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  • 2. ACC E N T SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Volume 1, Number 3 †¢ October 2009 JOIN OUR FACEBOOK FAN PAGE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Robyn Jackson CONTRIBUTORS Trudy Berger Karen Blakeney Charlotte Blom Layla Essary Louie Galiano Kristen Twedt Valerie Wells GUEST COLUMNISTS Dawn Gillis Karen Blakeney James Welch ADVERTISING For advertising information Kristi Carver Brookhaven and McComb Charlotte Blom Hattiesburg DESIGN & FABRICATION Lisa W. Pittman SUBSCRIPTIONS ACCENT South Mississippi is published bimonthly by SoMiss Publishing LLC Post Office Box 19027 Hattiesburg, MS 39404-9027 SoMiss Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. Contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in any manner without written consent from Publisher. ACCENT South Mississippi cannot be held liable for errors and omissions. Printed in the U.S.A.
  • 3. o cto b e r 2 0 0 9 | ACC E N T S O U T H M I S S I S S I P P I | V O L . 1, N O. 3 CONTENTS features Seasonâs™s Best! 32 16 BEAUTIFUL AGAIN by Valerie Wells Hattiesburg architect Larry Albert oversees restoration of historic Beauvoir SWEET AS HONEY by Charlotte Blom Petal beekeepers buzz about honeyâs™s healing powers BREAKFAST AT TIFFANYât ™S by Layla Essary Junior Auxiliary to host charity ball to fund annual service projects 24 RINGSIDE AT RICHBURG by Valerie Wells Sullivan-Kilrain fight made headlines and raised a ruckus 120 years ago 20 26 WILD AT HEART by Layla Essary Transplant gives Hattiesburg woman second chance at life ON THE COVER Decorate with Scarecrows Photography - PhotoXpress ABOVE Pumpkin Painting Photography by Erica Sherrill Owens 22 4 a cc e n t south mississippi
  • 4. CONTENTS GUEST COLUMNS O CTO B E R 2 0 0 9 | ACC E N T S O U T H M I S S I S S I P P I 12 14 DAWN GILLIS Still waiting for a cure JAMES WELCH Southern gatherings always include family, fun and food ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT in every issue 10 Editorâs™s Notes 56 Life in South Mississippi 32 34 42 44 46 48 50 53 54 55 SEASONâ2™S BEST Fall photo essay by Erica Owens CLAY MATES Coast artist infuses emotion into handcrafted figures 34 44 SOUTH MS CUISINE WHEN THE STOMACH IS FULL, THE HEART IS CONTENT Joyce & Darnellât ™s in Carriere FRESH FROM THE FARM HattiesburgâA™s New Yokel Market caters to organic food lovers SISSY AND THE INEZ RESTAURANT A love affair with food in Brookhaven ââœI COULD EAT IT ALLâR The Dinner Bell in McComb keeps the tables loaded with Southern specialties SEAFOOD THE OLD BILOXI WAY Tarantoâa ™s Crawfish and More is worth the drive to Woolmarket BRING YOUR APPETITE Sample the best of Brookhavenâs ™s restaurants and caterers at Taste of the Trust IN THE KITCHEN APPLE-ICIOUS Autumnâr™s favorite bounty Try these delicious recipes and enjoy the best of fallâA™s harvest PUMPKINS Pumpkins - not just for carving 54 6 a cc e n t south mississippi
  • 5. CONTRIBUTORS TRUDY BERGER, a retired business consultant who moved to Southwest Mississippi after a 30-year professional career in Houston, is an election commissioner for Pike County and a volunteer for the Summit Historical Society, the McComb Depot Railroad Museum and the Preservation Commission in her current hometown. She is a graduate of the LSU School of Journalism. KAREN BLAKENEY is an award-winning writer who lives in Gulfport with her husband and five children. Before graduating from Millsaps College, she studied art and poetry at St. JohnâB™s College at Oxford University. Karen has recently completed a memoir about her young sonâe™s struggle to overcome Scimitar Syndrome and Congenital Kyphosis. She maintains a congenital heart defects Web site, CHARLOTTE BLOM has a bachelor of arts degree from Vassar College. She has been freelance copy editing and writing for years, as well as sampling unrelated professional experiences. She enjoys exploring, hunting and gathering in and around her home in Hattiesburg. LAYLA ESSARY is a freelance writer for various publications and works as a contract public relations consultant. Before fulfilling communication roles with two area- wide non-profit organizations, Layla worked for nearly a decade as an anchor and reporter for local television stations in Mississippi. She and her husband Mike enjoy watching their two elementary-aged kids play baseball and participate in swim team activities. LOUIS A. GALIANO owns an antiques store with his wife Debbie in Picayune. A graduate of Louisiana State University with twin degrees in English and business, his career has been mostly in management and in teaching college economics. He is presently at work on his second novel, a sequel to his first, ââœSnorkel Immersions in Time.â❠Born in New Orleans, he moved to the Picayune area more than 20 years ago. KRISTEN TWEDT is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Mississippi Magazine, South Mississippi Scene, The Hattiesburg American and various online ezines. Books include ââœA Tribute to Mom,â❠and ââœMy Crazy Christmas Catastrophe Cat.â❠A Mississippi Gulf Coast native and graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Kristen lives in Hattiesburg with husband Steven and two children, Sam and Katie. Samples of her columns appear at VALERIE WELLS is a freelance writer who has covered all aspects of community journalism for the past 20 years. A military brat with deep roots in South Mississippi, she looks for stories about the shared history and culture of the region brought to life by everyday folk. She has written for national and regional magazines and has been editor of several publications and Web sites. She lives in Hattiesburg with a patient husband and two well-adjusted sons. 8 a cc e n t south mississippi
  • 6. EDITOR⠙S NOTES SINCERELY SOUTHERN FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD O 10 a cc e n t south mississippi ONE OF THE BEST THINGS ABOUT BEING FEATURES EDITOR AT A DAILY NEWSPAPER IS ALL THE FREE C O O K B O O K S Y O U G E T I N T H E M A I L . P U B L I S H E R S WERE always sending me review copies of their cookbooks when I was features editor at the Hattiesburg American, and I gladly found ways to include as many of the cookbooks as possible on the weekly food page. A locally-produced volume, such as the one from Hattiesburgât™s Main Street Baptist Church featured in this issueâa ™s article on pumpkin recipes, would get a full feature with photos and several sample recipes. Sometimes, I just pulled a recipe or two from several cookbooks to include in a round-up type of story (try these lasagnas, chicken casseroles, fruit pies, etc.). The cookbooks piled up on my desk and filled my filing cabinet drawers until I was done with them. I gave away a fair number to co-workers, but many of the books came home with me. Now, I have a shelf full of cookbooks collected during my 25 years in the newspaper business, and I still enjoy leafing through them occasionally. Like a lot of other collectors, I enjoy curling up with a good cookbook, salivating over the beautiful color photographs and fantasizing about how the recipes taste, imagining the feast I might prepare for my family and friends. The funny thing is, I hardly ever try any of the recipes in the books! Once in a while I go through one or two looking for something new to try. I have a few quick and easy recipes that I fall back on, and itâe™s easy to get stuck in a recipe rut when you cook the same meals week after week. A new cookbook usually inspires me to at least try one or two new recipes. Occasionally, one will become part of my repertoire. One of the best things about living in South Mississippi is the food. Whether we dine with friends at one of our favorite restaurants, cook for ourselves at home, or enjoy the spread at a family reunion, church dinner on the grounds or an office potluck, we have an abundance of tasty choices. No wonder Mississippi has the unfortunate distinction of being the most overweight state in the nation. The calories from all those delicious meals of fried chicken or shrimp gumbo add up quickly, but how can we pass up those buttery biscuits or that bowl of peach cobbler topped by a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream? This issue of Accent South Mississippi celebrates the cuisine of our region. From traditional Southern dishes and Creole/Cajun-flavored treats to farm-raised Mississippi Delta catfish and fresh Gulf seafood, we are truly blessed to live in a part of the world where good food is such a tremendous part of life. And with the holidays almost here, the feast is about to begin. Pass the cornbread dressing and enjoy! Robyn Jackson
