By MATT CRANE
Of his many talents, Michael Wolfe knows how to do two things very well: cook amazing food and throw an amazing party.
Taking a right onto Poorhouse Road from South Montgomery Street, Wolfe has created Starkville's best kept secret until today: the Poor House.
Wolfe, along with his family, bought the 40-acre property in November of 2009, and began working on restoring the land and building this country oasis the following summer.
"I wanted it to be a little secret," Wolfe said. "I'm so proud that the boys and I have done so much work together on it."
Wolfe said not only have his two sons, Grant and William, helped to build the Poor House barn, but many family friends have pitched in to make his dream come true.
"We've all learned a lot," he said. "Friends of mine haven't minded pitching in and doing their part."
A group of 30-40 friends and co-workers of Wolfe's gathered Monday night to enjoy a large, delicious meal prepared by the man himself.
"I love entertaining, and I love cooking," he said. "Truthfully, the grill does all the work."
Wolfe has prepared pounds upon pounds of grilled chicken for the night's feast using a simple, flavorful combination he has worked on over the years.
Liberally covering the chicken with salt on both sides, sprinkling Tony's seasoning on one side and dousing the cooked result in a Sho'nuff Vinegar Sauce while it steams in a nearby cooler, Wolfe's chicken falls off the bone and packs a flavorful punch that is universally appealing.
The rest of Wolfe's menu for the evening consists of green beans, a fresh corn salad, french fries sliced and fried on site, fresh tomato slices and buttered rolls.
For dessert, Wolfe has prepared his grandmother's secret recipe for peach cobbler paired with two homemade ice creams, peach and Butterfinger.
Wolfe said his knack for cooking comes from the family in which he was raised.
"No doubt my mom and grandmother are some of the best cooks I know," he said.
Wolfe's wife, Mindy, said her husband always does a great job at presentation, to which the food and decor of the Poor House are a testament.
The Poor House boasts a large, covered area where tables have been set up for the night's event, a spacious bathroom designed and executed by Wolfe's oldest son, Grant, a large on-site kitchen, a television set and a gaming area.
"I love my place here," Wolfe said. "This has been a neat place for me and my boys."
Wolfe said the Poor House, which has hosted gatherings for rehearsal dinners and the Oktibbeha County Bar Association to name a few, is open for interested parties looking to rent a space for various events.
Michael Wolfe's Chicken
Desired amount of chicken quarters and legs
Sho'nuff Vinegar Sauce
Liberally salt chicken on both sides. Sprinkle Tony's seasoning on one side, as desired. Bring charcoal from grill to highest temperature possible and cook chicken for 30 minutes. Cool fire down and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Cook chicken at 250-225 degrees for another 30 minutes. Increase heat to 250 degrees and cook for another 30 minutes or until done. Place chicken in a suitable cooler and liberally cover with Sho'nuff Vinegar Sauce. Close cooler and let chicken steam for an hour.
8-10 cans of chipotle white shoe peg corn
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large vidalia onion, finely chopped
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups of Duke's Mayo
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine ingredients, chill and serve.