Easter Entertaining: Recipes and Recollections

The Lingenfelsers hosted a traditional Easter Sunday dinner for family in Claxton, Georgia.
After church, a traditional Easter Sunday dinner is served at the Lingenfelser home in Claxton, Georgia.

 

Few things bring me greater joy than entertaining family and friends around my kitchen table. Easter Sunday was such an occasion. I hosted dinner for my parents and sweet in-laws, plus my husband’s beloved Aunt Polly. From Ina Garten’s Coconut Cake to deviled eggs and brown sugar-mustard glazed ham, our celebratory feast was Some Kinda Good, and as Southern and traditional as it gets. Continue reading “Easter Entertaining: Recipes and Recollections”

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Some Kinda Good Goes Shrimpin’ on the Lady Jane

The Lady Jane
The Lady Jane is the only licensed commercial shrimp boat in the world.

I grew up in a rural neighborhood on the outskirts of Augusta, Ga. To get to any beach was at least a three-hour ride, but somehow, my soul has always been at home on the water. One of the highlights of my summer was at long last, getting to go Shrimpin’ on the Lady Jane with my handsome new husband, and what an excursion it was! I’ve read so many novels about shrimpin’ (check out Mary Alice Monroe’s Last Light Over Carolina), and have long dreamt of climbing aboard a real shrimp boat and casting my net. On a rainy August day, thanks to Credle’s Adventures, that dream became a reality.

For just $40 a ticket, we got to spend the afternoon cruising the St. Simons Sound, taking in the picturesque views of the Georgia coast and relishing in the wonderment of under-sea life. If I hadn’t gone to school to study marketing and public relations, I would seriously have considered becoming a marine biologist. The creatures that swim below the ocean absolutely fascinate me! Don’t be fooled by the name of the outing–we caught way more than shrimp! Jeffery, the naturalist and guide on our boat, quickly told us that “Shrimp are actually one of the most boring things we catch.” Our cast net reeled in everything from two varieties of shark, angel fish, squid, butterfly rays and the most bizarre little creature, called a hog choker. See for yourself!

You can just hear the excitement!

Jeffery was so informative. He educated us on every creature in the net!
Jeffery was so informative. He educated us on every creature in the net!

This guy has a great job!

It was so exciting to anticipate what would be in the net.
It was so exciting to anticipate what would be in the net. Those seagulls were trying their best to get a taste of shrimp!

We cast our 20-foot net twice during the 2-hour event. It stayed down for 16-20 minutes each time. Among the things I learned? How to de-head and de-vein a wild Georgia Shrimp fresh from the Atlantic, that a marine estuary is a mix of fresh and salt water to make brackish water, and all about the oyster beds along the coastline.

Now that I live on the South Carolina coast, I’ll be doing a lot more of this!

The Spartina grass against the stormy sky made for a breathtaking view.
The Spartina grass against the stormy sky made for a breathtaking view.

The beautiful green grass along the boarder of the water is called Spartina and surprisingly enough, this plant gives the water its color. It’s the base of the ecosystem’s food chain, and uses salt water to survive.

If you’ve never held a real, live shark in your bare hands, it’s an experience to remember! Even though this guy was only 2-3 feet long, he had me at his mercy.

My good lookin', husband Kurt held the Bonnethead shark.
My good lookin’, husband Kurt, held the Bonnethead shark. It doesn’t seem as scary in his hands. Ha!

I’d recommend this outing to anyone! View the slideshow below for more fun photos from our trip.

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Y’all know how much I love my Georgia coast, and a good shrimp. One of my favorite ways to cooks these babies is to pile them high on a bed of Southern, buttery grits. Get my recipe for Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits here.

Fresh catch!
Fresh catch! June 1 – December 31 is Georgia shrimping season.
Jeffery and Kurt discuss the wide open seas.
Jeffery and Kurt discuss the wide open seas.

Thanks to Captain Larry and his crew for a really memorable, fun and great day on the water. We can’t wait to go Shrimpin’ again!

