymous with Passover, like kugel, matzo ball soup, carrot-and-date-based tzimmes, and apple-walnut charoset. So we’re giving some new options containing ingredients like horseradish (maror), hard-boiled eggs (beitzah), and beets (zeroah). We think the best part about appreciating a culture is the chance to eat traditional dishes, but we hope these recipes will help broaden your perspective and inspire you to try something new. Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, photo by Parker Bach Ingredients: 6 medium beets, scrubbed 6 cups arugula 1 avocado, sliced 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts For the dressing: 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 Tablespoon maple syrup 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Directions: Preheat oven to 400°. Wrap each beet in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast until tender (you can insert a fork or knife through the foil to test), about 1 hour. Let sit until cool enough to handle, then peel and cut into wedges. Meanwhile, make vinaigrette. In a jar, shake together olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and Dijon until fully combined. Season with salt and pepper. Place arugula in a large serving bowl and lightly dress with vinaigrette. Top with beets, avocado, goat cheese, and walnuts. Toss gently and add more vinaigrette as needed. Horseradish Mashed Potatoes Recipe by Lauren Miyashiro,, Photo by Kat Wirsing Ingredients: 3 lb. (about 4 large) russet potatoes, peeled and diced Kosher salt 1/2 cup (1 stick) kosher butter, plus more for serving 1/2 cup milk 1 cup kosher sour cream 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish Freshly ground black pepper Freshly chopped chives, for garnish Directions: In a large pot, cover potatoes with water and season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, 16 to 18 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Use a potato masher to mash potatoes until smooth. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with milk until warm. Pour mixture over potatoes and stir until creamy. Stir in sour cream and horseradish then season with salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to a serving bowl and top with a pat of butter. Season with more pepper and garnish with chives before serving. Roasted Whole Cauliflower Ingredients: Medium head of cauliflower (about 1.5 lb) 1 cup mayonnaise 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 Tablespoons honey 2 Tablespoons Sriracha 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil 3 Tablespoons minced garlic 3 Tablespoons or more chopped dill Kosher Salt & Pepper Paprika Directions: Preheat oven to 400F. Mix mayonnaise, mustard honey, Sriracha and oil together. Add garlic and dill and mix. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Place cauliflower in a 9” × 13” pan. Sprinkle paprika lightly on top. Spread all of the sauce over the entire cauliflower. Cover with foil tent (do not touch the cauliflower) and bake covered for 1 hour. Uncover and baste with juices that formed on the bottom every 10 minutes until fully cooked and golden brown (30 more minutes). Transfer to plate and serve with remaining juices as a dipping sauce. Related: How to Make the Perfect Hard Boiled Egg Best-Ever Egg Salad By Lauren Miyashiro, Ingredients: 8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled 1/4 cup mayonnaise 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1/2 stalk of celery, minced (about 1/3 cup) 2 Tablespoons finely sliced chives Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Paprika, for garnish Directions: Roughly chop hard-boiled eggs and transfer to a medium bowl. Mash slightly with a fork to break up yolks. Add mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, celery and chives and mix until evenly combined. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Serve on lettuce leaf.

  • Book Review: Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any Occasion, by Maegan Brown

    This article was first published in the April/May 2023 edition of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. “If you board it, they will come!” says Meagan Brown, “The BakerMama” and mother of four. Taking her first cues from her mother, who filled the dinner table’s lazy Susan and allowed people to help themselves, Brown now teaches her children to share and make choices to have a healthy relationship with food. In Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any Occasion, Brown shares what she calls “the snack board mind-set,” and asserts that any meal can be boarded. She also subscribes to well-known adage that we eat first with our eyes, and her boards are indeed feasts in every sense of the word. In three easy steps – gather ingredients and serving dishes, pile on the bounty, and eat! – Brown offers great ways to celebrate almost any holiday, event, or time of year. Her list of “everything you need go get started building” includes a wooden board (she recommends a 20” hardwood circle), serving bowls in various sizes ( 8 oz., 3 oz., and 1 oz.), cheese knives, small spoons, a honey dipper, and serving utensils. Remember, also, to prepare small serving plates, napkins, and toothpicks or forks. When it comes to the actual ingredients, Brown insists that the sky is the limit and the only barriers are your imagination and your palate. She has a few general tips, though, such as to always include fruit and veggies; to mix salty, sweet, crunchy and chewy; and to pay attention to the temperature when serving items that require chilling or to be served hot. Here are just a few of more than 50 delicious boards featured in Beautiful Boards: Princess Board – a little girl’s pink fantasy featuring watermelon, birthday cake popcorn, strawberry marshmallows, pink jelly beans and M&Ms, and pink gummy candy Take Me Out to the Ball Game – a white, rectangular tray filled with peanuts, giant salted pretzels with mustard dipping sauce, caramel corn, pickles, and hot dogs Winter Wonderland – Brie cheeses in three sizes (3”, 4” and 6”) form the body of a “snowman” laying in a night sky made of blueberries and popcorn “snow” Easter Candy – formed on an oval tray, assorted pastel candies and treats such as pink yogurt pretzels, yellow Jordan almonds, light blue M&Ms and purple jelly beans create a giant striped Easter egg The book goes on to show how breakfast can be transformed in the Pancake Board – bacon, berries, bananas, chocolate chips, whipped cream and syrup – with all the toppings pre-chopped and nestled in small bowls. A similar board features bagels with tomatoes, cream cheese, lox, onions, capers, jams, and chopped fruit. There’s even a section on Meal boards including Pizza Lovers, Build-Your-Own-Taco, Mediterranean Mezze, Grilled Cheese, and Cobb Salad. The Barbecue Board brings together ribs, grilled corn, baked beans, coleslaw, potato wedges, macaroni and cheese, and various kinds of bread. The book ends with recipes for some of the ingredients, such as oatmeal chocolate chip bites, snack mix, Pigs-in-a-Blanket, potato latkes, and pumpkin cheese ball. Happy eating!