  • 8. GUEST COLUMN | dawn gillis October marks the 25th anniversary of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month organization is a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services. For more information, go to Still waiting for a cure SURVIVING BREAST CANCER INSPIRED DAWN GILLIS TO START A FOUNDATION TO HELP OTHERS I 12 a cc e n t TEXT BY DAWN GILLIS In August of 1997, it was time for my yearly visit to the mammography department at Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg. As usual, I also needed an ultrasound because my breasts were very dense. I left there thinking, ââœIââ™m glad thatââ™s done for another year!⠝ A few days later, I received a call from my doctorâr ™s office saying that he wanted a needle biopsy performed because there was a small area of calcification that he wanted checked. Off to LAW for that procedure, which wasnâf ™t too fun. A few days later, ââœthatâ❠call came in from the doctor himself, giving me that dreaded diagnosis: breast cancer. It was quite a shock because I always had my mammograms and did selfexams and never felt anything unusual. The next week I got all the details. It was a very small area, stage 1, but I needed a mastectomy. I had never had surgery before, nor been in a hospital other than for child birth. On the morning of surgery I remember the anesthesiologist saying, ââœBoy, you really picked one to start out with!âe and there was no node involvement and prognosis was excellent. After conferring with the oncologist, it was decided that I did not have to undergo chemotherapy and radiation. Thank God! Nevertheless, all of this was very traumatic and recovery was slow. Two years later, after a thorough recovery and mental acceptance, I had reconstructive surgery. Now, each year, I have my visit to the doctor and several lab procedures and an ultrasound. So far, so good. I am a prime example of the importance of yearly mammograms and selfexams. Some women either put off mammograms because of the discomfort or fear of diagnosis or they cannot afford the cost. Today, there is no need for these excuses. There are several funding sources in south mississippi
  • 9. our area to help with costs and there are many support systems on which to lean. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the outcome. As a result of my experience, I created the Waiting For a Cure Foundation to help other women through breast health education, providing a support system, especially for the newly diagnosed, and financial support especially for the uninsured. ââœThe Pink Palateâh breast cancer survivor cookbook kick-started the Foundation. It set a record for the number of reprints by the printing company and received cookbook of the year honors in 2007. Three years later, it is still a hot commodity, even though its sequel, ââœSweet Success,â❠is experiencing brisk sales, as well. All monies from these sales have been put back into the community to help patients, survivors and their immediate families. Sometimes things happen in our lives that we donâr™t understand and are hard to accept. I truly believe that if I had not received that diagnosis, Waiting For a Cure Foundation might not exist today and many ladies would not have benefitted from its services. So, we trek on, doing our thing, and feeling ââœwarm fuzziesâ❠because of it. Dawn Gillis, second from right, was honored by Forrest General Hospital⠙s Spirit of Women for her work to promote breast cancer awareness. TO PURCHASE A COPY OF ââœThe Pink Palateâ❠or âââSweet Successâ❠cookbooks, go œ to or call (601) 543-5719. a cc e n t s o u t h m i s s i s s i p p i 13
  • 10. GUEST COLUMN | james welch Southern gatherings always include T TEXT BY JAMES WELCH The sweet aroma of grandmotherâu™s fresh-baked cornbread drifts through the warm air. Various thuds and grunts can be heard from the backyard as cousins and uncles toss the football around. The dirt flies as they spin on their heels to make a difficult catch. An ever-increasing pleasance hangs in the air as family members begin arriving for what has become as much a part of Mississippi as pine trees or mud. These very informal family gatherings happen rather frequently all across our great state. The informality of it has become the very thing that is so beautiful about it. We can arrive in comfortable attire and not be concerned in the slightest, as today we are completely surrounded by those who love us. Flip-flops are the norm and shorts the most practical, in the fight to beat the heat. The importance of comfort overshadows the importance of looking prim when we are back home. The sounds of children at play ring with a resounding and very satisfying nature, as their laughter instantly makes one smile. Mothers snap pictures as children run by, playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians. Jump ropes and Frisbees lay motionless in the yard as the children play chase or climb a tree. With dirt on their faces they laugh and play. Even this helps to ease the mood and provide for this unique atmosphere. Meals of mouth-watering baked beans, delectable pulled pork and uncle Billâo™s brisket begin arriving. Delicious Potato salad and coleslaw that combine choice ingredients which explode with divine flavor upon each bite start lining the folding tables as people congregate around them. Salads and casseroles are plentiful and recipes are exchanged. Paper plates and disposable napkins are used, to even further decrease the work involved, proving that the ultimate goal is to dissipate any stress that is brought to the table. The conversations take satisfying strolls through topics like the weather, the news and how juicy the hamburgers are. The dialogue is genuine and no ulterior motives exist, because youâr™re amongst family. Almost as a routine there will be talk of recent ailments and accomplishments throughout the
  • 11. de family, fun, and fantastic food! family. Discussions about work, play and life goals are almost certain to be had. Then, there will be rejoicing together and grieving together, where needed, as families tend to do. Topics never stay glum long, though, before returning to happy times and reminiscences of all the old family stories. Lots of laughs help to create a very unique, light-hearted environment where you can truly feel free. The savory smells of pies and cakes fill the house and begin to lighten the already easygoing mood as their aromas mix and mingle with the aromas from the wide array of foods being prepared. By now everyone is anxious to eat after being subjected to the amazing ways that Southern foods penetrate all of our senses at once. We smell them, see them and just canâr™t wait to taste them. Great Southern cuisine penetrates us right down to our souls. As we eat an amazing culinary masterpiece we begin to become increasingly happy. Our souls crave great food as much as our stomachs do. Each enjoyable bite comes with an increased pleasantness, until we feel that our souls are filled. Each sweet flavor seems to sweeten our mood and each spice seems to spice up our lives. With each delightful bite we can delight in how wonderful life is and savor the moment. We use these meetings, comprised of great food, family and friends, to celebrate everything from Little League games to The World Series. We gather in this way, over great Southern entrees, to celebrate a wedding or an anniversary, when we see the kids off to college and when someone retires from a fulfilling career. When welcoming a baby into the world, one can expect to find these types of assemblies. No matter the occasion, I think youân ™ll agree that these gatherings are essential to our Southern lives. The fondest memories I have of my grandmother involve her at the stove, or our family enjoying her wonderful meals. When anyone visited with her, she began by saying hello and immediately began asking if they were hungry. It was very important to her that when you left her home, you were full, so periodically throughout a conversation sheân ™d interject with something like ââœWould you like a slice of pie?â❠I now see that she understood that a good visit was complete when mind, body and soul were filled with great Southern cuisine. a cc e n t s o u t h m i s s i s s i p p i 15
  • 12. DESTINATIONS | beauvoir B EAUTIFUL A GAIN Hattiesburg architect Larry Albert oversees restoration of historic Beauvoir
  • 13. O TEXT BY VALERIE WELLS PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY ALBERT & ASSOCIATES One of the signs of the Gulf CoastâO™s rejuvenation is a white, raised cottage Greek Revival home built in 1848 on a prominent corner in an old city. Beauvoir, the small mansion in Biloxi where Jefferson Davis spent his retirement, survived 21 hurricanes before 2005. The president of the Confederacy moved to this beachfront property in 1877 and lived here until he died in 1889. After Hurricane Katrina ripped the porch off the old house and left behind a skeleton of wood, many assumed Beauvoir was hopelessly destroyed. Now restored, Beauvoir - French for beautiful to look at - hides an invisible strength inside its graceful walls. ââœWe have made the building 90 percent stronger than before Katrina,âo  said Larry Albert, the Hattiesburg architect who oversaw the detailed historic renovation.
