Dining in Mississippi

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As we all know, our country is very diverse.  And isn’t that a good thing, because how boring would it be if everything and everyone was the same?  Same goes for our dynamic food culture.  Every restaurant can’t have Michelin stars or even white linen tablecloths.  And then there are some that will serve you on paper plates.

Which brings us to Learned, Mississippi.

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It took quite a few long and winding roads to get us to Learned, and suddenly we turned a corner where time stood still at the corner of Main and Pine.

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We spotted an old church, and looking down Main Street, a few old ramshackle buildings.

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I don’t think anyone pumps gas from here anymore.

Had there not been other cars (and the old gas pumps) in sight, it would have looked like an Old West abandoned town.  Most of the cars were parked around the building on the corner.  On the front was the name H.D. Gibbes & Sons, built in the 1890’s and still owned and operated by the same family.

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As it turned out, this was our destination.  The restaurant.

I don’t think we are in Chicago anymore…

After our initial shock at the shack, my daughter Kristina and I grabbed our cameras and knew we had a real old American Southern treasure in front of us and we couldn’t wait to start exploring.

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Mississippi license plates line the planks around the front porch.

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Set a spell and make yourself at home.

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Upon opening the old screen door, we could see a long table down the middle, and on both sides, shelves of stuff.  Just old stuff everywhere.  I can’t even describe everything in this store, which also doubles as a Learned version of 7-11 with some staples for the house like batteries, some canned goods, and small kitchen items.

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We were fascinated walking around the small store looking up and around at the shelves and cases.

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I really wanted to know what a “Jackson Cookie” was but never did find out.  If anyone knows, please tell me.  I would love to make some.  I also would love to have that cool old sign!

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Since it was the 4th of July weekend, there were red, white, and blue cookies for sale.

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We finally sat down at a table by the front screen door with a view of Main Street and a delightful basket of apples behind us.

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The waitress brought us our water in a cup that tried to explain it all:

 “What’d ya expect from an old broke down store?”

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The dinner menu is very simple.

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We heard the steaks were the favorite, so I went with the filet mignon with blue cheese, and a choice of two sides.  I knew I wanted a salad but had never heard of “Comeback” dressing before.  We were told it is a dressing that is only known around Jackson.  It is basically a spicy version of Thousand Island.  All served on a paper plate. Thank goodness the utensils were not plastic.

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I had to try the Southern potato casserole, which turned out to be a huge serving, bigger than the steak, and next to it was a large chunk of garlic bread.  If you don’t eat carbs, or like fried foods, you could find your yourself in a pickle, dining in Mississippi; fried pickle, that is…  That’s the blue cheese for the steak in the Dixie Cup.

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Dessert was a mini Buttermilk Pie with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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There was a country singer in the room, sitting in a small chair between some of the cases.  Not only was he gracious enough to sing happy birthday to my husband Bill, but the whole room joined in.

Daughter Kara and her husband took a little walk down the street after dinner and decided to rest on one of the old rocking chairs.  You see, Kara is expecting her first baby and my first grandchild and they need their rest. Don’t you want to ask me how excited I am to be a grandma?!  I have a feeling you will be finding out on future blogs!

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All in all, it was a fun, interesting and very different experience, one I am so glad to have participated.  The next day was the 4th of July where we enjoyed fried catfish and hushpuppies in an 1840’s Southern mansion.  How much more Southern could our weekend have been?

When Bill and I returned home from the trip around dinner time on Tuesday, the 5th, we had veggie omelets and whole wheat toast, y’all!


8 Responses to Dining in Mississippi

  1. July 13, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    What a funny experience. I was so surprised by the actual menu.

    • July 14, 2016 at 12:27 am #

      Lisa, I totally agree about the menu. I was expecting fried chicken, catfish, hushpuppies, and fried green tomatoes, not filet mignon! But they did have potato casserole and buttermilk pie!

  2. July 13, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    I found Jackson Cookie copycat recipe. It was a commercially sold cookie created by Kellogg and bought out by Keebler or something like that

    To make a copycat version of Jack’s jumbo lemon cookies, preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and combine 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix 1 large egg, 1 cup softened unsalted butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice using a hand mixer on medium-high speed. Also add in 1 teaspoon of almond extract.
    Beat the flour mixture into the egg mixture, beating until smooth. Gather the dough, and shape it into one ball that you can cut into quarters. Make a flat disc out of each quarter of dough, and score each disc into smaller quarters. Cut to form a total of 12 wedges, and form even 4 1/2- to 5-inch ropes by rolling each piece between your palms. Make a ring by combining the ends of the ropes together.
    Place the rings on greased baking sheets about 1 1/4 inch apart. Bake the cookies for eight to 12 minutes. Bake one sheet at a time, using only the middle rack. Move the sheet around during the baking process to get an even brown. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack.
    To make a glaze, combine powdered sugar, butter and 2 to 3 teaspoons of lemon juice with corn syrup and almond extract. Once the mixture is smooth, thin it with additional lemon juice, if necessary. Use wax paper beneath the cooling racks to catch excess glaze, and let the cookies stand for about one hour.
    Jack’s lemon cookies are no longer available for purchase in stores.

    • July 14, 2016 at 12:29 am #

      I am so impressed you found a copycat Jackson Cookie recipe! I’m also so excited that they are lemon. Got to try these. Thanks so much for finding this, Lisa!

  3. July 13, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    Delightful in every way! Especially the news of your 1st grandchild. A big congratulations to the happy couple, the ecstatic grandma and all the family!! What joy! The buildings at Learned looks as if one of my favorite old movies could have been filmed there, called Fried Green Tomatoes. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should! Thanks for sharing your happy news and your fun adventure in Mississippi!

    • July 14, 2016 at 12:25 am #

      Kim, you are right. Learned does look like the set of Fried Green Tomatoes! Love that movie. Thanks for the good wishes on baby! I’ll keep you posted along the way.

  4. April 3, 2017 at 6:09 am #

    What a perfect weekend! I would love to go there one day. Photos you took remind me of the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes”, I love that movie. Sounds like another wonderful memory for you and your family!
    Lisa from Conroe

    • April 3, 2017 at 8:11 am #

      Fried Green Tomatoes describes it perfectly!

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