This joyful collaboration between authors and artist celebrates the cuisine of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It’s a food culture focused on gifts from the waters and appropriately leads off with a chapter on “boat snacks,” featuring such distinctive items as Back Bay Boiled Peanuts (leftovers to be used in a hummus-like spread), Smoked Mullet and Jalapeno Dip, and Atomic Pelican Beaks (a grilled concoction of jalapenos, bacon, sausage, and cream cheese). Other singular chapters are devoted to “rocks” (fresh oysters), pickling, and hooch. Many recipes are fancifully named and tempt on that strength alone. Can one truly resist the allure of Butterscotch Haystacks or Debris BBQ Beef on Pistolettes for Ship Island?
Strewn among these assertively flavored, indulgent recipes from restaurateur Mayfield and culled from fish camps, sailors, and other locals are essays about the Gulf Islands, hurricane hunters, the boating season, and coastal lore and history. Many color photographs, and Billy Solitario’s blue-hued seascapes and seafood still lifes, add even more to the book’s strong evocation of this unique section of the Deep South. It’s an attractive invitation to visit coastal Mississippi; in the interim, you’ll want to cook from it as much as your waistline will allow.
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