Free Lebanese Cooking Classes Nov. 20 & Dec. 4

lebanon flagBy Danny Toma, staff writer

Lebanon, the home of the ancient Phoenicians and the site of the Biblical cities of Tyre and Sidon is one of the great crossroads of the Middle East. Inhabited by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, Sunni and Shi’ah Muslims, and the mysterious Druze, its people speak Arabic and French, with minorities of Armenian, Greek, and Kurdish speakers. With such a rich and cosmopolitan heritage, Lebanese cooking is widely considered to be one of the richest in the region and shows Arabic, Turkish, and French influences.

Now, right here in Oxford, Mississippi, you too can learn the secrets of this delicious cuisine and best of all, can do it absolutely free of charge. The Oxford Activity Center (corner of Price St. and Molly Barr) will host two nights of Lebanese cooking classes, presented by Ms. Lena Hand, on Thursday, November 20th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Thursday, December 4th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If interested, contact Deb Helms at (662) 236-1157 or at As of this writing, there are still about 10 spots available, so act fast so as not to miss out on this one-of-a-kind opportunity!


About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and will be contributing to on a regular basis.

Oxford Thanksgiving: Eaten Out or Catered In

thanksgiving postEvery year around this time I receive several emails from folks looking for a place to dine out on Thanksgiving.

More and more people either don’t want to deal with the mess of cooking at home, or they’re coming to visit their children who live in the dorms at Ole Miss and they want to be able to take them out to eat for the holiday.

This year, we also have the Egg Bowl on the same weekend as Thanksgiving, meaning many people will be traveling and not wanting to shop for all of the Thanksgiving fixings.

Since most restaurants in Oxford close for the holidays, I usually end up recommending that visitors try places such as IHOP, Huddle House, Applebee’s and Cracker Barrel (Batesville), which are usually open on holidays.

However, there are a couple of restaurants on the Square open this year….

Lenora’s will also be open on Thanksgiving, offering a small buffet-style dinner. Call 662-236-1144 for more info.

Locals will be open on Thanksgiving with a turkey and dressing brunch. Call 662-234-9594 for more info.

For those who have a space in town to hold Thanksgiving, but would rather have someone else cook, Oxford offers many catering options if you’d like food prepared ahead of time and ready for the big day.

A few options include:

Rib Cage: smoked turkey, smoked ham, pork loin – p/u by Nov. 26, (662) 238-2929

Honey Bee Bakery: hams, pies, breads – order by Nov. 24, (662) 234-2490

My Michelle’s: ham, turkey, dressing, casseroles, etc. – order by Nov. 24, (662) 236-1512

Queenissippi Catering: roasted Cajun turkey, casseroles, desserts, etc. – order by Nov. 23, (662) 609-5475

Lamar Lounge: smoked turkeys – order by Nov. 24, (662) 513-6197

Rebel Barn: smoked turkeys and hams – order by Nov. 22, (662) 469-6227

Mark Davis: variety of turkeys, brisket, pork loin, dressing, etc. – order by Nov. 21, (662) 801-3939

Lenora’s: A variety of Thanksgiving items; order by Nov. 25, (662) 236-1144

Have I missed a restaurant or catering option? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.



Now Open: Butter & Bread Co.

10668741_367525196730117_1225999303_nThere’s an adorable little kitchen store that recently opened just off the Square called Butter & Bread Co.

Owner Taylor Shaffett, born and raised in Clarksdale, Mississippi, says she’s been dreaming of this store for years and finally took the leap.

Butter & Bread offers everything to make a kitchen and home look comfy and cozy.

Check it out at 107 N. 13th St., Ste. A, on the Facebook page here, or on their website here.

–Liz 10708013_367525193396784_2021405268_n

(photos courtesy Butter & Bread Co.)

Open Your Own Restaurant August 17!

restaurant day roy backstrom

Photo: Restaurant Day; Roy Backstrom

Have you heard about Restaurant Day? It happens this Sunday, August 17, and invites people around the world to open their own pop-up restaurant for one day.

This is a really cool concept that has been spreading around the world since 2011. It occurs four times per year in 55 countries, and there have been nearly 10,000 one-day restaurants set up by 35,000 self-made restaurateurs.

How cool would it be if we did this in Oxford?

It’s just one day.

Your own restaurant, serving whatever you want, wherever you want.

restaurant day kimmo lind

Photo: Restaurant Day; Kimmo Lind

Think about it….you could sell your “famous” fish tacos, BLTs, cupcakes, whatever you dream up. No one can stop you!

