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  • The Wine Guys: Old Wine Brand Survives Challenges of Time

    In a world of ever-changing ownerships, there is comfort in seeing an old brand that has survived the challenges of time. Heitz Cellar brings us such comfort. Joe Heitz founded Heitz Cellar in 1961 when there were only a couple dozen of post-war farmers making wine in Napa Valley. He stood alongside such iconic pioneers as Andre Tchelistcheff, Robert Mondavi, Warren Winiarski, Lee Stewart, Louis Martini and Charles Krug who brought old-world winemaking to the valley. Most of these people have since passed but their legacy lives on in new generations. Heitz left his mark on California winemaking by being the first to make a single-vineyard cabernet sauvignon. While others were blending the grapes from several vineyards, Heitz landed on a particular vineyard that produced a unique flavor profile. In 1965, he struck up a handshake deal -- still in existence -- with Tom and Martha May to use grapes exclusively from their 14-acre vineyard. It was Heitz's idea to put their name on the label and thus was born the first single-vineyard cabernet: Heitz Cellar Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine that sold for less than $10 then sells for $225 today. It has more awards than almost any other Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon. It's 1970 Martha's Vineyard cabernet placed ninth in the 1978 Judgment of Paris tasting and scored well in similar tastings afterward. It set a benchmark 46 years ago that is used today. Heitz saw in the terroir a special flavor that makes this wine so great. In fact, the clone's identity remains a family secret. We recently tasted the winery's regular Napa Valley chardonnay ($27) and cabernet sauvignon ($52). They are great wines. The 2015 chardonnay has generous aromas of peach and lemon and tropical fruit flavors with a lush mouthfeel and a dash of sweet vanillin oak. The 2012 Heitz Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has fresh, dark berry fruit, great depth and complexity. CHRONIC CELLARS Josh and Jake Beckett were kicking back in the middle of the 2014 harvest in Paso Robles when the conversation turned to making wines that were "chronic," oddly a word they chose to describe something good. They decided the country needed more casual wines, so they embarked on a winemaking adventure and new label, "Chronic Cellars." We've tasted several vintages of these crazy wines and decided that the brothers have found a niche. First, you have to get past the label, which targets the adverturesome spirit of millennials. Adorned with a skull and crossbones, each blend identifies a lifestyle: Purple Paradise, Sofa King, Dead Nuts, Suite Petite. The blends are anything but conventional: tannat is thrown in with Rhone varieties syrah and grenache (Sofa King), zinfandel joins tempranillo (Dead Nuts), zinfandel complements syrah (Purple Paradise). You can drink these wines with casual dinners, like pizza, hamburgers, pasta, on a Friday night and feel good -- chronically good. And they're delicious and cheap -- $15 apiece. If the label doesn't start a conversation, the wine will. CLOS PEGASE We remember when Clos Pegase opened in the mid 1980s. Who could forget? It was the most lavish wine facility in Napa Valley and soon became the scorn of traditionalists who saw nothing but oneupmanship over other lavish tasting facilities. Least impressed were its neighbors, Sterling Vineyards, whose visitors looked down on Clos Pegase when they boarded Sterling's gondola. The source of contempt -- which became an unsuccessful lawsuit -- was owner Jan Shrem's excessive use of precious water for waterfalls and other water features. But underneath this complaint was Shrem's post-modern architectural tastes. Sculptures, like that of a thumb, were displayed all around the Calistoga estate. Shrem sold the property in 2013 to Leslie Rudd, owner of Dean & DeLuca, and his partners at Vintage Wine Estates. Most of the sculptures -- including works by Henry Moore, Jean Dubuffet and Francis Bacon -- were donated to the University of California at Davis. Gone is most of the sculptures and thus most of the long-forgotten controversy. We had a moment to recall this history while enjoying the 2014 Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Chardonnay ($30). The quality of the wine far exceeds its price. It has exotic mango and papaya notes with a hint of lemon and butterscotch. Very lush in style and appealing to those who like a little oak with their wine. At least the wine lived on. WINE PICKS Sparkman Wilderness Red Wine 2013 ($25). A big blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, syrah, petite sirah and petite verdot, this Columbia Valley blend is getting a lot of good ink. Soft in texture, broad in profile, it has ripe dark fruit notes. Renwood Special Reserve Grandpere Zinfandel Amador County 2104 ($50). A very elegant style of zinfandel from this producer known more for big powerful wines. Very balanced with a black raspberry and blackberry nose and flavors, a hint of oak and a creamy mocha finish. Very easy and pleasing to drink. Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay Alexander Valley Sonoma County 2014 ($40). This delightful chardonnay offers a ripe toasty tropical fruit nose. In the mouth citrus and toasty pineapple notes dominate in a pleasant mouth filling mélange. 100 percent barrel fermented. Snoqualmie Gewurztraminer Columbia Valley 2014 ($12). Made from 100 percent organic grapes, this well made gewürztraminer is a bit off dry with a spicy sweet peach and pear nose and flavors. Pair this wine with spicy Asian and Indian foods for a great gustatory experience.

  • McCormick & Company to Open Distribution Center in Marshall County

    JACKSON, Miss. - McCormick & Company is locating warehousing and distribution operations in Marshall County, Mississippi, investing $6 million and creating 48 jobs. “I am pleased to welcome McCormick as the newest member of the state’s thriving warehousing and distribution industry. The 48 jobs being created by the company will positively benefit the local community and economy for years to come,” Governor Phil Bryant said. McCormick, manufacturer of spices, herbs and flavorings, is locating in a 615,000-square-foot spec building in the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park. “Our new distribution center in Mississippi will create space for growth and allow us to optimize our distribution network in the U.S.” said Vice President Americas Supply Chain for McCormick Scott Simmons. “With this new location, we expect to improve service delivery to our customer base and build additional capabilities to meet the future needs of our business.” The Mississippi Development Authority and Marshall County are providing assistance for sewer improvements. “In Marshall County, Mississippi, McCormick found the workforce, positive business climate and spec building location proved to be advantageous for their new operations,” said MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr. “We salute the teamwork of the Marshall County Board of Supervisors and the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority for working effectively together to bring exciting new career opportunities to the people of North Mississippi.” Mississippi competed with one other state for the project. McCormick expects to begin operations in Marshall County in mid-2017. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • The Food Factor: Olive Oil Pairings

    The Food Factor presents the best, research-based information related to food, nutrition, diet, and healthy lifestyles. Our host, Natasha Haynes, is an experienced educator with the Mississippi State University Extension Service who has spent over 15 years sharing tips for healthy living with Mississippians of all ages. She brings food science down to earth and makes it useful for today’s families. Click here to view previously aired shows and be sure to follow The Food Factor on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Chicken Salad Chick Opens First Mississippi Location in Oxford

