Thanksgiving

Oreo Pie

Thanksgiving prep is in full swing at my house as I’m sure it is in most houses. Luckily, I got most everything I need. My husband informed me he had to make a run to the grocery store. I gave him the three finger salute and told him with a kiss, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” He laughed for a second but looked genuinely afraid as he walked out the door.

I, meanwhile, stood in the kitchen in basketball shorts, hair in a bun on top of my head, and a t-shirt that’s seen better days and took on the task of rolling out dumplings. Although it’s a messy affair, this is something I genuinely like doing. I love the sticky dough and the flour clouds and the rolling and cutting. It reminds me of being in my grandmother’s kitchen listening to her sing I’ll Fly Away and Leaning on the Everlasting Arms while up to her elbows in dough. It’s a tradition and my heritage to know how to mix the dough, how thin to make the dumplings, and what a secret how easy it all is.

I remember the men folk in my family used to break down the door to get in the house for Mamaw’s chicken and dumplings. She’d usher us kids to the table while the stove was swarmed by hungry men. We all said a little prayer that there would be anything left if my cousin, Chris, was first in line. She took great joy in people eating her food. I think I get that from her.

I’ve not mastered, but can make a close copy of her cornbread, chicken and dumplings, and banana pudding. One of the greatest compliments I’ve ever gotten was a few years ago when one of my cousins put an arm around me and said, “Kacie, yours tastes just like Mamaw Ree’s banana pudding.” I think it brought a tear to my eye.

When the dumplings were rolled, Tony came in and asked if I was going to make a trial run. He seemed a little crestfallen when I said I hadn’t planned on it. “But babe,” he said with a gleam in his eye, “how can you be sure they’ll turn out right?” So, I cooked him dumplings to sample. I’m sure my family will be grateful for his quality check.

About ten years ago, I was looking for something simple when I volunteered to bring a dessert for Thanksgiving. I found a recipe for Oreo pie. I had no idea that I was diving head first into a contract for the rest of my life. Back then, all my little cousins were kids. It was love at first bite. All the kiddos were hooked. It was gone before I knew it. I made a mental note to make two for Christmas.

At the time, my youngest boy cousin, Wyatt, was about six or so. When it came dessert time that Christmas, my mom looked at me quizzically and asked, “Didn’t you make two pies?” I told her I had. Upon further investigation of the missing pie, we found Wyatt had taken a whole one for himself. What was on his face was the only evidence to be found.

Now, each and every time we discuss what foods we should bring, I am volunteered for Oreo pie. Most of my little cousins are adults or entering adulthood now. Several have spouses and kids of their own now. They’ve even gotten their spouses in on it. My cousin’s wife, Michelle, was the first to request Oreo pie this year. 

I’ve made the mistake of not making it a time or two. I’ve learned my lesson. After one of my lapses, Wyatt made sure everyone knew that if I didn’t make pie, I couldn’t come to Thanksgiving. My youngest cousin, Maddie, asked about it one year when I brought something else and made a sound of such despair when she discovered there was none. Needless to say, I now know better. This year we will have Oreo pie.

Food aside, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Christmas is wonderful but has been overtaken by the decorating and buying gifts. Thanksgiving is one of the last pure holidays. It’s togetherness and food and being thankful. I took on a full meal with the works last year. It was a lot of work. I was dog tired by the end of the day, but I loved every minute. I’m not doing that this year, but I will be contributing to and partaking in two Thanksgiving meals with some of my favorite people. At the end of the day, it’s not what you eat or where you eat. It’s who you eat with. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Jose’s

Joses

My husband and I have been fans of the Perdomo family for years. Jose used to work for a local Mexican restaurant. He managed it in a way that made you feel welcome. If he saw you more than a time or two, he knew you by name, knew your preferred drink, and more often knew what you wanted before you did.
When we heard that he was going out on his own and opening his own restaurant, we were happy for him. We knew anything he did would prosper.
When the doors opened and we went to see what Jose and his wife, Mandy, had accomplished, we were excited for them. He’d made a beautiful restaurant. The colors were warm, the staff wonderful, and the menu was varied with items that sounded so good, it was hard to choose.They offer an array of favorites from tacos, burritos, and enchiladas to hamburgers, steak, and baked potatoes. If I start talking about the fajitas, we’ll be here all day.

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Jose Tacos, crispy tacos with warm beef and fresh toppings.

