In the South, students are going back to college this month. Sadly, I can no longer count myself as a student – of any shape, form or fashion – but that doesn’t mean I can’t reminisce.
My roommate’s niece is going to Ole Miss, and hearing about her excitement sends me back to when I was about to embark on my freshman year. I didn’t know a soul in Mississippi – had never been there except for a visit to see Ole Miss and that other school in Starkville – but that didn’t matter. Within days, Ole Miss – and Oxford – were home.
I stumbled across the Southern Foodways Alliance blog today. I think any Southerner will tell you that food is a huge part of our culture. It’s more than just ‘food,’ per se. It’s preparing the food, sharing it, spending time together over a meal. It’s how we do. And in Oxford, it’s easy to find really fantastic places to eat.
Taylor Grocery is not in Oxford, actually. It’s in Taylor, MS; a tiny town, population: 500 people. It’s about a fifteen minute drive from Ole Miss down Old Taylor Road – and I’m not lying when I say the directions include the phrase, “And when you get to the stop sign, it’s that old storefront in the curve of the road on your left.”
Eating at Taylor is a quintessential part of being a student at Ole Miss. They’re famous for catfish, brownbagging, and long waits. But it doesn’t really matter. You come prepared with an adult beverage of choice, plastic cups, and you never seem to notice how long you sit on the front porch.I spent many a memorable night at Taylor when I was in college, and I always try and go back whenever I’m in Oxford.
Fun fact: Ryan and Beth’s first meeting was at Taylor. My best friend Elizabeth introduced them (and I like to think I had a small part in it, too!). Mr. and Mrs. Whittington, you’re welcome.
“Eat or we both starve” proclaims their signs and t-shirts. Well, I’ll drink to that.