Culture and Cuisine in Mississippi
Quirky small-town and backroad joints still provide some of Mississippi's best dining. State specialities include catfish, often served fried. For catfish pate, served free as an appetiser, head to The Crown Restaurant in Indianola. In Jackson, Hal & Mal’s offer the Mississippi Catfish Platter . If you hunger for a catfish BLT, with a dab of comeback sauce, stop by Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale. You can view our list of top ten places to eat in Mississippi covering the whole state.
Oxford is a vibrant city in the hills of North Mississippi known as the home of William Faulkner and the University of Mississippi which is commonly referred to as 'Ole Miss'. William Faulkner grew up in Oxford and studied for a while as Ole Miss before he worked briefly in New York and New Orleans. Except for some trips to Europe and Asia, and a few brief stays in Hollywood as a scriptwriter, he worked on his novels and short stories on his farm, Rowan Oak, in Oxford - which you can still tour today.
Playwright Tennessee Williams lived in Clarksdale as a youth and later based characters on the experience. Visit the newly opened Tennessee Williams Rectory Museum or attend the annual festival celebrating him in October. The internationally-acclaimed Mississippi Delta Williams Festival takes place over an October weekend. A celebration to honour Tennessee Williams and his childhood home, the festival is spread across multiple historic and educational sites. Visitors usually attend throughout the week of the festival to attend the literary conference including many top scholars and literary figures, plus the highly entertaining porch plays and live drama starring starts from Broadway to Hollywood and up and coming student actors. Plus, of course, live music - lots of live music - as with any Clarksdale gathering.
Stunning Southern homes and the backdrop of the majestic Mississippi River beckons visitors to a destination steeped in opulence and Southern charm at its very finest. Plan a romantic stay in Natchez at one of the equisitely preserved antebellum homes serving as a cosy B&B. Dunleith, built in 1856, is surrounded by 26 towering columns and wrap-around balconies with rocking chairs. Longwood, the largest octagonal house in North America is an architectural icon. An additional 12 antebellum homes are open for tours year-round with at least 20 more on tour during the Spring and Fall Pilgrimage. For a complete tour of the city, take a hop-on, hop-off tour along the city's top spots. To experience the natural beauty of Natchez, take a relaxing stroll along the riverfront Natchez Trails or visit Bluff's Park - the best vantage point for inspiring river views and sunsets.
Few things are as uniquely Mississippi as comeback sauce. Originating in Jackson it is basically mayonnaise with other ingredients added to make it "garlicky, pink and zesty". It's served with everything from fries to salads. At Walker's Drive-In in Jackson, the Portobello fries come with spicy horseradish comeback dressing. At Delta Bistro in Greenwood, it's slathered on the Reuben sandwich, offered as a dressing for salads and served with crab cakes on a bed of mixed greens and fried green tomato. You can order comeback dressing and comeback sauce, along with other items made in the state, from The Mississippi Gift Company in Greenwood.
Mississippi culture can be found in the state's arts and crafts museums and studios showcasing the variety of local talent. Mississippi's contributions to literature, fine arts and crafts first take a look at the newly renovated, state of the art Mississippi Crafts Centre, located on the historic Natchez Trace Parkway at Ridgeland.