Eat Drink Delta
A Hungry Traveler's Journey through the Soul of the South
Publication Year: 2013
There’s more to Delta dining than southern standards. Puckett uncovers the stories behind convenience stores where dill pickles marinate in Kool-Aid and diners where tabouli appears on plates with fried chicken. She celebrates the region’s hot tamale makers who follow the time-honored techniques that inspired many a blues lyric. And she introduces us to a new crop of Delta chefs who brine chicken in sweet tea and top stone-ground Mississippi grits with local pond-raised prawns and tomato confit. The guide also provides a taste of events such as Belzoni’s World Catfish Festival and Tunica’s Wild Game Cook-Off and offers dozens of tested recipes, including the Memphis barbecue pizza beloved by Elvis and a lemon ice-box pie inspired by Tennessee Williams.
To William Faulkner’s suggestion, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi,” Susan Puckett adds this advice: Go to the Delta with an open mind and an empty stomach. Make your way southward in a journey measured in meals, not miles.
Published by: University of Georgia Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Eating and Drinking Venues by Chapter
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Many PeoPle contributed to the creation of this bookâa three-year Ralph Ellis, my husband and soul mate, kept me on course with an ample supply of good humor, journalistic wisdom, and enthusiasm for tasting whatever bizarre combination of recipe tests I set before him. The gusto with which that proud North Carolinian devoured his first plate of ...
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...iTâs easy To beCoMe MesMerized by the strange and haunting landscape of the Mississippi Deltaâas much by what you donât see as by what you do. You know when youâve arrived. The highways narrow, billboards and streetlights disappear, and the gently rolling hills dissolve into tracts of farmland as flat and wide as a calm, dark sea. Flocks of blackbirds swoop in ...
1 MEMPHIS: Gateway to the Delta
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The doUble arChes of the Hernando de Soto Bridge swoop dramatically over the Mississippi River like a monogram on the Memphis skyline. Most people around here know this link between Tennessee and Arkansas simply Memphis has stood for many things: cotton, blues, Elvis and rock ânâ roll, riverboats, civil rights, Peabody Hotel ducks, southern hospitality, ...
2 TUNICA AND ENVIRONS: Las Vegas of the South
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...in The norThern ParT of what was once the poorest county in the nation stands a castle trimmed in neon surrounded by a moat. A faux drawbridge leads into a shopping mallâsize atrium that reverberates with the plink-plink of hundreds of slot machines. Follow the plush carpeting to the end, past gift shops and blackjack tables, and you reach an escalator that ...
3 CLARKSDALE: Cradle of the Blues, Crossroads of Cultures
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...when i asked The GenTleMan who answered the phone at the Riverside Hotel if he had any nonsmoking rooms available that evening, he told me what I needed to know. âIf you donât smoke, then itâs a nonsmoking room. He was as polite as could be, but I detected a chuckle in his voice. Forced to decide on the spot if local color was worth the possible trade-off ...
4 COMO: Hill Town with a Delta Rhythm
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CoMoâs dePoT disaPPeared with the cotton commerce after the Great Depression. Gone are the days when this hill town on the edge of the Delta could claim more millionaires per capita than any other Mississippi town.Yet a lively social scene prevails on Main Street. Several restaurants occupy the short row of storefronts facing lovely Victorian mansions across ...
5 TALLAHATCHIE COUNTY: Wild and Mysterious
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TallahaTChie CoUnTy stretches from the fecund flatlands in the west to the undulating eastern hills. In the old days, it could take weeks to traverse the swamps and woods to get from one town to the next, thus two county seats: Charleston in the east, Sumner in the west. The cultural divide is also âThereâs a feeling that the west side is more the landed gentry and ...
6 CLEVELAND AND ENVIRONS: Home of the Fighting Okra
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Vicksburg, becomes the main thoroughfare of Cleveland, a lively little town midway between the two cities that is home to Delta State University. Founded as a teachersâ college in 1924, this campus of four thousand boasts a music institute, performing arts center, the Mississippi Blues Hall of Fame, and championship sports teams. But the school is perhaps best ...
