When our boys marched home from WWII, they brought some interesting stuff back with them. Down South, #1 was the realization that “darker folk” were just like them!, every bit as brave, resourceful, etc. This was the cultural crack that began to corrode the odious Jim Crow edifice from within, and helped topple it some twenty years later. (Be patient, gay-marriage supporters.)
Another exotic thing the Southbound grunts brought back was a hearty Greek salad dressing, bursting with garlic and onions. It ain’t French. It ain’t Thousand Island. What it is, is what you call your “comeback.” Different cities in the Deep South actually have their own specific versions of this elixir, but the following is the actual recipe of “Kumback” a la Jackson, Mississippi, still served today at spots like the Mayflower, the Elite, the Cherokee, the Crechale’s (but I kid Bob Crechale), etc.
Jim Dollarhide, a very fine filmmaker (full disclosure: we worked together a lot back in the Eighties whenever he needed a writer), swears that this version was originally made at The Rotisserie. “Later on, other restaurants adopted copycat versions: Mayflower, Primos, Dennery’s, etc.” All I can tell you is that I’ve made this recipe, and it rocks. Let’s go to the kitchen:
KUMBACK SAUCE A LA JACKSON
1/2 cup Wesson oil
4 teaspoons mustard (from a jar, not the spice rack)
1/2 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
2 cups mayonnaise
1 lemon, juice of
5/6 garlic cloves or about 2.5 – 3 tablespoons of minced garlic
3 Tablespoons Heinz chili sauce
2 Tablespoons onion juice (or just chop up a bit of onion very finely)
Put all ingredients in blender and mix thoroughly.
Hoss, this is the real stuff, it’s tres easy, and it keeps! It also sparkles when poured over most hot veggies.
EDIT: Here’s a buncha information on the history of kumback, including a great Clarion-Ledger piece from ten years ago: sort of the one I wanted to write, except I would have studded it with direct quotes. But let’s get one thing straight. As Malcolm White sez in the C-L piece (and below), and as Jim Dollarhide attests in the comments below, kumback was introduced by the Rotisserie, not the Mayflower!