CLARION-LEDGER, FOOD, HOME TRENDS, MISSISSIPPI
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More Mississippi made products

08bcb-moremissmade3Still looking for Mississippi made products that will help spice up your life or present dishes in a unique way? Here are a few more that you can find in gourmet food stores across the state.

Fat Mama’s Knock-You-Naked Margarita Mix – the name pretty much says it all, but here’s its history.

In the 1980s, Natchez residents Jimmy and Britton Gammill spent many hours perfecting a tamale recipe and began selling them from their house. Their children, David and Poppy, often joked that if their parents didn’t perfect it soon, Britton would be a “fat mama from eating all the mistakes.”

And that’s how Fat Mama’s Tamales was born.

The couple opened the tamale restaurant in 1989, serving only tamales at first, but the menu later expanded to include beer, cold drinks, chili and Knock-You-Naked Margaritas.

In 2008, they relocated to 303 S. Canal St. into a larger building and added chicken taco salad, taco soup, Mexican cornbread, homemade salsa and draft beer.

Son David Gammill, who now owns the business, said Fat Mama’s Knock-You-Naked Margarita Mix is now sold in 12-15 states.

“Fat Mama’s Tamales began selling margaritas in the early 1990s,” he said. “They weren’t uncommon drinks, so we wanted to find a way to make them unique and marketable. My mother has a really good marketing mind.”

Perfecting the ingredients of the lime-based margarita mix involved a lot of trial, error and parties at the family home, Gammill said.

“We had a lot of pool parties and friends over and did a little market testing, I guess you could say,” he laughed. “We’ve had people come in and say “I guess it’s true,” and they show us a picture of their daughter or son (who was conceived).

For more information, visit http://www.fatmamastamales.com.

Another Mississippi product that can add flavor to your life is Ely’s Gourmet All-Purpose Seasoning – the same used at Ely’s Restaurant & Bar in Ridgeland.

“Richard Shapley’s father started Shapley’s restaurant in Jackson,” said Marlana Walters, owner of Jackson’s The Everyday Gourmet. “Richard is a third-generation restaurateur. The family packages it themselves. We are hoping to get more from him.”

The restaurant and product are named after Shapley’s grandfather, Elias “Ely” Shapley of Greenville. The creators say it’s great for seasoning beef, poultry, seafood and vegetables. For more information, visit http://www.elysrestaurant.com.

Luis Bruno, executive chef at the Hilton in Jackson and former chef for the governor, also has his own line of seasonings. Smoked BBQ Chipotle Seasoning is one of Bruno’s Eclectic Spices. Others include Dry Adobo, Citrus Herb and Caribbean Jerk Seasoning.

Those wanting to enhance their desserts may want to experiment with Caramel Icing from The Caramel Factory in Drew. Wanda Belk, a Ruleville native who studied home economics at Mississippi State University, created the business. When she passed away six years ago, her sister, Deonna Cummins, took over.

“I had a small bakery in Drew,” Cummins said, explaining how the business began. “A lady came in and asked me to make her a caramel cake. I started making them, and we realized the recipe we were using had a good shelf life.”

Cummins said the versatile product is used to make pralines, caramel bread pudding and caramel pie. It’s sold in about 12 Southern states, and November and December are her busiest months.

“I have a metal building beside my house with the cookers and the mixers,” she said. “There are only two of us that work here full time, so it’s small.

“This job has been a gift from God. I walk to work every morning and walk home every afternoon. It’s all worth it. I get to go see my grandchildren when I want to.”

For more information, visit http://www.caramelfactory.com.

Once you’ve prepared an excellent meal, you need a great way to display it. Check out The Oxford-based Spirit Song Pottery’s collection of colorful dinnerware. Jenny Cason Crowson and her husband, Mike, operate the business. They are known for using vibrant colors in their work. For more information, visit http://www.spiritsongstudio.com.

The Good Earth Pottery is self-described as “a soft-spoken departure from the expected.” According to the website, Richie Watts began producing the dinnerware in 2000, and Carlos Caballero later joined as a partner. The Starkville business now offers more than 35 patterns and 75 pieces, including platters shaped like fish.

And no kitchen is complete without a tiny decorative Kitchen Angel to watch over it. The Muddy Mushroom in Greenwood makes them.

Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

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