    AUBURN, Ala. /PRNewswire/ - Chicken Salad Chick, the nation's only southern inspired, fast casual chicken salad restaurant concept, opened its first Mississippi restaurant in Oxford. The new restaurant opened on Tuesday, March 28 and is located at 1305 Merchants Drive in the Galleria II Shopping Center near Marshalls and Ulta. This location is owned and operated by husband-and-wife franchisee team Robin and Will Clayton. During grand opening week, guests will enjoy Southern hospitality through giveaways and specials at the new Chicken Salad Chick restaurant: Tuesday, March 28 – Free Chicken Salad for a Year – The first guest will win one large Quick Chick of chicken salad per week for an entire year; the next 99 guests receive a large Quick Chick of chicken salad per month for a year.* Wednesday, March 29 – The first 100 guests to purchase The Chick will receive a limited edition Chicken Salad Chick RTIC Tumbler. Thursday, March 30 – Thirsty Thursday – The first 100 guests to purchase The Chick will receive a free large drink and a Chick Coozie. Friday, March 31 – Free Scoop Friday – The first 100 guests will receive a free scoop of Classic Carol chicken salad.** Saturday, April 1 – Kids Eat Free All Day – Kids will receive one free kids meal with the purchase of The Chick.*** "As a long-time fan and frequent customer of Chicken Salad Chick, it has always been a dream of mine to own a location. After visiting friends and family in Oxford, we knew it was the perfect market for Chicken Salad Chick with its Southern small-town charm and pleasant atmosphere," said Robin Clayton, Oxford Chicken Salad Chick franchisee. "Our family is eager to get started spreading the 'chick' love with the Ole Miss community." Robin and Will are no strangers to the Chicken Salad Chick concept. The husband-and-wife franchisee team, who now reside in Oxford, discovered the brand seven years ago, because Robin's sister started working at the Chicken Salad Chick corporate office. After becoming familiar with the brand's franchising opportunities, Robin and Will decided to partner with their families to form YESSAM, LLC and bring the first restaurant into the state of Mississippi. The Chicken Salad Chick concept, born in Auburn, Ala., was established in 2008 in the kitchen of founder, Stacy Brown. When Stacy discovered that the local county health department would not allow her to continue making and selling her delicious recipes out of her home kitchen, she overcame that obstacle by launching her first restaurant with the business expertise of her future husband and fellow founder, Kevin Brown. Together, they opened a small takeout restaurant, which quickly grew; the company now has more than 65 restaurants across the Southeast. Chicken Salad Chick in Oxford will be open Monday – Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. For more information, visit, or call 662-380-5582. Follow Chicken Salad Chick on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and trends. *Eligible winners must be over 16 years of age and are required to download the CravingCredits app. **No purchase necessary. ***Must be 12 years of age or under. One kids meal per adult. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • Kara Kimbrough: Grandmother-Approved Chicken and Dumplings

    Some people obsess over sports or hunting; I shop. Food shopping meets all my favorite sport’s requirements: store availability, product variety, and price variability. Supermarkets, one of my favorite shopping destinations, excel in all three key criteria. And, nowadays, food shopping can be done in discount chains, drugstores, and dollar stores. These shopping venues sell food items that easily transition into homemade appetizers, snacks, entrees, and desserts. Following up on last week’s list of my favorite supermarket items, here are more go-to items that I pick up almost anytime I engage in my favorite sport. 1. Borrowing a line from childhood song, “Farmer in the Dell,” the cheese, or in this case, the “cream cheese stands alone.” It’s hard to surpass the rich, creamy taste of cream cheese, served alone or adorned with or mixed with almost anything. Cream cheese serves as the base of hundreds, possibly thousands, of cold and hot dips, cheese balls, cracker toppings, and sandwich spreads. Favorite cream cheese-centric appetizers are baked spinach and artichoke dip with crostini; smoked salmon spread liberally slathered on toasted bagel slices; loaded baked potato dip and kettle chips; caramel apple dip with Fuji apple slices; deviled ham on Pepperidge Farm Thin Bread rounds; and sliced fruit with strawberry dessert dip. Dessert wouldn’t be the same without cream cheese’s significant contributions to thick and decadent cheesecake; world’s best cream cheese icing; strawberry and cream cheese coffee cake and turnovers; fruit pizza; and one of my top 10 favorite cakes, cream cheese pound cake. As dependent as we are on cream cheese to begin and end meals, you’re missing out if you don’t pick up a bar to enhance the main course. Some of my favorite cream cheese-infused meals are grilled steaks or chicken breasts stuffed with spinach, tomato pesto and cream cheese; red, white and green lasagna; tomato and cream cheese ravioli bake; creamy pasta primavera with shrimp; and Mediterranean pizza. 2. Before you turn up your nose, take it from me: your reputation as a from-scratch cook won't suffer if you're spotted with a box of Bisquick in your shopping cart. In today’s frenzied world, there’s no shame in the quick baking game. Created in the 1930s to help busy farm wives whip up several pans a day of homemade biscuits and cornbread to feed hungry field hands, Bisquick is a baking mix of flour, shortening, salt, baking powder, and a few other ingredients. Bisquick can be a lifesaver. Most importantly, if you’re hungry for a biscuit, all you have to do is add two-thirds cup of milk to 2-1/4 cups of Bisquick mix, knead the mixture on a floured board, roll out and cut into rounds, and bake on a baking sheet in a 450-degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Just like that, your biscuit craving is adequately met. The same goes for cornbread, Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits, and the item without which no decent Christmas party would be complete, sausage balls. Other Bisquick creations include pancakes, strawberry shortcake, sausage breakfast bake, leftover chili skillet pie, enchilada casserole, and easy fruit cobblers. You name it, almost every dish requiring flour and other ingredients can be simplified with a cup or two of Bisquick. Lastly, I know there are some classic dishes that should be left alone. Chicken and dumplings is in this category. As a rule, I don’t fool around with shortcut versions made with canned biscuits or strips of tortillas. However, a friend insisted that it was not only acceptable to make Bisquick dumplings, she suggested I might never go back to my grandmother’s version of mixing, rolling, and cutting homemade dumplings. I won’t claim this recipe meets the high taste standards of the old-fashioned version. But, after making it, it’s one I can safely recommend when a craving for the ultimate comfort food must be met. I even think my grandmother would ask for a second helping. Quick Chicken and Dumplings, Circa 2017 Dumplings: 1 cup Bisquick 1 egg 1 tablespoon milk Mix three ingredients thoroughly. Turn dough onto well-floured board. Knead 2 to 3 minutes until smooth and elastic. Roll into large rectangle, cut into 12 strips (1 x 6 inch each). Set aside in a cool place or place in refrigerator. Make sure board is floured so dough won't stick. Broth: 3-4 boneless chicken breasts; boiled until done, then cut into bite-sized pieces – reserve broth (tip: boil the chicken the night before and refrigerate; the following day/night, the remaining steps take less than 30 minutes) 1-1/2 cups milk 4 cups chicken broth reserved from boiling chicken Small bag frozen green peas and carrots, defrosted 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup Heat the milk, chicken broth, the peas and carrots, chicken and soup to boiling in 3-quart saucepan, stirring frequently as mixture boils. Drop dumpling strips onto boiling stew; with fork push strips gently into broth to coat both sides. Cook over low heat 10 minutes uncovered and then cover for last 10 minutes. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • Coast Seafood and Brew Opens at Beau Rivage

