HomeCultureAnthony Bourdain Heads to the Mississippi Delta for 'Parts Unknown'

Anthony Bourdain Heads to the Mississippi Delta for 'Parts Unknown'

This Sunday, Travel Channel star and foodie Anthony Bourdain goes off the beaten path and explores some of the food and history of Mississippi on his  award-winning CNN original series “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.” Bourdain admits the Mississippi Delta is a place he knows little about, but ambassadors John T. Edge and John Currence help fill him in along the way.

Bourdain starts his tour in downtown Jackson, where he meets up with Edge at the Big Apple Inn to taste a pig ear sandwich. He then paddles the Mississippi River with John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Co., who cooks greens, sweet potatoes and pork loin over an open fire for dinner. Julia Reed and Currence meet him at Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville for the famous salad, tamales and fried shrimp. Next, his travels take him to state Sen. Willie Simmons’ The Senator’s Place in Cleveland where he indulges in fried okra, mac and cheese, neck bones, rice and gravy and fried chicken before heading on to Lusco’s in Greenwood, a “reliquary of indiscretions past” as described by Edge.

No trip to the Delta would be complete without a stop in Oxford. A writer himself, Bourdain makes sure to fit in a visit to Faulkner’s home of Rowan Oak and then meets the local literati, including Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly, former writer-in-residence at ‘Ole Miss Megan Abbott, Jack Pendarvis, Ace Atkins and others upstairs at City Grocery for drinks.

Bourdain wraps up his trip with some Mississippi barbecue at Lamar Lounge and an evening of jookin’ at Po’ Monkey’s in Merigold, where owner William Seaberry makes him a promise he won’t soon forget. Bourdain admits in the end that he’s still not quite sure what to think of Mississippi, but says “it’s kind of a wonderland.”

“Parts Unknown” airs Sunday, May 18, on CNN at 9 p.m. EST and re-airs again at midnight. 

Photo Credit: Episodic image Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Mississippi Delta episode airing Sunday, May 18 at 9pm ET, Credit CNN.

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  • PoplarHollow / May 19, 2014

    I just saw a rerun of this episode late last night on CNN. This episode bothered me not because of the difficult issues over race it discussed, but because you hit the nail on the head with your closing comment. You should have been discussing voluntary segregation through out the episode and asked locals what they felt about it. Why do people fret so hard over segregation when they practice it so frequently themselves? Why is the mass media so interested in pushing a vision of a race mixed society that few of the writers or viewers actually live themselves? Who benefits from saying one thing and doing another? How many white Liberals are about to get livid over white racism for the Nth time, yet have only token amounts of diversity in their own lives? That would make for some great TV. Those are truly bold questions that few have the courage to ask and even fewer have the courage to answer.

    • banacek / June 2, 2014

      You raise some really important points. But what if any of what you bring up is specific or unique to mississippi? At the end of the day this was a show about Mississippi or parts of it anyway, not about social issues that affect the country as a whole.

      The media IS eager to declare this a post-racial society or post-racial America (whatever that means). It is for the simple reason that if they don’t acknowledge race issues or act as if those problems are solved – a thing of the past – they don’t need to do anything about it.

  • Gaye / May 19, 2014

    I feel sorry for you. After being in Mississippi you have no idea what Mississippi is like. I have lived here all of my life and did not understand what you were trying to convey about Mississippi. You came with your mind made up how you wanted to depict Mississippi. Now your audience knows nothing about Mississippi. This is 2014 not 1961, really.

  • deltagirl / June 2, 2014

    Oxford is not in the Delta

    • Lynn / July 6, 2014

      So true. We, in Oxford, are definitely in North/West MS, and not the Delta.This would’ve been much better titled “Food & Writers of Mississippi” since there was a lot of talk, esp. in the Oxford segment about the writers represented with him there and how some had come with preconceived opinions about MS. Tennessean by birth, but Mississippian now by choice.

  • banacek / June 2, 2014

    Why in the original article, are all parts of the show mentioned *except* the segment on PyInfamous and the Soul Wired Cafe in Jackson, MI? Was this omitted on purpose? What were the reasons/motivation for leaving this out?

    I’m interested in any answer you might have.

    • Lynn / July 6, 2014

      I do believe you mean “Jackson, MS” and not Jackson, Michigan?

  • flwrgrrl / February 11, 2015

    I saw this program tonight on Turkish tv here in Istanbul,Turkey.I am from Jackson,Tn and I was like whoa.Its my hometown.Made me miss the southern cooking.