The former owner of Storycook Favorites catering will lead the session for Black History Month this Saturday. 

Of the hundreds of columns the late journalist Laurin Stamm penned about Vickburg’s culinary life, one in particular stands out to Story Ebersole: The story of Ms. Clotee Lampkin and her biscuits.

Stamm first tasted Ms. Clotee’s biscuits when her friend Betty Wilson from Anguilla brought some on a visit to her home. After sampling the especially light and fluffy biscuits, Stamm knew she had to have the recipe. But Wilson said Stamm would have to get it from her cook, Ms. Clotee. So, that’s what she did.

“It was their light, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth texture that prompted me to drive to Anguilla to learn first-hand how to make [them],” she wrote in an article from The Vicksburg Evening Post dated Jan. 9, 1974. “And it was well worth the trip.”

“Clotee had been making biscuits her whole entire life,” Ebersole, Stamm’s daughter, says. “She didn’t measure a thing—not one thing—and so mama had to stop her at every step so she could measure the ingredients.”

Stamm wrote about food for iterations of The Vicksburg Post over five decades. Following her passing in 2016, Ebersole donated her collection of more than 600 cookbooks to the University of Southern Mississippi, as well as her food columns, which Stamm clipped from the newspaper every Sunday and filed in a binder in chronological order.

Ebersole shared her mother’s passion for cooking and owned the catering business Storycook Favorites for 25 years. Although she’s a committed yeast roll devotee, Ms. Clotee’s biscuits shook off her previous experiences with the Southern quick-bread staple.

“A couple weeks ago, I made a rather big batch, and the next day they were still perfect, which is weird for any kind of bread, because you think it’s going to dry out,” she says. “But they were still just as good.”

Photo Credit: The Vicksburg Post

On Sat., Feb. 24, Ebersole will share Ms. Clotee’s recipe, techniques and fluffy biscuits during a presentation at Catfish Row Museum in celebration of Black History Month. Ebersole will have a batch of biscuits prepared and ready to bake while she shows the class how to make them. Since the process gets messy, though, Ebersole says it won’t be fully hands-on for the attendees.

“They’ll get to see me make them and watch me cut them out, and then I’m going to mix the dough,” she says, “and if anybody wants to come up and feel the dough and see what it feels like, they can. That’s the best way to know whether they’re ready or not, just by the way it feels.”

And when the “melt-in-your-mouth” biscuits are done, the class will get to sample them with local jellies and honey.

Ebersole may not be a biscuit enthusiast, but she is a big fan of this recipe. Plus, she says it’s fun to honor her own mother this way. “If you asked my mother to do something, she never said ‘I can’t.’ She said, ‘If you can read, you can do anything,’ and she lived by that.”

Curious cooks will have to visit Catfish Row Museum this Saturday to learn all the secrets of Ms. Clotee’s biscuits. The event begins at 1 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

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Jim Beaugez

Jim Beaugez is a Mississippi-based writer whose work has been published by Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Guitar World and other publications. He also created and produced "My Life in Five Riffs," a documentary series for Guitar Player that traces contemporary musicians back to their sources of inspiration.