    Photos by Julian Brunt BILOXI, Miss. - Coast Seafood & Brew, featuring fresh local seafood and more than 40 regional craft beer and spirits, is now open at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. In a coastal town regarded for its seafood heritage, deep-sea fishing charters, and white sand beaches, MGM Resorts International’s new Biloxi restaurant brings to life the term “dock to table.” Beau Rivage Executive Chef Kristian Wade, an International School of Culinary Arts graduate who grew up on the banks of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Pascagoula River, developed a menu that spotlights fresh local offerings from one of the most dynamic seafood locales of the world. “Coast Seafood & Brew presents seafood straight from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico,” said Wade. “We have talented chefs who understand and specialize in seafood, and using ingredients sourced from local vendors, we’re able to showcase this area’s superb coastal cuisine to our visitors.” Daily caught fish, crab and shrimp dishes fill an extensive menu that features Gulf Coast-style dishes such as Boudin Stuffed Shrimp, Crabmeat Au Gratin, Seafood Explosion, Triggerfish, Red Snapper (pictured at left), Black Grouper, and Shrimp Corn Dogs (pictured above). Popular local staples come to life in the overflowing fried seafood platter, Biloxi pressed po-boys, gumbo, and much more. Guests will also find an expansive selection of oysters on the menu. Traditional oyster favorites - Charbroiled, Bienville and Rockefeller - are complemented by Coast Seafood & Brew’s exclusive Oysters Beauvoir and the juicy Mother Shucker (pictured at right), Beau Rivage’s fried favorite that pays homage to the region’s minor league baseball team, the Biloxi Shuckers. Diners are encouraged to step up to the raw bar for a sampling of oysters-on-the-half-shell from around the globe. Learn and literally taste the difference between the flavorful handcrafted Murder Point oysters from Bayou La Batre, Ala., and rich, creamy oysters of the Gulf of Mexico, to the plump, full-flavored varieties coming from as far away as Washington state and British Columbia. Each meal starts with complimentary fresh bread served with small bowls of whipped honey butter and a southern kitchen favorite - pot liquor juice - the delectable liquid found at the bottom of a pot of braised greens. Sweet lovers can complete their meal with decadent selections off the artfully-presented dessert flight. Guests can choose one or more of the mini-mason jars filled with Poppin’ Cherry Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream, Shortbread Cookie Cheesecake with Citrus Marinated Berries, Black Bottom Butterscotch Pudding with Shaved Chocolate, Southern Banana Pudding with Nilla Wafers, or Salted Caramel Mississippi Mud Pie with Toasted Marshmallow. An incredible selection of regional craft beers and hand-crafted cocktails can be found on the three-page drink menu. A variety of ambers, ales, lagers, ciders, and crafts brewed exclusively for Beau Rivage by local breweries are available. Featured spirits include the Texas Mule, Oyster Shooter, Jalapeno Margarita, Back Bay Mojito, Lost on the Beach, and the Southern Cucumber. The restaurant’s décor is open and casual with a nod to Biloxi’s seafood past. The spacious room resembles a classic fish house with open-beam ceilings, polished bronze accents, and white-washed tables on stained concrete floors. Big chalkboards hang on the light brick walls and highlight featured libations and the fresh bounty of the day. Geometric-patterned cushions resembling shimmering fish scales encase large circular booths, while wood-paneled wall furnishings and distressed steel light fixtures hang overhead. Tall aqua green and sand colored banquettes, representing the sand and sea, separate the dining area from the two large copper bars that flank the restaurant and underscore Coast Seafood & Brew’s focus on craft beer and spirits. Sixteen high definition TVs and the largest TV screen in Beau Rivage make Coast Seafood & Brew the perfect place to watch sports. “Guests coming to the Mississippi Gulf Coast are looking for an authentic seafood dining experience,” said Beau Rivage President and COO Marcus Glover. “Coast Seafood & Brew pays homage to the region’s prominent seafood heritage with an incredibly-talented culinary team eager to serve up the freshest seafood and locally-sourced ingredients available in the region.” The restaurant is open Mon, Thurs and Fri, 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. and Fri & Sat 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Closed Tues and Wed. Casual attire. No reservations. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • The Wine Guys: Give Merlot Another Chance

