Friday, November 25, 2011

Gifts That Give Back

Kohl's is offering Good Housekeeping's A Very Merry Christmas Cookbook for sale and 100% of the proceeds go to kids' initiatives. Kohl's Cares' Good Housekeeping cookbook sells for $5 and goes to benefit kids' health and education initiatives nationwide.

Mississippi to stop certifying organic farms

Jim Ewing reported in The Clarion-Ledger that the Mississippi Department of Agriculture is no longer going to certify Mississippi organic farms, due to budget cuts. Now, Mississippi farms would have to pay to have a certifier come from out of state.

Dr. Bill Evans, Mississippi State University Truck Crops Experiment Station expert, told the Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association that as of Dec. 31 the state Department of Agriculture would no longer be a certifying agent for Mississippi growers during a recent conference in Vicksburg.

There are only about 25 certified organic farms in the state. That number is likely to decline now.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Free Thanksgiving cookbook from Martha Stewart and celebrity chefs

Get a free downloadable Martha Stewart Thanksgiving cookbook packed with tips and recipes to make your holiday feasts delicious and memorable.

The 77-page 2011 Thanksgiving Hotline Cookbook is filled with more than 40 recipes by Martha Stewart and other acclaimed chefs like Daniel Boulud, Emeril Lagasse, Sunny Anderson and Sara Moulton, among others. The chefs will also answer questions on Stewart's Sirius radio show Monday-Wednesday (Nov. 21-23) from 7 a.m. til 5 p.m. Isaac Mizrahi also offers tips on entertaining and there's a helpful planner, too. If you want to tune in, you can get a free 30-day trial at

Click here to download the cookbook. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Take time to stop and smell the cranberries

A survey in the November 2011 issue of Food Network magazine reports that 54% of folks PREFERRED canned cranberry sauce (even the foodie geeks like myself who read that magazine). I only wish I had this piece of information before spending one Thanksgiving (many, many years ago) making HOMEMADE cranberry sauce to impress a boyfriend who had professed his love for cranberry sauce. When I proudly brought my homemade cranberry sauce and gingerly set it down on the table, he asked where the canned cranberry sauce was. With the wedges. Shaped like a can and all.

Let's face it... it just wasn't meant to be. ;)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Winn-Dixie Asks Mississippians to "Give a Meal" This Holiday Season

Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. recently announced it has joined forces with Feeding America to launch the Give a Meal program, which gives Mississippians (including Winn Dixie employees) the opportunity to help provide food to nearly 37 million Americans facing hunger this holiday season. Give a Meal runs through Jan. 4 and is available in all of Winn-Dixie's stores in Mississippi. Every $1 donated during the campaign helps provide eight meals to people in need.

There are three simple ways for Winn-Dixie guests and team members to support the Give a Meal effort:

1. Donate at the register - this allows guests or employees to make a $1 or greater donation when purchasing groceries;
2. Donate online at by charging a donation to a credit card;
3. Purchase Winn-Dixie brand products -- a portion of the purchase will be donated to Feeding America.

In addition, some stores will offer prepackaged nonperishables in $5 and $10 increments that can be donated to the regional food bank immediately after purchase at marked collection barrels near the store exit.

Small is the new big (but it's still hard to find)

Charlie Mitchell, in a recent Clarion-Ledger article, talks of a new movement to bring local back to food production (and purchasing). I was riding home from a meeting in Laurel down Hwy. 15 yesterday and passed many "farms" - and as Mr. Mitchell points out many of them appeared to be merely acreage. But there were quite a few signs of "buy honey here," "fresh eggs on Tuesday," and my personal favorite, "Please don't pick pecans from this tree."

The problem is finding these places as a consumer. Even in Mitchell's article, he doesn't give one example of local Mississippi farm that would fit in the new locavore movement. After much searching last year, I found a farm near Madison that would let me purchase grass-fed long as I bought half the cow.

Even in the example that Mitchell gave, Polyface Farms, the food-sales emphasis is more on selling to restaurants than to locals. In order to effect a change from Big Food, as it is often described, we have to find a better way to market and educate folks about Little Food (starting with making it much easier to find and purchase)!

p.s. If you are in the state of Mississippi and you sell local food goods or produce, please leave your contact information here. I will start a master list!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Seven Mississippi Cookbooks That Make Great Holiday Gifts

Have a picky foodie on your holiday shopping list? Check out these seven Mississippi cookbooks that make great holiday gifts (and also let  you share your love of Mississippi at the holidays too).
  • Come On In – Contains 385 triple-tested recipes from the Junior League of Jackson and includes a fish guide in the back.
  • The Mississippi Cookbook – Features over 1,200 recipes from all over the state (pared down by the state Cooperative Extension Service after collecting over 7,000 recipes). A special section includes the favorite recipes of the wives of former governors.
  • Fine Dining Mississippi Style: Signature Recipes from Mississippi’s Restaurants and Bed & Breakfast Inns by John M. Bailey. Features more than 350 recipes and also serves as a fine dining guide for the state.
  • Vintage Vicksburg -  In its ninth printing, this cookbook by the Junior League of Vicksburg offers over 900 recipes, beautiful color photographs and local historic scenes.
  • New South Grilling by Robert St. John – St.  John shows why grilling is not just for the main course and even shares what non-Southerners should know about Southern food. (And this is a great gift for the grillmaster on your shopping list!)
  • Square Table Cookbook – A collection of recipes from Oxford, with artists and authors who hold Oxford dear  thrown in for lagniappe.
  • Best of the Best from Mississippi – Fifty-three  of Mississippi’s favorite cookbooks contributed their most popular 400 recipes to this Quail Ridge Press compilation.