No bones about it, for fun-minded cooks, Halloween is a great time to set the imagination free.
Even to the deep South, autumn finally comes. Temperatures tease us, hinting at sweater weather ahead. Daylight retreats, day by day, and nights are ripe for sitting out on the porch, happily hatching plans for Halloween costumes, holiday menus or letters to Santa.
From the moment they pass through handsome, carved doors that once fronted the old New Orleans Stock Exchange, diners know they've arrived at a distinctive destination.
For Ray Merchant, serving up smooth, silky frozen custard cones, sundaes, splits and other sweet bliss is a far cry from the gritty sleuthing he did as a railroad detective for three decades.
As hot Southern summers wane into late August and September, young watchers who have patiently monitored vines at Palmer Home in Columbus finally hear the pronouncement: "Muscadines are ready!" And like other fans of the big grape, they fill up their shirttails with the sweet and tart fruit, to enjoy fresh off the vine.
Saturday's kick-offs heralded more than another autumn of gridiron action; they launched a fresh season of tailgating, too.
Here comes Labor Day. But instead of mourning the passing of summer, segue smoothly into the season of touchdowns, turkeys and evergreens with a lively outdoor party that celebrates the last 20 or so summer days still officially left.
Every second Sunday in August, come rain or come shine, the faithful return to a wooded spot "10 miles out in the country" from Carrollton, Ala. Here, for more than 100 years, generations have gathered to celebrate family and faith -- not to mention a hearty Brunswick stew and old-fashioned all-day singing at Spring Hill Baptist Church, first established in 1842.
While most of the world slumbers at 4 a.m., the day is under way at Ole Country Bakery in Brooksville.
Cookbook titles aside, that phrase, "the joy of cooking," might have been coined for Sigga Head.
Sometimes kids just need a little inspiration to try something in the kitchen. Sultry summertime offers a great opportunity to tempt them to make some simple, fun and yes, even healthy, snacks. The time together with mom or dad -- or grandparents -- can be a memory-builder, too.
Whether celebrating Independence Day weekend with a host of friends or a small gathering of family, add a flourish by showing your colors. Red, white and blue strawberry appetizers or a patriotic potato salad will have the crowd talking. Or how about an American flag cake for dessert?
"Beautiful, beautiful!" praised Chef Vicki Leach, checking Britton Walker's fried green tomatoes in progress during the fourth and final week of the Culinary Arts Institute's Culinary Camp at Mississippi University for Women. Tantalizing aromas mingled June 22 as 18 campers at cooking stations industriously went about the mouth-watering business of creating everything from Asian peanut salad to risotto.
Attendance is up at Columbus' Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen due to, in part, the economy.
Ah, Italian cuisine. It's among some of the world's richest and most varied. From quick late-night snacks to complex culinary creations, Italy's flavorful foods are frequent favorites of the American palate.
While Laura Murphy was on her way to graduating magna cum laude from Mississippi College May 8, the psychology major couldn't keep her thoughts away from the kitchen.
Daniel Wressell, corporate pastry chef with E. Guittard Chocolate Co., tempted the sweet tooth of Mississippi University for Women culinary arts students earlier this spring when he visited Columbus. In a demonstration arranged by MUW's Chef Erich Ogle, the California-based chocolatier showed how the cacao tree's luscious product can be transformed into an artistic statement.