    Merlot has been so unfairly maligned over the years. Sure, it once was vegetal and overly ripe, but much of today's merlot is equal in quality to any other red grape variety. While some people hold on to outdated assessments for one of Bordeaux's noble grape varieties, others are willing to give merlot another chance. And you should, too. You can look to Petrus -- the Bordeaux wine that is a model for merlot producers -- to see what can be accomplished without the help of cabernet sauvignon. Merlot can be complex, long living and full of rich, layered fruit. It is even more versatile than many heady cabernets -- a match to wild game and lamb but pasta and hamburgers too. The relatively recent path to redemption has been led by several California producers, including Pride, Duckhorn, Shafer and others. Unfortunately, if you want quality merlot, you have to open the wallet wider. Good merlot starts in the vineyard where yields are reasonably low and the canopy is well managed. Bad sourcing and poor vineyard management can lead to vegetal and unbalanced merlots. Unlike cabernet sauvignon, merlot is more sensitive to uneven ripening and mildew, so location and climate are critical. Some of the best merlots are coming from vineyard with high elevations and cooling fogs. Here are a few top-drawer merlots we recently enjoyed: Ehlers Estate Merlot 2013 ($55). Winemaker Kevin Morrisey learned his skill in Pomerol, so he knows a thing or two about the grape. This wine from Napa Valley, blended with a small amount of cabernet franc, brings out the lusciousness one expects from merlot. Raspberry and currant flavors with hints of licorice and chocolate. Chewy tannins demand a hearty meal, like stew or game. Swanson Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2013 ($32). We recently reunited with this classic merlot after a long, unintended hiatus. We’re glad we did. It’s a voluptuous, concentrated wine that exceeds its price in quality. Blended with some cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot, this full-bodied wine has oodles of plum aromas and plum, blackberry flavors with a dash of cedar and herbs. When a producer makes merlot its centerpiece, this is the quality you get. Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Merlot 2013 ($75). Napa Valley is a top source for quality merlot grapes and it doesn't get any better than Mt. Veeder. At these high elevations, the vines struggle to produce fruit, but what they produce is intense and concentrated. The Mt. Brave, blended with a dash of malbec, is complex with plum and black berry flavors and a bit of mineral. La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2013 ($85). This wine and the previous Mt. Brave are hand-crafted by Chris Carpenter. This one from Howell Mountain has a distinct cocoa powder that we just loved. Bright cherry and plum fruit character make it ridiculously delicious. Matanzas Creek Winery Merlot Sonoma County 2013 ($28). This is a very well put together merlot with an intense ripe cherry and plum nose. In the mouth very soft tannins and mouth filling plum, cherry and spicy cinnamon flavors dominate. Delicious by itself or with red meat dishes. ​ Miner Stagecoach Merlot 2013 ($40). With 11 percent cabernet franc in the blend, this Napa Valley merlot has good grip and ripe, rich black fruit with noticeable spice and oak. Markham Vineyards Merlot 2014 ($26). Markham is celebrating its 35th vintage of this wine. We liked the texture and complex cherry, chocolate flavors. Known for its merlot, Markham is in full-stride with this anniversary edition. WINE PICKS Viansa Sonoma Heritage Red Blend 2013 ($40). From Sonoma County, this blend uses sangiovese as the foundation and adds cabernet sauvignon (30 percent), malbec, petit verdot and merlot for breadth. Generous aromas of plums and herbs with blackberry and ripe plum flavors. SAVED Red Blend 2013 ($25). Perhaps the best yet made by this producer, this is a delicious and more complex blend of merlot, zinfandel, syrah, petit verdot, Malbec and souzao. Black cherry flavors with a good dose of cola and licorice. Hess Collection Lion Tamer Red Blend 2014 ($40). If you don’t like your malbec unblended, this combination may be the compromise you are looking for. We often find malbecone-dimensional, so this is a refreshing approach. Blended with zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah and merlot, the Lion Tamer malbec takes on breadth and depth. Very velvety in texture yet powerful, it has a perfumy nose with layered plum and blackberry fruit with a dash of chocolate. Peachy Canyon Petite Sirah 2014 ($32). This Paso Robles producer is well known for its reasonably priced zinfandels, but we thoroughly enjoyed this delicious petite sirah. Classic deep red color, juicy blackberry and plum flavors with a hint of chocolate and fine, youthful tannins. Don Miguel Gascon Reserva Malbec 2014 ($25). Ripe plum flavors with a bit of chocolate and spice. Frank Family Napa Valley Petite Sirah 2013 ($35). Rich, complex and classically dark. No need to blend this gem with any other grape varieties as its profile is aromatic, rich in sweet blueberries and coated in chocolate. The Hess Collection Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($65). Using grapes from high elevation, the vines struggle to produce a scant but concentrated juice for this complex and layered cabernet. Rich blackberry and herbal notes with a dash of black pepper and fine tannins. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • Donors Underwrite Southern Foodways Alliance's 'Gravy'

    LEFT - Brook and Pam Smith OXFORD, Miss. - Knowing the unifying qualities of food, Brook and Pam Smith of Louisville, Kentucky, have pledged $1 million to support "Gravy," a podcast produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi. "Folks in different places appreciate when someone from one cultural segment takes the time to dine with others from a different cultural segment," Brook Smith said. "It's a show of respect and appreciation for a culture that may be different from their own, and that's what we seem to be missing in our country today." Whenever the Smiths travel, they try to meet members of the Southern Foodways Alliance along the way. A member-supported nonprofit institute of the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the SFA sponsors scholarships, mentors students, stages symposia, collects and shares oral histories, and produces and publishes books, podcasts and films. On a recent trip to visit Pam's family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the Smiths detoured to Hemingway, South Carolina, where Scott's Bar-B-Q, praised by The New York Times, attracts customers from hundreds of miles away. "My whole life has been barbecue," said pitmaster Rodney Scott, who just opened his own barbecue restaurant in nearby Charleston. "I grew up doing it, hanging around it and hanging around other people that do it. And there's just no other way to bring people in quicker. It's like a beacon sign; it just draws them right in there." That spirit drew in the Smiths. So did the storytelling work of the SFA. "'Gravy,' which was awarded publication of the year in 2015 by the prestigious James Beard Foundation, shares stories of the changing American South through the foods we eat," said John T. Edge, SFA director. "'Gravy' showcases a South that is constantly evolving. "We use food as a means to complicate stereotypes, document new dynamics and give voice to the often unsung folk who grow, cook and serve our daily meals." Edge is grateful for the Smiths' generous gift. "This sort of long-term commitment offers funding stability so that the SFA can take risks to tell stories in new and bold ways," Edge said. "At a moment when 'Gravy' recently delivered its 1 millionth download, Brook and Pam have invested deeply in our most scalable and sharable effort.” "They are long-time members of the organization who know and respect the role that food plays in the cultural life of our nation." Smith found success in the surety bonding business. He's also a wine and distillery owner as well as a philanthropist with an interest in organizations that focus on improving life for young people and those like the SFA, which inspires communities to invest in their culinary customs and, in so doing, establishes lasting, cross-cultural relationships. Smith also has an ongoing commitment to Appalachian Kentucky and recently established a private philanthropic fund focused on economic development in the region that includes an interest in development driven by local mountain food traditions and small-scale farming. He and Pam have three sons: Reed, 21; Mac, 18; and Grayson, 16. Before establishing the Smith Family Gravy Boat Fund, the Smiths donated $250,000 in 2014 to support the SFA's Smith Symposium Fellows program, which invites individuals whose work promises a positive impact on the South to be guests at the SFA's fall symposium. Brook Smith trusts his gift will boost operating funds, enabling the organization to better document, study and explore the diverse food cultures of the American South. "Food starts conversations," he said "You get into who makes it and where the products come from. It's an ice breaker. "People talk about the weather, but talking about barbecue is a lot more interesting." Private gifts are crucial to the university's well-being and especially to programs such as the SFA, which depend on donor support to operate, UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. "We are tremendously grateful to receive generous donations, especially from such passionate supporters as the Smiths," Vitter said. "It speaks to the impact of our university programs, not just in the state, but across the country and around the world.” "The Smiths' gift will ensure that many more people will be enriched by the SFA for years to come. These kinds of contributions are a vital part of our university's sustained growth, reach, impact and success." Individuals and organizations can make gifts to support the Southern Foodways Alliance or the Center for the Study of Southern Culture by mailing a check with the endowment noted to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visiting or contacting Nikki Neely Davis, development officer for the CSSC at 662-915-6678 or Download "Gravy" for free from the iTunes store and the SFA website. For more information, visit and follow on Twitter @Potlikker. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • The Food Factor: Olive Oil Health Benefits

    The Food Factor presents the best, research-based information related to food, nutrition, diet, and healthy lifestyles. Our host, Natasha Haynes, is an experienced educator with the Mississippi State University Extension Service who has spent over 15 years sharing tips for healthy living with Mississippians of all ages. She brings food science down to earth and makes it useful for today’s families. Click here to view previously aired shows and be sure to follow The Food Factor on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Chef Simon Brown Appointed Chef de Cuisine at Seafood R'evolution