7 GREENVILLE: Athens of the Delta
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The desTiny of every delTa Town is tied to the Mississippi River, but none as Greenville lies on the eastern bank of Lake Ferguson, an oxbow lake formed when the Mississippi River changed course. Several floating casinos are docked along its waterfront, where crowds gather for concerts, picnics, and fishing tournaments. But driving through the city, you may not even ...
8 LELAND: Imagination Flows along Deer Creek
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...leland, a town of five thousand about twelve miles west of Greenville, proudly touts itself as the birthplace of Kermit the Frog. Muppets creator Jim Henson spent the better part of his boyhood here. While his agronomist father studied soybeans for the nearby USDA research center, Henson collected frogs and snakes and lizards along the mossy banks of Deer ...
9 SUNFLOWER COUNTY: Homegrown Legends
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...sUnflower CoUnTy is the longest county in Mississippi, a narrow, fifty-six-mile swath of flatland as deep into the Delta as you can go. Drive it top to bottom and you can view every archetypal snapshot of the region from your car window. Cotton, corn, soybeans, rice, and catfish all grow in abundance. Flocks of waterfowl fly over the Sunflower River. Rickety old railroad tracks, ...
10 GREENWOOD AND ENVIRONS: From Cotton Capital of the World to Home of the High-Tech Range
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The enTranCe inTo Greenwood via Grand Boulevard is, indeed, grand. For miles and miles you drive southward through endless farmland and swampland along Money Road, which eventually becomes a short bridge that crosses the Tallahatchie River. Suddenly, youâre on a wide street lined by towering oaks and impressive homes of diverse architectural styles, ...
11 HUMPHREYS COUNTY: The Catfish Capital
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Images of this bottom feeder-turned-restaurant staple are everywhere. Wildly painted fiberglass mudcats pose in front of businesses all over downtown. A whale-size catfish sculpture rests in a shallow pond near the Catfish Capitol, a museum and visitors center. Smaller iron replicas of cat-fish appear to leap from the rectangular pool on the spacious lawn in front ...
12 YAZOO CITY: Half Hills and Half Delta
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...in his 1967 MeMoir North toward Home, Willie Morris succinctly describes Yazoo City, the town where he grew up: âhalf hills and half delta, only forty miles from the Mississippi, as the crow flies.â When you see the giant clouds billowing from the smokestacks of the fertilizer plant along Highway 49, While Mississippi Chemical Corporation has been integral to the areaâs ...
13 VICKSBURG: Red Carpet City of the South
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The MississiPPi delTa ends in a little city high on a bluff where a battle that Vicksburg (population: 25,000) bears little resemblance to the downtrod-den towns that dot the alluvial plain upriver. The terrain is rolling and steep. Antebellum mansionsânotably absent elsewhere in the Deltaâstand Settled in the early 1800s, Vicksburg quickly developed into a busy port ...
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Thereâs no siGnPosT proclaiming where the Delta ends. But at Vicksburgâs Catfish Row, the murky waters of the Mississippi and the Yazoo merge at last, marking the unofficial southern terminus of a remarkable region.I could follow the southward path of many a motorist and continue on to New Orleans, where (or just south of the city, anyway) the Mississippi ...
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The resTaUranTs I focused on in these pages are known for serving good food that transcends trends in a welcoming atmosphere. Beyond that, they contribute to a better understanding of the Delta and its citizens. Most of these businesses have been established for years, but even newcomers are I have personally dined at all but a very small handful that I could not ...
About the Recipes
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The reCiPes I selected were culled from many more that I tested in my home kitchen. Together they present, to my way of thinking, a composite of the character and diversity of the people, places, and social customs I have observed throughout the Delta. This is the same criteria I used in selecting eateries and food products to highlight. I did not include routine ...
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...i foUnd These Cookbooks very helpful in educating me about Delta foodways. Adaptations of some of their recipes appear throughout the book.Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort. Cooking with C.A.R.E.: A Collection of Recipes by Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort. 2008. http://www.charleston-Craig Claiborneâs Southern Cooking. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2007....
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Index of Restaurants and Places of Note
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Index of Recipes
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Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 75 color photos, 1 map
Publication Year: 2013