It’s a good time to write about things to do on a Mississippi college football road trip.  Mississippi was rocking last Saturday with ESPN’s College GameDay broadcasting live from The Grove at Ole Miss and SEC Nation broadcasting live from The Junction at Mississippi State.

After Mississippi State upset Texas A&M, ESPN’s College GameDay will be broadcasting live from The Junction for the MSU/Auburn game.  ESPN stays in Mississippi for 2 weeks!

My previous post talked about visiting Natchez.  Our road trip continued on the Natchez Trace traveling through peaceful countryside until we veered north towards Oxford, Mississippi.  Or travel north on Highway 61 through Vicksburg to Greenville, MS.  This is Mississippi Delta territory (not the Mississippi River Delta which includes New Orleans and Baton Rouge).

The Mississippi Delta is a region in the northwest quadrant of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi River and the Yazoo River, stretching from just south of Memphis to Vicksburg.  It is an alluvial plain which means that flooding has occurred for thousands of years creating very fertile soil.

It is home to The Mississippi Blues Trail and is known for some great southern cuisine.

Watch the video below from Good Morning Mississippi to hear about Greenville’s Delta Hot Tamale Festival.  Hank Burdine is my “Mississippi Tailgating in The Grove buddy”.  Hank really is a hoot!

Hank Burdine with Joanne and Kathy photo by Kathy Miller

Watch to the end for a full appreciation of Hank and especially his singing talents!  Would love to taste that Alligator Hot Tamale.

Lucy got her hat!

Hank Burdine and Lucy from Good Morning Mississippi with their hats photo by Hank Burdine

For all you Tennessee fans you’ll have to visit the festival on Friday, as the Ole Miss/Tennessee game in Oxford is that Saturday, Oct 18.

Traveling to Oxford for a ballgame is an experience all college football fans should experience.  To see my previous post click here.

Spend Friday morning touring the Ole Miss campus.

 The Lyceum

The Lyceum on Ole Miss campus, Oxford MS photo by Kathy Miller

The Chapel and Peddle Bell Tower

The Chapel and Peddle Tower

Spend Friday afternoon on the Square.  Shop Square Books for a fabulous selection of Mississippi writers and history.  Have coffee on their upstairs balcony,

the balcony of Square Books, Oxford MS photo by Kathy Miller

overlooking the Courthouse,

The Courthouse on The Square Oxford, MS photo by Kathy Miller

 Oxford City Hall,

City Hall, Oxford, MS photo by Kathy Miller

 the red phone booth similar to British ones in London and Oxford, England.

Red telephone booth Oxford, Mississippi on the Oxford Square, similar to British ones photo by Kathy Miller

Stop by Oxford Floral to pick up Lillian Carson’s Wonderful Cheese Straws! These are great for your tailgate in The Grove.

Lillian Carson's Wonderful Cheese Straws photo by Lillian Carson

Lillian makes her cheese straws the old fashioned way; by hand using her great grandmother’s recipe and her mama’s old press.  What makes her cheese straws “Wonderful”?  The key is in their thinness made possible by using her mama’s old disc in the press.


  • 2 (8 ounce) Extra Sharp Cheese, grated
  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 2 cups flour
  • 11/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Mix cheese and butter in cuisinart.
  2. Add flour, salt and pepper and blend well.
  3. Press out on cookie sheet and bake 325 for 20 minutes.

By Lillian Carson
Adapted from KathyMillerTime


Recipe Printed from

 Thank you Lillian for sharing your recipe.  Visit Lillian’s Wonderful Cheese Straws facebook page.

Lillian Carson's Wonderful Cheese Straws photo by Lillian Carson

Friday night dining is next on the agenda.

If you are up for a fun catfish dining experience drive the 8 miles to Taylor,  MS to experience Taylor Grocery.

Taylor Grocery during the day in Taylor MS phot by Kathy Miller

Taylor Gro. & Restaurant, That Catfish Place

Come early (opens at 5) and be prepared to wait.  No reservations are excepted.  People tailgate in the parking lot while waiting.

Taylor Gro & Restraurant Taylor MS photo by Kathy Miller

Not up for driving 8 miles?  Stay on the Square and dine at City Grocery, with owner and chef, John Currence.  I am a big shrimp and grits lover and had the most wonderful presentation at City Grocery.  When I complimented the server on the shrimp and grits she said,  “Oh, I’ll give you the recipe!”  She promptly brought out the recipe all nicely printed with “Thank you for your interest, John” at the bottom.


  • 1 cup Quaker Quick Grits
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese (white)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 cups chopped smoked bacon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds 26-30 count shrimp
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 cups sliced white mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups sliced scallions


  1. Cook grits according to instructions on package.
  2. As grits are finishing, whisk in butter, cheddar, parmesan, cayenne, paprika and Tabasco.
  3. After all ingredients are incorporated season with salt and pepper.


  1. Cook bacon until it begins to brown, remove from heat, strain and reserve bacon grease and bacon bits.
  2. Heat large skillet until very hot add olive oil and 2 tablespoons bacon fat.
  3. As oils begin to smoke, toss in shrimp to cover bottom of pan.
  4. Before stirring, season with salt and pepper (this will season shrimp in particular, but the rest of dish as well).
  5. Stir until shrimp begin to turn pink all over (let pan return to original hot temperature).
  6. Stir in minced garlic and bacon bits (be careful not to burn the garlic).
  7. Toss in mushrooms and coat with oil briefly.
  8. Add lemon juice and wine, stir for 30 seconds or so until everything is well coated and incorporated.
  9. Assuming that this is ready to be served, toss in sliced scallions and stir for about 20 seconds. (if these hold too long before serving, they will begin to turn brown and lose all of their crunch).
  10. Serve over the aforementioned, patiently waiting cheese grits.