    RIDGELAND, Miss. - On Saturday, March 18th, Chef Simon Brown took the culinary helm as Chef de Cuisine at Seafood R’evolution, where he has served as executive sous chef since 2015. A native of Dundee, Scotland, Brown met his American wife, Jennifer, through a serendipitous turn of events while she was studying in Glasgow. The two moved to the United States in 2011, setting Brown up for a future serendipitous encounter a few years later with Chef John Folse and Chef Rick Tramonto. “Simon is a great technician,” said Tramonto. “He has been the backbone of the Seafood R’evolution kitchen and worked to develop the menu pre-opening.” Starting his culinary career as a dishwasher in Dundee, Scotland, at age 13, Brown worked his way up through the ranks to win Young Scottish Chef of the Year in 2008 and later to become the head chef at Glasgow’s top restaurant, La Vallee Blanche. Stateside he resided in West Monroe, LA, working his way through small town American kitchens and becoming the executive chef of several prominent restaurants. In 2014, he was recruited by Folse and Tramonto as part of Seafood R’evolution’s opening team. “Simon is so passionate as a chef,” Folse said. “He is creative, diligent and you fall in love with the guy the minute he opens his mouth.” Brown has embraced his new role in the restaurant with gusto. “I could not be more excited to lead one of the finest of fine dining restaurants not only in Mississippi but in the country. The chefs are amazing, the team is amazing, and I could not be happier that Chef Folse and Chef Tramonto have entrusted me to lead this team.” Brown has had the opportunity to travel with Folse and Tramonto on several culinary ventures including Naples Food and Wine Festival 2015 and 2016, Taste of Mississippi, and looks forward to catering many more private dinners around the country. In just over two years Seafood R’evolution, located at Renaissance at Colony Park on Highland Colony Parkway, has won an array of honors. It was voted the Clarion Ledger’s People’s Choice “Best Seafood” and “Best Dining Experience.” Seafood R’evolution was also included as a “Best of Jackson 2016” finalist in the following categories: “Best Brunch;” “Best New Restaurant;” “Best Seafood;” “Best Gumbo;” and “Best Wait Person” (Josh Rushing). It also earned the “Best Seafood Restaurant” title in the Clarion Ledger’s “Mississippi’s Official People’s Choice Awards 2015.” In addition to multiple Open Table “Diner’s Choice Award” honors, Mississippi Magazine’s “Best of Mississippi” also awarded it “Best Seafood,” and a spot on the “M List” for “Best New Restaurant,” “Best Seafood Restaurant” and “Best Fine Dining Restaurant” in the state of Mississippi. Seafood R’evolution is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. For more information, visit or call 601-853-3474. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • Kara Kimbrough: Time-Saving Cooking Tips Allow for More Time to Enjoy Spring

    Finally, our days are longer courtesy of Daylight Savings Time. Right on its heels, spring rolls in next Monday. As a result, we have more time to browse supermarket aisles, plan menus, and prepare meals…right? Wrong. Spring means it’s time to enjoy the great outdoors before summer’s heat sends us scurrying back indoors to the comforts of air-conditioning. As a result, I decided to share some of my time-saving food shopping and preparation tips. First, forget gourmet meals; we’ve got better things to do this time of year. Instead, check out a few of my favorite time-saving supermarket products that, with a little ingenuity, can be transformed into actual meals. The remainder will come your way next week. I’ve included my shortcut recipes, but feel free to experiment. 1. I like to pinch pennies as well as the next cheapskate, but when I want to treat myself, one of my favorite supermarket products is fresh pasta. Typically found in the refrigerated deli section, it takes about half the time of dried pasta to cook. Add a few ingredients and you have an impressive meal. To take fresh pasta to the next level, I combine a couple of teaspoons of water with an egg and beat it lightly to make a light egg wash. In another bowl, I mix together a cup of panko breadcrumbs with about a quarter cup of grated cheese. I prefer mozzarella; use your favorite. Large ravioli hold up well to pan-frying, so I dip each piece in the egg mixture, then dredge them in the panko-cheese mixture. Next, I add a little olive oil to a medium-hot skillet and add half of a package of fresh ravioli, sautéing a couple of minutes on each side before removing from pan and browning the remainder in a little more oil. Topped with fresh or jarred tomato sauce, it’s a pasta dish fit for the gods. 2. Frozen pie dough is another supermarket product with no boundaries. I can make it from scratch, but we’re talking about convenience. Instead of a large pie, I regularly make small ones in the form of sweet or savory turnovers. Sauté a chopped bell pepper and yellow onion in olive oil until wilted, then move to the side of the pan and brown a pound of ground chuck or sausage until done. Add a handful of baby spinach (another go-to supermarket product) and cook with the other vegetables and meat until wilted. Roll out one of the pie dough sheets and cut it into four pieces, then roll each piece with a floured rolling pin into 5-inch rounds. If necessary, use an upside-down bowl to cut a perfect round with a serrated knife. Fill each round with a half-cup of the mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Pinch edges together with your finger or a fork to get a good seal. Brush with a little egg wash (see #1) and bake on a lightly-greased cookie sheet for 18 minutes in a 400-degree oven. To create an easy sweet treat, fill a similarly-prepared round of pie dough with your favorite flavor of fruit pie filling, jam or jelly, then seal and bake. 3. Some bakers turn up their noses at packaged cookie mix. I’m not one of them. Most of the name brands have improved their products to the point that, with the addition of a few key ingredients, they can’t be distinguished from homemade cookies. One of my most requested recipes of all time is Spring Break Sugar Cookies. A generous dose of cream cheese (more on that all-purpose product next week) and a liberal dose of vanilla extract makes this recipe one that’ll put a little spring in your step. 17.5-ounce package dry sugar cookie mix (I use Betty Crocker) 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup all-purpose flour Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cookie mix with cream cheese until crumbly. Mix in eggs and flavoring until combined. Add enough flour to make firm dough that can be rolled out. Roll dough out on lightly floured board to 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutter to create flowers or other desired shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • Mississippians Named Finalists for James Beard Awards

    NEW YORK, N.Y. - The James Beard Foundation announced today its nominees for the 27th annual James Beard Foundation Awards. Several Mississippians were on the list. Vishwesh Bhatt of Snackbar in Oxford has been named a finalist in the category of “Best Chef: South.” Also named a finalist in this category is Tylertown native Slade Rushing of Brennan’s in New Orleans. Finalists in the book awards division include: American Cooking My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen, Asha Gomez and Martha Hall Foose, (Running Press) Single Subject Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day, John Currence, (Ten Speed Press) Chef Vishwesh Bhatt See this year’s full finalist list at Winners of the 2017 James Beard Media Awards will be announced on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City. Winners of the remaining awards will be announced at the James Beard Foundation Awards Gala at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 1, 2017. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • The Wine Guys: Which Country Leads in Wine Imports to U.S.