At home on the water.
At home on the water. (P.S. An awesome perk: You can bring your own cooler!)

Whiskey Fit For A King

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Contributed photo

What do you get when you combine a bunch of food and beverage lovers, a beautiful venue and exquisite whiskey? One hell of a SOME KINDA GOOD Tuesday evening! The high was 96 degrees in the Lowcountry, without a cloud in the sky. We met on the roof of Stars Rooftop and Grill Room in downtown Charleston on historic King Street for one reason: to explore two new variants recently introduced by Crown Royal Canadian Whisky. Here I would meet Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, the brand’s first-ever blended rye whisky, and Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, a drink which pays homage to the brand’s signature smoothness.

The crowd turned out in true Charlestonian fashion -- dressed for a proper night on the town.
The crowd turned out in true Charlestonian fashion — dressed for a proper night on the town.

During cocktail hour, waiters circulated the rooftop with trays of summer tomato-mozzarella skewers and shaved salmon crostini with capers and cream cheese. I met other marketing professionals and beverage connoisseurs, among them Susan Lucas of King Street Marketing Group, representatives from The Local Palate, Taneka Reaves and Johnny Caldwell of the Cocktail Bandits (super fun girls!) and Robin Rodriquez of locally owned Egan’s Spirits.

Meet Brandon Verkaik and Bud Huber, the two mixologists who created the four signature cocktails of the evening: Holy City Brunch Punch, Royal Shandy, The Light Dimmer and Wild Flower Whiskey Sour. I can’t wait to share one of the recipes with y’all! Choosing a favorite of the four cocktails is a bit like being partial to your best friends or family members…you appreciate them each for what they bring to the table. If I had to choose one though, I’d pick the Wild Flower Whiskey Sour. This drink features Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, known for its oak flavor with spicy notes of vanilla and a hint of butterscotch.

For the guided whiskey tasting portion of the event, we made our way into the air-conditioned (thank you, Jesus!) Wilkinson Room on the second floor of the restaurant where we were enlightened by Master of Whiskey Stephen Wilson. At one point, this guy asks if anyone in the room is a fan of country music. Are you kidding!? Without hesitation I raised my glass and in my sweetest Southern accent, said with fervor, “You can’t be a whiskey fan and not love country music!” He later asked how we enjoyed whiskey best, and I told him “To the tune of George Jones.” Is there any other way? Maybe a Jack Daniels audience would understand this better. 😉

Master of Whiskey Stephen Wilson teaches us how to sniff and taste the libation for its full pleasure.
Master of Whiskey Stephen Wilson teaches us how to experience the libation at its fullest. Contributed photo. 

I was pleased to learn Wilson first discovered Crown Royal Deluxe in none other than the beautiful Savannah, Georgia. Here’s a guy who grew up on the Tennessee Virginia line, and says he “fell into” a career as a Master of Whiskey and now works for Diageo, the company who owns Crown Royal. He said, “There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy whiskey. Good conversation over a glass of good whiskey is what it’s all about.” Sounds like we share the same philosophy! He taught us that Crown Royal was first created as a gift for the King and Queen of England to celebrate their visit to Canada in 1939. The iconic purple bag which the whiskey is purchased in is a concept from the original packaging! It was developed to suit the royal occasion and outfitted with gold drawstrings, a tradition that continues to this day.

A decadent chocolate cake in the form of a whiskey bottle! What's not to love?
A decadent chocolate cake in the form of a whiskey bottle! What’s not to love? Contributed photo

The attention to detail at this event was unmatched! Dessert was a moist, rich chocolate cake shaped like a bottle of Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye whiskey. Who knew eating whiskey could be fun too? HA!

