The Carpet Bagger's Journal — moving from NYC to Mississippi

September 7, 2010

Breakfast as Haute Cuisine — Big Bad Breakfast, Oxford, Mississippi

Breakfast gets no respect — the Rodney Dangerfield of meals.  However, it is possibly the food that American cuisine does the best.  Can breakfast be an art form, handled by skilled hands with cast iron skillets?

If they serve Breakfast in Heaven, I think they use the recipes of Big Bad Breakfast of Oxford, Mississippi. Big Bad Breakfast is part of a food empire that is surely the best in the state of Mississippi — it includes a restaurant featured in Garden and Gun — Yes, you Yankees!  They have a magazine down here that sits on people’s coffee tables in the place where your copy of New York Magazine sits.  It is entitled Garden and Gun, sometimes with a photo of guns on the front cover:  Know it.  Deal with it.  Shudder, if you must — called The City Grocery.   The who’s who  — or should I say “who-all is who”? — of Mississippi comes to eat there, and boy, do they know their stuff.

Anyway, Big Bad Breakfast has a chef, Jason Nicholas, with a Fine Arts degree from Ole Miss.  They hired, for a place that makes breakfast as its chief fare, a charcutier.  His last name is Lovejoy.  If bacon is a joy, and if ham is a love, well — this guy knows what to do with it and how to do it.

They make grits that are better than anything I’ve ever eaten for breakfast.  The secret seems to be a bunch of butter and garlic.

And honey, the wait staff — they are a fantasy.  Each is cuter than the last, really, and girls, given that this is Mississippi, there’s actually a pretty good chance that at least some of them are straight.

Despite pretentious 1980s rock lyrics to a song called “Breakfast in America,” people don’t really consider breakfast a tourist attraction.  This is a great pity, for if it were, Breakfast in America would be worthy the way a Sacher Torte is in Vienna.

I say, all the air-kissing jet-setters should decide that Breakfast is the new little black dress and come air-kiss my grits here, or rather kiss the grits of this marvelous place.  Tapas was hip.  So was sushi, long ago.   I declare a vogue for buttermilk biscuits fresh out of the oven, handed over by some guy who looks like he stepped out of a teen heart-throb movie, while Roy Orbison plays softly in the background and you drink your freshly squeezed orange juice.

Come and get it, America!

Big Bad Breakfast, without a photo of the hot waiters


  1. […] Breakfast as Haute Cuisine — Big Bad Breakfast, Oxford … […]

    Pingback by The Mediterranean Diet: What The Greeks Know About Healthy Cuisine | — September 7, 2010 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

  2. It’s about time we get a worthwhile carpetbagger down south. I’m enjoying the blog. My gentleman farmer father in law to be is getting pretty old but he still (mostly on weekends) spends a lot of time on breakfast. He grew up in Dublin, Ga. and brought his breakfast preferences with him..

    He swears that the best grits are “stone ground” grits which he gets from the shop at Callaway Gardens. Bet you didn’t know there are different qualities of grits. He cooks bacon, ham, aigs, potatoes, and grits. There is red eye gravy for the biscuits and potatoes. When he serves the grits, there is always a couple of sticks of butter–real butter, nothing else will do. As he puts the butter on the table, he smiles and says, “Butter makes it better.”

    Thanks for the enjoyable article.

    Comment by john schulz — September 7, 2010 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  3. Dear John,

    I’m sure your gentleman farmer father in-law-to-be has wisdom about grits to which I am entirely uninitiated. What a man does in the privacy of his own home with his grits is between him and his God, as far as I’m concerned. I believe the Supreme Court ruled that way in the 1980s. Best wishes, Anne

    Comment by annebabson — September 7, 2010 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  4. Some of the time I cannot get to Calloway Gardens to get the grits from there but I heartily recommend, as an alternative, the stone ground grits from Agrarama, a state run museum of a southern farm and village circa 1850 in Tifton, Georgia. They are available mail order, and at need least twenty minutes cooking time on simmer immediately after bringing them to a vigorous boil. Frequently stir. At any rate, I appreciate John’s comments about my breakfast, which is really the only meal of the day necessary if one gets it right to start with. Ann, if you find y ourself in Lyerly, Georgia some Sunday morning, you may come between me and my God if you really want to leave the table “feeling good.”

    Comment by Bob Hicks — September 7, 2010 @ 10:38 pm | Reply

    • Dear Bob,

      I never come between a man and his God. Thanks for the invitation nonetheless. Anne

      Comment by annebabson — September 8, 2010 @ 3:43 am | Reply

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