All posts filed under: FOOD

The Magical Power of Bringing Gingerbread Men to Life

By LaReeca Rucker It probably seems like I am quite the cook based on some of the social media posts I have made lately. Truth is, I’m not. But at one time, I aspired to be. As a person who has a lot of hobbies that I drop and pick up again from time to time, I have done everything from stamp collecting to salsa dancing. At one time, I convinced myself that I was going to be the next top chef. (Well, not really, but I was determined to master cooking.) For a while, I was obsessed with watching the Food Network. I purchased many cookbooks, and I was given many cookbooks as gifts. But truth be told, cooking – I learned – is much more than a skill. It’s a talent. It’s an art. And while I can generally read directions and sometimes create a dish that is a hit, I also sometimes miss. I’m an unreliable cook. However, this Christmas I was determined to make a few dishes for a family Christmas …

The Apothecary in Fondren

One of my favorite spots to eat in Jackson is at Brent’s Drugs in Fondren. Walk inside, and time has stood still. The restaurant still looks like it would have in the 1950s  or 1960s complete with vintage bar stools and a soda fountain-style ice cream bar. I used to visit there frequently on Sunday mornings, where breakfast is a modest price compared to most eateries, and I was thrilled when they opened a little, speak easy-style bar in back called The Apothecary. Above is a video of my last visit to The Apothecary. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

A visit to Fairhope

On a recent trip to the Mobile area, I drove to Fairhope because my hotel was in Daphne, not far away. While there, I walked out on the pier and took a picture of Mobile Bay. I also had the opportunity to eat at Pelican Patio. Here’s a link to their menu if you’re ever in town. Click the photos below to see more images of the restaurant. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

The Horseradish Grill

On a recent trip to Atlanta, I had the chance to eat at The Horseradish Grill, and while I was there, I decided to snap a few photos. I had the Pan Sauteed Gulf Snapper with creamed sweet yellow corn and leeks with apple wood bacon, fried okra and marinated tomatoes. Click here to check out their full menu. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

The honor box

One of the things I love about the South and Mississippi is that people value common sense, hard work and honesty. Some of my neighbors have a garden, and during the spring and summer when they have a crop of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, etc., they put them out on a table under a little shed. There are signs that indicate the vegetable prices and an “honesty box,” where you can drop your money if you decide to buy food. Here are a few pictures. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Proud Larry’s in Oxford

One of my favorite restaurants in Oxford is Proud Larry’s on the Square. I usually wind up getting a chef salad or some pasta, but you can take a look at the menu with the link above. Here’s a few shots from a recent trip there. In case you’ve never been, there’s upstairs and downstairs seating, and if the temperatures right, you can have a meal outside on the patio. They also regularly host bands and musicians. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Gibbes Old Country Store

I enjoy eating at old country restaurants and places with a little character and history like Taylor Grocery. I also recently had the opportunity to eat at a similar place in Utica, Miss., called Gibbes Old Country Store. You can read reviews about it on Trip Advisor. Here’s a tip: If you go, don’t eat all day so that you will be really hungry. You’ll be served a huge amount of food, and all of it is good. Try to save room for dessert. I enjoyed the ambiance and antique-feel of the place. I love when people are able to transform or salvage old buildings and part of history lives on. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.   Save

The fruits of my labor

This summer, I decided to plant and grow a garden. I dug a spot in my yard for it, and I bought a lot of seeds and planted them. But unfortunately, the only thing that grew were five cherry tomatoes. They were promptly eaten. I’m not sure if there was a sneaky rabbit involved in stealing my crops, but my garden frog did not alert me about intruders. It appears I did not have a green thumb this year, but maybe next. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Waker’s Drive-In

So, this is probably my favorite restaurant in Jackson. I love the look and feel of it, and the food is fabulous. If you’re ever there, don’t leave without trying a fried green tomato BLT, or grab a plate lunch with lots of yummy vegetables. Here’s the menu if you’d like to check out what they have to offer. I recently snapped this picture.

Mrs. Sippy

I took a picture of this can label in Crystal Springs and had the photo enlarged for framing. It was a nice addition that hangs above my collection of Mississippi pottery. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Ole Miss one of 15 schools nominated for ‘The South’s Best Tailgate’

Ole Miss was one of 15 colleges chosen for Southern Living’s “The South’s Best Tailgate” competition, But Clemson University was declared the winner. The contenders were listed in the magazine’s September issue. Southern Living Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Bierman said pre-game celebrations in the South matter as much as what happens on the field. “We’re asking readers to decide which school best honors our great tradition of Southern hospitality with the most stylish and spirited spread,” she said. The competition was held through Sept. 30. Southern Living crowned the winner at a fall home game. Here are the schools: 1. Appalachian State University 2. Clemson University 3. Florida State University 4. Louisiana State University 5. Marshall University 6. Oklahoma State University 7. Texas A&M University 8. University of Alabama 9. University of Georgia 10. University of Mississippi 11. University of Tennessee 12. University of Texas 13. Vanderbilt University 14. Virginia Tech 15. West Virginia University Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

