Southern Plate author Christy Jordan has an Alabama kitchen every bit as sunny and sweet as she is. Enjoy Christy’s interview answers and photos here on WhereWeCook.com — then pour yourself a big glass of iced tea and visit http://www.SouthernPlate.com!
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Sit a spell, stay a while, it’s comfortable here.
My kitchen style is inspired by memories of my mother and grandmothers. I have a lot of things which belonged to them or remind me of special memories involving them throughout my life. Inspired by my heritage and designed to help pass that heritage on to my children.
The décor, all of the vintage objects and ads and such that remind me of special times and people.
All of my antique Pyrex mixing bowls. I have a ton of them and more just keep showing up! The other day there was a package on the porch when my husband got home. I knew full well what it was but I played innocent, even looking confused when he handed it to me and saying “Hmm, I wonder what this could be? How odd…” When I opened it, I acted so surprised, Oohing and ahhing over who could have sent it and how they could have known I love Pyrex mixing bowls. I said “There isn’t even a card! How sweet, can you believe it?” He said, “Yeah, but that ebay invoice in the bottom kinda gave you away.”
What you would change?
I’d make it bigger. The kitchen I cooked in for the past seven years was so small that I called it a walk-in closet with appliances. Now that I have a taste for what a larger kitchen is like, I want it even bigger! More windows, too. I’d like to be able to easily fit a hundred people in my kitchen at once and be able to walk around and serve ‘em all!
Most common aromas?
Fresh ground and brewed coffee, something sweet baking in the oven (usually with a waft of cinnamon attached to it), and stewed chicken.
I’ve been a lifetime lover of cookbooks. I used to take one to bed and stay up late reading it cover to cover. Since starting Southern Plate, I’ve quit looking at others though. It’s important for me to be able to share as many of my family’s recipes as possible. My passion is keeping the old recipes alive, especially for folks who no longer have their grandmothers or mothers around to pass them down. These recipes go hand in hand with our family histories and our heritage, their importance outweighs all of the newfangled TV star concoctions by far. I no longer read food magazines, watch food shows, or read other cookbooks. So it’s pretty much my Southern Plate cookbook for now. I do have a much larger cookbook as well which I spent a year putting together as a surprise for family members. It was the Mama of the Southern Plate cookbook, I had to condense it a lot to make the cookbook affordable. It has over 500 recipes and the one readers buy from my site has 302.
You have what in your kitchen?
Mr. Upton’s Obituary. It is an old obituary I found in an antique shop once. The photo of the man just spoke to me and I took the time to read it. It touched me immensely. We should all live lives that end in such a wonderful obituary being written about us. I had it matted and framed and it hangs in my kitchen as a reminder of the kind of person I want to be.
Childhood kitchen memories?
Sitting at our kitchen table sprinkling the topping on a dish of peaches to make peach crisp while Mama made supper and we talked. She always let me make the peach crisp; it was my special dish. And she’d brag about what a good job I did every time we ate it. I was five when she first started letting me do that. Our kitchen was decorated in mushrooms, harvest gold, and avocado green. Gotta love the seventies!
Favorite kitchen to visit today?
Mamas! Even if she isn’t cooking, she always has great leftovers. There is nothing is like your mama’s cooking!
I got an Easy Bake oven when I was seven. I made so many things in that oven! Once, I made a devil’s food cake. You used these little mixes to do it and that was my last mix. I had it planned as a special surprise for my dad. After I iced it, I accidentally dropped it on the floor and was in tears over it. Mama picked it up, cleaned up the floor, and pieced it back together on a plate for me. She assured me that it would be fine and I finally calmed down and felt better. That night as my dad took his first bite, I leaned in and asked him “It doesn’t taste like it was dropped on the floor, does it daddy?” When I was thirty, my mom surprised me that Christmas with another Easy Bake Oven! She gave my brother (three years older than me) a set of Lincoln Logs! I opened it up and felt like I was seven again. That present really choked me up; my brother had quite a few lumps in his throat as well. It made for a very special Christmas.
In your kitchen with you?
Kids. Practically attached to me. If I turn around too fast, I bump into them. Now I understand why Mama had me at the table making peach crisp, she just wanted to be able to breathe while she cooked!
I listen to all sorts of things. The kids and I like to sing really loud in the kitchen because it has such great acoustics! We have a great waffle song we sing and I like to belt out old show tunes. Ethel Merman hasn’t got anything on me! My daughter has a thing for Taylor Swift songs right now and my son likes to sing old They Might Be Giants songs with me. We’re a very musical family. That is kind of a word of caution to our guests ☺
Julia Child’s kitchen is now in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Where would you like your kitchen to be displayed one day?
(This is the only question I had a hard time answering!) I suppose if my kitchen were to ever be displayed anywhere, the main thing I’d want is for there to be a window in it looking out over a cotton field. And no ropes, I want folks to walk in and sit right down. Do museums serve iced tea?