I’ve been to Mississippi and I like it.
Not long ago Stacey and I spent a few days driving around the central Mississippi area. We didn’t know for sure where we would go, but we had a book written by John T. Edge on places to eat in the southeast. The name of the book is ” Southern Belly” and a new edition has just come out.
Edge is one of the folks responsible for the Southern Foodways Alliance. He has become a leading advocate for the promotion, preservation and documentation of southern culture. Food is his specialty. This book will lead you from one great place to eat then another, nonstop. We were also lucky enough to find a few things on our own, such as the Alluvian Hotel, in beautiful downtown Greenwood Mississippi, what a cool town to spend the night in.
First of all we headed to Mississippi from Tuscaloosa Al. We had just left my sisters home in Hoover, Alabama. We were going to find us some tamales. That’s right tamales in Mississippi. We are headed to Clarksdale, straight across the state, looking for Oscar Orsby. Oscar set up shop on the corner of 4th and Yazoo St. He’s there every Friday and Saturday from noon til ten. The tamales are good and so are the hotdogs. The tamales are not what we are used to, they are smaller and drenched in a not to hot red sauce.
Now tamales may not be the first thing you think of when you think Mississippi, but they are everywhere in the delta region. Story goes, the Hispanic labours came from Texas during harvest season and of course they would make tamales, with corn being so plentiful. So when they left after harvest season the local African Americans who had starting eating and preparing them with their coworkers continued to make and started to sell them on the streets to make extra income.
Next we head for Greenwood. When we get to town it’s getting kind of late in the afteernoon so we start looking for a spot to spend the night and I tell Stacey, I got the feeling there’s a great place for us to stay in this town.
We drive towards the downtown district. By checking out the old buildings and the size of the downtown area, I know we are gonna find something good.
Well, we turn the corner and there sits the Viking Range showroom. I had read recently the story behind the Viking Company. I remember one article, in the New Yorker magazine, about their first customer. She lives in N.Y.C. She had lots of trouble with the frist stove, but spent years working with Viking getting things right.
Right across the street sits the Alluvian Hotel. A cosmopolitan luxury boutique hotel right in the middle of small town Mississippi. Stacey went straight in and got us a room and then walked across the street to check out the Viking showroom. It’s all a big deal and worth a weekend trip to the hotel and cooking classes at Viking. Viking has lead the way in the revitalization of Greenwood and it’s something to see.
Stacey and decided to order room service and enjoy some wine we had with us. So we sat in bed, ate gourmet food and drank wine, not bad. The next morning we had breakfast in the hotel. They laid out a southern breakfast fit for king and I ate like one.
We checked out and hit the road. Headed for Marvell, Arkansas.