Given his connections with the University of Mississippi, William Faulkner found periodic employment at the institution when he was a young. His job at the physical plant allowed him to write, but his tenure at the University post office was taxing both on his time and his nerves, which he clearly expresses in one of his most famous utterances: “As long as I live under the capitalistic system I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp. This, sir, is my resignation.”
Faulkner was honored in the most ironic fashion possible by the release of a 22-cent United States commemorative in his hometown of Oxford, Miss in August, 1987. The stamp was designed by Bradbury Thompson of Riverside, Conn., and is based on a well-known portrait by Murray L. Goldsborough. The stamp, part of the Literary Arts series, went on sale at local post offices Tuesday, Aug. 4. Ceremonies observing the release were held in conjunction with the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.
This wonderful recipe comes from Feeding the Flock: A Collection of Recipes from the Rolling Fork Methodist Church (2003) and was contributed by Marilyn Tilghman, a member of the church who is also a caterer. Melissa Thomas, assistant coordinator of the Lower Delta Organization tells me that Marilyn prepares these for the reception at the annual presentation of the play A Dream Revisited at historic Mont Helena, a Colonial revival home built atop a ceremonial mound in the Mississippi Delta near Rolling Fork.
The house was designed by George Barber, an architect more famous for his Queen Anne and Victorian style homes. Built in 1896 by Reverend George Harris and his wife Helen Johnstone Harris, Mont Helena was once one of the premier homes of the Delta. Rev. Harris died in 1911. Helen continued to live at Mont Helena until her death in 1917. Over the years, Mont Helena fell into disrepair, and by 1993, the once elegant mansion was a crumbling shell. Drick Rodgers, the current owner and a distant relative of Helen Harris, began restoring the home. In 2009, the Friends of Mont Helena was established, restoration work proceeded, and Mont Helena now provides visitors to the area with a beautiful example of post-bellum Southern architecture.
For forty canapés, fry to a crisp and crumble 1 pound bacon. Add to 2 cups (or more if needed) mayonnaise and 2 bunches of green onions; make sure to cut off about 1/2 of the green since it tends to be rather tough, then chop up the remaining onion in a small chop/dice. If that seems to be too much onion for your taste just reduce the amount. Season with a teaspoon dill leaves, a teaspoon Tony Cachere’s Seasoning (original; more if you like) and black pepper to taste. Spread on 2 inch rounds of bread (I use soft white), top with tomato slices (Roma is recommended) that have been lightly salted and drained between layers of paper towels. I dust the tops of the tomatoes with dill before serving. This recipe makes about 40 sandwiches.
If you ever want to stir up a lot of fuss (something I’d generally advise against), ask a group of people about food. I submitted a preliminary list of twelve kitchen essentials for a Southerner to my friends, among them many talented cooks, and it was like throwing a June bug down into a flock of ducks. The pot roast was devastated by a barrage of detractors who claimed that it’s just got Yankee written all over it, the red velvet cake was gunned down as a Waldorf recipe and the pecan pie was mined by a sweet potato. So I substituted a pound cake and sweet potato pie for the red velvet and pecan, stewed greens, which almost lost out to butter beans, for the roast, and achieved some degree of consensus. This list deserves a Purple Heart at least.
Chicken and dumplings
Sweet potato pie