I remember the first time we went to Jose’s, the salsa was the first pleasant surprise of many. It was bold with highlighted flavors of lime and cilantro. Most places skimp on the cilantro, but Jose knows his stuff. Tony is a guacamole man. He is disappointed in the whole meal if the guacamole isn’t good. With the first bite of Jose’s guacamole his eyes lit up and a slow smile made it’s way across his face. He became an absolute fan. I got the blackened shrimp tacos and black bean soup. I like to consider myself a foodie, but I was so unprepared for those tacos! The shrimp was seasoned and cooked to perfection. Shrimp is so easy to overcook, and Jose’s has it down to an art. The subtle spice of the shrimp paired with the tangy mango salsa blew me away.

As a testament to their success, Mandy and Jose soon got a bigger building across the highway from their original location. It’s even more lovely and has a lot more seating. It’s light with great atmosphere. The dark wood and metal gives it a modern feel. I believe it is exactly what our small town needs. Any time the doors are open, there are cars in the parking lot. I’ve never seen it have a slow day, and I pass by pretty often.
Our most recent visit solidified what I know about Jose and his staff. Everything they do is consistently good. The salsa is always my favorite. The chips are seasoned and warm. They work hard to keep your glass full and always have a smile.
I really guess I should not call myself a foodie. I’m from Mississippi and up until now, I’d never had shrimp and grits. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this.
I remedied my shaming situation at Jose’s. I’ve heard nothing but good about the shrimp and grits. However, I was not prepared. The grits were some of the creamiest I’ve had. Some creamy grits tend to be too thin, but not these. The consistency was just right. The grits were covered with cheese, remoulade, bacon, and green onions. In proud positions on top were six large grilled shrimp. My taste buds went into overdrive as I enjoyed spoonful after spoonful.

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This is after I took my first bite, so a shrimp is missing. Note those grilled jalapenos. Yum!

Tony got the chile rellenos which are a personal favorite of mine. They came so hot from the kitchen that even the last bite was warm. The rellenos are covered in melty, gooey cheese. The rice and beans are flavorful on their own. Tony mixes them and swears it’s the best thing ever. He also got some grilled jalapenos. I stole a few and added them to my shrimp and grits. I know I’ll definitely ask for them next time. We didn’t have room for dessert, but we sometimes get the fried cheesecake. It’s always spectacular.

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Tony’s chile rellenos. We seriously need to work on our photography.

At the end of your meal at Jose’s, you feel at home, you have a full belly, and you leave happy. Also, the salsa is good enough to drink, and no one will judge you for it. If you don’t believe me, ask Tony.

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For more information (and better photography) about one of our favorite hometown places, Jose’s, please check out the links below.

Jose’s Restaurant & Grill

834 Franklin Dr. SW, Magee, MS 39111

601-439-7155

https://www.facebook.com/josesrestaurantmagee/

https://www.instagram.com/josesrestaurant/

Becky’s Burger

I’ve lived in Magee nearly all my life. Zip burgers have always been considered the best burger to be had. I grew up on them, and they are wonderful. However, that’s a blog for another day.



Hidden back behind the old elementary school in Magee, Mississippi is a gem of a burger joint. The exterior doesn’t look like much. It’s to-go only and is ran by a sweet lady who makes a mean burger. It’s so good she named the main item after herself. 

The Becky Burger is a big beautiful hunk of meat with cheese between buns to match  with your usual burger toppings. My husband likes his with bacon. The meat has a terrific flavor and is hard to eat without making a mess. You’ll end up with juicy goodness running down your chin. I usually get tots with mine. This time I got tots with cheese.

The menu has something for everyone. The picture I have is not a very good one but shows the large variety they offer. How do they fit all that food in that little building? The world may never know, but boy am I thankful. They offer ribs on Friday which I’m told are wonderful. A member of my group got fried chicken. The breast was huge and was tender and tasty, and everything you want fried chicken to be. The pork chop was also mighty fine. Although I’ve never tried it, I’ve heard Ms. Becky makes a mean salad.

We set out to get our Becky Burger order almost bouncing with anticipation. We arrived to find the parking lot full and customers like us who were ready to get their grub on. Having to park on the street was no big deal. I am a supporter of local businesses in our area. It makes my heart happy to see any small business busy and doing well. We made our way up the window to pick up our order. Greeting other customers, we chatted for a bit being early and our food not quite ready.

Once back home, we divided up our grub and commenced to feast. Other than talking about how great everything was, we barely said a word. Even with our special requests, no tomatoes on this one, no lettuce on that one, and even gravy on fries, we got what we asked for and enjoyed every bite.

With a belly full of goodness from our favorite hole in the wall, I recommend you seek it out and experience it for yourself.