When it comes to food, the South has much to celebrate. One of the best celebrations I’ve been a part of was Eat Ya’ll’s CONNECT dinner held downtown on Dauphin Street. The event was a pairing of chefs for a meal that won’t soon be forgotten.

In this installment of the series, held Tuesday, April 24, we found our very own Chris Rainosek of The Noble South and Chef Susan Spicer of Mondo in New Orleans trading paint with plate after plate getting better as the night went on. Both chefs outdid themselves, from the appetizers to the desserts.

Murder Point oysters on the half shell with ramp mignonette were followed by Boudin Noir, bite-size sliced boudin, and both were almost too good to be true on a Tuesday night. Cornbread and buttermilk with trout roe screamed Rainosek. Spicer wowed us with a Vietnamese catfish dish called Cha Ca La Vong. Fourth course was Rainosek’s hanger steak, which reminded us of the glory of beef. Dessert was a Duo of Pecan consisting of cheesecake and roulade.

As a farm-to-table event, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia were well represented. Country Girl’s Creamery of Lumberton, Mississippi; Delta Grind of Water Valley, Mississippi; Herb and Pepper Farms of Loxley; Murder Point Oysters of Bayou La Batre; Pecan Ridge Plantation of Bainbridge, Georgia; Simmons Catfish of Yazoo City, Mississippi; Sweet Grass Pastures of Lucedale, Mississippi; and Two Brooks Farm of Sumner, Mississippi, all provided top-notch products.

Proceeds benefited Feeding the Gulf Coast (formerly Bay Area Food Bank), Pinot gris and pinot noir were provided by International Wines and Craft Beer.

If you’d like to learn more about Eat Y’all and find out about their next CONNECT dinner, visit www.eatyall.com.


Help Mom in the kitchen on Mother’s Day

How, you might ask? Several ways. Maybe instead of just cooking for her (you should do that, too) you could gift her something that could make her life easier, fancier or more exciting. Here are a few ideas for food-related gifts.

Make her something. Put together something nice — maybe infused olive oil or something you canned. It could be a bread starter or some kind of mix. I just made dill and rosemary pickles. It’s easy but shows you put forth an effort more than a gift card.

Sign up for cooking classes. Be very careful here. Don’t send the wrong message. If your mom is the adventurous type she should know you’re not hinting that her cooking is bad. Make sure she understands this is to further the development of her already-stellar skills. Remember this for Father’s Day, too.

Many places across the nation are offering classes, from restaurants to casinos to church organizations. If Mom lives in a different city, buy her a class in your town. It’s an excuse to visit.

Pay attention to her cookware. It’s a personal thing. We are a Calphalon and Staub family. Others may prefer All-Clad and Le Creuset. Whatever it is, even if cheap, mom is into it and wants it to match. Let’s keep her happy in the kitchen.

I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms not quite as good as mine.

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