Food & Drink
From catfish to comeback sauce, from tamales to traditional Southern sweets, from shrimp to slugburgers to sweet potatoes, Mississippi's culinary heritage has food to please every palate. Mississippi is home to James Beard award-winning chefs and noted national food writers, as well as some of the best home cooks to be found anywhere. Its culinary heritage is as diverse as the geographical regions of the state.
The Native American cooking of the Choctaws can be found in the pines of east central Mississippi, where the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians preserves many of its traditional customs. Slugburgers, unique to Corinth in the northeastern corner of the state, are believed to date to the Depression when a cornmeal extender was used in meat. Today, the creation remains a fixture on the menu at Borroum's Drug Store (ca. 1865), as well as the inspiration for the annual Slugburger Festival. In the early twentieth century, migrant workers from Mexico left their mark on the Mississippi Delta with the ever-popular tamale. Along with this influence came that of the Italians, Chinese and Lebanese. In Jackson, the Greek influx of the mid-twentieth century remains strong on the local restaurant scene. Along the Gulf Coast, the Croatians and Italians were followed by the Vietnamese in enriching the traditional cooking of Gulf seafood.
African-American cooking is found throughout the state and influences virtually every other culinary style. What has come to be known and loved nationally as soul food goes back to the days of slavery and its influence is ubiquitous. Add to this traditional Southern fare such as barbeque and sweet tea, and Mississippi's extraordinary culinary richness will not fail to satisfy the senses.