Watch the below video for inspiration and check out the Restaurant Day website for more information.


Family Cooking Night: Tuesday, August 12 at 6:30 p.m.

kid cookingEating Oxford Institute: Family Cooking Night with Good Food for Oxford Schools

Family Cooking Night invites parents and children (max 4 per family) to a night of cooking with Sunny Young, director of Good Food for Oxford Schools and Richmond Smith, a former chef of the New Orleans Saints and current nutrition services director for the Oxford School District.

Tickets are not available at the door. Please pre-order via Brown Paper Tickets to secure your place to this limited-seating class.

Attendees will create a salad, dressing, and shrimp dish utilizing ingredients from our local Oxford City Market.

The class will be held at Della Davidson Elementary School on Tuesday, August 12, at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $30 per family (4 per family max).

Find the Facebook event page here.

Eating Oxford Institute is a monthly food-centric class hosted by, in partnership with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the Oxford Parks Commission.


Summer’s Bounty (Oxford Citizen column June 27)

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Class Wrap-Up: Juicing for Health and Energy

IMG_5027Our first class in the Eating Oxford Institute series was held Wednesday night at The Powerhouse.

Attendees learned the benefits and techniques of juicing from Melody Sharp, owner of Living Foods (formerly Local Flavor).IMG_5096

Melody showed the difference between styles of juicers, how to get the most bang for your buck out of fruits and vegetables, tips for any fruits that need to be peeled/cored before juicing, and more.

The class sampled fruit and vegetable juices, participated in questions and answers, and all departed with a full-size juice, recipe card and coupon.


We loved having Melody share her knowledge at a fun evening of culinary learning!

Check out the great write-up by LaReeca Rucker in today’s Oxford Eagle, too!

Don’t miss next month’s class, Southern Foods Done Light, taught by Tim Woodard on July 15 at the Activity Center. Details Here.


***Eating Oxford Institute is a collaboration between, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, and the Oxford Park Commission.

(Thank you to Giana Leone IMG_5021of the Daily Mississippian for sharing her photos from the event.)

Setting a Local Table in Oxford

In honor of last week’s Earth Week and the second season of Oxford City Market, I asked Betsy Chapman from Yokna Bottoms Farm to submit a post about Oxford Farms and Farmers. Check out her post below, and say hi the next time you see her at the farmer’s market. –Liz

We’re All in This Thing Together

betsyBy Betsy Chapman

It might come as a surprise, but there’s not a whole lot of “mudslinging” among Oxford’s community of growers and producers. Mud, yes. Slinging, no.

Despite our differences in philosophy and farming practices, the prevailing theme among local farmers: We’re all in this thing together

Whether we’re all under the big tent at Oxford City Market or side-by-side at Midtown, there’s a strong sense of mutual respect, support, and admiration. We know better than anyone the tremendous amount of hard work, time, and dedication it takes to bring thousands of pounds of food into town twice a week to feed our friends and neighbors.

Sure, more farms mean more competition, but it’s healthy competition and that competition is what will drive the market as we work together to build a strong local food economy. Simply put: No farmer wants to sit alone at the market….Fewer farmers means fewer customers.

That said, let me introduce you to the Multi-Farm Dinner my family and I enjoyed after last Tuesday’s first Oxford City Market (OXCM) of 2014:

On the menu:

yokna post 3

Yokna Bottoms spring salad mix with mild, crisp radishes from Charlie Dawson of Canebreak Farm tossed with Yokna Bottoms Green Garlic Vinaigrette – sweetened with Mardis Honey.

Sauteed kale from Will and Amanda Reed of Native Son Farm mixed with Yokna Bottoms collards, seasoned with Yokna Bottoms green onions and spicy peppers, slow-smoked on the farm.

Yokna Bottoms Chow Chow deviled eggs with the farm’s green onion and smoked sweet peppers and my freakin’ awesome homemade chow chow from neighbor and friend Stacey Sanford of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.

Delicious homemade whole wheat bread from Christy and Marie of M&J Farm.yokna post 2

Peas from Bost Farm of Mid-Town Market, frozen from last year – still really good!

Iced sweet tea with Yokna Bottoms mint and Mardis Honey.

Dessert: Native Son strawberries with M&J Farm chocolate sauce!

See what we just did there? We made an incredible meal from the collective efforts of several local growers….