  • 14. The ceiling of the formal reception hall is the star attaction. Reinforced steel is the hidden skeleton of the house now that buckles Beauvoir tightly to the ground. Surrounded by wood and steel, visitors would not be able to see the steel. Instead, they would see a scene from the late 19th century. ââœIt looks the same now,âd Albert said. Other treasures to look for are the wall and ceiling paintings. Visitors who saw Beauvoir before Katrina will see richer colors in the restoration, including a faux painted oak door. Albert began the massive undertaking in May 2006. The work took just a little more than one year. On Jefferson Davisâa™s 200th birthday on June 3, 2007, Beauvoir reopened to the public. ââœItââ™s worth a trip to see it replicated,â❠Albert said. About 100 to 150 visitors come to the grounds every day, said Rick Forte, acting director and chairman of the board of Mississippi Division of the Sons of 18 a cc e n t south mississippi
  • 15. Confederate Veterans, the organization that owns and operates the site. He⠙d like to see closer to 250 visitors daily to help offset the costs of rebuilding and maintaining the property. ââœIf Jefferson Davis hadnââ™t lived in Beauvoir, a casino would be there now,âr Forte said. Just like the hidden steel that keeps the house buckled to the ground, Jefferson Davis the man has more layers than what most of us remember - that he was the political head of the South during the Civil War. Forte wants visitors to know Davis was also a U.S. senator, a hero of the Mexican War, secretary of war under President Pierce and a founder of the Smithsonian Institution. If not for the Civil War (or the War Between the States if you prefer) , Davis would have been president of the United States, Forte contends. After Davis died, the 51 acres with cottages became a home for Confederate veterans and their widows. As late as the 1950s, some of the last Confederate widows were still living on the grounds. Forteââ™s mission today is to ââœeducate the world about Jefferson Davis and the Confederate soldier.âo  A cemetery on the property includes the graves of hundreds of Confederate soldiers. Besides the Greek Revival home and its furnishings, other buildings on site include replicas of the cottages that were destroyed by Katrina. A new presidential library and museum will be built just 30 yards away from where the old one was, a move dictated in order to get federal money to fund the rebuild. Other outbuildings that were lost to Katrina will be replicated in accurate historic detail. Plans to recreate Varina Davis⠙s flower and vegetable garden will be historically correct also, only using plants Miss Varina would have used. Beauvoir is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Itâr™s easy to find, too. The address, 2244 Beach Blvd., is at the corner of U.S. 90 and Beauvoir Road, right next to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum. Guided tours are available to adults for $9 and children for $5. For information, call (228) 388-4400 or go to Above, the parlor leading to the library and beams removed from Beauvoir during the restoration process. a cc e n t s o u t h m i s s i s s i p p i 19
  • 16. FEATURES |beekeeper HONEY sweet as Petal beekeepers buzz about honeyâô ™s healing powers B 20 a cc e n t TEXT AND PHOTOS BY CHARLOTTE BLOM order to get the benefits from it, especially the anti-allergenic effects, Bud specified, it has to be locally-produced honey. ââœDonââ™t be foolish enough to go buy honey from a health food store from California,ân Bud warned. Honey, they also informed me, has antibacterial properties, one time healing a stubbornly inflamed dog scratch on Billie Jeanây ™s arm. The Crosbys hadnâe™t actually meant to get into beekeeping. After Bud retired 23 years ago from United Gas Pipeline, the couple intended to spend more time tending to the earth and their garden, as well as the blueberries, bananas, muscadines, Bradford pear trees and peach trees all growing in their back yard. Each summer, advertised only by a roadside sign, blueberry picking also brings the Crosbys ââœhundreds of gallonsâ❠worth of business. Bud decided to start one honey bee hive in order to help pollinate their plants. But soon the sole hive was attracting more swarms, and since a hive can only have one queen, ââœjust like women,âe Bud joked, he had to get more. By the end of the first year, the Crosbys were up to five hives. After 22 years, ââœB&Bâ❠Bee Farm expanded to more than 20 hives at several locations, including Lumberton. As the couple demonstrated the process of extracting honey, recounted facts about the beesâl™ Billie Jean Crosby greeted me at the front door in her striped blue T-shirt and jeans shorts and stepped aside to invite me into the living room. Serenading me with a howl from the top of their brown leather couch was a little blonde dog, Angel. Beside her stood the jovial 78-year-old beekeeper, Grady ââœBudâ❠Crosby. Billie Jean and Bud are the dynamic duo behind ââœB&Bâ❠Bee Farm, based out of Petal. At their kitchen counter they recounted several stories of how they came into beekeeping, all the places theyâr ™ve lived before settling into retirement at their 2-acre property, various scenarios of their mailboxesâi ™ demise (it had just been knocked over for the 17th time the day before), and about all four of their dogs, including 3-legged dog, Lucky, and their blind dog, Bear. Bud and Billie Jean, married for 57 years, have an easy rapport with one another, often making witty plays on words as Billie Jean affixed labels on a couple of jars of honey and a jar of bee pollen, which she takes religiously. ââœOh, she wonââ™t go a day without it,âo said Bud. Billie Jean explained that bee pollen (traces of which are found in honey) is good for allergies, arthritis and that some people even consume it, by the spoonful, for energy, although in some users, it might aggravate some allergies. But in south mississippi
  • 17. intricate organizational and social order, and beekeeping, Bud⠙s amazement seemed fresh, even after two decades of experience. ââœThey are absolutely fascinating,â❠he said. ââœIt boggles my mind â⦠They are undoubtedly the greatest little insect the good Lord ever made. And Iâc For more information on B&B Bee Farm, call (601) 584-8433. Honey is sold at the following locations: Stick⠙s Bar B Q, Corner Market in Hattiesburgâo ™s University Mall and Petal, Rameyât™s in Purvis, Petal Discount Grocery, Chuck Wagon in Runnelstown and Cuevas Fish House in Lumberton. Pollen jars are sold at Vitamins Plus in Hattiesburg.
  • 18. FEATURES | hattiesburg⠙s junior auxiliary Breakfast at Tiffanyâg™s JA to host ââœBreakfast at Tiffanyââ™sââ-themed Charity Ball to fund annual serv ice projects M 22 a cc e n t TEXT AND PHOTOS BY LAYLA ESSARY project chair Kim Gibson. ââœJA was able to offer this dynamic internet safety program to more than 1600 parents and children in the very first year it was offered.â❠ââœSurf Smartâ❠is just one of the 25 service projects sponsored by JA each year. ââœServing children and families throughout the Hattiesburg region continues to be the mission of this incredible organization,âr Auxiliary of Hattiesburg President Hope Andy. ââœJA is comprised of more than a hundred committed More than a hundred parents packed a room at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg last spring to learn more about the emerging danger of internet predators. The Junior Auxiliary of Hattiesburg hosted the ââœSurf Smartâ❠program as a way for experts in the field of law enforcement to educate parents about ways to protect their children from dangers lurking on the World Wide Web. ââœWe were amazed by the community response to this first ever project,ât Auxiliary south mississippi
  • 19. women who not only sacrifice time and resources for others in need, but serve as a liaison to the community to bring in valuable financial contributions through our annual Charity Ball.âi Each year JA provides a wide range of vital support to Pine Belt area children, such as providing nearly a thousand fully supplied backpacks to needy school children, hosting ââœParentââ™s Night Outâ❠events for families with special needs children, and distributing college scholarships for area high school seniors. All of the work conducted by JA members is funded through the organizationâo™s annual Charity Ball. This year⠙s Charity Ball, themed ââœBreakfast at Tiffanyââ™s - The Children Are Our Jewelsâ❠will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 at the Lake Terrace Convention Center. The event raises more than $100,000 to fund the organizationâe™s annual service projects. While some of the projects started more than 50 years ago, new service areas, such as ââœSurf Smart,â0 have been created as a response to emerging issues related to children and family, said JA Second Vice-President Whitney Middleton. ââœJA has been working to improve the lives of children for decades here in Hattiesburg,âe  Middleton said. ââœWeââ™re proud of the strong legaJunior Auxiliary members work tirelessly yearcy of JA, through our willingness to get to know round on projects that promote the health and well-being of children. the children we serve on a personal level, and at the same time, providing services to families weâe ™ll never get to meet. It is a great experience knowing that we are making a difference in this community.ât  ââœWeââ™re excited about the ââ˜Breakfast at Tiffanyââ™sâ♠theme as a way to create an elegant atmosphere for our Charity Ball guests,ân  said Charity Ball CoChair Anita Wright. The event will feature a spectacular silent auction, exquisite artwork, and an assortment of goods and services from regional businesses. Tickets are $100, which admits two. Once again this year the event will feature a For more information about this year⠙s raffle to win a magnificent piece of jewelry valued Charity Ball or the services of the Junior at more than $8,000 from Jewelmasters of Auxiliary of Hattiesburg, visit Hattiesburg. Entertainment is provided by the band Meet the Press. a cc e n t s o u t h m i s s i s s i p p i 23
  • 20. FEATURES | sullivan-kilrain fight RINGSIDE AT R I C H B U R G Sullivan-Kilrain fight made headlines and raised a ruckus 120 years ago T 24 a cc e n t TEXT BY VALERIE WELLS entire caper would make a great movie. The event had it all - comic moments, runs from the law, raw violence and 3,000 spectators - maybe as many as 5,000 by some accounts Today, 120 years later, the Richburg site of the famous sporting event is now part of Hattiesburg. A road bears the name of both fighters as if ââœSullivan Kilrain⠝ had been a single man. A state landmark sign on Veteranâo ™s Highway near the Pine Grove treatment facility gives an abridged version of the famous fight. Hattiesburg historian Andrew English has written a lengthier account of the illegal match that attracted a wild media circus. ââœFar from civilization and the policemanâg™s baton this was the site where sports history would be made,âe  English wrote in his new book, ââœRingside at Richburg.â❠His extensive examination of original documents reveals something of the panic among law enforcement officials in the Deep South who knew this illegal fight was coming soon somewhere nearby. ââœSend me a posse of men at once!â❠the sheriff of Marion County wrote to the sheriff of Lauderdale County. English includes the note in his book as well as the differing accounts of 3,000 to 5,000 witnesses. He describes the ââœcarnival-like atmosphereâ❠of the bout and the train ride to and from Richburg. A substantial amount of money was involved. English wrote that the promoters and investors made more than $24,000 from the eager fans. ââœThe Bigger Brute Won,â❠read the headline in the New York Times on July 8, 1889. The national storyâa™s dateline was New Orleans, but the historic last bare- knuckle fight took place 104 miles northeast, just outside Hattiesburg. After 75 rounds, the fighter John L. Sullivan - the bigger brute - defeated John ââœJakeâ❠Kilrain near a Richburg saw mill. The hype preceding the illegal fight was intense. Promoters made no secret of their plans to pit these two pugilists against each other. The secret was where the fight would be. Speculation fell on New Orleans and crazed boxing enthusiasts went nuts. The mad rush out of Louisiana to avoid the law filled train cars full of reporters and onlookers. The south mississippi
  • 21. Vendors on the train and at the site made money selling beer, water and sandwiches to the crowd. Even though the fight was supposed to start at 8 a.m., it continued most of the morning. English notes that records show it was 104 degrees before 11 a.m. at the South Mississippi spot surrounded by pine trees near a saw mill. And the fight really did last 75 rounds. Blow-by-blow accounts appeared in many newspapers. Sullivan probably had won the fight by the 68th round when Kilrain started to act dazed and some wondered if he had a concussion or possibly a sun stroke from the July sun. But he hung in there through the 75th round and could take no more. ââœKilrain was done for at the end of the round and he had to be ât˜carried panting to his cor- œ ner,ââ™â❠English writes. Other records of the match back this account. âââThe fight had lasted two hours, sixteen minutes, and twenty-three seconds, and the spectators, realizing they had witnessed something momentous, scrounged for souvenirs,⠝ reads a report belonging to the University of Southern Mississippi archives. Not all those souvenirs went for free. Splinters of the ring posts sold for $5. Someone paid $50 for Sullivan⠙s hat. The law did catch up with the illegal fighters eventually. Sullivan was arrested in Nashville and Kilrain was arrested in Baltimore. They would have to return to Mississippi for another type of fight. ââœA Purvis, Mississippi jury found Sullivan guilty of prizefighting, and in the end, he paid a $500 fine and left the state,â❠according to the USM archives. ââœKilrain, found guilty of assault and battery was fined $500 and sentenced to six months in jail.âg The national coverage the fight received was unprecedented. Wire reports flew out of New Orleans. Even the White House got early word that Sullivan was won the fight in the Piney Woods. In his introduction, English writes about what the ring must have looked like, how the crowd acted and even wondered about the smell of the gunpowder in the air. ââœI wish I could have been there,â❠he wrote. ââœRingside at Richburg: Americaââ™s Last Heavyweight Bare-knuckle Championship,â❠by Andrew R. English is available at Main Street Books.
