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Today is October 4, 2022

Grin 'n' Bare It

What’s cooking in Greenwood?

Kay Grafe
Kay Grafe

    In the process of dusting my tree house computer and vacuuming the pine floor, my man of surprises appeared in the door.
    “Let’s go to the Delta tomorrow. Some of our friends from that area want us to meet them in Greenwood for a couple of days.”
    I turned off the vacuum, put away the dust cloth and turned off the air conditioner.      
    “Let’s go,” I said, as I locked the door.
    Next day after breakfast, I asked one of our friends, “Why did you sign up for the cooking school, Lou? You told me several years ago you gave up cooking after reading Rick Warren’s book, ‘Purpose Driven Life,’ and discovered that your ‘purpose’ was to stay out of the kitchen.”
    We stood in the lobby of the Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood waiting for our group of friends to arrive. Although the Viking Cooking School and store were just across the street, our group decided to meet and walk over together. You know how it is with us girls: We need a friend or friends to bolster our courage or keep us company. Don’t ask me why—it’s a girl thing. Similar to tagging along with a friend to the restroom when dining out.
    We teased Lou about her great sacrifice to renounce cooking chores. And we knew her reason for attending class was to socialize and enjoy a plate of fancy food samples—a delicious bonus to all in attendance. 
    I thought about my hometown. In Lucedale restaurants are overflowing because so many wives have thrown down their pots, pans and dish towels. If husbands want to eat, they eat out. This trend is gaining popularity. Especially for those who cooked from scratch. For years housewives were snapping, shelling, scraping corn off the cob, frying, stirring and washing dishes.
    I’m betting that by 2030 houses won’t waste square footage on building a full-size kitchen. We must admit that cooking takes away our time, which has become precious. As I have gotten older, time has increased in value and is now a prized possession. 
How is your precious time used? There are favorite TV shows to watch, grandchildren’s ball games or recitals to see, late afternoon walks with your favorite husband, time in church, sitting on the deck of a tree house, traveling, or visiting with friends and family, especially if they haven’t given up cooking.
    Back to Greenwood. This area is called an alluvial plain, which is a deposit of clay, silt, sand and gravel left by flowing streams in a river valley or delta. The hotel was originally named the Irving and was constructed in 1917. It expanded to 100 rooms in the 1940s. The Irving closed in the1980s. The Viking Corp. acquired and completely renovated the old hotel in 2005 with 45 spacious rooms. Giardina’s famous restaurant is also on site.
    Inside this cosmopolitan hotel are famed art displays in the lobby and other predominant areas. Directly across the lazy, quiet street is the Viking Cooking School and store, where you can purchase anything from a famous Viking stove/range to a potato peeler.
    Next door is the Alluvian Spa. Oh, my.   
    My favorite is the cooking school.
    Picture Emeril’s first cooking show on TV. The kitchen was designed similar to his. Seating is directly in front of the cooks, with a half-moon-shaped counter—room enough for nine ladies who cook and one who doesn’t. Behind this scene are tables for other guests.
    Two cooks prepared Lime Glazed Grilled Shrimp, Roasted Vegetables and Boursin Canapes, and Amaretto Cream Cheese-Stuffed Chocolate Strawberries. All food was prepared on a Viking stove and grill. Of course.  
    As we meandered back across Howard Street I noticed Lou was exceptionally quiet.
    “Lou,” I said, “are you feeling OK?”
    “Why... yes. I’m just thinking that I might ask my husband, Jack, to buy me one of those miracle kitchen ranges.”

    Kay Grafe is the author of “Oh My Gosh, Virginia.” To order, send name, address, phone number and $16.95, plus $3.50 S&H to Kay Grafe, 2142 Fig Farm Road, Lucedale, MS 39452.

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