Tastemakers sampled three varietals during the evening: Crown Royal Deluxe, Northern Harvest Rye and Hand Selected Barrel.
Tastemakers sampled three varietals during the evening: Crown Royal Deluxe, Northern Harvest Rye and Hand Selected Barrel. Contributed Photo

I’ll leave y’all with this: A refreshing concoction suitable for any summertime happy hour, courtesy of the mixologists mentioned above. Thanks to Taylor Strategy for an evening really well done, and a valuable education on the top-selling Canadian Whiskey in the United States.

This is the best whiskey sour I've ever had.
This is the best whiskey sour I’ve ever had. Contributed Photo

Wildflower Whisky Sour

2 oz. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

1 oz. St. Germaine

.5 oz. Yellow Chartreuse

1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

.5 oz. Wildflower Honey Syrup

Stir together ingredients. Serve over ice and enjoy!

All Things New in 2015; Some Kinda Good Greets the Lowcountry

Hey Some Kinda Good followers! 2015 is full of promise and all things new. I’m super excited to tell you about a few major changes that have happened in my life in recent months–I’ve moved from the coastal plains of Southeast Georgia to the South Carolina coast, my left hand has a shiny new friend and my career has grown LEAPS and BOUNDS after a very longtime coming. Take a look at my “news!”

My boyfriend Kurt graduated to fiance after proposing to me on Dec. 20.
We got engaged on December 20, 2014.

New Ring
1) Allow me to begin with the most exciting of all. My good lookin’ proposed over the holidays in his native Savannah at a quaint and perfect local Italian restaurant. I said YES and we couldn’t be happier! May the wedding planning commence.

New Job
2) I’ve accepted a brand new job in my absolute dream location! It’s an incredible opportunity and I’m thrilled to be back in the health care field working as the Director of Marketing & Public Relations for a wonderful hospital system in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

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The view from my second floor balcony. Beware of gators!

New Home
3) I’ve relocated from Statesboro, Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina. I have to pinch myself every few seconds while walking around my two bedroom apartment (sneak peek below). I find myself saying out loud throughout the day, “I live here now. I really live here!” I love my kitchen; it has a breakfast bar and lots of cabinet space. As many of you know, Charleston is full of award-winning restaurants and celebrity chefs. It will take me a lifetime to discover all it has to offer and I will enjoy every last-minute of it, especially sharing my food finds with you! As I get to know Charleston, I welcome your favorite restaurants, coffee shops and hangouts. Have you been? What beach do you recommend? What are the top places I should check out? I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t love the Southern, coastal city. In other news, my final Statesboro Herald food column will run on Sunday, February 15. ‘Boro locals, there’s a special message from me to you there…don’t miss getting your copy.

It was the famous American baseball player Babe Ruth who said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” It’s true what they say about perseverance, and hard work really does pay off. 😉

A Christmastime Family Tradition at The Old Home Place

The meat is smoked for 8 - 10 hours in the pit.
The meat is smoked for 8 – 10 hours in the pit.

At the end of a long dirt driveway lined by 26-year-old pine trees in Middle Georgia, sits The Old Home Place, where my family has celebrated “The Cookin’” each Christmas for more than 30 years.

Since the mid 1950s, the Faulks have gathered in Twiggs County during Christmas week to eat, drink and be merry–and to slow roast hog meat in an outdoor, handmade fire pit. The Cookin’ began as a prerequisite to Christmas Day, when the pork would be the main event at the Faulk Family Christmas Party.

For as long as I can remember, The Cookin’ has been a part of my holiday experience. I can’t imagine a Christmas without it. Growing up, The Old Home Place was my granddaddy’s house, a large white wood framed home with a wraparound porch, where my dad and his four siblings–two brothers and two sisters– were raised. My granddad, Joe W. Faulk, Jr., or as he was nicknamed, Baby Joe, carried on his father’s tradition and passed it on to his children, who keep the practice alive still today.

From left: Uncle Norman and Uncle "Bimbo" have been a part of The Cookin' since the day they were born. The age-old fire barrel stands in the background.
From left: Uncle Norman and Uncle “Bimbo” have been a part of The Cookin’ since the day they were born. The age-old fire barrel stands in the background.

