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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Conway

Mississippi - The Magnolia State

Other Nickname: The Hospitality State

Suggested Nickname: The Hot and Humid State

Two Truths and a Lie

The Recipe - Sweet Tea Sandwich Cookies

From “Thank God for Mississippi” to “Mississippi Goddam”, this state inspires huge sentiments. It’s deep in the deep South. Rivers and streams cut across low lands with a few gently rolling hills. The Mighty Mississippi forms the circuitous western border of the state. In the northwest corner of the state lies an alluvial (fine-grained fertile soil deposited by flowing water) plain called the Mississippi Delta. The delta is nicknamed “The Most Southern Place on Earth.”

The Southern culinary heritage is arguably the most celebrated and historic in the nation. This unique cuisine has a complex, multi-ethnic origin story. Native Americans cultivated corn, tomatoes, and squash in the fertile black soil. Europeans brought flour, dairy, and pork to the region. Africans, forcibly moved via the slave trade, introduced their sorghum, okra, and melons.

I wanted to make a cookie that celebrated true Southern cuisine. I struggled because cakes and pies seem to win all the beauty and popularity contests. Recipes for Mississippi Mud Pie, Chess Pie, Hummingbird Cake, Peach Cobbler, Coconut Cake, Pe-CAN Pie, Caramel Cake, Sweet Potato Pie, and Banana pudding abound, but nobody seems to brag about simple cookies.

I decided to combine a wide variety of influences into a new dessert and hope folks down in Mississippi approve. Biscuits are popular in the South, so I made a made British biscuit dough. British biscuits are crispy, thin cookies here in the States. I added black tea to the dough because this summer has been a scorcher and that calls for sweet tea. I sandwiched the cookies with caramel icing traditionally used on caramel cake. I had never made caramel this way before. I had to mix evaporated milk, butter, and sugar in a saucepan and just wait for it to cook over the course of two hours. I sipped tea and listened to “Blues in the Afternoon” on NPR to pass the time. I would do it again.

Once I tasted these crumbly, sweet delicacies, I realized that I had effectively made a soul food version of alfajores. Alfajores are Hispanic pastries made with two delicate cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche. So I accidentally honored the “most Southern place on Earth” with a South American cookie. Oh well, they’re tasty and I stand by them.

Want to experience Mississippi for yourself? Then Teresa recommends ...

Sadly I have not visited Mississippi. Some day I would like to go and bike along the Natchez Trace. Preferably in the fall or winter, because the heat is formidable. One can enjoy a glimpse of the state from their own AC by checking out the show “One, Mississippi” starring Tig Notaro.

Time for the whole truth

The Union Navy crossed the Mississippi River on a moonless night. The Confederate troops built bonfires in an attempt to spot the Navy and shoot them down, but only 68 of 525 fired rounds hit their target. Still, once they crossed the river, Vicksburg was on high ground, easily defended and the 47-day siege did take place.

(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)

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