John Gouras left the island of Patmos to come to America with his father in 1921. In this episode, taken from an interview conducted in 1974, Gouras shares some memories of his life and career spent as a Jackson restaurateur. He remembers selling his father’s homemade candy to local businesses in Lake Charles, Louisiana as a teenager and how he and his partner purchased their first eatery, the People’s Café, in Jackson for $800, in 1928. He recalls how they survived the Great Depression and opened their second café, the Mayflower, four years later.
Shortly after becoming a naturalized citizen in 1938, Gouras joined the Army Air Corp and served as a supply officer in the Mediterranean theater. He explains how his restaurant experience was put to use by General William L. Lee.
At the time of the interview, the Mayflower Café had been open for 42 years. It is still in business as of 2018. Gouras describes the Greek community of Jackson as industrious, close-knit, and well-respected. He discusses how they work to keep traditional Greek holidays and customs alive.
Source: Mississippi Moments Podcast: MSM 590 John Gouras – Greek Restaurateur
Community grain mills were once omnipresent in the South. A community mill often shared space with a general store or a post office. While their wheat and corn got milled, patrons could take care of other business, socialize, and trade. During the 20th century, American flour production industrialized, yielding a uniform commodity, controlled by a small handful of large food companies. The diverse taste qualities of regional grains were lost in favor of “all-purpose flour.”
The South is now experiencing a regional grain renaissance. Modern milling pioneers like Carolina Ground and Anson Mills have joined stalwarts like Lindley Mills to connect farmers and bakers, enabling them to produce a unique regional agricultural product. Farmers, such as North Carolina’s Billy Carter, now experiment with growing different types of wheat. Bakeries, like Bellegarde in New Orleans, are now developing new products that reflect the stone-ground quality and unique taste properties of regionally grown flours.
This oral history project shares the stories of farmers, millers, and bakers who have rejected the industrial system and prioritized great taste.
Photos and interviews by photojournalist and filmmaker Kate Medley.
Published October 2018
Source: Southern Grains – Southern Foodways Alliance