About two days before Christmas each year, my dad and uncles rise before dawn to pick up the hams and pork shoulders, slab side ribs and tenderloins from the local meat-packing house and return them to the pit, a 4 x 4 foot construction made of stacked cinder blocks fitted with a large grill grate and covered with a sheet of plywood. The meat starts cooking in the early morning for upwards of eight hours. Smoked sausage is grilled alongside the hams to keep hunger at bay throughout the day.

In the backyard near the pit, an age-old makeshift fire barrel stands tall and serves two purposes: creating oak and hickory wood chips for the pit, and putting off heat to tame the chill in the December air. Two 55-gallon metal drum barrels, ends removed, have been welded together, and a hole cut in the bottom just big enough to fit a flat shovel. Each time a log is added to the top, embers float into the air, dancing against the sky.

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Fire blazes against the night sky at the Faulk Family Christmas gathering.

The day is filled with casual chatter about fishing, memories of relatives gone on and laughter between the five siblings who are all grown now with children of their own.  Sounds of good music like, “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog” and Hank Williams’ “Family Tradition” set the tone as aunts, uncles, cousins and kinfolk gather around, sit on tailgates and walk about. Pets wander in the yard, and children play games on the property.  As the hours pass, neighbors and friends come and go as they please, bringing snacks and desserts to share.

My cousins and uncles lend a hand to help shred the meat. From left: Park Burford, James Faulk, Uncle "Bimbo," Randy Faulk and Uncle Norman.
My cousins and uncles lend a hand to help shred the meat. From left: Park Burford, James Faulk, Uncle “Bimbo,” Randy Faulk and Uncle Norman.

Around 4 p.m. when the meat is hot off the grates, it’s time to get down to business.  My uncles transfer the pork to a side table and pull it apart by hand. My granddaddy’s special recipe of barbecue sauce is added, and the meat is wrapped up and put away to be eaten on Christmas Day, while other hams are divvied up for individuals to take home.

The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender after slow roasting all day.
The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender after slow roasting all day.

The Cookin’ was once just a common part of my family’s holiday routine, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the rich tradition it is today. Food ties us to our traditions. It’s the thing that makes us feel good and connected. Even though my Papa passed away when I was just 13, one taste of that fine Georgia barbecue and it’s as if he’s right there by my side. I can see Baby Joe now scooping those wood chips from the bottom of that barrel and shoveling them into the pit.

When it comes my time to carry on the family tradition, I’ll continue it with great honor, together with my brother and our cousins. On this Christmas, I’m so grateful my ancestors began The Cookin’ so many years ago. It will be an event that creates lasting memories for years to come at The Old Home Place.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas.

This article first appeared in the Lifestyles section of the Statesboro Herald on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. 

Inspiration for Your Christmas Table Décor

wpid-20131216_201900.jpgA well dressed table is like a well put together outfit. It makes the kitchen feel complete and invites conversation. Y’all know how I feel about Table Talk and Family Ties, and no holiday would suffice without a properly outfitted place to dine. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen some really over-the-top centerpieces, and just like Ina Garten says, “When people start talking about tablescapes, that makes me crazy.” My style is mindful of the budget and inspired by nature, with a few items from around the house. In this post, I’ll provide you with a few tips for creating a sophisticated and simple ambiance this holiday season, using my kitchen table as an example.

wpid-20131216_202122.jpgMy table is square, so I used a long table runner right down the center of it. I gathered a few jars of varying heights from my cabinets, like jam and Mason jars, then staggered votive candles on either side of them down the length of the runner. Instead of purchasing flowers, which can be costly and require upkeep, I opted to trim a few stems from my holly berry plant in the yard. I divided the berries and some greenery among the jars. The berries cost me nothing, and they coordinate with my Christmas china and the table runner perfectly!

wpid-20131216_201937.jpgI layered some of my tree trimmings in between the candles and jars, then tucked in little red and gold ornaments to give the table that extra special touch. Pine cones or acorns would also be fun to include. 