  • Mouthwatering Winter Feasts Around the World

    by Michele D. Baker This article was originally published in the December 2022 / January 2023 issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI magazine As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, across the world people are getting ready for winter celebrations and the delicious dishes that go with them. In Britain and the USA, Christmas means roast turkey with all the trimmings. In France, they enjoy the lavish Réveillon on Christmas Eve. In South Africa, it’s all about outdoor braais, or barbecues. Here are just a few of the many luscious, food-filled holidays this season: December 6: Nikolaustag (Saint Nicholas Day) (Germany/Netherlands) On the night of December 5, children all over Germany and the Netherlands tidy their rooms, polish their shoes, and set them on the doorstep (or window sill, or by the fire) before going to bed. In the morning, good children wake to find Saint Nicholas has come and filled the footwear with fruit, nuts, candies, and small toys and gifts. December 18-26: Hanukkah (worldwide) Throughout the eight days of Hanukkah, a festival of lights commemorating the reclamation of their temple in Jerusalem, Jewish families celebrate by eating latkes (fried potato pancakes) with sour cream and apple sauce, sufganiyot (fried jelly doughnuts), gelt (foil wrapped chocolate “coins”), beef brisket, noodle kugel, and chocolate babka. Hanukkah Sameach! December 20: Kimtee Inmewit (United States) The Umatilla Native American tribes of eastern Oregon hold their “new year” ceremony just before the Winter Solstice on December 20 in a celebration called “Kimtee Inmewit.” Tribal history dictates that the first food that was created was the nusux (salmon), the second was the nukt (deer), and the third was a bitter root called sliiton. New Year is a time to celebrate the return of the sacred foods with singing, drums, dancing, prayers, and a shared meal of meat stew and fry bread. December 25: Christmas Day (Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa) When you think of Christmas food, turkey and dressing are often high on the list. But in South Africa, it’s festive fried caterpillars! This may seem like an unusual Christmas tradition but eating the Pine Tree Emperor Moth – or Christmas caterpillar – with its red, blue, and green bands and black and gold spots, is believed to gift a little extra luck on the coming year. December 25: Christmas Day (Japan) In 1974, a fast-food franchise famous for its chicken released a festive marketing campaign in Japan. Their slogan “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (“Kentucky for Christmas!”) hatched a national tradition – including Colonel Santa, complete with red and white suit – that continues to this day. Although it isn’t a national holiday in Japan, each Christmas, families from all over the country celebrate with nearly a million pre-reserved, piping hot chicken dinners. December 25: Christmas Day (Australia) Christmastime in Australia is high summer, so Christmas dinner for many Aussies is a mid-day picnic featuring boiled prawns or a trip to the beach to go surfing with Santa. The holiday is an all-day affair, and Christmas lunches are relaxed, with lots of eating and breaks for playing a “spot of cricket” or a quick splash in the backyard pool. Christmas crackers – those gaily wrapped paper tubes that when pulled go BANG! – are a must. (Yes, you must to wear the paper crown inside!) December 25: Christmas Day (Latin America) Nearly every family in Latin America has its own tamale recipe pulled out only at Christmastime. The feast also includes turkey; ham and pulled pork; tostones (fried plantain chips); natilla, a traditional flan custard which can be eaten as a sweet or a savory; “Christmas rice;” and many delectable desserts such as buñelos, small balls of fried dough sweetened with honey or sugar and stuffed with yams or cheese; arroz con leche (rice pudding); and polvorones, a buttery sugar cookie. On January 6, many families celebrate with roscón de Reyes (Three Kings’ Day cake), a sweet, crown-shaped bread topped with fruit and candy. December 26: Saint Stephen’s Day (Spain) In Catalonia in northeastern Spain, Saint Stephen’s Day is celebrated on the day after Christmas with the paternal side of the