A sweet farewell to Ole Miss…for now

Just topped off my semester at Ole Miss enjoying this great strawberry shortcake at the student run restaurant Lenoir Dining.

Just topped off my semester at Ole Miss enjoying this great strawberry shortcake at the student run restaurant Lenoir Dining.

Last week I taught my last class at Ole Miss before heading back to Georgia. We mostly spent the hour reminiscing about our field trip to Clarksdale to collect stories for our Delta Project magazine focused on the food culture of this remarkable region I became obsessed with while researching Eat Drink Delta. (They all got copies to use as text books of sorts to get ideas for writing their own in-depth long-form stories.)   We also watched a slide show of the amazing work by the student photojournalists on the trip, and that got us excited thinking about what their stories will look like in print, with photos to accompany them! Before we said our goodbyes, we all headed over to Lenoir Hall on Sorority Row — the Zeta Tau Alpha house back when I lived on campus a million years ago — for a final meal together as a class. Along with the strawberry shortcake you already saw (above), this healthy, modern take on the Southern veggie plate (right) hit the spot. The best part though, was knowing it was prepared and served by Nutrition and Hospitality Management students. To learn more about this unique educational experience, you can visit their website for weekly menus if you’re in the area, or peruse my intern’s Daily Mississippian article for an inside report.

A few favorite mementos from my Ole Miss adventure that I took on my I-phone (believe me they do not hold a candle to what the students did…you’ll see when the mag comes out!):

In their classroom, my journalism students have done some hands on “experiments” themselves. Here they are  examining finer points of the Kool-aid pickle, a Delta original! Only about half were bold enough to try one themselves.

Actually in this Depth Reporting class, all of the students’ learning was hands on. These students’ spring break trip was truly one of a kind: depth reporting throughout the Delta itself. Below are some of our writers and photographers at work, interviewing Delta Pottery legend Lee McCarty in Merigold, MS and Crawdads restaurant owner Andrew Westerfield.

Throughout the trip, the students got a chance to listen to all kinds of Southern stories. Here Neal McMillan talks to a regular at the holy grail of hot tamales: The White Front Cafe in Rosedale, MS (left).

Students also interviewed local farmer/community leader Cal Trout over lunch at the China Cabinet in Charleston, MS, (below). This setting is a delightful gift shop/lunch spot known for its chicken salad and shrimp po boys (below)

Each morning (above left) we would have a quick meeting above Ground Zero Blues Club
in Clarksdale, MS, where all of us stayed, to go over the day’s game plan.(This, incidentally, is the apt. where Morgan Freeman stays when he’s in town!)  It was a lot of long, challenging days, but lots of fun, too!   The same can be said for this whole spring semester in Oxford! Thank you, Ole Miss, for inviting me back to share some of the same skills I learned so many years ago with some of the next generation of food journalists!

Eat, Drink, and Enjoy the Journey,


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