wpid-20131216_202055.jpgDon’t forget Santa and Mrs. Claus! My festive salt and pepper shakers make an appearance every year after Thanksgiving. “He sees you when your sleeping, he knows when you’re awake…”

wpid-20131216_201953.jpgThese are the most important things to remember about table decor:
1) Always use unscented candles. You don’t want artificial scents competing with the food.
2) Centerpieces should be conversation friendly. Use either low centerpieces like my jars or tall, slender and clear vases that don’t obstruct conversation. There’s nothing like sitting down to a meal and not being able to see the person across from you. Awkward.
3) Leave your guests with room to breathe. If you’re dining family style, be sure to leave room for casserole and side dishes, and the main course. An overcrowded table feels cramped and stressful. 

wpid-PhotoGrid_1387246024119.jpgThe only thing that will make this table better is good food and good company. After all, that’s what it’s all about!

How is your table decorated? What tips would you add to my list?

wpid-20131209_193349.jpgHappy entertaining and Merry Christmas y’all, from me and Ewok.

Join Me at “Cook and Care” For a Good Cause

Cook & Care flyerWhen you combine great food, good cocktails and a worthy cause, that’s my kinda party! I’ve been invited to appear as a celebrity guest judge at “Cook and Care,” an annual culinary and mixology competition benefitting the Children’s Advocacy Center of Lowndes County, Inc. (CAC), and I’d love for YOU to join me there! Presented by the Exchange Club of Valdosta, the event is being held at Quail Branch Lodge, 7601 Zeigler Rd. SE, in Lake Park, Georgia at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 17.

Exchange Club LogoCome watch as local chefs and mixologists review their mystery baskets and compete in a friendly rivalry to create the best 3-course meal and two cocktails for a panel of judges. You’ll enjoy a specially designed menu provided by Jessie’s Eat & Treats and live music. You can also bid on items up for auction:

  • Kaleidoscope Gallery & Emporium painting
  • Elli’s Boutique gift certificate
  • JT Vinson custom-tailored sport coat
  • Davis Creation’s saltwater pearls
  • Bourbon Basics workshop for 24 people provided by Valdosta State University’s Dr. Bill McKinney and First Lady Dacia Charlesworth

Meet the Judges
On the judge’s panel, I’ll be joined by award-winning cookbook author Warren Caterson and Dave Snyder, owner and executive chef of Halyards Restaurant Group of St. Simon’s Island. Click on each photo to get to know your judges!

Tickets include entry to the show, along with hors d’oeuvres and complimentary cocktails from 6:30 – 7 p.m. Now available for purchase, individual tickets are $40 or $75 per couple. For more information and to purchase tickets, email cacdevelopmentcoordinator@gmail.com or call 229.251.1999. Check out the buzz surrounding the event in this article published by the Valdosta Daily Times: Competition Heats Up for the CAC. 

The CAC is one of more than 800 Children’s Advocacy Center’s across the country, a 501(c)3 organization that provides initial forensic interviews and therapy at no cost to families for children who have been physically and sexually abused, neglected or a witness to domestic violence. Serving an additional five counties in South Georgia and accredited through the National CAC, the Center provided more than 1,515 therapy sessions to 471 sexually and physically abused children in 2013.

See you there! Join the conversation on social media using #CookAndCare.

My Cruise Vacation of Gastronomic Proportions

My ride during Oct. 4 - 11 on Carnival Cruise lines.
My ride during Oct. 4 – 11 on Carnival Cruise lines.

During the first week of October, I forsook my fall traditions – The Luke Bryan Farm Tour, the Georgia National Fair, Homecoming at Old Richland Baptist Church and the Georgia Southern University Homecoming football game – to sail the open seas on the Carnival Liberty. During my seven-day cruise vacation to the Western Caribbean, I didn’t write, cook, work or blog, but…I ate, and what a gastronomic experience it was. This was my second cruise, the first one I’d ever taken with Carnival Cruise lines, and while the food experience varied depending on location in the ship, dinner was the meal I anticipated most, brunch made my heart sing and late night dessert from room service was worth every calorie.