From Gulfport to Starkville, new Southern Living cookbook features five Mississippi restaurants

A new cookbook featuring five Mississippi restaurants is now on the shelves. Southern Living Off the Eaten Path: Second Helpings is a travel guide/cookbook that takes you on a journey to eateries in 16 Southern states. Written by former Southern Living travel editor Morgan Murphy, the 272-page book published by Oxmoor House and sold for $22.95 features 150 of Morgan’s favorite recipes. “When researching my books, I always look forward to traveling through Mississippi, because the culture and feel of the state is so very familiar and feels like home,” said Murphy, an Alabama native who began his magazine career at Vanity Fair and later worked at Forbes, is a best-selling author, editor, entrepreneur and decorated naval officer. “I usually travel with companions to help me eat all that food, and on much of my research for this book, I actually took my mother along. She’d always wanted to take one of these trips with me, so I saved Mississippi for her. I knew it would be a great one, and the Magnolia State didn’t …

Mississippi native Faith Hill answers questions via Facebook

“Mississippi Girl” Faith Hill took a moment last week to answer fan questions via Facebook. Here’s what they asked, and here are some of her answers: Q. What is your favorite Tim McGraw song? A. How could I choose? He has a million! “My Best Friend” is a really great one. Q. Faith, you are my inspiration to follow my dream of being a country singer! I’m a bit curious as to what your inspiration was? A. I was one of two people who listened to country music at my high school. I definitely wasn’t part of the “cool group” at the time! But when I saw Reba for the first time in concert, I wanted to do whatever it took to make it as a musician. Lots of hard work! Q. What’s your favorite gospel song? A. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Q. What is your favorite memory from the past shows at the Venetian? A. Other than the time on stage with my husband in front of such an intimate crowd, …

Mississippi chef David Crews is ‘King of American Seafood’

Mississippi Chef David Crews has been crowned “King of American Seafood.” The executive chef of Six Shooter Land and Timber in Drew, a private farm and hunting preserve, won the title in New Orleans during the 10th annual Great American Seafood Cook-off. According to The Times-Picyune, Crews’ winning dish, Southern Nicoise Salad, “included potato-crusted lump crab and tuna loin crusted with pork rinds, plus heirloom cherry tomatoes, puffed pork skins, Tabasco-cured bacon and poached eggs.” More than a dozen chefs flew in to compete at the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s 60th annual Food Service Expo. The Times-Picyune said Jeffrey Ferrell, a chef de cuisine at City Grocery in Oxford, assisted Crews during the competition. Ferrell’s boss, chef John Currence who won the 2008 competition, was also present. According to Crews’ website The Chef’s Table, he got his start in 1997 at The Airport Grocery in Cleveland. “What started out as just a job, slowly turned into a career, then an absolute affair love with food,” he said. Crews later enrolled in the Culinary Arts Institute at …

Mississippi’s obesity rate among low-income preschoolers declines

The obesity rate among low-income preschoolers has declined in Mississippi, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. According to the study called “Progress on Childhood Obesity,” obesity among low-income preschoolers declined from 2008 through 2011 in 19 of 43 states and territories studied, and Mississippi was one. Obesity rates in low-income preschoolers, after decades of rising, began to level off from 2003 through 2008 and now are showing small declines in many states, according to the CDC. However, too many preschoolers are obese – about 1 in 8. The CDC says obese children are more likely to become obese adults and suffer lifelong physical and mental health problems. State and local officials can play a big part in reducing obesity among preschoolers. The CDC offers the following suggestions: • Create partnerships with community members such as civic leaders and child care providers to make community changes that promote healthy eating and active living. • Make it easier for families with children to buy healthy, affordable foods and beverages in their neighborhood. • Help provide …

Check out these patriotic party ideas

I’m sure many Mississippians are preparing for a July 4 holiday gathering this week with family and friends. With a busy schedule, it may seem impossible to find the time and energy to decorate for your patriotic party, but I’ve collected a number of easy ideas for you that could help make your Independence Day party a fantastic Fourth affair. Check out the video above to see some of the following decorating tips in action. And if you have tips of your own, feel free to share them in the comments section below. Ten simple and inexpensive patriotic party decorating ideas: 1. Hit up the Dollar Tree. Your first stop should be the Dollar Tree or anywhere with an assortment of holiday decorations at a low price. You don’t have to spend a lot if you’re being creative. Part of the fun is seeing what you can come up with on your own without dropping a lot of cash. 2. Blow it up. Red, white and blue balloons are cheap. Fill a few with helium …