family. The feast includes cannelloni noodles stuffed with the ground leftover turkey, chicken, or goose cooked the previous day and covered with tomato sauce and cheese. Since the tradition is to eat with the maternal family on Christmas Day, this “Festa Mitjana” (“Second Christmas Day”) gives people a chance to visit – and eat! – with both sides of the family. December 26 – January 1: Kwanzaa (United States) Inspired by a variety of sub-Saharan African harvest festivals, Kwanzaa gets its name from a Swahili phrase meaning “first fruits.” There are no menu rules; it all depends on family traditions. The focal point is often some kind of one-pot stew or braise: Ghanaian groundnut stew, West Indian or South African curry dishes, Philadelphia pepper pot stew, jambalaya, Nigerian jollof rice or Senegalese thieboudienne. Also typical are familiar foods such as catfish, collards, macaroni and cheese, jerk chicken, gumbo, accras (Caribbean fritters), candied yams, buttermilk biscuits and spoonbread, and fried plantains. January 1: Hogmanay (Scotland) Immediately after midnight in the first few hours of the Scottish new year, a dark-haired male or “first foot” visits nearby houses bringing with him symbolic pieces of coal (heat), salt (friendship), shortbread and a black bun – a dark, rich fruit cake wrapped in pastry (plenty of food all year), and a “wee dram of whisky” (good cheer and hospitality), ensuring that the house will experience abundance in all these things in the coming year. January 1: New Year’s Day (United States) “Eat poor on New Year’s and eat fat the rest of the year,” says an old saying here in the South. Many of us eat specific foods on New Year’s Day to bring good luck and prosperity for the remainder of the year. All kinds of greens (collards, mustard or turnip greens, cabbage) symbolize dollars, and black-eyed peas symbolize coins, both of which point to money; yellow cornbread represents gold; and pork or ham brings “forward motion” or “advancement” in the year ahead. January 6: Coptic Christmas Eve (Egypt) On Christmas Eve (January 6, according to the Julian calendar), Coptic Christians attend a special church service that lasts until midnight. Congregants share a specific type of bread called “qurban” (“offering”) marked with 12 dots symbolizing the 12 apostles of Christ. The priest distributes one loaf during communion, and the other qurban will be shared among the congregation after the service as a form of blessing. January 7: Coptic Christmas Day (Egypt) On Christmas Day in Egypt, houses are decorated with trees and lights, families visit for fun and fellowship, and children open their gifts. A proper Christmas feast includes fattah, a traditional Egyptian dish cooked with meat, rice, and crispy bread, all topped with tangy tomato-garlic sauce. (Fattah is also a popular celebration dish on the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.) Dessert is sugar-coated almonds and kahk, a butter biscuit filled with nuts or date paste and dusted with powdered sugar. January 7: Russian Orthodox Christmas Day (Russia) For many who follow the Orthodox religion, fasting for 40 days before Christmas and refraining from meat, dairy, and eggs is a common practice, so many of the traditional Russian dishes make the most of their return to the menu! A luxurious Christmas dinner might include pirozhki (stuffed buns), deviled eggs, kulebyaka (salmon pie), pegach (stuffed bread rolls), pelmeni (meat dumplings), golubtsi (cabbage rolls), blini, and tefteli (meatballs). Desserts are pryaniki (spice cookies), sbiten (a sweet and spicy honey drink), and Kiev cake with layers of cashew or hazelnut meringue and Russian buttercream. Nostrovia! January 22 – Tet (Vietnam) Tet, or Lunar New Year, is the festival of the first morning of the first day. (Usually, Tet occurs on the same day as Chinese New Year.) It’s an occasion for pilgrimages and family reunions, fireworks and lion dances, and huge meals of bahn chung (sticky rice cake stuffed with pork and mung beans), gio cha (sausage), thit kho trung (braised pork with duck eggs for good luck), candied fruit and melon seeds. The altar must be decorated with a five-fruit tray, and the colors of the fruit are important. Popular fruits are orange, banana, pomelo, green apple, papaya, mango, coconut, and dragon fruit.