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Our table-mates were from Florida, Nebraska and Savannah, Georgia.

Allow me to introduce you to my new friends and table-mates for the week. From left: My good-looking boyfriend, Kurt, Brandon, Christina, David and Sarah. From right, that’s me, Christy, Scott, Will and Courtney. Y’all know my philosophy, good food and good company…that’s what it’s all about!

Life is good.
Living the good life in Cozumel, Mexico.

We made four stops during the week: 1) Cozumel, Mexico, 2) Belize, 3) Mahogany Bay/Roatan Island in Honduras and 4) Costa Maya, Mexico. In Cozumel, we lounged in hammocks under the palm trees and were serenaded by three natives and their guitars while eating the best guacamole ever in an entertaining little restaurant called Three Amigos.

In Belize, we sipped rum from a fresh coconut and took a 2-hour tour of the city and countryside. Our ferry-boat also broke down in the Atlantic-Caribbean Coast and we had to return to Belize and catch another ferry back to the ship. In Honduras, we swam in the ocean in the pouring rain, and I got my dad a souvenir–a rosewood guitar pick.

Now, this is vacation! Good times in Belize.
Now, this is vacation! Good times in Belize.

In Costa Maya, I tried a native beer called Sol (tasted similar to a Corona) and I bought my mom a hand-carved wind chime.

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Now, let’s get down to the food. Dinner time for us was 8:15 p.m. each evening. Throughout the week, I enjoyed most the lobster and grilled shrimp. My other favorites were Lobster Bisque, Shrimp Cocktail, Alligator Fritters and fresh fish. I ate a lot of seafood–after all we were on the ocean. Here’s a photo gallery of some of the plates and beverages I managed to capture photos of before scarfing them down.

Brunch was served only on days at sea in one of the most elegant dining rooms with big windows. On our first day of travel, we ordered spicy bloody marys and indulged in the French croissants with whipped butter.

One night, just for fun, we ordered cheesecake and chocolate cake from room service.

If you ever take a cruise with Carnival, I highly recommend spending your money on what will be one of the most exquisite and mind-blowing dining experiences you’ll ever have: “The Chef’s Table.” A private dinner with a seating of only 13, you’ll get a tour of the kitchen and one-on-one time with the Chef de Cuisine of the entire ship, along with unlimited wine. I regret to say that I didn’t have my camera on the Tuesday evening of our event, but I’m excited to share the menu we experienced and our group photo with you.

wpid-1014142059-1-1.jpgThe attention to detail, from the correct spelling of my name on both the menu and my place card to the presentation of the plates was absolutely stunning. Chef Singh is one amazingly talented and detail oriented chef. Every week, he and his team cook thousands of dishes for multiple nationalities representing countless cultures. I have so much respect for the man! I was introduced to so many new concepts and flavors. Air pillows and passion caviar anyone? I left completely inspired, really full and a little tipsy.

By far, the highlight of our cruise food experience.
By far, the highlight of our cruise food experience.

After all that food, we still managed to look this good. Thanks Carnival Cruise lines for a vacation to remember!

Owning the cruise ship in our red elegant evening attire.
Owning the cruise ship in our red elegant evening attire.

Join Me at Hunter Cattle Company & The Garden of the Coastal Plain This Month

As far as I’m concerned, Statesboro is home to one of the best little food communities in the South. I have the privilege of living and working in this blessed farm town, and this month, in just a few days, I’m teaming up with Hunter Cattle Company, a family owned and operated pastured and sustainable farm, and The Garden of the Coastal Plain at Georgia Southern University to talk local food and share my story. I hope you’ll be in the crowd!