    If you had to guess which country leads in wine imports to the U.S. who would you choose among France, New Zealand, Spain, Italy and Australia? "Ding, ding, ding" if you picked Italy. Italy leads in both volume and dollar value of wine imported into the U.S. Sparkling wines and vermouths are the fastest gainers, thanks to the intense demand in prosecco and the cocktail revolution that has increased sales of Italian vermouths. These numbers were the foundation of a recent seminar, "Vino 2017," we attended in New York City. In addition to having the opportunity to taste literally hundreds of wines from producers from every corner of the Italian peninsula, we heard from several speakers about grape growing and wine production in Italy. Italy is the home to approximately 500 indigenous grape varieties, according to Ian D’Agata, author of “Native Wine Grapes of Italy” (University of California Press, Berkeley), who spoke about rare grapes. D'Agata said, “Since Italy is a poor country, grapes were sought out that were high producers.” More obscure grapes thusly were ignored. Other factors for rare grapes are susceptibility to disease -- rot from dense clusters or thin skins --and poor juice-to-skin ratios. Another seminar featured Italian rosato. In France and most other wine-producing countries, rosé is made from less than a dozen mostly international varietals. In Italy rosato is made from literally hundreds of indigenous varietals with hues ranging from the barest color to brightly tinted pink -- almost intensely red. We were impressed with the wide variety of rosé styles, particularly the Mastroberadino Irpinia Rosato DOC “Lacrimarosa” 2015 ($14) made entirely of aglianico from Irpinia in Campania. Very light in color, bright fresh fruit nose and flavors with a delightful creamy presence and very long length in the mouth. We also enjoyed two rosés made from somewhat obscure grapes. The Cantina Le Grotte Puglia Rosato IGP Nero di Troia “Selva della Rocca” 2016 is made from the nero di troia grape and made a delightful mineral-driven, quaffable rosato. Our favorite rosato was the Torrevento Castel Del Monte DOCG Bombino Nero “Veritas” 2016. Made from bombino nero grapes and also from Puglia, this gem offers a very intense cherry/strawberry nose and flavor and a light pink color. Another seminar featured barolo and barbaresco from regional bottlings and individual vineyards. We learned that single vineyard bottlings only began in 1961 and weren’t tightly regulated until 2011. These single crus are important in Barolo and Barbaresco because the regions feature highly varied soils and a myriad of microclimates. Usually single vineyard offerings indicate higher quality and also higher prices than regionally bottled and labeled wines. Two of our favorites were single-vineyard wines from G.D. Vajra. The Barolo DOCG Luigi Baudana 2012 and Barolo DOCG Cru Bricco delle Viole 2012 are made in the modern, early dinking style that many barolo and barbaresco winemakers are adopting. The wines were characterized by easily accessible, berry flavors and enticing rose and violet scents and flavors. Consumers looking for ready-to-drink barolo and barbaresco should consider these versions. These wines should be available in the $80-$90 range. MORE ITALIAN WINES Tenuta Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Gresy Martinega Barbaresco 2012 ($50). We liked the elegance and sensual texture of this beautiful barbaresco. Made entire of nebbiolo grapes from the estate vineyard of Martinega, it has a violet and tobacco-like nose with rich cherry flavors. Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico Riserva Strada al Sasso 2010 ($35). This is an unbelievably delicious chianti. Intense plum and jasmine aromas with rich cherry and chocolate flavors and a hint of spice. Tenuta di Arceno Valadorna 2011 ($80). Missing the indigenous sangiovese grape, this Tuscan blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc is stunningly delicious. Plum notes with ripe cherries and figs, but it has terroir notes of graphite and earth. Piccini Memoro Rosato Italia N/V ($15). Although non-vintage rose is somewhat unusual we found this example very agreeable. Made from widely grown grapes sources from all over Italy…. Montepulciano from Abruzzo, Nero d’Avola from Sicily, Merlot from Veneto and Negroanaro from Puglia. Very pleasant and refreshing with dominant strawberry elements, and just a touch of residual sugar. Tommasi Casisano Brunello di Montalcino 2011 ($60). Intense but targeted aromas with delicious dark berry and spice flavors. Well balanced and long in the finish, this is an outstanding wine. Fontanafredda Serralunga d’Alba Barolo 2011 ($40). Made from nebbiolo grapes, this sleeping giant has approachable dark fruit flavors, an intense nose and tantalizing hints of spice, vanilla and oak. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • Kara Kimbrough: Eat Pineapple on Pizza at Your Own Risk

