Good Eats Mississippi Style, Greens – not the collard kind, Blues – the ones we like
By Connie Rouble, the Mississippi Queen
I get myself back home a few time each year ‘cause ya know’ I can’t go long without standin’ on some Southern soil! Toronto is my home now but I will always be a Mississippi girl! What I do in Toronto and all of Southern Ontario is cook – Southern style. You may know me as the self proclaimed “Mississippi Queen.”
Regardless of anything else, we know for sure that each and every day y’all get hungry, so who better than I to take you for a quick sampling of what you may keep an eye out for as you make your way through the state chasing those little white balls and tuning into the blues?
I know that most of you are golfers, and for so many of you driving south as I do, head straight to Tunica to play the 3 great courses that are set amongst the 9 Casinos in the area. I’m not much of a golfer, but I hear that they are pretty good and a good bang for the buck!
Did you know that Tunica is also the “Gateway to the Blues?” The Tunica Visitors Center www.tunicatravel.com is a great place to start your journey on Hwy 61 – “America’s Blues Highway.” There are a total of 120 historical markers throughout the State that tell the remarkable story of how the blues were born.
So I am going to take you down that road a bit. We may get distracted a bit and we are going to find some places to eat. Cause’ we know you are going to get hungry!
Not much of a gambler but I have been known to throw a few nickels into the slot’s. At the same time I really do enjoy the bands that you will find in the casinos. Most have them and if you don’t like the tunes in one you just move on over to the next. A number are so close together that you can just walk. Food in the casinos, all I can say is that you have the entire culinary experience from the high end steak house to the most amazing buffet selections.
Now in Tunica if you want to combine a little blues history with some culinary delight you need to stop into the Hollywood Café immortalized by Marc Cohn in his award winning song “Walking in Memphis.” Muriel no longer plays the piano, but it is still there! My suggestion is that you stick to the steak for your entrée. You absolutely must try the fried dill pickles and if fried is your taste, you are in the right place as the Travel Channel labeled its special “Deep Fried Paradise.”
I must add the wine selection is pretty good too!
Just an hour or so down Hwy 61 you will run into Hwy 49 otherwise known as the Crossroads where it has been said that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.
We are now in Clarksdale, Mississippi, www.visitclarksdale.com, considered to be the Birthplace of the Blues. Back in April of this year I was in Clarksdale for the annual Juke Joint Festival, which is one of the best times of year in Mississippi, if ya’ ask me. The weather’s warm, but not too hot, just right. The Festival host people from all over the world, they come to see living legends play the blues. Some of these players go back to the beginning of the blues and this is an ‘up front and close’ intimate festival. This should be on your bucket list if you’re a lover of the blues.
Right at the corner of 61 & 49 you will find a culinary landmark in Abe’s Barbecue a landmark in the Delta since 1924. Abe’s has served it’s pulled pork, ribs, hot tomales and world famous sauce to the likes of ZZ Top, Paul Simon, Charley Pride, Conway Twitty, our own Chuck Jackson, even the Traveling Golfer has been there, and so many more…it is a must stop.
Anyone who travels loves to savor the flavor of the area that you are visiting. You sometimes need to get off the beaten path and find some of those Mom & Pop type joints to do just that. My knees all but buckle as I approach “The Pit Bar-B-Que joint!
The smoke billowing out of the smoker was intoxicating. Meet Little Hogg Jr. proprietor of The Pit, he knows the smell will get you in his door. Nothing fancy here and blue jeans are the order of the day. One thing I will tell you is that a helping of Hogg Jr’s pulled pork, slaw and ribs will set you on your way with a full belly, a smile on your face and a memory.
Hogg Jr. uses a sixth generation receipe originally developed by his Great –Great – Great grandmother and it is a best kept secret. The meat was so tender, falling off the bone, and meltin’ in my mouth! The smell and taste are to die for! You might call it Hogg Heaven.
I can’t encourage you enough to stop in and pay Little Hogg Jr. a visit. He’s so personable. Just give him a call and let ‘em know you are on your way 662-902-0558. Just be sure to tell ‘em that red-headed Mississippi Queen sent ya’!
There are at least 8 Blues Trail Markers in the area including Muddy Water’s Cabin, The Riverside Hotel which hosted bluesmen and women since 1944 and WROX Clarksdales first radio station.
For those of us living the blues here are a few places that you need to check out while in Clarksdale:
Ground Zero Blues Club partially owned by none other than Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman who has been known to drop in once in a while. www.groundzerobluesclub.com
Hopson Plantation: a place to hear the blues in an atmosphere that will take you back some 50 years or more! www.hopsonplantation.com
Shack Up Inn: You need to see this for yourself. They say “the Ritz we ain’t.” Truly another unforgettable experience that is all I am going to say! www.shackupinn.com
Red’s Lounge: Might just be the most unique and authentic atmosphere that you will ever venture into.
You see the flavor of the south is not only in the food and music but it is a way of life!
The people are considered to be the friendliest in the south, truly the south’s warmest welcome!
We that’s all for now but you ain’t heard the last of me. Next time we are going to take you a little further on down the highway for a visit to BB King’s Muesem, Dockery Farm’s, Po Monkeys if we can find it and then down into the big city of Jackson.
For more information on travel through the State of Mississippi check out www.visitmississippi.org and you’ll find all you need on great golf, the Blues Trail and the Culinary Trail.
.…and of course if you want to know a little more about me…www.mississippiqueenfoods.com
Until next time…
Wishin’ ya’ lots of good eatin’…