  • The 5 Best Foods to Eat When You Have a Cold

    Adapted from an article in Better Homes and Gardens by Karla Walsh (February 28, 2023) Keep the tissues handy -- the average American adult deals with two to three colds each year, according to CDC estimates. The best ways to prevent a cold are regular hand washing, limiting exposure to those who are sick, and disinfecting high-touch surfaces regularly. But you can also strengthen your body’s natural defenses by way of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So what should you eat? “There isn't a magic food that will cure a cold. There are certain foods that may help support aspects of the immune system, though, possibly resulting in the body being able to combat infection or inflammation more effectively,” explains Lauren Manaker MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian and owner of Nutrition Now Counseling in Charleston, South Carolina. Manaker and Katherine Brooking, RD, co-founder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health in San Francisco helped determine those cold-combatting vitamins and minerals. Here are the best foods to eat when you have a cold -- each item on the list packs in as many of those immune-supporting qualities as possible per bite. Big Picture: What Kinds of Foods Are Good for a Cold? As a general rule, the best foods to eat when you have a cold are the same as the best foods to eat any time to reduce risk for chronic diseases and to promote a long, healthy life. Well-Rounded Diet "Eating a well-rounded diet—one that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats—can help us keep all of our cells running optimally, including the cells of our immune system,” Brooking says. “To date, we don’t have an abundance of data to state definitively that specific foods will shorten the duration of a cold or help you feel better more quickly. However, there are some studies that support the benefits of certain foods to help with colds.” Fruits and Vegetables Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can also help the growth and maintenance of the microbiome (the diverse array of good bacteria that reside in our digestive tract), which plays a surprisingly large role in our internal immunity. In addition to promoting healthy digestion and regularity, gut health makes up about 70% of our overall immune system, UCLA Health experts confirm. Key Micronutrients Beyond those general food categories, a few key micronutrients have been identified as critical for the growth and function of immune cells: Iron is a component in enzymes that are critical for immune cell function. Sources: Red meat, beans, nuts, oysters, spinach, tofu, and fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamin A helps protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines, and respiratory system healthy and strong. Sources: Sweet potato, spinach, carrots, dairy, cantaloupe, red bell peppers, eggs. Vitamin C stimulates the formation of antibodies as well as the production, function and movement of white blood cells. Sources: Red and green bell peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, broccoli, and tomatoes. Vitamin D helps regulate antimicrobial proteins that can directly kill pathogens. Sources: Sunlight, fatty fish, egg yolks, fortified dairy, and mushrooms grown under UV lights. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant to protect the integrity of cell membranes from damage caused by free radicals. Sources: Seeds, nuts, vegetable oils, peanut butter, spinach, and broccoli. Zinc plays a role in wound healing and supports the immune response. Sources: Oysters, beef, pork, turkey, shrimp, lentils, dairy, seeds, and nuts. Get Specific: The Best Foods to Eat When You Have a Cold The following foods to eat when you have a cold are soothing, comforting, and offer some of those immune-supporting qualities mentioned above. Chicken Soup Eating chicken soup during an illness may sound like an old wives’ tale, Manaker admits, but there is some science that suggests that eating it during illness may offer some healing benefits. Vegetable soups, bean and veggie soups, and other similar nutrient-rich bowls count if chicken isn’t your top choice. Related: Best-Ever French Onion Soup “Healthy soups can possibly help lower inflammation and reduce congestion. Soup is hydrating, nourishing, and for many, holds soothing emotional value that may help us feel better psychologically,” Brooking says. Bonus points if the soup calls for garlic on the ingredient list. “Since garlic may have antimicrobial and antiviral properties, including it in your diet when you are sick may help you feel better,” Manaker says. Tea Like soup, hot tea can help reduce nasal congestion. “Tea also contains polyphenols,” Brooking says. “These natural substances found in plants have a large number of potential health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.” Related: Yazoo Yaupon: Mississippi Grown Tea Is a Healthier Alternative Honey Feel free to add a drizzle of honey to sweeten your tea. According to a meta-analysis of 14 studies, “honey can reduce the frequency and severity of nighttime coughing, in some cases, even better than over-the-counter cough syrups,” Brooking says. Boost the power of that honey by purchasing local from farmers markets or small bee farms around Mississippi (use this handy local honey finder). Not only are you supporting small businesses, but eating local honey may have the added benefit of helping relieve seasonal allergies. Citrus Fruits In addition to being one of the most hydrating foods to promote a healthy skin and body, oranges, grapefruits, pomelos, clementines, and all members of the citrus fruit family earn another accolade from Brooking and Manaker: they’re one of the best foods to eat when you have a cold. Beyond the H2O, citrus fruits deliver vitamin C and other plant compounds that help the immune system function properly, Brooking says. One caveat: grapefruit may interfere with how your body absorbs some medicines used to control hypertension (high blood pressure), so consult your doctor or pharmacist. Related: How to Build a Healthy Smoothie Berries Any fruit or vegetable with a natural blue, purple, black, or red hue likely gets that tint from anthocyanins, one of the plant-based chemicals in the flavonoid family. Brooking says that anthocyanins have strong anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and immune-boosting effects. While they’re in dozens of plant-based foods, berries have more anthocyanins than any other category of foods, the Cleveland Clinic reports. The Bottom Line The best Rx to feel better fast? Rest, time, and a well-balanced menu to support recovery. These nutrient-dense, hydrating, and soothing foods and drinks that deliver a dose of immune system-supporting vitamins and minerals are among the best foods to eat when you have a cold. To promote healing, limit added sugars, foods high in saturated fat, and alcohol. Read the full article here.

