Coming from hardworking, God-fearing country roots, I grew up for the most part in a small community outside of Bessemer, AL called Hopewell. My loving grandmother and mother taught me a lot about how to take care of the people you love through cooking for them. I was taught to love simple pleasures, like picking wild blackberries, playing with my cousins while our parents played cards all day and night, and working in the garden. Those are the things I remember from my childhood and they still make me happy today. I make my home in Meridian, MS now and spending time in the kitchen with my daughter, Hope, and grandson, Connor, is one of my greatest joys.
Aside from learning to cook, I learned how important it is to share time in the kitchen with people you love, to nourish your family, and to foster friendships. I find such gratification in hearing the pleasure in people’s voices when I have cooked something that brings great delight to their taste buds or comfort to their hearts. One of the things I especially adore is when my other half sits down for a meal and says “Get in my belly!”.
As a true Southerner, born in Fairfield, Alabama, I learned the basics of simple cooking from my grandmother, mother and aunts. Gathering at the table with family and celebrating life through great meals was common place. Although, never gourmet or fancy, the dishes were made with the best and freshest ingredients available and always with love.
Taking these basics along with reading cookbooks, watching cooking shows, taking cooking classes and experimenting, I have increased my knowledge and skills immensely. I love to cook and for me, there is no greater pleasure than cooking at home, surrounded by family and friends. It’s a way to show my love for those I care about the most. My point of view is to have fun in the kitchen, laugh at the failures and celebrate the successes. Julia Child once said, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
Somehow, after pleasing the palettes of hundreds of individuals over the years, I finally made it to the Food Network. After returning back to Mississippi, I kept cooking and I’ll continue to do so as long as I’m willing and able!