  • 22. FEATURES | second chance at life W ILD TEXT BY LAYLA ESSARY AT H EART Transplant gives Hattiesburg woman second chance at life A 26 a cc e n t About four times a week, Toni Wild takes a short drive from her Oak Grove home to a Hattiesburg gym. Within minutes she settles into the familiar surroundings of the weight room, followed by a brisk jog on the treadmill. With each new day she is able to add a little more distance and a bit more time to her training routine. Wild has her sights set on running a race in October. If it werenân ™t for the blue mask secured around her nose and mouth and a scar on her chest, there are few signs that beating inside her chest is a heart that she received just a few short months ago. ââœI was sitting in the hospital when we heard words that were so hard to hear. No one dreams they are going to have to have a heart transplant.âh  Those unimaginable words by her doctor this year is yet another chapter in Toni Wildât ™s incredible journey of determination and endurance. After surviving cancer in 1992, she once again had to battle the disease in 1998. That round of chemotherapy did irreparable harm to her heart; she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and spent the next decade of her life managing the condition with medications and a fierce adherence to doctorâe ™s orders. ââœI was able to live a full life all these years, but I noticed I wasnââ™t feeling well back in April,âw said Wild, dismissing the malaise as a common cold. ââœI went to the cardiologist and we tweaked the medicine some. But I could tell I was getting very winded walking even short distances. Something told me it was heart related.ây Her hunch proved to be correct. In May, Wild was referred back to Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, where she had been treated years before. After extensive tests, the medical team came to one conclusion. ââœThey told me at this point that all they could see as an option was a heart transplant,âb  said Wild, reflecting on the impact of those words. ââœIt just made us take a step back and start asking whether this was Godâa ™s plan for us.âe  For Toni, stepping back stirred up recollections of a very different type of heart transplant decision twelve years ago. In 1997, Toniâo™s first husband, Tom Shoemaker, was tragically killed in a car accident. In the thick cloud of grief, Toni took decisive actions to donate a number of his organs to others in need - organs that included his heart. ââœAt the time of Tomân™s accident I took great comfort in the midst of my grief knowing that my loss could somehow enhance someone elseâr™s life. Years later I found myself in the hospital, realizing that I needed a heart. Just years prior I had given one away.âs POSITIVE ATTITUDE In 1999, the two-time cancer survivor met her future husband, Jim Wild. ââœOf course, I didnââ™t know her when she went through those previous adversities, but I knew that she had this fantastic âo ˜get on with lifeân ™ attitude that drew me to her,â❠he said. ââœAnd thatââ™s never been truer than now.âo In June of 2009, with the encouragement of her family and friends, Toni Wild began exhaustive efforts to be placed on the national heart transplant south mississippi
  • 23. registry. Each day Toni faced a litany of tests that had to be passed before moving on to the next step in the process. ââœI had to take just about every test imaginable,â❠said Wild. ââœWe had to do bone scans and brain scans to make sure that there was no sign of cancer visible. We did vascular studies and G.I. studies. Every day it was something different. Having had cancer, I waited with bated breath to get those results, just hoping everything was clear.⠝ Jim said that those trying days not only drew the couple closer, but they also formed incredible bonds with members of the Ochsnerââ™s staff. ââœThere were so many people there at the hospital that we grew close to during our days of waiting,â❠said Jim Wild. ââœWe developed this kind of synergy with the hospital staff where we received hope and assurance from them, but I believe we were able to give life and encouragement back to them, as well.âm Critical care nurse Teresa Green said she instantly connected with Toni and Jim during their stay at Ochsner Medical. ââœI was truly touched by their faith in God and in each other,â❠said Green. ââœWorking in a life or death set- ting gives me lots of opportunities to offer hope and support to patients and families. They were so receptive and encouraging.âa motion to place me on the registry list. Before they would release me, they had to put me on a 24/7 heart medication I.V. That continuous supply of medicine is what kept me going.â7 The couple came home on Memorial Day. So much had happened while they were away, including their oldest sonâe™s graduation from high school earlier that month. ââœI had so many plans for his graduation,â❠said Wild. âââI had to œ realize that I was a hundred miles away and couldnâu ™t take care of any of it. I had to relinquish all of that and let family and friends step in and put my plans into action. And thatâo™s exactly what they did.âf  They even provided a live video feed of the graduation. ââœI had the best seat in the house,â❠laughed Toni. MIXED EMOTIONS Now back at home, Toni and Jim Wild began the waiting game. ââœThey told me it could be months before I got the call. They encouraged us to not give up or lose hope because the chances were good,âl said Toni. Factors like her good health, body size, and antibodies played a role in those favorable chances, not to mention her blood type - B positive. ââœKnowing that Toniââ™s blood type is B positive Soon Toni and Jim received the results. ââœOur medical team all came together with the conclusion that I was a good candidate,â❠said Toni Wild. ââœThen they started putting the ball in 28 a cc e n t south mississippi
  • 24. seemed fitting to us, because of her positive attitude and perseverance,⠝ said Jim Wild. ââœThat resiliency resonated with the staff at Ochsnerââ™s. And knowing that she had been in the giving role years before touched them.âv  Toni spent the next week getting back into the routine of home life, managing schedules, cooking, and running an occasional errand. Toni said the medications made her day-today life tolerable. Content with the realization that they would probably have to wait for months, a phone call at 11:49 in the evening on June 1 changed all that. ââœIt was Ochsnerâe™s calling. Jim answered and handed me the phone. The lady on the phone said, ââ˜Toni, we have a possible heart for you. Pack your bags and get here quickly. When she said those words to me, you canâa ™t imagine the flood of emotions that I experienced at that moment. I felt the blood rush from my head to my feet.⠝ Toni said the bevy of mixed emotions came from knowing exactly what the donor family was experiencing. ââœItââ™s an experience you have to live through to understand. I knew this family was agreeing to the most selfless act they could do for someone else. It was truly a bittersweet moment.âs So after only a week at home, the Wilds said their goodbyes to family, packed up quickly, and headed down to New Orleans. After checking into the ICU, her doctor greeted her with words that Toni said sheââ™ll never forget. ââœHe said, ââ˜Girl, it looks like itââ™s your day.âr™ I was overcome with emotion. At that point, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.⠝ Part of Toniât™s anxiety stemmed from witnessing countless surgeries during her career as a nurse in an operating room. ââœIââ™ve seen and been a part of many different types of surgeries. Perhaps I knew a little too much about what can happen. You have to completely rely on other people to be your advocate, to do whatâa™s best for you.⠝ One of those advocates was her nurse, Teresa Green. ââœMy nurse was such a caring, sweet individual. She went down to surgery with me and held my hand and right before they took me through the double doors she sang the most beautiful hymn to me and told me everything would be OK.â❠ââœIt was a beautiful occasion to participate in that important day,â❠Green said. ââœWhen you have to face that kind of valley, in the end, you enter into surgery alone. It was my joy to walk part of that road with her.â❠ââœAs you can imagine, I wasnââ™t sure how it would turn out, but I had an inexplicable sense of peace that everything would be OK no matter the outcome,âl Toni said. It took about five hours to do the heart transplant surgery. The doctors told Jim Wild that the heart was a perfect fit for Toni. ââœI feel like my old self again,â❠Toni said. ââœIââ™ve already forgotten what it feels like to have shortness of breath. I can go all day without taking breaks and naps to get through the day and take care of my family.ây In addition to resuming exercise and her role with family and friends, Toni is looking for opportunities to share her story, to encourage others, and to help educate the public about the issue of organ donation. ââœI believe Iââ™ve been given another chance at life for a reason and I will never take that for granted. Itâa ™s been a while since Iâi ™ve felt this good, and now I just hope to get better and stronger.âw  Her goal is to be strong enough to run in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this October. And while she doesn⠙t expect to run at full speed for the entire distance of the event, Toni Wild fully intends to finish the race. Toni Wild said she hopes to meet the family of the heart donor one day. She still keeps in contact with the recipient of the heart she donated 12 years ago when her first husband, Tom, died. a cc e n t s o u t h m i s s i s s i p p i 29
