Dinner at Cotesworth


It’s the home of Carroll County’s most famous historic resident.

Built in 1843, Cotesworth began as a coach stop on the old Grenada Road, a well-traveled route from Holly Springs to Natchez. In 1847, James Zachariah (J.Z.) George leased the house along with acres of rolling farm land. He later purchased the home and property in 1861.

img_1419-copyJ.Z. George was a member of the U.S. Senate from 1881 until his death in 1897. He and his wife, Bettie, raised nine children in this Greek Revival-style home. George is credited as the primary author of the 1890 Mississippi Constitution.

For some, Cotesworth may seem familiar. In the blockbuster movie, “The Help,” the home became the Foote Plantation, as many scenes were shot at the home.

Lydia Chassaniol is part of a group who helps manage the historic home. Recently, Chassaniol hosted a special dinner at Cotesworth to raise interest in the acquisition of the house as a culture and heritage center.

Chassaniol said all of the ingredients, except for the flour used in biscuits and the fig cake could have been grown on the farm in Carroll County.


Salad for 6

6 cups mixed greens

3 hard-cooked eggs

3 strips bacon cooked


½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs. Rice vinegar

½ tbs. agave nectar

1 tsp. season salt

Mix dressing ingredients; pour over salad greens. Divide among 6 chilled salad plates. Tops with slices of hard-cooked eggs, and bacon. May add shaved Parmesan cheese for extra flavor. Serve immediately.

Chicken Breasts

6 boneless chicken breasts with skin still on

2 yellow onions

1 tbs. Kitchen bouquet

2 tbs. Butter

¼ cup orange marmalade



Combine sauce ingredients and heat till butter is melted and all is combined.

Slice onions and scatter in the bottom of a ovenproof pan. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place atop the onion slices. Pour sauce over top of the breasts making sure all are well covered.  Bake at 325 for 30-40 minutes, checking to not overcook. Mast is done when juices run clear. Serve with some of the onion and pour pan juices over the top.


Pork Loin Roulade

2-3 lbs boneless pork loin


Using a sharp knife, remove excess fat and carve loin into one open flat piece of meat so that it lays flat on the carving board. Season with salt and pepper.



2 cups cornbread, crumbled

½ lb pork sausage cooked and drained.

½ tart apple chopped

1/3cup apple juice or wine

1 yellow onion sliced.

Spread stuffing evenly across the surface of the loin. Roll up to make a pinwheel and secure with butcher’s twine.

Scatter sliced onion over the bottom of a ovenproof pan. Place pork loin on top of the onion and roast at 325 for 45-50 minutes. Check meat at 45 minutes to not overcook. Meat is done when juices run clear.

Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. Slice into pinwheels and serve with some of the onion and pan juices. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary. Serves 6-8.


Green Beans

Buy bundle of Haricots Vert (small whole green beans)

Steam for 8 minutes over salted boiling water. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

When ready to serve, top with pecan sauce.

Pecan Sauce

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 stick butter

Heat pecans and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until pecans develop a toasted flavor. Spoon a small amount of hot sauce over each serving of green beans.



Fig Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup cooking oil

1 ½ cup sugar

3 eggs

1-cup buttermilk

1-cup fig preserves

1-cup pecans chopped

1 ½ tbs vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325. Sift dry ingredients together, add oil and beat well. Add eggs, and then buttermilk. Fold in fig preserves, nuts and vanilla. Blend well and pour into greased and floured 13×9 inch pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cake tests done. Punch holes in cake with a toothpick and pour sauce over the surface while cake is still hot.



2/3-cup sugar

2/3-cup butter

2/3 tbs agave nectar

2/3 tbs vanilla extract

1/3-cup buttermilk

1 tsp baking soda

Mix all ingredients well and bring to a roiling boil for 5 minutes. Pour over warm cake and allow to sit for an hour before serving.

If you have recipes you would like to share, please send them to gwenwoodssisson@yahoo.com.


See this column in the Jan. 26, 2017 edition of The Winona Times.

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