First, I’m southern. This makes me sweet as sugar. Second, I’m honest without remorse. It means I get to the root of things like sassafras.
Let’s start with cooking. I love it. Who taught me? Probably Momma. What southern girl’s momma didn’t? I don’t remember lessons or particular meals I was instructed to make. What I do know for sure is that my Momma taught me how to be adventurous with food. She liked salads with soft lettuce, goat cheese, and walnuts when salads like that were a new thing. And she made red velvet cake. The kind with clumps of butter in the frosting. Perfect imperfection. And she gave me my Great Aunt Hazel who patiently taught me how to make pound cakes. Really, Aunt Hazel started it all. She showed me that making a perfect cake would win people over. It would give me time with them. It would allow my then sheepish and quiet soul to shine like it wanted so desperately to do.
Food for me is comfort. It is home and it is heart. It is how I express my love for people and tell them that they are welcome, at my table, in my kitchen (well, not really, but we’ll get to that later), and ultimately, into my heart. My perfect and most adored friends are not picky eaters. They let me experiment and then marvel at my makings. I love it. I eat up every minute of it. And now, internet, you are welcome, to my table, into my kitchen and quite openly, into my heart. Take a seat. We’ve got a lot to dish about.
Psst: The kitchen. It’s tiny. Like New York apartment tiny. Like 5×9 tiny. A friend calls it a “one butt kitchen,” and sadly it’s true. All the polite guests who offer to help clean up are forlornly turned away because two butts can’t fit much less work around each other in there. Alas, big things happen in there. Big things. Just watch.
My one claim to fame is my work with Chef Vivian Howard. She’s a friend and an amazing food mentor. I’ve been blessed to watch the rise of her food empire and even be a part of it. She graciously asked me to be her recipe tester for her award winning cookbook, Deep Run Roots. You can read about my adventures with her and her clan here and here.