  • 25. ART | fall fun in south mississippi Seasonâa™s Best Itâs™s time for Mother Nature to put on her brilliant costume before winter brings drab skies to South Mississippi. Autumn brings opportunities for families to carve or paint pumpkins, decorate with scarecrows and mums, and try some of the tasty treats that are so popular this time of year. PHOTOS BY ERICA SHERRILL OWENS
  • 26. a cc e n t s o u t h m i s s i s s i p p i 33
  • 27. ART | artist stacey johnson C LAY MATES Coast artist infuses emotion into handcrafted figures W 34 a cc e n t TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAREN BLAKENEY When I first met Ocean Springs artist Stacey Johnson, I was a little surprised. Viewing her art - vessels and sculptures with contorted faces exuding an assortment of emotions - had created an odd expectation that she would be a somber, tortured soul. Instead, I found a charming, gentle spirit with a quiet smile and a blueberry coffee cake waiting on her stovetop. While sipping coffee and enjoying warm cake, she gave me insight into the creation of her unique art. Her pieces usually begin with a title. ââœThe rest of it flows naturally,â❠she says. âââI try to keep the œ faces unforced, loose, and gestural.â creates a ââœfussed overâ❠appearance. âââYou can communicate a lot of emotion œ œ with a tiny splash of clay.â❠Staceyââ™s love of art began as a child. âââI still have small creations I made in clay as a threeyear-old,⠝ she laughs. With her mother and other close relatives working as artists, it seemed a natural path to follow. Growing up in the Mississippi Delta, she developed a respect for the ââœuntrained work of the generally poverty-stricken and uneducated folk artistsâ❠in her community. She went on to study at Loyola; and after graduation, she viewed an Art Brut exhibit in New York City. The term, ââœArt Brut,â❠was coined by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe the raw art of insane asylum inmates. Art Brut and Southern folk art have similar qualities that Stacey immediately recognized and admired. These genres have been a major influence in her work. ââœYou gravitate toward certain artists,â❠she explains. âââCertain components of œ their work seep into your style. Thatâa to her craft has allowed her to amass a compelling body of work. ââœI just have to do it,â❠she says. ââœEven if work is created and no one ever sees it, thatââ™s OK with me.âk But, indeed, Stacey⠙s work has an audience. She is currently represented by Fischer Galleries south mississippi
  • 29. of Jackson and Southside Gallery of Oxford. Closer to home, her work may be purchased or viewed at Hillyer House in Ocean Springs. Stacey also has a line of functional cups and vessels which she sells online ( In creating these smaller works of art, she drew upon the down-to-earth style of Southern folk art face jugs, primarily created by African-American slaves. ââœMy versions are simply modern translations, meant to be loved and enjoyed - not put on a shelf!âa I couldnâo™t leave without asking Stacey about her self-portraits, possibly the source of my initial misguided expectations. She smiled knowingly and explained: ââœI donââ™t mean for (them) to come across as depressed, angst-ridden; but I work from my own turmoil âl ¦ I donâe content. Itâr™s like journaling or therapy.⠝ Having completed several major pieces for a recent exhibition, Stacey is already eager to begin a new series of work featuring large bird figures. ââœItââ™s something Iââ™m compelled to do,â❠she says. ââœI canââ™t imagine my life without art.â❠PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT LOWERY, LOWERY PHOTOGRAPHY
  • 31. Purchase Your Copy Online Visit our Website W C for a AITING URE 601.543.5719 hattiesburgâb™s downtown entertainment destination
  • 32. South Mississippi Cuisine âu¢ Joyce & Darnellâp™s in Carriere ⇠¢ New Yokel Market in Hattiesburg â ¢ Inez Restaurant in Brookhaven â ¢ Dinner Bell in McComb âr ¢ Tarantoât ™s Crawfish & More in Biloxi 2009 PHOTOGRAPHY BY PHOTOXPRESS
  • 33. SOUTH MS CUISINE | carriereâ¼ ™s joyce & darnellâo™s W HEN THE STOMACH IS FULL , THE HEART IS CONTENT âe¦ Old Spanish Proverb O 42 a cc e n t TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY LOUIE GALIANO One doesnâH™t usually come to the Picayune area for a dinner of escargot and maple leaf duck with mango wild rice, or maybe salmon cooked on cedar with a side of crab Oscar. Well, not unless youâc™re headed for Joyce and Darnellâr ™s Casual Dining, which has some of the finest food to be found in the Southland. Hidden away in the pines of Carriere, Joyce and Darnellâb™s is easy enough to find. One drives east from Picayune on Mississippi 43 North, or Sycamore Road as it is known thereabouts, passes a large estate where actual giraffes, zebras, and camels roam the yard, goes about a half mile and finds a small white sign on the left directing them to the restaurant about a mile down. Again on the left, you will find a white rail fence adjacent to a neat looking home. Enter and partake of palatal delights designed to make your taste buds stand up and sing. Joyce and Darnell Smithâl ™s restaurant has been in business for about two years and judging from its growing reputation and ever expanding circle of clientele, itâd going to be around for a lot more. So ™s how did fine dining come to Carriere, Mississippi? ââœWell,â❠says son Chef Kai Smith, ââœit was all south mississippi
  • 34. sort of experimental, based on a premise that the locals would respond positively to a higher culinary level.âo And positive it has been. Joyce and Darnellât ™s is a family affair. While Kai the chef is constantly varying and improving his menu, daughter Moné is a specialist in pastries, both having been schooled at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Another daughter, Shaneka, is the merchandising and coordination expert. ââœShe can make a small event seem like a gala celebration,⠝ Darnell says. The Smith family is constantly innovating from growing their own herbs to furnishing live entertainment to crafting custom meals for diners with specific eating needs. Some of the recent kitchen creations include their own sauces, vinegars, and steak rubs which Joyce says that future strategy calls for marketing. Other plans include catering to business meetings, conferences, and private parties where Joyce and Darnellân™s can set up a full course meal complete with white linen tablecloths. Another eatery in Slidell, La., is also in the works. The restaurant is also part of the community. It has an agreement with Picayune High School to employ and train students in cooking and serving, teaching work ethics, and public contact. Joyce and Darnellâo ™s is also a member of Picayune Main Street, a highly active organization dedicated to improving the city⠙s appearance and business climate. So what is the largest satisfaction other that serving up a filet mignon with a rice pilaf? Joyce and Darnell agree. It is the wonderful circumstance of being able to work with one⠙s whole family who meet after hours in order to discuss the dayâo™s events and the surprises of tomorrow. ââœWhat we want to do,â❠says Darnell, âââis to bring something œ exciting to people⠙s table.âi Joyce & Darnellâl™s âo¢ Open 5-10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for Sunday brunch âo¢ Directions - Joyce & Darnellâg™s Casual Dining is located at 137 George Wells Rd., Carriere â-¢ Call (601) 798-4734 or visit a cc e n t s o u t h m i s s i s s i p p i 43