    Forget immigration marches and outrage over “The Wall.” The president of Iceland created a firestorm over pizza that knocked our commander-in-chief off the hot seat. Answering questions from high school students a couple of weeks ago about his views on pizza, Gudni Th. Jóhannesson said he was “fundamentally opposed” to pineapple as a topping. His words made headlines around the world and dominated Twitter, where the hashtag #pineappleonpizza trended faster than President Trump’s latest tweets. I mention this international incident for a couple of reasons. First, with a name like Gudni, you can’t blame the president for being irritable. But seriously, it’s noteworthy that pizza is a food that knows no boundaries; it’s a guilty pleasure around the globe. Second, it’s obvious people have very strong attachments to specific pizza toppings. But in reality, we all have our preferences when it comes to pizza. I’ve loved pepperoni on a thin crust ever since I tasted my first “restaurant” pie at the Pizza Hut on Highway 49 in Hattiesburg when I was in high school. In defense of pineapple pizza, I remember sampling a friend’s Canadian bacon pizza highlighted with little pieces of, you guessed it, pineapple. It didn’t surpass pepperoni, but I wasn’t as repulsed as Gudni obviously is by the fruity topping. Since my high school days, I’ve sampled hundreds of pizzas at restaurants slightly more upscale than Pizza Hut. I’ve heard some of the best pizza this side of New York City’s Little Italy can be found on the Gulf Coast at The Sicilian II in Biloxi. It’s on my pizza bucket list the next time I visit the area. I enjoy restaurant and even takeout pizza, but consider it a special treat due to the high fat, calorie and sodium count of a single slice. And, naturally, I’m not content with just one slice. So, in order to indulge in pizza on a more frequent basis, I make my own at home, where I can control the ingredients, including substituting high-fat cheese with lower-fat versions and applying pepperoni with a lighter hand. If you’re not already doing it, I encourage you to purchase an inexpensive pizza stone, stock up on a few pizza ingredients, and begin making your own. First, many are intimidated by the thought of making homemade pizza dough, but that’s the easiest part. Many easy-to-follow pizza dough recipes can be whipped up before the deliveryman can reach your door. But is time if short, look no further than the freezer case of the supermarket. Frozen bread dough can be thawed, rolled out, and pressed into the bottom of a pizza pan. Next to canned biscuits, you’ll find pizza dough already sized and ready for the pan. Or, you can purchase prebaked pizza shells. Most of these are lacking in taste, so I “doctor” mine with a brush of olive oil and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning before filling with ingredients. Whichever route you choose, homemade or store-bought, a large round shell will make enough pizza for a family meal or, if dining solo, a meal with enough leftover slices for following days. Smaller rounds yield 2-4 slices, a perfect meal for one or two. Many who’ve never made homemade pizza are surprised by how easy it is to create a towering masterpiece that rivals restaurant versions or, at the very least, tastes better than some frozen varieties that are lacking in taste and nutritional value. First, coat the pizza shell with tomato sauce or jarred pizza sauce sold in the supermarket. Top the sauce with a variety of cheeses (low-fat if you’re counting calories), followed by your choice of meat, including ground beef or pork crumbles, pepperoni rounds, Canadian bacon pieces, or thin pieces of smoked ham or turkey. Don’t forget the vegetables – chopped red onions, bell pepper rings, thinly-sliced Roma tomatoes, Kalamata olives, spinach pieces - the list is endless. Last, another covering of grated cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan and Italian seasoning and the pizza is ready to be popped into the oven until the crust is golden brown, all ingredients have melded together, and the cheese is melted. The beauty of a homemade pizza – besides its ability to reduce fat, calories, and sodium without sacrificing flavor and the knowledge that you’ve likely saved a few dollars along the way – is that you really can’t mess it up. No matter how haphazardly you throw on the ingredients, everything will cook together beautifully and the results will be delicious. After all, cheese and a generous dose of pepperoni cover a multitude of sins. My favorite homemade pizza is a recipe I shared in previous columns. It’s my version of California Pizza Kitchen’s barbecue chicken and red onion pizza. If you’re buying frozen pizza, you can’t go wrong with this one. However, you can easily make your own and it’s every bit as delicious. Last week I was craving a bacon cheeseburger and a pizza. I combined the two cravings and the result was more than satisfactory. The liberal dose of homemade dill pickle-laced dressing made it unforgettable. So, get in the kitchen and make your own pizzas. If you decide to use this recipe, take my advice: don’t forget the pickle juice. Bacon Cheeseburger and Pickle Juice Pizza 12-ounce prebaked pizza crust 1/2 pound ground chuck or pork (your choice) 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled or 1/2 cup real bacon bits 1/2 cup ketchup 1/4 cup prepared mustard 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 1-1/2 cups shredded lettuce 1/2 cup chopped dill pickle 1/2 cup chopped Roma tomatoes (1-2 small ones) 1/4 cup chopped red onion 1/2 cup of your favorite cheeseburger topping (ranch dressing, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce) 2 to 3 tablespoons dill pickle juice Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large skillet, cook and crumble ground chuck or pork over medium heat until totally browned, about 3-4 minutes; drain. In the same skillet, fry bacon until crisp; drain and crumble. Place crust on an ungreased baking sheet or pizza stone. Mix ketchup and mustard; spread over crust. Add ground meat and bake 5 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon crumbles and cheese; bake until cheese is bubbly and crust is lightly browned, 8-10 minutes more. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, chopped pickles and onions. Whisk your favorite topping (ranch dressing, mayo or barbecue sauce) and enough pickle juice to create a lighter dressing; drizzle over pizza. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • Healthy Snack Options for Students Who Are on the Go

    COLUMBUS, Miss. - Most college students will be on the go as Spring Break quickly approaches. An expert from Mississippi University for Women’s Culinary Arts Institute offers valuable tips to avoid packing on the pounds for individuals who are beach bound. When it comes to eating healthy snacks and breakfast, there are plenty of options available for college students, according to Amanda Dahl, a registered and licensed dietitian at The W. Dahl said, “Snacking is a good way to bridge the nutritional gap of foods groups you are lacking. Aim for 100-150 calories for a snack, ensuring that snacks contain both a carbohydrate and a protein.” She added that carbohydrates provide a boost of energy while protein provides a feeling of fullness. “Some healthy snack options for college students include an apple with peanut butter, string cheese and grapes, cottage cheese and peaches, Greek yogurt topped with fruit, hummus with raw veggies or a handful of almonds and a snack-sized box of raisins.” Taking some time to plan snacks for the week is a great idea, Dahl advised. “This way, you will have a snack on hand when hunger strikes instead of running to the vending machine or drive-thru.” Dahl also recommended preparing pre-portioned snacks in plastic containers or sandwich bags for easy grab and go during the week and to help with portion control. Kimberly Heath, a senior culinary arts major, recently conducted a cooking demonstration as a part of her independent research project on quick, easy breakfast recipes for college students. Heath has provided two simple and affordable breakfast recipes: Quick Breakfast Sandwich Whole wheat English muffin Pepper jack cheese Canadian bacon Pull apart the English muffin. Stack on Canadian bacon(ham) and cheese. Wrap in paper towel. Microwave for about 45 seconds. Enjoy! To make ahead: Wrap muffin tightly in plastic/freezer bag. Freeze. To heat for a quick breakfast, remove from plastic, wrap in paper towel. Microwave about 1-1/2 minutes. *Other tried-and-true serving suggestions: black pepper, tomato slices, fried egg, replace Canadian bacon with sausage, cheddar cheese Personalized Oatmeal 1/2 cup oats Pinch of salt 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1-1/2 teaspoon sweetener (brown sugar, honey) A handful of your favorite stir-ins Nuts, seeds, dried fruits, fresh fruits Microwave Method: Pour oatmeal packet into a microwave safe bowl/mug enough for oatmeal to double in volume as it cooks. Add 3/4 cup cold water (or milk, if you prefer). Microwave on high, about 2 minutes. Microwaves may vary. Hot Water Method: Pour oatmeal packet into any bowl or mug. Add 2/3 cup hot water and let stand about 4 minutes. Stir and enjoy! For more ideas of flavor combinations, check out “These are the recipes that could be made using only a refrigerator and a microwave, which is what most students at The W have access to,” said Heath. “These recipes are versatile and are easily substituted with other ingredients.” Based on availability, preference or allergies, students may adapt the recipes to their liking, Heath said. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, nearly 60 percent of college students are ‘Food Insecure,’ i.e. they lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. The tips provided by Dahl and Heath make it possible for college students to have healthy and affordable food at the same time. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • Starkville, MSU Again Observe National Nutrition Month

