The Mississippi Delta has inspired writers, artists, and musicians. And, just as importantly, it has inspired cooks. Spend time winding along the back roads and you’ll uncover culinary jewels: roadside hot tamale stands, Greek-owned cafés that specialize in fried quail, barbecue joints that stake their reputation on ribs, and filling stations that sell slices of sweet potato pie baked by somebody’s grandmother.

Over a plate of ribs and sauce, Delta folks will tell you stories. Stories about Highway 61, the Civil Rights Movement, King Cotton, writer Walker Percy, or bluesman Robert Johnson—stories that you would never have learned if you had not sat down to eat.

In this project, you’ll meet the Pinkston family, fourth-generation owners of Lusco’s restaurant—famous for its broiled Gulf seafood and its curtained booths. You’ll also meet Pearl Johnson, a veteran practitioner of the Delta’s hot tamale tradition.

TAGS: Cotton Row Club, Crystal Grill- Johnny Ballas, Crystal Grill- Mike Ballas, Gelman's Cafe, Giardina's- Johnny Bell, Giardina's- The Giardinas, Greenwood Restaurants, hot tamales, Immigration, literature, Lusco's, Mattie's Restaurant, Mississippi, music, race, Reno's Cafe, restaurant, restaurants, Spooney's Bar-Be-Que