  • 35. SOUTH MS CUISINE | hattiesburg⠙s new yokel F RESH FROM THE FARM HattiesburgâM™s New Yokel Market caters to organic food lovers C 44 a cc e n t TEXT AND PHOTOS BY VALERIE WELLS playing at the Thirsty Hippo. He began to see it as an oasis and became part of a social network headed up by Erik Eaves, who owned the Hippo and the building next door housing Main Street Books. When the bookstore moved into a larger space across the street, The New Yokel got a new home. ââœI donââ™t think Erik gets enough credit for what he has done in downtown Hattiesburg,âv  Cagle said. Through that Thirsty Hippo network, more young professionals have come downtown to live and work and take wild chances starting new businesses. Cagle said those friendships have led to business decisions and partnerships. The mural on the outside wall of the grocery store depicts the organic farm of Tom Dana, a South Mississippian known for growing produce without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Hattiesburg artist Spence Townsend, another member of the Thirsty Hippo network, painted it. Not only does the New Yokel Market sell organic products, the store offers several prepared foods. CagleâY™s younger sister Anna makes vegetarian breads, fresh salads and creative sandwiches for sale throughout the day. ââœSoup is her greatest expression,â❠he said. Cagle has traveled across the country visiting various organic farms and educating himself on food issues. Heâo ™s also studied economics and history and sees deep connections between global issues and whatâe ™s in your refrigerator right now. ââœAfter World War II, food became industrialized,â❠Cagle begins, as he sits down and starts a conversation about the metabolic crisis of Mississippians and big businessât™s role in controlling the food system. The organic food movement is a reaction to the industrial take-over of how Americans eat, Cagle said. He has simple advice for shopping for healthier food in any store: Read the labels. Avoid the following as much as possible: Chris Cagle smiles at a customer and bends over a notepad on the brick counter at the New Yokel Market in downtown Hattiesburg. It⠙s a long bend for the lanky 31- year-old entrepreneur but his long ponytail stays in place down his back. ââœI think of my customers as accomplices,âe Cagle said. Many of his customers are middle-aged, conservatively dressed and passionate about buying organic food. This is Cagleâe™s niche. His familyowned New Yokel Market is an organic grocery store and his accomplices come from all over the Hattiesburg area to shop here. ââœThis is not like a hippie bastion,âo Cagle said. He first opened the store in 2005 with some family members. At that time, it was on East Pine Street. When a space opened up on his favorite corner, Cagle moved the business to 205 N. Main St. Cagle knows the block well. When he was 23 and still living in Meridian, he came down with friends to hear a band south mississippi
  • 36. New Yokel Market - Words you canââ™t pronounce. - Any ingredient preceded by the word ââœFrom.â❠- Any preservatives or coloring. ââœBasically anything that isnââ™t food,â❠he said. He also suggests only shopping on the outside aisles of grocery stores where the fresh food tends to be displayed and avoid the inner aisles altogether. Healthy food has a short shelf life, Cagle said. ââœDonââ™t eat anything your great- grandmother wouldn⠘t eat,âa he said, citing author Michael Pollan. He is passionate on the subject but doesnââ™t go around fighting for his cause. ââœI educate by diffusion, not by infusion,â❠Cagle said. ââœThe decisions people make by choosing food are powerful.âh Cagleâc powerful, also. ââœIn my heart, Iââ™m a farmer,â❠he said. But selling organic food and being around other young entrepreneurs is where he wants to be right now. Hattiesburg, he contends, is probably the coolest city in Mississippi. ââœBecause of the young people cycling through thereân Itât™s a college town but is also a city with a substantial population outside the colleges, which Cagle argues makes it different than an Oxford. Hattiesburgâd ™s history of civil rights reforms impressed Cagle. He says that kind of thinking and action has spilled over into other ways of thinking. ââœIt tends to make the town cooler,âo he said. Even though itâr business. Cagle works more than 10 hours a day most days. ââœItââ™s a labor of love. We entrepreneurs are all in the same boat, striving not to be someoneâa ™s employee. We are eking it out,â❠he said. ââœWe need more people to step out and take a risk and watch magic happen.âe  âa¢ Directions: New Yokel Market, 215 N. Main St., is located at the intersection of Main and Buschman streets in downtown Hattiesburg. âo ¢ Hours: The organic grocery store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. In addition to groceries, fresh homemade soups, salads and sandwiches are available daily. ân¢ For information: Call (601) 584-5048 or go to
  • 37. SOUTH MS CUISINE | brookhavenâa™s old inez S ISSY AND THE I NEZ R ESTAURANT A love affair with food in Brookhaven W 46 a cc e n t TEXT AND PHOTOS BY TRUDY BERGER When a writer is asked to do a story about a restaurant, one assumes the story will be about food and ambience, recipes, all the usual things one expects in a food story. So when I arrived at the Inez Restaurant I expected to write about the food, ambience, etc. If that is all I wrote about, the readers would be cheated out of the real story. Donâa™t get me wrong, people who eat here three or four times a week are clearly coming back for a reason. The reason they come back is consistently high quality fresh food, purchased at market every day and prepared to exacting standards, served with Southern charm and a family-like atmosphere. It is the source of the standards, charm and atmosphere that is the real story - her name is Sissy Davis. And although she passed away in September of 2005, her spirit is alive and well within the walls of the Inez Restaurant. Her rules and standards tumble forth in staccatolike tones from the mouth of her son Ricky, who now manages the restaurant. ââœMy mother said if you worry about the cash register, you donââ™t belong in the restaurant business âf customer and the cash register will take care of itself âf ¦ Fresh flowers on every table, every day âa¦ My mother said always buy 16-18 count fresh shrimp; if you canâe™t have 16-18 count fresh shrimp, then you don⠙t have shrimp on the menu ây “ and you know what? She was right!âi Ricky Davis can go on like that endlessly, talking about his motherâs™s rules and exacting standards for food quality and preparation. These words pour forth as he waits on customers, processes credit card transactions, politely asks a waitress to get a customer some more ice tea, and never misses a beat in the interview. And one cannot really argue with success, because The Inez Restaurant has just celebrated its 20th anniversary. If Sissy walked through the front door of the restaurant today, she would give Ricky an A+ for adhering rigorously to the rules. Don and Sissy Davis, the founders of the Inez Restaurant, got their start in the food business after they moved to Wesson from Hammond, La. Don had been a banker in Hammond and while there he and Sissy had started a Sunday brunch club with one other couple; eight months later there were 200 people in the club and a priest was saying mass at their gatherings, largely due to Sissyââ™s cooking prowess. Don brags to this day about his wife: ââœShe could taste something one time and then cook it flawlessly ⠓ she could improve upon it! She could do anything.ân Sissy and Donâl™s joy in cooking together had been established and it was inevitable that one day they would venture into the restaurant business. Once they moved to Wesson, Don said ââœSissy wanted to do something else with food so we started preparing suppers for people who worked âe “ we cooked, packaged and delivered them to about 40-50 people as far away as Brookhaven; all they had to do was pop them in the microwave and heat them when they got home.⠝ But according to Don, what people really wanted was lunch in Brookhaven âⓠand more than lunch, a place to have lunch. ââœOne day south mississippi
  • 38. The Inez Restaurant we had made our deliveries and we were parked two doors down from the Inez âÌ “ we saw some people inside and decided to talk to them.âo  It turned out that no one had been able to make a success of the restaurant and the people inside were the owners of the property. Sissy and Don walked back out to the car and Don said ââœDo you want to buy it?âe They walked right back inside, bought it and the rest was hard work, dedication and history. From the outset Don and Sissy worked side by side âo“ then their children worked alongside them. A look around the restaurant provides a genealogy of the family. Don and Sissyâ. there are pictures painted by aunts, a grandmother, paintings of Sissy and a sister as young girls on Lake Pontchartrain, and framed needlepoint tapestries done by other family members. A year after Sissy⠙s death, Don suffered a bout with esophageal cancer followed by a stroke, which ended his ability to run the restaurant. Ricky had ended a successful career in recreational sales to return to the restaurant once his mother fell ill, but when his father became disabled Ricky took the reins for good. How well the Inez Restaurant is doing can be measured in large part by the continued patronage of its loyal clientele, or perhaps by the awards Ricky has received in his own right but one gets the sense that the most important voice Ricky Davis hears is the sound of Sissyât ™s constant reminders. Customers have this assurance âr“ she trained her son well. âu¢ Open 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. for lunch Monday through Friday and 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday for dinner; closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday evening â. ¢ Directions: Located on the first floor of the Inez Hotel, 103 S. Railroad Ave., Brookhaven; From Interstate 55 take exit 40, go into town on Brookway Boulevard; turn right immediately after crossing railroad tracks; Inez Hotel is on left side of street. From Mississippi 51, turn east on Brookway Boulevard, cross railroad tracks; turn right on South Railroad Avenue and Inez Hotel is on left side of street.
