Home Cookin’ and Americana

One of our favorite traditions is going out for breakfast on Saturday morning. We have maintained this pattern while traveling in the RV. So when we arrived in the Memphis area, we asked at the RV park about a recommendation for such a place. They did not hesitate, and directed us to the Country Skillet, located in Southaven, MS, right on the MS/TN border.

This is an old fashioned Southern diner. By “old fashioned,” I would judge that all of the wall decorations originated either before I was born or in my early childhood. This is “Americana” at its finest — Coca-Cola, Campbell’s Soup, old fashioned phones and clocks, snippets about Barnie Fife, Babe Ruth (“don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from trying,”) and “I Love Lucy.” Some things are quintessential southern, like the Johnny Reb hat, knitted cross, and gospel message on the counter where you go to pay the bill.

For $5.30, I had 2 eggs, sausage, and pancakes. Tip and all, we both ate for $15, and it was very good, but simple. My only complaint was the coffee, which seemed like the same dark black brew that has probably been served since 1950. Powdered creamer was on the table, but I discovered you could actually request half and half, which made it drinkable.

It was a happy, happenin’ place, with every seat filled and the servers bustling about with southern friendliness and practiced efficiency. If we were here longer, we would come back again.

A similar throwback experience greeted us for lunch in Colliersville, a small Memphis suburb. It has a quaint downtown square that includes a restored 1851 stagecoach cabin and a dozen shops that look like they could be straight from Mayberry. We stopped for lunch at the Silver Caboose Restaurant and Soda Fountain. They are only open for lunch and Friday night dinner. I posted a picture of their hours, philosophy, and menu. The sides on the menu definitely reminded me of my grandmother’s southern side dishes. You definitely won’t find these all together on the menu in Spokane!

The last picture, which is also used for the heading, caught us by surprise. We had just stopped for lunch on our way back from Shiloh battlefield. We stopped at a surprisingly good (and cheap) Mexican restaurant. As we departed the parking lot, we saw this sign on a restaurant ahead of us. Shocked, we took the picture and looked it up. Slug burgers (so named because they look like a metal coin slug, not the animal) are unique to a small area in Tennessee and Mississippi. During the depression, hamburger was scarce, so people stretched it by adding pork and fillers (such as oatmeal), then cooked it up and served it like hamburgers. In effect, it is sort of a meatloaf burger. Next time through, I plan to try one!

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