  • Hop to Ridgeland for Springtime Fun

    Off the historic Natchez Trace Parkway just north of the capital city, Ridgeland is a vibrant boutique town perfect for a spring getaway. With 17 hotels and over 150 restaurants, there is no shortage of ways for visitors to explore. Premier Shopping Ridgeland’s retail districts offer some of the finest shopping in Mississippi. Boutiques, galleries, and antique stores are located from one end of the city to the other. Stroll the old-world style streets of Renaissance at Colony Park and the new urbanist Township at Colony Park, then explore Jackson Street and the Bill Waller Craft Center gallery. Parks & Trails Ridgeland is Mississippi’s ultimate cycling destination, and it’s not just for the historic Natchez Trace Parkway that runs through the city. Multi-use walking and biking trails, BMX tracks and year-round cycling events attribute to Ridgeland’s status as an ABA Bronze Level “bike-friendly” community. Foodie Flavors With over 150 restaurants, Ridgeland is a food lover’s dream. From southern cooking family-style to fine fusion cuisine, the city is bursting with locally sourced flavors. Try CAET seafood + oysterette by chef Derek Emerson, or one of the eateries that earned Ridgeland the reputation of Steakhouse Capital of Mississippi. Barnett Reservoir Water meets wonderful along the 33,000 acres of the Barnett Reservoir. Featured as a stop on the Mississippi Crappie Trail, “the Rez” provides a haven for boaters, kayakers, anglers, paddle boarders, picnickers, and birdwatchers. Bring your own gear or schedule a rental from Main Harbor Marina or Pearl River Kayaks. Ready to book your trip? Head to!

  • Celebrate Every Day Like It’s Valentine’s Day with Matcha Tiramisu

    This Taste of Magnolia article was first appeared in February/March 2023 issue of EDM. By Divian Conner Holidays have always been important to me. Growing up, my mother would decorate for each and every holiday and it was really a big deal. From the tablescape to the carport, front door and garage, every holiday was amplified with the coordinating decor. It was something I looked forward to – what theme will make its appearance this time? Each February is touted as the month of love. Even though my Christmas tree is still up and lit each night, I look forward to the heart shaped chocolate boxes, conversation hearts and Valentine cards. Valentine’s Day really pulls at the heartstrings and brings with it a sensation of gratitude and the utmost showcasing of love. Chocolate candies, truffles and pink gummies mix with pink and purple confetti and candles. It is a time when I really want to express the love I have for my children, family and friends, so I always try to make something that we have not had before. I want the experience to mimic a trip to a 5-star restaurant but with the close intimacy of being at home. Over the last few years, the importance of holidays has shifted. I still celebrate them with my family and loved ones but we have adopted a “celebrate anytime” approach these days: there’s no reason to wait for them! We want to celebrate our love for one another throughout the year, no matter the day. I often surprise my kids (and friends) with a table complete with Neapolitan ice cream tub and store-bought cake just because. Even though it takes only an idea for me to celebrate a holiday on an unofficial day, there is still something so special about February 14th and what it means. It is a day of love, a day of expression, a day of gratitude and thankfulness to others. It is showing those who mean so much to us that they are special, appreciated, and loved. What better way to celebrate them than with food? When it comes to that beautiful day of connected hearts and cupid arrows, dessert is always the one decadent thing most do not want to miss out on. This year I am opting for Matcha Tiramisu, a recipe discovered while browsing international cafés online. My friends and I are all tea lovers and have a strong appreciation for a good Southern sweet iced tea; my family members are also avid fans of matcha. While I adore a nice creamy traditional tiramisu, my children, sadly do not share that same adoration. Compromise seems to be a great way of showcasing love and this recipe is just that–a showcase of love. When planning your Valentine dinner, why not consider this amazingly good Matcha Tiramisu. Everyone will fall in love. Begin with the Matcha Castella Cake. Ingredients: 2 cups cake or bread flour ¼ cup honey 3 Tablespoons milk 8 eggs 2 cups sugar 2 Tablespoons matcha powder Directions for the cake: Line a 9 x 13” cake pan with parchment paper. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. In small pan, melt the honey with the milk–do not boil. Mix well. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and add in the milk and honey mixture. Add to the flour, stirring gently until it makes a thick batter. Mix in the matcha and then pour into cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees until top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Once cake has cooled, cut into a square, and then cut the square into two equal layers. Meanwhile, make the mascarpone filling. 8 ounces of mascarpone cheese 8 ounces whipped topping/cream 2-3 Tablespoons sugar Mix all ingredients until smooth. Add more sugar for desired sweetness but keep in mind, honey drizzle will add to the sweetness. For the matcha honey 1 teaspoon matcha powder 8 Tablespoons honey Mix well until blended Assemble the tiramisu: Using about half the filling, fill cake with the mascarpone mixture. Place the second layer on top and use the remaining filling to “frost” the cake. Cut into 9 pieces, each 3” x 3” and sift matcha powder over each cake slice. Top with seasonal fruit (I used Shine Muscat grapes and pink-a-boo pink strawberries) and matcha honey.