  • 39. SOUTH MS CUISINE | mccomb⠙s dinner bell ââœI C OULD E AT I T A LL !â❠I 48 a cc e n t The Dinner Bell in McComb keeps the tables loaded with Southern specialties TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPY BY TRUDY BERGER on the captivating and dizzying assortment of dishes that surround the immense round tables, one of which seats 20 and two of which seat 18. For 53 years the Dinner Bell has lured hungry patrons from surrounding states; on this day, a quick survey of the packed parking lot revealed that more than half of the vehicles were from neighboring Louisiana. The restaurant is located in a two-story brick home originally built sometime between 1921 and 1923 by John White, brother of former Mississippi Gov. Hugh White and son of legendary business pioneer J.J. White. The house features molded ceilings, board and batten ceilings, ceramic tile flooring, birch trims and 1,451 windowpanes (852 of which are on the first floor). The Dinner Bell has had four previous owners, but its current owner, Buddy Davis, had sold the eggplant featured on its menu to two previous owners for 30 years in his career with Jitney-Jungle grocery store In a voice dripping with rich Southern tones, almost as succulent as the food that burdens the loaded table, Buddy Davis announces: ââœFolks, could I have your attention? This is sweet tea! If youân ™d like to have something else to drink with your lunch, please raise your hand.â❠And that is how every meal begins at the Dinner Bell in McComb. Of course, Buddy has difficulty getting the dinersât ™ attention because their eyes and minds are immediately riveted south mississippi
  • 40. The Dinner Bell when he decided to buy the restaurant for himself. His son, Andre, was persuaded to return from Atlanta, along with his wife, who live in the second floor living quarters and help his father run the restaurant. Watching the two men in action is amazing âa“ neither one stops for a moment as they pay constant attention to what is happening at the three large round tables. If dishes need to be washed, Buddy will step back in the kitchen and wash them, quickly returning to the front, never missing what has happened out there. The same is true of the wait staff as everything moves with synchronized precision, hot dishes coming out, partially empty dishes replaced and no guest ever having to ask for a thing. Of course the food is the main interest: ââœI could eat it allâ❠is literally what many guests say when they first enter the room and take in the spread before them. They sit down and as the table starts to move they have their choice of signature fried eggplant, sweet potato casserole, corn on the cob, squash, butterbeans, lima beans, field peas, greens, rice and gravy, chicken and dumplings, pot roast, roast chicken, fried chicken, rolls and corn bread. That does not take into account the desserts which might include banana pudding, lemon icebox pie, red velvet cake, German chocolate cake, or pecan pie. Prices are $11 Tuesday through Thursday, $12 Friday and Saturday and $14 Sunday. What are the secrets to the Dinner Bellâ, ™s success? They are legion, but among them, longevity in the cooks (two of them worked well into their 80s and trained the current cooks), consistency in recipes and food preparation, longevity in wait staff, excellent service, and the owner and his son are everpresent, friendly, and attentive to customers and employees alike. That could well be why the legend of the Dinner Bell continues, its reputation spreads, and the pages of its guest book contains entries from throughout the United States. ân¢ Open 11 a.m.-2 p.m.Tuesday through Sunday, closed Mondays and the day after Labor Day â ¢ Open evenings by reservation only, minimum group size 36, tours and groups of 12 or more, call ahead for availability ân (Hattiesburg) just before second traffic light, turn right on Mississsippi 51; take left at second caution light on 5th Street (601) 684-4883 a cc e n t s o u t h m i s s i s s i p p i 49
  • 41. SOUTH MS CUISINE | biloxi⠙s tarantoâÿ ™s crawfish & more S EAFOOD THE O LD B ILOXI W AY TarantoâL™s Crawfish and More is worth the drive to Woolmarket L 50 a cc e n t TEXT AND PHOTOS BY KRISTEN TWEDT Taranto⠙s Boiler in Ocean Springs, about the same time I opened here.âî  Taranto⠙s Crawfish and More first opened in 2003 as a boiler for shrimp and crawfish for take-out orders only. After Hurricane Katrina, Taranto expanded his kitchen offerings to include fried shrimp, fish and other menu items. He also added a cozy dining hall. Located in a former feed store in the heart of Woolmarket in Harrison County, the modest, tucked-away restaurant features the kind of ambiance favored among those who appreciate casual dining with Old Biloxi flair: clean and casual with touches of humorous seafood decor. ââœWe want this to be a comfort zone for our customers,â❠Taranto said. ââœWe treat our customers like people, not numbers.âm Creature comforts include vinyl booths, simple dinette tables and chairs, beer cooler and attentive staff who serve diners with ease and a smile. The typical lunch crowd is anything Looking for one of those off-the-beaten-path places serving seafood done the ââœOld Biloxiâ❠way? Anthony ââœArnieâ❠Taranto, owner of âââTarantoââ™s Crawfish and œ Moreâa in Woolmarket, offers customers fresh, perfectly seasoned mudbugs, poboys and seafood dishes featuring the delectable style and flavors that make the Taranto name synonymous with great seafood. When crawfish season begins in late December or early January, traffic picks up across the Biloxi River, just a few miles from the intersection of Lorraine Road and the new Highway 605. Locals know that the Taranto family boils ââ˜em best: with lots of essential spices and sliced jalapenos. ââœI started boiling crawfish and making poboys to go in the delicatessen at my dadâa ™s grocery back in the early ââ˜70ââ™s,â❠Taranto said. ââœItââ™s the Big Ridge Shop- In on the corner of Big Ridge Road and Gorenflo. My brother still boils them there. And another brother opened south mississippi
  • 42. but, from business professionals picking up a quick take-out order for the office to denim-clad fishermen and women from the nearby Tchoutacabouffa and Biloxi rivers lounging over cold beverages and heaping seafood platters. Laughter and colorful chatter make this less a restaurant experience and more like eating at home with friends, the kind of meal and doting youâi ™d expect from a big, friendly Italian family with strong Biloxi roots. These Tarantos hail from Dââ™Iberville. ââœMy ancestors came from a little island, Ustica, off the coast of Italy,âd  said Taranto. ââœThey were Sicilian and came in at New Orleans. Some ended up in Las Vegas, some of them in Biloxi because the fishing was so good. My grandfather met my grandmother, a Yugoslavian, here in Biloxi. Weâw After his first stint in the restaurant business at the Big Ridge Shop-In, Taranto worked around the globe in construction, traveling to places like Egypt and Indonesia. He sampled a vast array of exotic cuisine and brought the most mouth- watering tastes home to Mississippi. Next, he worked in vending, serving the Gulf Coast for 10 years, when he had a heart attack. ââœI decided I wanted to get back to the kitchen, like the old days at my dadâe ââœThatââ™s when I opened this place back in 2003.â❠His world travels ultimately added a fresh twist to old favorites, and business boomed. From boiled crawfish to a robust menu of Coastal favorites, Tarantoâs™s remains true to the ownerâw ™s desire to share the tried-and-true way of preparing stellar seafood with his own brand of South Mississippi cooking. ââœMost of our recipes and cooking style stick to the Old Biloxi way of serving seafood,â❠Taranto said. ââœBut, when I was traveling, I would find seasonings that I knew would work well with the kind of food we like and I brought that to my restaurant. I think it gives things like our boiled crawfish and shrimp and our crab patties a unique taste that our customers seem to really love.â❠For those unfamiliar with the ââœOld Tarantoâr™s Crawfish & More âa¢ TarantoâC™s Crawfish and More, 12404 John Lee Road, Biloxi (Just east of Coalville United Methodist Church in Woolmarket at the intersection of Lorraine and John Lee Roads); (228) 392-0990. âi¢ Open seven days a week, 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Closed some holidays. Call for dates. Dine-in or get orders to go. Oysters on the half shell are offered seasonally, dine-in only. âe until 5 p.m. for take-out orders of boiled crawfish or shrimp. a cc e n t s o u t h m i s s i s s i p p i 51
  • 43. Biloxiâ❠style, a good example is the pressed poboy. ââœWe use good Italian bread œ from Gambinoââ™s out of Louisiana,â❠said Taranto. âââThe bread is sliced. We press it, toasting both sides, dress it with lettuce, tomato, and mayo, and press it down with the ingredients in it. Itâ Point (Point Cadet) in Biloxi.⠝ The roast beef features a deep, darker roux than is found in other gravies and is a signature flavor at Tarantoâp ™s that is also found in their homemade gumbo. ââœOurs is a really good, authentic gumbo made with Gulf shrimp and crab,â❠said Taranto. ââœAll we handle is the Gulf shrimp here.â❠With plenty of choices, customers have elevated numerous items to legendary status. Longtime Woolmarket resident Ora Long visited the convenient location for take-out crawfish shortly after the boiler room opened. Sheâo ™s been a dedicated customer ever since. ââœWe started coming here and continued because Tarantoââ™s has the very best spicy crawfish,â❠Long said. ââœThen he opened his restaurant and started making the best poboys. He serves good, local Gulf Coast seafood crawfish, shrimp, crab and oysters.âb Taranto takes pride in the fact that the menu boasts several items that remain in high demand. ââœOur seafood platter is definitely œ popular, yes, maââ™am!â❠Taranto said. âââThe boiled crawfish and shrimp and the fried shrimp and roast beef poboys are, too.âi includes not only Dungeness and snow crab, but also the delicious blue crab indigenous to the brackish bayous and salt water here. Son Anthony and daughter-in- law Gindy help run the thriving seafood spot, along with ââœseven really great ladies on staffâe who treat regulars and new customers alike to a welcome place at the table. Plans include expanding the operation to include a larger facility within two years to better accommodate large crowds. ââœWe want everyone who visits to feel relaxed and enjoy themselves,â❠Taranto said. ââœWe make our own sweet tea and have root beer by the bottle, as well as beer, sodas and bottled water. We would like to grow, serve maybe two hundred or so in one spot.ât  And what if customers want dessert? ââœNobody ever has room for any, the way we fill the plates here,â❠laughed Taranto. ââœBut, that has been under discussion. We may be adding those soon. Weâr™ll see.⠝ M 52 a cc e n t south mississippi