Image courtesy of Hunter Cattle Company
Image courtesy of Hunter Cattle Company

Farm Heritage Day is Hunter Cattle Company’s biggest event of the year and an annual festival designed to teach attendees about preserving the history of farming and homesteading through educational and inspirational experiences. I attended the event last year and had a blast watching the pig races and walking around the farm. The smell of the food wafting off the grills is enough to make your mouth water!

This year, the Ferguson family has invited me to entertain guests with a 20-minute live cooking demonstration during the event which is this Saturday, Sept. 20. You can find me under the Chef’s Demo Tent at 4 p.m. Join me (and the other 5,000 expected guests!) as I talk about the health benefits of eating pastured eggs, and teach the crowd about how Hunter Cattle’s chickens are raised. Don’t miss out on sampling my Vidalia Onion Quiche featuring Hunter Cattle Co.’s pastured bacon and eggs. You’ll learn why pastured eggs are best and what to look for on package labeling when shopping for eggs. I’ll also share some recipe ideas! It’s sure to be eggcellent. 😉 Hunter Cattle Company is located at 934 Driggers Rd., Brooklet, GA 30415. Learn more about the event by following them on Facebook.

Lunch&Learn
Image courtesy of The Garden of the Coastal Plain at Georgia Southern University

Then, just a few days later on Tuesday, Sept. 23, I’ll be cooking my Wild Georgia Shrimp and Grits with a white wine sauce, during The Garden of the Coastal Plain at Georgia Southern University’s 2014-’15 Lunch and Learn series, titled “Return to Your Roots, Pursue Your Passion.” From Noon – 1 p.m., while you’re eating lunch, I’ll demonstrate my dish live and share my journey from Statesboro to Hollywood on ABC’s “The Taste,” as well as how I became the Statesboro Herald Food Columnist and how I consistently maintain one of Urbanspoon’s top Georgia food blogs by going after the things that make my heart beat.

Martha Nesbit (right) and I worked together in the Celebrity Chef tent.
Martha Nesbit (right) and I after a very long day of working together in the Celebrity Chef tent at the Savannah Food and Wine Festival 2013.

The sweet lady pictured above to my right is Mrs. Martha Nesbit. I had the opportunity to meet Martha when I volunteered for the Savannah Food & Wine Festival last year. Mrs. Nesbit will be the featured talent at the Garden on Thursday, Oct. 30. Located at 1505 Bland Ave., under the Heritage Pavilion, tickets are $20 including lunch and the program. All proceeds support the Garden. Learn more about these events and purchase your tickets by visiting the Garden’s website or read more on my.georgiasouthern.edu: Lunch and Learn Featuring Rebekah Faulk and Martha Nesbit.

RFWebsite

You can keep up with all my appearances by visiting my new website at http://rebekahfaulk.wix.com/rebekahfaulk. Also, if you or someone you know is looking for a speaker, writer or food TV personality for an upcoming event, I hope you’ll share my website with them.

Thanks so much for reading Some Kinda Good. See y’all in Statesboro!

 

My Moment with the Queen of Southern Cuisine

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My good lookin’ fella and me at Paula Deen LIVE! Step back ladies, he’s taken.

The evening I met the Queen of Southern Cuisine began in true Savannah style with cold beverages from the bar – Pinot Grigio for me and a Yuengling for my handsome – and live music – a classic Ray Charles cover song, none other than “Georgia On My Mind,” performed by two talented guys with their guitars and perfect harmonies. The lights turned down in the Lucas Theatre and this is what we heard:

They played two more songs, The Allman Brother’s “Ramblin’ Man” and “Chicken Fried” by The Zac Brown Band…perfectly appropriate before Paula Deen took the stage.

Paula and Michael

And then, there she was. After all the years I’d watched her on TV and imagined her voice as I read her books, there she was not more than 125 feet standing in front of me. She and her husband Michael came out dancing. Her son, Jamie Deen tweeted this photo from backstage which read: “Seeing Mom dance makes me happy.” It did my heart good to see them too, resilient and carefree – A stark difference from what the media would have us to believe. He twirled her around on stage as the audience clapped, hooped and hollered. I must admit, I got a little teary eyed, and nearly patted my boyfriend’s kneecap off in excitement.