  • What's Happening March 2023

    by Paige White Bless This Food Catering Moving to Madison Bless This Food Catering announced that they are relocating their Flora store to Madison, and now will be in the strip on Highway 51 that includes El Ranchito and Hokkaido. Bless This Food is known for their homemade breads, catering services, and premade dishes that are perfect for holiday gatherings and large groups. They hope to open the new location early this year. Bless This Food also has a storefront in Pearl in the Park Place Shopping Center on Highway 80 East. Fresh Valley Juice & Salad Bar Opens in Silo Square After much preparation and excitement, Fresh Valley Juice & Salad Bar is the newest business to join the fun at the new Silo Square in Southaven. Fresh Valley offers juices, smoothies, wraps, paninis salads, toasts, and other fresh, healthy options. For hours of operation and more information, visit their Facebook page. Sipp & Savor Set for April 1 The third annual Sipp & Savor fundraiser is set for April 1st at The MAX in Downtown Meridian. Sipp & Savor was created in 2019 to serve as the major annual fundraiser for The MAX, as well as an event dedicated to celebrating the South’s culinary history. This year’s headliner is Chef Jimmy Kennedy and will include more than 40 other chefs to sample from. The event will also feature master brewers and craft distillers, as well as live music. For tickets and more information, visit Beans & Bananas Opens in Jackson Located at the Belhaven Town Center, next to Fertile Ground Beer Co., Beans & Bananas opened at the beginning of the year. The concept is an intentionally curated, sustainable grocery market, home goods, and counter service shop. Beans & Bananas offers Montessori-style toys, eco-conscious gifts, specialty produce, meat, dairy, and shelf products, as well as a sandwich counter. For hours and more information, visit or

  • Decadent Chocolate Martini

    The perfect Valentine’s cocktail – the Chocolate Martini – is a martini in name only but so delicious, we’ll allow it. This recipe, courtesy of, is a decadent concoction that easily can double as dessert and nightcap all-in-one. Once shunned for its sweetness, many top-notch bars now offer their own renditions of it (and its cousin, the Espresso Martini). The key is using the highest-quality ingredients possible, such as Giffard creme de cacao, Godiva chocolate liqueur, and Cathead vodka. Godiva recently announced that it will be closing all of its brick and mortar shops in the USA and Canada, but the premium chocolates will still be available at third party retailers like Barnes & Noble, Target, and Walmart, and on Ingredients for one martini: Cocoa powder, to rim glass 1 oz. chocolate liqueur (such as Godiva), plus more for rimming glass 1 oz. crème de cacao (such as Giffard) 1 oz. vodka (such as Cathead) 1/2 oz. half-and-half Ripe strawberries for garnish Add a small amount of chocolate liqueur into a small, rimmed plate. Add a small amount of cocoa powder to another plate. Dip the rim of an inverted cocktail glass into the liqueur, then into the cocoa powder. Swirl to create rim; set aside. Add the chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao, vodka and half-and-half into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into the prepared glass. For garnish, create a strawberry heart by cutting a ripe berry in half lengthwise and using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to make the perfect shape. Make a small slice in the pointed end and slip over the edge of the glass, or thread several hearts on a cocktail stick. Other options: After rimming the glass with cocoa, swirl a line of dark chocolate syrup around the inside of the glass. Top with a sprinkle of dark chocolate shavings before adding the strawberry heart.