  • 44. taste of the trust | SOUTH MS CUISINE Bring your Appetite S AMPLE THE BEST OF B ROOKHAVEN â• ™ S RESTAURANTS AND CATERERS AT âN˜TASTE OF THE T RUST âR™ M More than two dozen restaurants, gourmet food retailers and caterers from the Brookhaven area will offer samples of their specialties during the 2009 ââœTaste of the Trustât Nov. 5 at the Brookhaven Recreation Department on Mississippi 51 North. ââœTaste of the Trustâ❠is sponsored by The Brookhaven Trust, which supports the local arts community through its four divisions - the arts, drama, music and education. Guests will enjoy an unlimited supply of appetizers, main dishes, desserts and other special items prepared and served by the participating restaurants, caterers and vendors while the band Ghost Town will provide musical entertainment. There will also be a silent auction, with local businesses, artists, photographers and organizations donating a wide variety of items to bid on, including a strand of pearls, an original painting of a local landmark, and a gift certificate for a massage. Money raised from ât ˜Taste of the Trustâa  will support programs throughout the community. The main goal of the Trust for 2009 has been to spruce up the East Monticello corridor of the downtown area by helping businesses freshen up the exterior facades of their businesses through matching grants. Negotiations are currently in the works for one particular facade that will make a large impact on the downtown area. ââœTaste of the Trustâ❠will be held from 5:30-9 p.m. Nov. 5. Tickets are $25 each in advance and are available at We Frame It and Perkins Furniture in Brookhaven. Tickets will be $30 at the door. For more information, call Matt Hall at (601) 327-9224. a cc e n t s o u t h m i s s i s s i p p i 53
  • 45. IN THE KITCHEN | apple varieties T Apple-icious autumnâc™s favorite bounty RED CABBAGE AND APPLE BRAISE 2 tablespoons canola oil 1 cup chopped Granny Smith apples 2 cups apple juice 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds 1 small red cabbage, shredded Heat large skillet; add canola oil. Braise apple for 1 minute, then add apple juice and caraway seeds. Add cabbage; stir slightly to coat. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 25 minutes. Salt to taste. You can add a pat of butter and a squeeze of lemon to harmonize the flavors further. From ââœBest of the Best 500 Fast & Fabulous Five Star Five Ingredient Recipes,â❠by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley TEXT BY ROBYN JACKSON Take a bite of a crisp, juicy red apple and you get a taste of autumn. Apples are a very versatile fruit. You can eat them fresh off the tree, bake them in desserts or cut them up and toss them in salads, dip them in caramel or chocolate, or even pair them with meats like chicken, pork, veal and sausage. If a recipe calls for a baking apple, use Cortland, Rome, Winesap and Northern Spy varieties. Tart apples include Granny Smith and McIntosh. The sweet varieties include Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Gala, and are the kind that are good eaten raw or in pies. Golden Delicious keeps its shape, but Granny Smith apples will become mushy if they are used alone, so pair them with a sweet variety when youâi ™re baking. To keep apple slices from turning brown, toss them with a little lemon juice. If you buy a big bag of apples at the farmer⠙s market or produce stand this fall, store them in a cool, dark place or refrigerate in a plastic bag. They will keep longer if they donâ,™t touch each other. Still not sure what to do with apples? Try these creative recipes from a few of my favorite cookbooks. APPLE UPSIDE DOWN BISCUITS 1/2 stick butter, melted 1 cup dark brown sugar 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced into rings 1 (10-count) package frozen buttermilk biscuits, thawed 3/4 cup pineapple juice 3/4 cup granulated sugar Mix butter and sugar in a 9- by 9- inch dish and pat smoothly. Place apple rings on top. Place in a 350 degree oven for 10 minuts. Remove dish from oven. Dip thawed biscuits in pineapple juice; roll in granulated sugar. Place biscuits on apple rings. Return to oven; bake 25 minutes or until biscuits are brown and bubbly. Makes 810 servings. From ââœBest of the Best Fast & Fabulous Party Foods and Appetizers,â❠by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley APPLE PEANUT CRUMBLE 5 cooking apples, peeled, cored and slices (7-8 cups) 2/3 cup light brown sugar 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/3 cup margarine 2 tablespoons reduced-fat peanut butter Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart oblong casserole dish with nonstock cooking spray. Lay the apples in the dish. In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, margarine and peanut butter. Mix until the consistency is crumblike. Sprinkle over the top of the apples. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the mixture is bubbly. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings, 251 calories per serving. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 fruit, 1.5 other carbohydrate, 2 fat. From ââœThe Holly Clegg Trim & Terrific Cookbook,â❠by Holly Clegg APPLE PIE COFFEE CAKE 1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix 1 (21-ounce) can apple pie filling 3 eggs 3 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon Whipped topping Mix cake mix, pie filling
  • 46. and eggs well by hand until all cake mix lumps are smooth. Spread in a 9- by -13- inch pan sprayed with Pam. Mix sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over cake batter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick. Serve warm with whipped topping on top. Makes 8-12 ervings. From ââœBest of the Best Fast & Fabulous Party Foods and Appetizers,â❠by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley
  • 47. baking with pumpkins | IN THE KITCHEN P U M P K IN S not just for car ving PUMPKIN SWIRL CHEESECAKE Liz Kintzel Crust: 2 cups finely crushed ginger snaps 1/2 cup pecan, finely chopped 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted Mix ginger snap crumbs, pecans and butter. Press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of a 9-inch springform pan. Filling: 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature 1 cup sugar, divided 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 eggs 1 cup canned pumpkin 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg Dash ground cloves Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well blended. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, mixing after each. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the plain batter. Stir remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup pumpkin, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and dash ground cloves into remaining batter. Spoon 1/2 of the pumpkin batter over crust; top with spoonfuls of 1/2 of the reserved plain batter. Repeat layers. Cut through batters with a knife several times for marble effect. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes or until center is almost set if using a silver springform pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 55 minutes if using a dark nonstick springform pan. Allow to cool for 20 minutes and loosen the side of pan. Allow to cool 1 1/2 hours before removing the side of the pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. 1 tablespoon sugar 1 1/2 cups whipped topping 1 graham cracker pie crust 1 cup milk or half-and-half 1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin 2 4- ounce boxes vanilla instant pudding and pie filling 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves Mix cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk and sugar in a large bowl with a wire whisk until smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping and toasted pecans. Spread on the bottom of pie crust. Pour 1 cup cold milk into a large bowl. Add pumpkin, pudding mixes, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Beat with wire whisk until well mixed. Mixture will be thick. Spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate 4 hours or until set. Garnish with whipped topping if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Pumpkins are a colorful part of autumn, whether they show up as carved jack- oâm™lanterns at Halloween or as pies on the Thanksgiving table. But the big orange gourds are a lot more versatile than that. Why not try them in a bread, or even a cheesecake? Here are a few tasty recipes starring pumpkins from ââœRecipes & Remembrances,âo the new cookbook published by Hattiesburg⠙s Main Street Baptist Church. The cookbook includes more than 900 recipes contributed by members of the church. To purchase a copy, contact the church at (601) 296-8000 or visit the Web site, All proceeds from sales of the $25 book will be used to build a new kitchen and fellowship hall. PUMPKIN CRISP Jean Blount 1 1 3 1 1 1 2 can pumpkin 1/2 ounce can evaporated milk eggs cup sugar box yellow cake mix 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted sticks butter Line 13- by 9-inch pan with waxed paper. Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs and sugar together. Pour onto waxed paper. Sprinkle cake mix over mixture and pat down smoothly. Spread pecans over cake mix and drizzle melted butter over nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool in pan for 20 minutes. Turn onto serving plate and peel off waxed paper. Let cool completely before frosting. Frosting: 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup whipped topping 1 1/2 cup confectionerâi ™s sugar Mix cream cheese, whipped topping and sugar until smooth. Frost after mixing thoroughly. LAYERED PUMPKIN PIE Libby Sellers 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup toasted, chopped pecans (optional) 1 tablespoon milk or half-and-half
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  • 49. LIFE IN SOUTH MISSISSIPPI | karen blakeney SOUTHERN - STYLE sushi? ingredients. The final product is garnished and presented with pride, much the same way Aunt Lena Pearlâa™s deviled eggs are dusted with paprika and displayed on an appropriate platter (every Southern belle knows what I mean). Think of it like this: Sushi is like the best rice casserole youâw ™ve ever eaten, only rolled into a log and cut into bite-sized pieces that look like art. Still not buying it? I know âo¦ it⠙s the raw fish hang-up, which is a bit illogical to me given the number of Southern boys who have no qualms eating still-mooing red meat. But hereâe ™s the deal - there are a number of wonderfully delectable rolls made with fully cooked fish. In some cases, the fish or the entire roll is fried. Fried! It doesnâo ™t get any more Dixie-delicious than that! So maybe I have tweaked your curiosity. But youââ™re wondering, ââœHow and where do I begin?â❠For the uninitiated, tempura shrimp sushi is a great way to get your feet wet. Southern hospitality abounds at sushi bars, so donâr™t be afraid to ask which rolls are cooked. Most menus actually denote cooked items with a symbol. Soon, your adventurous side will take over. Before long, you will want to try the Mint Julep Roll at Fatsumoâl ™s in Gulfport, or Chef Scottâo™s Kiss of Fire in Ocean Springs. True, your friends will look at you suspiciously, but you won⠙t care, because you will have discovered a new, forbidden love. If you glance around the crowded sushi restaurant, a kindred spirit will make eye contact with you and smile knowingly. M TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAREN BLAKENEY My Southern-fried friends think IâE™m having a mid-life meltdown. Donâi ™t get me wrong. I still get excited over a good mess of turnip greens served over a bed of warm cornbread. And a properly prepared pot of black-eyed peas can make my eyes mist over. But lately, I have ventured beyond dumplings and yam bake and pulled pork barbeque. I am having an affair with sushi. I use the word affair because thatâb™s exactly what folks insinuate when you reveal an obsession of this sort. My brother, Tom, asks me, ââœWhy would you eat that stuff?â❠His tone suggests I have betrayed my solid relationship with a lifetime of Sunday dinners. My friend Lenrose was no help; she told me she didnâh code for ââœDonââ™t you think youââ™re a little too old for such shenanigans, honey?âh What my disapproving friends fail to recognize is that sushi has some amazingly Southern qualities. It is lovingly prepared with the freshest