What’s on your local plate?

yokna post 1

Betsy Chapman works at Yokna Bottoms Farm and cooks up a storm in her tiny, ill-equipped Oxford, Mississippi, kitchen. Find her and her farmer friends at OXCM Tuesdays from 3-6:30 p.m. on West Oxford Loop and Saturdays 7-11 a.m. at Mid-Town Market, in the Sears parking lot off of North Lamar. For more information on Yokna Bottoms, give Betsy a call at 662-380-2367.


***On the subject of our community of local farmers, Will and Amanda Reed (Native Son) are facing a tough time. Their baby Magnolia Jane was recently diagnosed with a rare cancer and is undergoing treatment at Lebonheur in Memphis. Find out how to help support these incredibly hardworking Tupelo farmers: Thoughts and Prayers for Magnolia Jane.


Enter to Win: Miss-I-Sippin’ Recipe Contest has teamed up with the 6th Annual Miss-I-Sippin’ Beer & Food Tasting event to present a Miss-I-Sippin’ Recipe Contest.

Now through March 31, submit your recipe that incorporates at least one item from a Miss-I-Sippin’ sponsor (list of sponsors/rules). A team of tasters will select the winning recipe and the winner will attend Miss-I-Sippin’ as a VIP guest with special early admission.

The deadline for all recipes is March 31. Find rules and entry form here.


mississippinAbout Miss-I-Sippin’

April 3, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 pm., Powerhouse

Miss-I-Sippin’ is an annual beer and food tasting event benefiting arts and education, which has sold out the last five years and draws foodies from around the Southeast. The event features a variety of popular and seasonal beers and food pairings by Chef Beth Vickers Pace with Ole Miss Nutrition and Hospitality Management Faculty and Students. Recipes featuring Mississippi-based products are custom created for the event, and one of the most popular items, the beer float, will be returning this year. Tickets are $40/pp.

Sponsors include: Clark Beverage Group, Yalobusha Brewery, Coors, Abita, Lazy Magnolia, Cups, Delta Pride Catfish, Gulf Select Shrimp, Golden Flake Snacks, Polk’s Meat, Sanderson Farms, Yokna Bottom Farms, Red Smith Foods, Neilsen Massey Vanillas, Office Depot, MPAK, Magnolia Rental, and Lenoir Dining.

Contact the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council at 662-236-6429 or with any questions.

Facebook event page here.



Learn to Save with Coupons

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Easy Couponing Tips to Save You Money

By Benjy Foster

Who among us today doesn’t need to save money? Couponing has become more popular over the past few years thanks to television shows highlighting how much you can save. Some businesses have even changed their policies because of couponers, but there are still great deals to be found if you have the desire to save and the patience to learn.

In Oxford, the best place to pick up coupons is in Sunday’s Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, readily available around town. Remember to look at the front of the paper before purchasing one. It will tell you how many coupons are inside right on the front page. If it doesn’t list any savings, there are no coupons that week.

The first thing to remember when couponing is that just about every item you normally use in your home will go on sale and have a coupon for it at some point in time.

The key is to wait for the products to go on sale and use a coupon at the same time, if possible.

Believe it or not, there are even some products you can get for free, such as shave gel, soap, toothpaste and more by using coupons during sales.

Watch for special promotional sales. This is when a store runs a sale such as Buy 5 mix and match products and instantly save $5 (Kroger did this last week).  This is a good time to combine coupons and save a ton!

One of the best ways to save is when stores print coupons good toward your next purchase (these coupons that print after your transaction at Kroger are referred to as “Catalina Deals”). You can use that coupon on the same items again to make another coupon print out, or just use it for a discount off of your total at the end of your next shopping trip.

While some people think it’s necessary to clip every single coupon, I think this is a waste of your time; there will always be coupons that never get used. Just save the coupons in dated folders. Then, when the items you want go on sale, go back to your folders and only clip the coupons that you need for that shopping trip.

If you enjoy eating out and trying new places, there are also a lot of restaurants that consistently provide coupons in the Sunday paper as well as on the back of your Kroger receipts. Don’t be shy about using them; they can save you a lot of money—sometimes up to $10! These are restaurants such as IHOP, Red Lobster, Logan’s, Outback Steakhouse, Ruby Tuesdays, Longhorn Steakhouse, and more.

These tips are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re just starting out with couponing and trying to make sense of it all, there’s an excellent website that will take you through it step by step and even show you in-depth views of what deals are going on at each different store. Find it at

Good luck and have fun saving!