  • Chef Erika Lipe of SoLa: Good food, good vibes, good for you

    This article was featured in the February/March 2023 issue of EDM By Kathy K. Martin Photography Credits: The Valley Imagery & Productions (Chef Erika photos) and Chi Kalu (food photos) Chef Erika Lipe of SoLa in Oxford elevates food to multiple levels to satisfy diners seeking a world of flavors and fusion. She does it all with her signature fresh, healthy, and fun philosophy. “My cooking philosophy aligns directly with my personal philosophy,” she explains, “which is respect your elders and play the hits.” A cook-from-scratch family Born and raised in Batesville, Lipe learned to cook among a family of cook-from-scratch cooks and restaurant lovers. Her travels around the world further developed her style of cooking. “Much like Picasso’s abstract style came after he had really mastered realism, you need a proper understanding of the basics to be able to riff on it elegantly,” she says. Lipe believes that healthy food has been misrepresented over the years. While growing up in the 90s, she recalls the fad of so called healthy “lite” and fat-free processed foods that turned out to be some of the unhealthiest options. “Restaurants like SoLa cook from scratch and use whole foods – that’s good for you,” she explains. While the calorie count may be higher in some foods, she says that cooking with the best olive oil and providing gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan dishes upon request provides the balance that people need. “Vegan cooking has been something I’ve enjoyed all of my professional life,” she says. Lipe considers it a fun and rewarding challenge and appreciates it when diners with dietary restrictions call ahead first so she can plan and prepare a special meal for them. While growing up in Batesville, her grandparents operated a grocery store, and catered events, farmed the land, cured meats, and entertained frequently at their home. And they did all of this on almost a daily basis, Lipe says. Her parents were also food enthusiasts, and she remembers as a child taking in the atmosphere of many dinner parties and interesting restaurants. Lipe recalls dining at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Dallas with her family when she was about five years old. “The waitress took me back to the kitchen to warm up while my parents enjoyed their meal,” she says. The whole experience was exciting as she took in the sights of all the leather booths and stainless steel among the hustle of the steakhouse. Beginnings at Java Jive Her first industry job came in high school at her mother’s café, Java Jive. “The gathering place in our home was always the kitchen and now we had this extra kitchen on the downtown square,” she says of how her job just became second nature as she treated customers just like guests in their home. Ironically, the café’s location later became Capers, the first full-service restaurant where she served as chef. After a stint in New Orleans, she moved to Oxford in 2007, where she worked in kitchens around the town square until she met the Valentine family in 2014. She partnered with them to open The Wine Bar. That restaurant struggled with an identity for some years, she says, until they rebranded it into SoLa. “We feature a small, but finely curated, rotating menu and still keep ties to the specials that our Wine Bar clientele had grown to know and love.” For instance, guests still enjoy Spaghetti Night and Ramen Night. Lipe jokes that she fondly refers to the restaurant as the house that spaghetti built. That dish, which features her grandmother’s sauce recipe, remains the most popular dish. An international fusion With the motto of “Twisted Cuisine, Lifted Spirits,” SoLa also features many international fusion dishes such as a ducky dumpling and Wagyu Beef Carpaccio appetizers and spiced salmon and Veal Piccata entrees. Sunday brunch features dishes such as chicken and waffles, smoked salmon toast, and fried green tomato tacos. Along with her spaghetti, which respects her grandma’s recipe, these dishes are Lipe’s way of “playing the hits” that keep guests coming back. We hope your enjoy these recipes courtesy of chef Erika Lipe: Silky Tomato Bisque Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted Two (2) 28 oz. cans of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, such as Cento, blended extra smooth 2 cups heavy cream 1/2 cup dry white wine 1 Tablespoon garlic powder 1/2 stick butter 1 small diced white onion Salt and white pepper Directions: Melt butter, sauté onions and shallots. Add tomato purée, wine, dry seasonings, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cream and simmer 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with grated Parmesan and olive oil or serve with a really buttery grilled cheese. Vegan Tuna Salad This recipe is for a delicious chickpea salad that you can eat any way you like. Mine isn’t actually vegan, because I use Duke’s Mayo, but you could easily substitute vegan mayo. Ingredients: 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and partially smashed with a fork (I like to leave a few whole ones, but just kind of bust them up so they absorb the juices) Juice of 1/2 lemon 1/4 – 1/3 cup of mayonnaise (I use Duke’s) 1/4 cup celery (about 2 small stalks, leaves ok too), chopped 1/4 cup red onion (about 1/2 small), chopped 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder Salt & pepper, to taste (I like lemon pepper or curry powder or a Mexican multipurpose seasoning like adobo) Chopped pickle or a Tablespoon pickle relish (optional) Fresh jalapeño, chopped (optional) Mix everything together and let chill for a few hours. Keeps for a week.