Kathy's Comments

Go easy with the salt!

By John Currence via KathyMillerTime


Recipe Printed from

John Currence’s book, “Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey Recipes From My Three Favorite Food Groups (And Then Some)” has quickly become one of my favorite cookbooks.  John’s humor comes through along with his fantastic cooking style. With a title like this it has to be a best seller.

When Saturday comes around, get ready for some of the best tailgating in the country.  What makes this tailgating scene so special?  Lets hear what John Currence has to say in  “Spread Formation:  Tailgating And Home Recipes From College Football Greats!” by Loran Smith.

John opens the Mississippi chapter with “The People Make The Grove”.

I love John’s appreciation for his adopted city.  He moved to Oxford from New Orleans in 1992.  When talking about the Grove experience on a game day Saturday he describes it as; “The scene is a 14-acre seething mass of red, white and blue nylon popup tents, seersucker, chino, bourbon and coke, pimento cheese, charcoal lighter fluid and smoke, Chanel No. 5 and Axe Body Wash.”

My description from my Tailgating In The Grove experience;

We walked the Grove for hours.  I took pictures of the sea of red and blue tents, and the aisles meandering through the sea.

Several times I thought we were lost.  The tables ladened with tailgating foods were works of art.  This was no “let’s just put a red or blue plastic tablecloth on the table” decor.  I saw tablecloths with polka dots, stripes, checks and  pattern on pattern.Ole Miss Tailgate in The Grove photo by Kathy Miller

The centerpieces were variations on school colors and orange pumpkins.

Ole Miss Tailgate in The Grove with pumpkins and cotton centerpiece photo by kathy Miller

Pumpkins and Cotton at Ole Miss photo by Kathy Miller

 I saw many arrangements with cotton.

Ole Miss tailgating with cotton arrangements photo by Kathy Miller

And pumpkins with Hotty Toddy and Roll Tide.

Pumpkins with Hotty Toddy and Roll Tide photo by Kathy Miller

I had read in Southern Living about crystal chandeliers in trees.

I was on a mission and I found not one, but two.  A chandelier is in my “Tailgating In The Grove” painting.

TAILGTING IN THE GROVE PAINTING BY KATHY MILLER with chandelier, Hotty Toddy cups photo by Kathy Miller

I appreciate John Currence’s “I have tried to find my entry point (to The Grove) on those Saturdays for years, but I am not an alum and fear I will forever be relegated to carpetbagger status.  I can find a glass of bourbon or a cold beer from time to time, but I will never lay claim to Saturday real estate because it is not my birthright or scholastic right.  It is welcoming and it is warm.  It is convivial and it is civilized.  It is a place for those who love Ole Miss and Oxford.”

To see more of John’s comments on Ole Miss and The Grove, read “SPREAD FORMATION:  TAILGATING AND HOME RECIPES FROM COLLEGE FOOTBALL GREATS!” by Loran Smith.

In celebration of the Florida/Georgia game, Loran will be signing copies of his book on the porch at The Plantation Shops on Amelia Island, Friday, October 31 from 11-2.

I will also be signing prints of my “Tailgating Through The South” series at The Plantation Shops, that same day, October 31, from 10-4.

Watch for upcoming stories from my tailgating travels.  I welcome your comments, recipes and any inside information on your favorite tailgating spots.

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.


  • Dave Miller says:

    Hank Burdine’s video is an instant classic. A shout out must also go to the reporter Lucy who did a great job egging on Hank. I know that photo of Taylor Ms looks like burned out ruins, but on a Friday night it is a happening place.

  • leslie terry says:

    Taylor Grocery and City Grocery look like our kind of places. Will put both on the MS itinerary for sure. From that info I now know that you and Dave are Chowder Ted’s (Brown’s Creek-JAX) kinda folks, so we need a lunch date there one day soon.

  • Dave Kempf says:

    Hope this weekend’s football is as exciting as last-one of the best weekends for College Football ever. My Picks:

    Mississippi State
    Texas A & M

    • Last weekend was great for college football. Looking forward to another great football viewing weekend. I think your picks are pretty good. I would have taken Georgia and might still except for Gurley’s suspension. Of course I am not going to be controversial since I have so many friends at all of the schools! I will be in The Swamp, holding my Tennessee head up high….

  • Joy McCabe says:

    Hi Kathy,
    Loved your Mississippi story! Beautiful pictures too.
    My South Georgia aunt was known for her cheese straws. I’ve never tried to make them, but I need to give this recipe a try.

  • Thank you Joy for your comment! Looking forward to my post next week, talking about our great tailgate at Tennessee….Cheese straws were the rage and my mom and friends always made them. Jean Smith’s were the best! She always served them at showers etc. (Her mints were famous too)! Lillian Carson sent me a picture of her old disc….It is unique. Her cheese straws turn out thin. Think we all need to order some!

  • Joanne Astor says:

    Your Mississippi post was great. So informative as well as showing Mississippi at its best. Fun people and fun times! As always Kathy, your appreciation for the traditions of all the colleges is amazing.

    • Thank you for your comment, Joanne. Visiting different schools, hearing their stories, enjoying their unique traditions make this endeavor so much fun! You have been a big part of my travels.

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