    Photo by Megan Bean STARKVILLE, Miss. - Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman and Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum (seated left and right) marked National Nutrition Month with the signing of a proclamation announcing the city and campus observance of the annual March event. The local observance is being coordinated by MSU’s Student Dietetic Association, an organization of the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Pictured at the signing, left to right, are MSU food science, nutrition and health promotion students Kayleigh A. Hynes, a senior from Cornelius, North Carolina, SDA liaison; Sophie M. Goyins, a senior from Pensacola, Florida, SDA scholarship chair; Alesa Taylor, a senior from Guntown, SDA vice president; Austin J. Vaughn, a junior from Hernando; Turner Sanderson, a senior from Smithville, SDA professional development representative; Molly C. Stevenson, a junior from Marietta, Georgia, SDA secretary; Haley P. Wheeler, a senior from Huntsville, Alabama, SDA president; and Cecily B. Young, a graduate student from Greenville, South Carolina. Initiated in 1973 by the Illinois-based Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the National Nutrition Month campaign works to encourage and promote healthy eating habits and physical activity. “Put Your Best Fork Forward” is the 2017 theme. For complete information on National Nutrition Month, visit For more on MSU’s food science, nutrition, and health promotion department and its Student Dietetic Association, visit ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • The Wine Guys: Underdog Wine Holds Its Ground in Blind Tasting

    We always love a challenge, particularly when there is an opportunity to root for an underdog. Thus, it was with great anticipation that we recently joined a handful of other wine professionals to blind taste an underdog Saint-Emilion wine alongside neighboring chateaux that ranked among the region's best. The mystery wine was Chateau Lassègue, a 2003 partnership of the French-born Pierre and Monique Seillan and American wine icons, the late Jess Jackson and his wife Barbara Banke. Also present at the tasting were the Seillans, who were eager to tout the region but particularly eager to have professional tasters see first-hand how well Chateau Lassèque can stand up to heralded wines that cost significantly more. It did well. The other wines in the tasting, all from the 2009 vintage, included: Chateau Ausone, Chateau Pavie, Chateau Canon la Gaffelière and Château La Mondotte. Ausone and Pavie are rated premier grand cru classes(a) – the highest wine classification in St. Emilion. The other two are classified premier grand cru classe(b). Chateau Lassèque is simply grand cru. Seillan, aware of the complications that come with a premier grand cru classification, seems unmotivated to seek a higher ranking. The classification system in Saint-Emilion is complex and muddled. Unlike Graves and Medoc regions of Bordeaux, Saint-Emilion changes its classifications every decade or so. The 2006 classification was wrought with lawsuits and changed yet again in 2012. A wine's classification is immensely critical to its price. Chateau Ausone fetches around $2,000 a bottle; Chateau Pavie is about $400. At $85 a bottle, Chateau Lassègue is relatively a bargain. Although Chateau Lassèque was not our favorite of the tasting, it held its ground with aplomb and grace. As Seillan rhetorically asked, is the difference between his wine and a premier grand cru really worth $1,900? We were not surprised that Chateau Lassèque tasted like a grand cru classe wine. Several months ago we sampled Chateau Lassègue wines with Monique and were impressed with their balance and elegance. But the chateau's story became even more impressive after hearing Pierre’s passion for Chateau Lassègue’s unique soils and his “micro-cru” philosophy. “I am a vigneron,” he proudly says. “I’ve been working in dirt since I was 16.” His work in eight French appellations for several chateaux exposed him to the differences between soils. This knowledge allows him to create wines that captures the unique qualities of each vineyard block. Seillan credits his wine's quality to the 10 different soil types found at the estate. There is limestone at the plateau, clay on the slopes and gravel at the bottom. Pierre is meticulous about hand-picking each of the blocks separately and fermenting them in separate stainless-steel tanks. Only then can he taste the unique properties of each block and go about the business of blending. The southwest-facing estate gets more hours of sunlight than any other property in Saint-Emilion. While others are waiting well into late summer for their grapes to reach phenolic ripeness, Seillan is harvesting his vineyards before cold and wet weather sets in. Many of the vines from this 17th century estate are more than 60 years old. “I believe we have the most exceptional vineyard in Saint-Emilion,” Seillan says. Seillan's family roots go deep too. Both of his grandfathers were vignerons. His great-great grandfather was a vineyard consultant and his father owned a cork company. He has wine in his blood. It was a coincidental meeting with the Jacksons in the mid-1990s that led to the creation of an enduring American-French partnership. Together, the families created the highly regarded Vérité brand in 1998. This incredibly complex California wine has been given more awards and 100-point scores than any other. For those looking to stock a cellar with a Bordeaux from an elite neighborhood, Chateau Lassèque is worth the price. WINE PICKS Kim Crawford South Island Pinot Noir 2015 ($19). New Zealand’s pinot noirs are recognized by their bright, youthful fruit and this one is no different. Blackberry and red currant flavors with a kiss of oak. FEL Anderson Valley Chardonnay 2015 ($32). The cool climate of this region produces a beautifully textured chardonnay with fresh acidity, citrus and apple aromas and delicious pear/apricot flavors with a dash of spice. La Follette North Coast Pinot Noir 2014 ($22). Very reasonable in price, this medium-body pinot noir has delicate features that we enjoy with the right meal. What we have liked about this producer year over year is the purity of fruit that comes out from its wine. Fresh cherry and strawberry notes with hints of earth and spice. Albatross Ridge Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 ($55). This pinot noir from Carmel Valley and Monterey County is remarkable for its rich and juicy strawberry and cherry fruit dashed with mushrooms mineral. Clayhouse Petite Sirah Paso Robles Red Cedar Vineyard Old Vines 2013 ($23). Very deep ripe and rich blackberry and black raspberry nose and flavors. Very smooth and opulent in the mouth -- a real crowd-pleaser. Attilio Ghisolfi Barolo Bricco Visette DOCG 2011 ($80). Although this delicious Barolo needs time, it shows a great deal of promise for the patient. A nose and flavors of berries, tar and roses can be coaxed from the glass over time. The tannins are already smooth, but wait for at least 5 years to enjoy this fantastic Barolo. ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

  • Make One Great Dish: Loaded Potatoes

    Twice-baked potatoes often take an unhealthy turn. Brimming with butter and sour cream, they’re loaded, all right, and not in a good (healthy) way. Our new spins on stuffed spuds bring fresh new flavors and not too much fat (only 11 grams or less per serving). For each of the variations below: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wash two large russet potatoes and pat dry. (Russets have a high starch content and are better for baking than red-skinned or Yukon Gold potatoes.) Rub the skins with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Prick the potatoes with a fork in several places. Place on a baking sheet. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until tender. Let cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Cut the potatoes into halves lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp, leaving about 1/4 inch of potato pulp on the skin. Place the scooped pulp in a large bowl and the skins on a baking sheet. Add the remaining ingredients to the pulp, mixing well. Pile into the potato skins. Bake about 15 minutes, until hot. Serves 4. Photo by Mark Boughton Photography/Styling by Teresa Blackburn Artichoke Swiss Stuffed Potatoes 1 (6-oz) jar marinated artichokes, chopped, plus 2 Tbsp of the marinade 4 oz Swiss cheese, shredded Pizza Potatoes 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil 4 oz Fontina cheese, grated Chopped pepperoni (optional) Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Potatoes 2/3 cup Alouette or Boursin cheese 1-1/2 cups broccoli or cauliflower florets, microwaved for 2 minutes ©2017 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. All rights reserved.

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