  • Decadent Valentine's Day Dinner at Home

    This article first appeared in the February/March 2023 issue of EDM By Lisa Lafontaine Bynum This year, impress your special someone with a decadent and romantic dinner in! Pull out the white linen tablecloth and the fancy napkins. Use the Sunday china, the expensive wine glasses from the hutch in the dining room, and Grandma’s antique candlesticks. A centerpiece of fragrant red roses and greenery in a low bowl will allow you to see your partner across the table. Start by toasting the occasion with a sparkling sunset-hued Strawberry Champagne Cocktail. Then, knock their socks off with an elegant surf and turf entrée of Steak Oscar. Finally, show them just how sweet you think they really are with a slice of Red Velvet Cake topped with cream cheese icing. It’s sure to be a romantic (and delicious) night you’ll never forget! Strawberry Champagne Cocktail 1 pound fresh or thawed frozen strawberries, roughly chopped 1 cup granulated sugar 1, 2" piece of peeled, fresh ginger 1 cup water 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1 bottle (750ml) semi-dry champagne, sparkling wine, or 24 fluid ounces of ginger ale Directions: In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, ginger and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries are broken down and softened, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and discard the ginger. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as you can. Add the lemon juice and allow the mixture to come to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to chill. Just before serving, add about 1 ounce each of the strawberry syrup to a champagne flute. Slowly fill each glass partially with the champagne. Once the champagne has stopped fizzing, continue to fill each glass to the top. Steak Oscar For the steaks: 1 Tablespoon cooking oil 2 (4 oz. each) beef tenderloin filets or cut of your choice Kosher salt and ground pepper Directions: Preheat broiler. Position an oven rack about six inches from the element. Heat oil in a large, oven safe skillet over medium high heat. Season both sides of the filets with salt and pepper. Once oil is hot, carefully add the filets. Cook 2-3 minutes per side until seared. Place the skillet under the broiler and finish in the oven until the meat reaches your desired internal temperature – 120 to 125 degrees F for rare, 130 to 135 degrees F for medium rare, 140 to 145 degrees F for medium, 150 to 155 degrees F for medium well, and 160 degrees F for well done. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the filets to plate. Allow the meat to rest for 15 minutes. For the crabmeat topping: 1 Tablespoon butter 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper 1 clove garlic, minced 2 Tablespoons sliced green onions 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour 3 Tablespoons heavy cream 4 oz. lump crab meat picked clean of shells and cartilage 1/8 teaspoon paprika 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper Salt to taste Chopped fresh parsley, optional Directions: Using the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and cook for 2-4 minutes until slightly tender. Add the garlic and green onions and sauté for one minute. Add the flour, stirring to combine. Sauté for 1-2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Pour in the heavy cream, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until the cream has reduced and thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Add the crabmeat, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Stir gently to avoid breaking up the crab; cook until heated through. Season with salt. Top each steak with a heaping tablespoon of the crabmeat topping. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired. Red Velvet Cake Ingredients for the cake: 1 cup shortening, softened 1-1/4 cups of white granulated sugar 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 1/2 cups cake flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder 1 cup buttermilk 2 ounces red food coloring 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar 4 cups cream cheese icing (recipe below) Directions for the cake: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Cream the shortening and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla. Stir to combine. Sift the cake flour, salt and cocoa powder together in a separate mixing bowl. With the mixer running on low, add one third of the dry ingredients. Mix to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the buttermilk and continue to mix. Continue to alternate with 1/3 of the dry ingredients and the remainder of the buttermilk, ending with the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Add the red food coloring and beat on medium until the food coloring is thoroughly mixed. Turn the mixer off. In a large nonreactive dish or measuring cup, dissolve the baking soda with the vinegar. This will fizz for a moment. Once the fizzing stops, gently fold the soda and vinegar mixture into the cake batter. Pour the batter into two greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake layers to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. Allow the layers to cool completely before frosting. Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing: 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 2 cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Directions for the frosting: In a large mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese and butter until smooth using an electric mixer at medium speed. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add one cup of sifted powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture. Once the powdered sugar is combined, add another cup of sifted powdered sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the powdered sugar is mixed in. Add the vanilla extract. Continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Spread or pipe the cream cheese frosting over the cooled cake.

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