Jamie, Paula, Michael and Bobby at the Lucas Theatre in Savannah, Georgia on August 8.
Jamie, Paula, Michael and Bobby at the Lucas Theatre in Savannah, Georgia on August 8.

Her boys, Jamie and Bobby trickled out some time after that. I was so star struck, I don’t remember them entering the stage. Immediately, it was as if I was seeing an old friend, hanging out with Paula and her family in their living room. There was no formality, no script to the show. Paula was the exact same in person as she is on television. When she spoke, she began recognizing faces in the audience, pointing out her new daughter-in-law to us all (Congratulations Bobby!), and acknowledging other friends and relatives that had come to see her. She is the personable, warm and sweet spirited woman I have grown to know and love, oozing with Southern hospitality and authentic drawl. Right away, she told us what we could expect from the show, with a funny interjection from Michael. Throughout the night, the tugboat captain was like a Parakeet, chirping witty things whenever the moment struck:

The night was filled with great audience interaction. At one point, Paula called a Look-A-Like up on stage. We played “Deen There, Done That,” hosted by “Bobby Chewbanks” dressed in full costume, complete with a wig and an old-fashioned sport coat. Later, Bobby told us a funny story about his Grandma Paul (God rest her soul), who lived to be 91. He said she use to take her medicine with a pull-tab Budweiser Tall Boy.

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The Lucas Theatre filled up fast during Paula’s first stop in Savannah.

Paula spoke to a packed house. I don’t believe there was an empty seat in the Theatre. During the event, she cooked up three dishes with help from the family: a Georgia Peach Trifle, a Chicken Arugula Salad and Jambalaya. Next to meeting Paula, my favorite part of the show were the short video clips they shared. We got to see how Michael and Paula met and even got an inside look and mini tour of Paula’s beautiful home on Wilmington Island. Her rags-to-riches story was shared, including a look back at “The Bag Lady” days. Many audience members had eaten those first lunches.

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That’s me and Jamie, y’all!!!! How cool.

After the show, I got to meet and talk with Jamie and Michael. Jamie was as nice as he could be. He looked at my boyfriend Kurt who is born and raised in Savannah–and took a double take. “Don’t I know you?,” Jamie said. Kurt replied, “I’m from Savannah. You may have seen me around.” Then Jamie said, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve poured you a glass of sweet tea or two.” CLASSIC!! You can’t make this stuff up.

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Michael and me! Such a jolly guy.

Michael and Paula met because of Paula’s Shih Tzus, Sam and Otis. Me and Paula have even more in common than Southern, coastal cooking, y’all! I bet she’d love my sweet Shih Tzu, Ewok.

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Hopelessly waiting in line for an autograph.

The moment finally came when I would have my chance to meet Paula. I received no special treatment, it was every man for himself. About the time I approached the stage, I heard her bodyguard say, “Okay, last one folks. Paula’s got places to be.” Panic set in. I couldn’t be in the same room with Paula and not at least try to get a photo. This opportunity may never present itself again!

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If only I could have stood on stage beside her. Oh well, gotta do what you can!

Just before she walked off the stage, I managed to jump in and snap these three pitiful selfies. I also handed her a copy of “It Ain’t All About the Cooking,” and she quickly scribbled Paula on the inside cover. And just like that, she was gone. So close, but so far away. Will this lady ever know how much she’s influenced me in the kitchen? Will she ever know it’s my dream to cook with her? So much to say, so little time. I am a better cook because of you, Paula. Thanks for paving the way.

This T-Shirt was for sale in the lobby of the Lucas Theatre.
This T-Shirt was for sale in the lobby of the Lucas Theatre.

Paula, if you read this, know that your fans are so glad you’re “getting butter every day.” We never doubted you would.

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