One of the most difficult things for me to adjust to, living in Canada, was that I was unable to get many of my beloved Southern groceries, such as boiled peanuts and grits, to name a few. When I would return to Mississippi, from Toronto, to visit my family, I would make sure I had extra space available in my luggage, so I could pack, as much as I could carry, back to Canada with me.
There have been a number of occassions, where I have been hauled in by a Canada Customs agent, because my suitcase was exceptionally overweight, probably thinking he had something much more 'interesting' to be discovered, than several cans of boiled peanuts and box after box of Grits! I can recall one particular instance that an agent just looked at me and asked, 'are you serious? All of this weight is for boiled peanuts?' When I shrugged my shoulders and explained, 'I'm from Mississippi', he just waved me on through!
I've met plenty of other displaced Southerners here in Canada, and we have all shared our pain in these very similiar instances. Do you have any idea just how difficult it is to cook from all of those Junior League cookbooks, when you can't even locate a fraction of the ingredients?
Also, I can't overlook all of those people who have visited the South, and have brought back to Canada, with them, many products, which they cannot get here, or get here very easily.
Well, I've come to the rescue, with my company, Mississippi Queen Foods. I have been importing Southern Groceries, Sauces, and Spices, into Canada, and I am pleased to say I am now developing a solid client base of people who love and adore the Southern products as much as I do. I painstackingly, took on the project last year, of putting all of these products, into an online General Store, to make them easier to shop, and purchase, for shipping across Canada. http://mississippiqueenfoods.squarespace.com/general_store_menu/
I now have shelves packed full of Quaker and Jim Dandy Grits. I have a stock pile of Cafe du Monde Beignet Mix and Coffee & Chicory. I now import the entire line of Louisiana Fish Fry Products, so no more doin' without my fish fry batters! When I want to enjoy some Zatarain's dinner mixes, it's sittin' right there, waitin' for me. Let's not forget about Tony Chachere's, which I do love! I have been introducing people to the Andy Roo's line of spices and seasonings, and teachin' them all to Slap Ya Mama and Punch Ya Daddy! People are now waking up to Community Coffee and French Market Coffee, too. From Cajun Country, I have brought in Savoie's and Poche's. People now know about Cajun Power, Bayou Butt Burner, and Bayou Pecker Power!
I am very proud to say, I am now shipping Pat O'Brien's products across Canada, and my 'displaced' Texas sisters, here in Toronto, love gettin' their Jiffy Cornbread Mix from me, every month. I can't seem to keep the Crystal's Hot Sauce in stock, because someone I know claims to drink it by the glass!
I am so very grateful, for the journey, and where this love and passion has lead me. I leave next week, headin' Down South, yet again, on another buying trip of Southern goodies. I will have my lists in tow, and when I return, I will be met by many, many smiling faces!
Oh, how I love what I do!
Wishin' you lots of good eatin',
Connie Rouble a.k.a. the Mississippi Queen
Mississippi Queen Foods