January 25, 2011

Mississippi Style!

Growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, we experienced the "best of the best" food, I would say. My parents belonged to The Knife and Fork Club in Jackson and oh, the fond memories I have of their evenings when they would dress up in their cocktail attire and have an evening out with their social group. Jackson had some fine dining places for certain. While some are still in operation, others have closed their doors long ago. However, we still hold onto the memories and the recipes passed down from their generation. These are two old south recipes that are so defining of my beloved birth state!

New Orleans has Creole sauce, North Carolina has vinegar-based barbecue sauce, Texas has salsa, Tennessee has tomato-based barbecue sauce, Cleveland, Ohio, has ketchup, and Mississippi has Comeback Sauce. Comeback Sauce, which also has some, shall we say, rather interesting alternative spellings such as  "kumback" or "cumback."

Now in case you have not heard of Comeback Sauce, let alone tasted this bit of heaven, there are actually numerous uses....you can use this delectable sauce as a salad dressing, a dip for appetizers, or just on crackers for a snack with a touch of cream cheese. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination! A cross somewhere between a rĂ©moulade sauce and Thousand Island salad dressing, this is one sauce that can be claimed as a Mississippi original.

This tangy sauce was originated in the 1930s at a Greek restaurant, The Rotisserie, located in Jackson, Mississippi. Known back then as simply their house dressing, it very quickly caught on and earned fame, spreading across the city to other restaurants and eventually across the south. Comeback Sauce is truly the queen mother of all Mississippi condiments.

Mr. Mike at The Mayflower is the oldest surviving original practitioner in the science of "Comebackology!" The Mayflower's sauce has a touch of celery, or celery seed that others do not have. It's perfect for their onion rings and iceberg salad.

From The Rotisserie, Comeback Sauce spread to all the other Greek restaurants and beyond. Creshale's, the Cherokee, Walker's Drive In, Hal and Mal's and C.S.'s all have their version.

The review of Creshale's Comeback Sauce is smooth and unassuming  Creshale's has good Comeback Sauce, but they have an even better jukebox. It is, hands down, the best jukebox in the state of Mississippi. And it's free!

Never has there been a more appropriately named food item in the American culinary cannon. Once you have tasted it, you don't have to ask why it is called Comeback!

 The Elite Cafe's Comeback Sauce
2 large garlic cloves , minced
1/2 cup yellow onion, grated
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup salad oil (some use cottonseed oil)
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
Dash of paprika
1 T. water
3 T. Lemon Juice
Dash of salt and pepper to taste

Place garlic and onion in blender and blend until mixed. Add other ingredients and blend well. Refrigerate.

Estelle's serves Comeback Sauce with Greg's favorite....Fried Okra!

Estelle's Fried Okra
1 pound of okra
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
2 cups of yellow cornmeal
2 cups of self rising flour
1 t. of salt
Couple dashes of "Slap Ya Mama" Cajun seasoning
Deep fryer and fresh canola oil

Preheat the fryer to 375 degrees F.  or if using a skillet heat the oil. Cut the okra either into 1/2 inch slices or lengthwise; set aside. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal with the flour, salt and Cajun seasoning. Dip the okra into the buttermilk and then dredge in the flour mixture. Fry in batches for 3 or 4 minutes, or just until golden brown; don't overcrowd! Sprinkle with additional salt if desired; serve hot.

"To understand the world,
you must first understand a place like Mississippi."

William Faulkner


  1. The Mayflower...and Creshale's, where this native Tennessean ate her first soft-shelled crab...now, that brings back mouth-watering memories!

  2. HAHA! It is my favorite! Sounds delicious!


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