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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.


Mildred Council, "Mama Dip"

Mama Dip's Traditional Country Cooking

Mildred Council, better known as Mama Dip, started cooking when she was nine years old. The family cooking duties fell upon her early, but not just because she was the youngest of seven children. Mildred was put at the stove after impressing her father with the cornbread and egg custard she made for a family meal. Still, her father wanted her to go to beauty school, so she would have a career. But Mildred knew that cooking was her calling. After years of working in other people’s kitchens, Mildred Council decided to open a place of her own. One fateful day in 1976 she opened Mama Dip’s restaurant with the sixty-four dollars she had in her pocket. She made the first meal served using the eggs and grits she bought at the grocery store earlier that morning. Today, Mama Dip’s Traditional Country Cooking has a menu that features countless entrées, more than twenty vegetables, and dozens of desserts. The success of Mama Dip’s restaurant, coupled with her infectious charm, inspired two cookbooks, Mama Dip’s Kitchen and Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook.

Date of interview:
2007-06-02 00:00

Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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