Mississippi Style On the Road: A visit to Taylor Grocery

I visited a unique Mississippi eatery last week, and after the experience, I decided that I would create a blog video series called “Mississippi Style On the Road.” Anytime I’m out and about in the state and encounter something interesting, I’ll try to shoot it and share it with you. Above is the first of those videos. At least once a week, I eat a Cracker Barrel. I’m sure most reading this know it’s a chain restaurant decorated with antiques and artifacts that looks like an old country store. But recently I’ve had the pleasure of visiting two “real” old country store restaurants in Mississippi. The first was Gibbs Old Country Store in Learned. Enter this restaurant, and you may have to wait a while to be seated, but once you have been, the food is worth the wait. This weathered shack is filled with antiques, walls of canned goods, a cash register older than most people living today, and black puppy dog who is a regular. He stays in the back away from the …

Reality television commentary: Veteran ‘reality’ star jumps from ‘Amazing Race’ to ‘Queen Bees’ to ‘Vanderpump Rules’

Bravo! has added another spin-off to its lineup called “Vanderpump Rules” that follows “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Lisa Vanderpump’s employees at Sur, a West Hollywood restaurant she is involved with. And so far, it has proven – to steal a phrase from Bravo!’s “Housewives of New York” show – money (or good looks) can’t buy you class. The star of this “reality” show is a completely unlikable person named Stassi Schroeder from New Orleans, who is so very self-absorbed and entitled that viewers, right away, get the impression that the show is completely fake because it’s hard to believe someone this horrible actually exists. (Let’s hope that Stassi is just playing a character, and is really a sweet Southern girl with manners who only behaves this way on camera.) A site called RealityTea today reported that Schroeder also starred in a reality show called “Queen Bees” for one season about, (wouldn’t you know it), self-absorbed entitled, unlikable, mean girls. I Googled her name, and apparently, a Stassi Schroder was also on the Family …

‘Mad Men’ Madness

Jackson residents Michael Busbin and Brian Kendrick have gone mad for “Mad Men.”Tonight is the season finale of AMC’s hit show about love, life and business at a Manhattan advertising firm. Currently set in the 1960s, “Mad Men” premiered in 2007 and is in its fifth season. It has become a pop culture sensation, influencing everything from hairstyles and fashion to cooking, decor and entertaining. Because of “Mad Men,” Busbin and Kendrick bought a retro home in northeast Jackson. “It has the grass cloth wall paper and all the cool retro vibes of the ’60s when it was built, kind of like Don Draper’s new apartment now,” Busbin said. “We have updated some of the features of the house that make it more fashionable, but we still have some of the features that are ’60s-inspired, such as the rock garden in the living room. We love Eames molded chairs, scoop chairs, Panton chairs, and anything with that ‘Mad Men’ vibe. That is how we like to live in our home – cool and relaxed with …

How to party like ‘Mad Men’

Los Angeles-based Natasha Feldman and Julianna Strickland host a web-based cooking show about food and movies called “Cinema & Spice.” They are big “Mad Men” fans, and recently taped a segment about how to throw a “Mad Men” party. Q: How did you become fans of the show? A: Julianna: Natasha’s mom was a media manager in the advertising industry for many years and worked for New York agencies mentioned in the show, so she was familiar with that world from childhood on. When a show came out focusing on the intrigues and adventures of advertising executives, she was curious about it and wanted to see what challenges women in the ’60s faced vs. the opportunities they have now. Q: Who are your favorite characters? A: Natasha: We both love Peggy and Joan. They are both strong, intelligent women, who are always growing and evolving in a challenging environment. They both defy the traditional roles that women were forced into for lack of guts and opportunity. We love how talented Peggy is and how she …

Just pin it

Chances are you Facebook, you Tweet, but do you Pin? As Pinterest.com, a visual bookmarking site that launched in March of 2010, continues to grow, an increasing number of Mississippians are describing it with the words “addictive” and “obsession.” Users pin images that are linked to other websites, sharing everything from craft and décor ideas to wisdom, travel and food pins on boards they create. “As long as you see an image on a page, you can pin it,” said Shawn Rossi. “Users can pin anything, from family photos to business presentations.” Rossi collects her future Pinterest projects on a “To-Do List” board. “We just bought a 1983 Prowler travel trailer from the ’80s, and we’re going to renovate it,” she said, recalling one of the ideas she found on the site. Natchez resident Shannon Jex compares the site to a SkyMall flight catalog “There are a million products in that little magazine,” she said. “Few of them have anything to do with one another, but you find yourself wanting one of each. I draw …

More Mississippi made products

Still 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 …