Meeting an Icon

Ryan and I were lucky to meet Mississippi icon Malcolm White over the weekend and hear some of his stories from many years owning Hal and Mal’s, living in Jackson, and generally being involved in the Mississippi arts scene.

Ryan took plenty of notes and will be relaying some of Mr. White’s stories in “Classic Restaurants of Jackson.” In addition to meeting Mr. White, we also got to try some of Hal and Mal’s downhome Southern cooking. It was another great weekend of meeting interesting people, tasting great food, and learning about some truly great restaurants.

We have visited six restaurants and still have 12 to go before we are done. I could get used to this kind of work!

Video from the 2019 Mississippi Book Festival

“All About Mississippi”

Marshall Ramsey has been tickling me with his cartoons since I was in high school, so it was a great honor to sit and talk with him, Luke Lampton, Kate Stewart, and Janice Branch Tracy in front of an audience of about 250 at the 2019 Mississippi Book Festival. Marshall was a fantastic moderator who kept the conversation flowing and the audience engaged.

I got a notice today from the MBF that our talk, “All About Mississippi,” is available to view on the MBF website. The video quality is fantastic. To be honest, no one has ever filmed me in such a way before! I watched a minute or so of it and thought that my head looked bigger than I realized, and my beard longer…

Anyway, if you want to see our full talk with Marshall, you can watch the video here.

Thank you to Mississippi State University for the write-up

Mississippi State University recently published a story about our Deep South trilogy of Hidden History books (HH Jackson, HH Mississippi Sound, HH New Orleans). You can read the story here. We would like to thank them for the support. Several people have contacted us since the story ran to express their interest in our books.

As a Mississippi State graduate and instructor, I would also like to say Hail State — wrap this one in maroon and white!

Work has officially begun on “Classic Restaurants of Jackson”

Ah, the struggles of a food writer. Ryan and I spent a grueling weekend tasting and photographing food at some of Jackson’s best restaurants. We have officially begun work on “Classic Restaurants of Jackson.”

We would like to extend an enormous thank you to David Conn, a partner in the group that owns Amerigo, Char, and several other restaurants, and Bill Prisock, president of the Cock of the Walk restaurants. The men were our hosts over the weekend. David dazzled us with plates at Amerigo and Char on Saturday, and Bill told us stories about Cock of the Walk’s legendary founder, Ken Jackson, as the sun rose over the reservoir Sunday morning.

David described Jackson as a “foodie town.” Ryan and I are trying hard to do Jackson’s food scene justice with our work. We were able to get some great photos of beautiful plates at Amerigo, Char, and Cock of the Walk. We plan to visit another 15 of Jackson’s best restaurants in the next few months, and have our manuscript to the History Press around the turn of the new year.

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the photos we got:

Flame-grilled salmon fillet with black bean salsa and green beans ($13) at Amerigo
Chicken and waffle ($12) at Char
Grilled catfish “Keelboat Special” with onion rings and fried pickles ($22) at Cock of the Walk

HHNO Cover Reveal

The History Press just finished designing the cover for Hidden History of New Orleans, and as usual they did a fantastic job. The cover features a photo of a dockworker on the Mississippi River waterfront in the 1880s. The image was graciously provided by our friends at the Rijksmuseum, one of the Netherlands’ premier art and history museums.

The official release date for HHNO is Feb. 3, 2020, just in time for Mardi Gras.

Thank You to the Great Katy Simpson Smith

Ryan and I are thrilled to announce that the great Katy Simpson Smith, author of The Story of Land and Sea and Free Men, has written the forward for our upcoming book, Hidden History of New Orleans. Ms. Smith is a Jackson native who currently lives, writes, and teaches in New Orleans.

Ms. Smith’s third novel, The Everlasting, will be published by Harper next year. You can buy her other books at Lemuria in Jackson, on Amazon, and at many other bookstores and online retailers.