Are You READY…for Thanksgiving?

turkeyWe are T-minus five days from Thanksgiving. Do you have a plan yet?

It can sometimes become overwhelming to imagine cooking a 10-pound turkey with all the fixings and then have everyone gobble it up in 20 minutes, leaving you a mess of dishes and pans that take two hours to clean up while everyone else watches the game.

Well, relief is not far away, as several places around Oxford can cater your Thanksgiving and save you the stress and headache that for some accompanies an otherwise wonderful gathering of friends and family.

Below is a list of locations that will cook for you and let you pass off the wonderful meal as your own (I know, you’d never do that). Be sure to call soon as most restaurants and catering companies need you to pre-order early.

The Rib Cage

Golden Rule Bar-B-Q

Rivals BBQ

My Michelle’s

Honey Bee Bakery

Roasted/Emileigh’s Kitchen

Mama Jo’s Country Cookin’

Olivia’s Food Emporium

B’s Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Q


Feel like skipping the gathering all together? That’s OK, too! Head over to The Library Sports Bar where they’ll be watching the game and enjoying free turkey with all the fixings.

Really not feeling turkey this year at all? There’s always somewhere to go. Buffalo Wild Wings will have a full menu and all of the TVs set to any game you want to watch.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you have a wonderful time doing EXACTLY what you want to do!



Nov. 15: Cookbook Signing: Robert St. John and Wyatt Waters

italian palateFriday, Nov. 15, at 5:00 p.m., Square Books hosts Hattiesburg, Mississippi, chef and restaurateur Robert St. John and Wyatt Waters who have recently released An Italian Palate, a cookbook, which includes watercolors inspired by the duos travels through Italy.

While this is St. John’s ninth cookbook, it’s the first that takes him away from southern cuisine and into Italian.


This post sponsored by James B. Justice, PLLC, Attorney at Law




Blog Buzz: 9 Southern Food Sites

cupcakesAs someone who loves food, I’m sure it will come as no surprise that, in addition to reading menus, I read a lot of articles and peruse blogs on the topic of food. You’re undoubtedly the same way.

So I wanted to share a few links to popular blogs that cover the topic of Southern food, in case you have a hunger to check any of them out sometime. I’d love for you to introduce me to some of your favorites, too.

Happy reading!

A Southern Grace

Biscuits & Such

Chef Rick’s Southern Cooking

Deep South Dish

Hushpuppy Nation

Southern Foodways Alliance

The Pioneer Woman

The South Will Rise

The Southern Lady Cooks




Biscuit Love

I found myself thinking about biscuits today…admit it, we’ve all been there.

So I decided to see what Square Books had on the shelves relating to Biscuits and I found some interesting books that you might be interested in as well. We could all use a few good summer reads!

biscuits 1

Bill Neal’s Biscuits, Spoonbread & Sweet Potato Pie celebrates the glories of Southern baking with 300 recipes for the breads, biscuits, cakes, pies, cookies, and sweets that have been the pride of Southern cooks for generations.



biscuits 2

In Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns and Other Southern Specialties, you’re taken on a personal tour of the culinary—and social—South. In essays on everything from pork chops to the perfect picnic, Julia Reed revels in the simple qualities that make the Southern table the best place to pull up a chair.



biscuits 3Southern Biscuits features recipes and baking secrets for every biscuit imaginable, from easy biscuits to embellished biscuits laced with goat butter, crunchy pecans, or tangy pimento cheese.

Jon Myrick Recipe: Steamed Mussels with Leeks and Tomatoes


Here’s a recipe from Proud Larry’s executive chef Jon Myrick that seems like it would be difficult until you see him make it and realize you can do it, too! Those at the Oxford Beer Fest saw it firsthand, and now you can try the recipe below. For the fest, Jon used Diamond Bear Southern Blonde for steaming his mussels, but feel free to experiment with any pale ale or lager.

Steamed Mussels with Leeks and Stewed Tomatoes

1 tbsp. butter
1 t. garlic
1/2 c. stewed tomatoes
1/4 c. leeks
1/8 c. parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
about 25 mussels
1/2 c. beer (Jon used Diamond Bear Southern Blonde at the Oxford Beer Fest)

Combine butter, garlic, tomatoes, leeks, parsley, salt and pepper in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once all are cooked through and combined, add mussels and beer and cover to steam. Mussels will be done when shells open (about 4 minutes).

Serves 2


The Oxford Beer Fest’s VIP Chef/Beer Pairing area was organized by If you’d like information on how to hold a similar event at your venue, contact