sweet potato pie

Thanksgiving Table Traditions

When Mississippians gather ‘round the table, you can expect an incredible meal. When the table happens to be set for Thanksgiving, expect an unforgettable feast. Here’s a few of our favorite Turkey Day dishes filled with Mississippi flare:

1. Cornbread dressing

Unless you are prepared for a heated debate or lengthy lecture, don’t dare mistake the cornbread dressing as its Northern counterpart, stuffing. Made with baked, stale and crumbled cornbread, dressing is served alongside the Thanksgiving turkey and is decidedly different from stuffing, which is made from diced, stale bread and stuffed into the turkey. No Southern Thanksgiving meal is complete without cornbread dressing.

2. Fried Turkey

Mississippi cooks save prized oven space and enjoy a deliciously moist turkey by frying their poultry whole. In what is often a communal event the morning of the holiday, family and friends gather outdoors to dunk turkeys into a vat of bubbling oil. Turkeys for multiple gatherings can be fried one after the other using the same oil, making for an economical excuse to spend Thanksgiving morning with loved ones.

3. Pecan pie  

With trees found in backyards across the South, pecans are easy to come by and pair well with sweet corn syrup, butter, vanilla and eggs. Served warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, this classic dessert is part of nearly every Mississippi Thanksgiving spread.

4. Sweet Potato Pie

Home to the “Sweet Potato Capital of the World” in Vardaman, Mississippi, sweet potato pie is a much loved part of Mississippi feasts. Resembling pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie balances the sweet and savory flavors of the root vegetable. Check out this recipe from Mississippi farmer’s daughter April McGreger.

5. Venison

Hunting is a favorite pastime for many Mississippi families, and what better day to enjoy the spoils of the hunt than Thanksgiving. Tender deer meat or deer sausage is typically grilled as a side dish or as an appetizer like this recipe for deer medallions wrapped in bacon.

6. Mississippi State Cheese

Family, fellowship and food may come first on Thanksgiving Day, but a close second is football. The Egg Bowl, an annual showdown between Mississippi State University and Ole Miss, always takes place over the Thanksgiving holiday. Numerous MSU Bulldog fans gear up for the game by serving Mississippi State cheese, made at the University in Starkville, as an appetizer on Turkey Day.

7. Toasted pecans

“Leave no pecan behind,” is the mantra of quite a few Mississippi chefs. Pecans leftover from pecan pie preparation are toasted with butter and spices and served as a crowd-pleasing appetizer for the feast.

Learn more about Mississippi’s Culinary Traditions

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