A Conversation with… Christy Jordan

Southern Plate by Christy JordanChristy Jordan’s unique way of sharing classic Southern dishes, along with her heartfelt stories, has drawn more than 43 million visitors to Southern Plate since it started in 2008. Jordan is the mother of two and lives with her husband in north Alabama, where her family has resided for more than nine generations. In October we are publishing her first cookbook, Southern Plate. Please welcome her to The Secret Ingredient as we ask her a few questions about herself, her blog, and her cooking.

Mission: I desperately want to help people realize how much wealth surrounds us, and that wealth has nothing to do with money. My ancestors ingrained an “attitude of gratitude” in me that they kept even when faced with lives of poverty and unbelievably hard work. They were always able to keep their focus on the joy in any given moment and those attitudes made all the difference in the world, as they are still doing generations later.

Experience that changed your life: Becoming a mother was the one dream I always had that, upon coming true, really brought me home to my roots and completed that connection between myself and all of the women who came before me.

Mantra: This is something I tell my kids constantly, one day it will sink in! “Each day when you wake up you have a choice. You can have a good day or you can have a bad day, so you might as well have a good one!”

Work: I began Southern Plate as a means of passing on the cherished recipes of my heritage so that anyone, regardless of skill or experience, could cook all of the dishes they grew up with or try some of our classic Southern foods for the first time.

Live: I was born in Huntsville and have lived here all of my life. My family was among the first settlers of the Tennessee valley and my ancestors actually lived here in Alabama before it was even a state. I’m about as much of an Alabamian as you can get!

Play: I enjoy quilting and hand embroidery very much, but don’t do them often nowadays. A little over a year ago, my husband and I noticed that even though we were home together on the weekends, we weren’t actually spending time together. The kids would wander off to their rooms and whatever electronic device caught their attention first, and my husband and I would end up playing catch up on housework or working on the computer. With the kids growing as fast as they are, we knew we had to do something to nourish and help grow our family “team”. We started having what we call Family Adventure Days and it has made an amazing difference in our family. Each weekend that we are able we choose one day and set out first thing in the morning. We spend the whole day out and about, sometimes it’s planned and sometimes we don’t even have a destination. We visit local tourist places, visit grandparents, go fishing, hiking, or spend the day at a park geocaching. We sing in the car and the kids spend that time chattering on about their friends and school activities, often telling us things once they get talking that they wouldn’t have shared otherwise. As much as I love my other hobbies, at this point in my life, there is no better way to spend my free time. Family Adventure Days have been the best thing we ever did for our family.

Buttermilk Biscuits1. Favorite food or meal? My favorite meal is a big old country breakfast, served at suppertime. Country ham, eggs, buttermilk biscuits, fried apples, and lots of fresh apple butter for the biscuits, too! Sweet tea to drink, of course!

Homemade Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers2. Signature dish? Yes, it would have to be banana pudding because that is the dish that started Southern Plate. Beyond that I’ve always enjoyed wowing people with my hoe cake and homemade apple butter, especially folks who’ve never had it before!

3. Cooking and food philosophy? Food should be prepared with love. The simplest of ingredients and recipes outshine all others when you add that special ingredient. Also, if it is your kitchen, the only rules are the ones you make.

4. Favorite food city and/or cuisine? I like good old fashioned soul food. As far as favorite food cities, I’ve not traveled out of the South much and when I do I always look for Southern food! I guess I’d have to say my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. All of my favorite restaurants are there.

5. Salty, sweet, sour, or spicy? Bacon grease!

6. What music, if any, do you listen to when you cook? Depends on what I’m making. Any berry dessert requires “Berry Pie” by Dolly Parton. If I’m doing an all day marathon cooking session I need Beyonce to keep me going though! When my kids are cooking with me, it’s usually Veggie Tales.

7. Culinary heroes? Mama, Grandmama, Granny, Mama Reed. Best cooks in the entire world. No one will ever hold a candle to them in my eyes.

8. If you could have dinner with 3 people—living or dead, of course—who would they be? My mother’s grandmother, Mama Reed. I never got to meet her but can see what a huge impact she had on my mother’s life. Also, Abraham Lincoln. I really admire him and have been reading a lot about how he suffered through depression and such. I kinda think I could fix him up with a little bit of banana pudding. Lastly, I’d really like a chance to cook a meal for my Grandaddy. He passed away before I ever got to and I sure do miss him.

9. Something about yourself that would surprise people? When I was a little girl I had such a bad speech problem that no one but my mother could understand me. I was in speech therapy for nearly four years and even now have to pay attention to how I pronounce certain words. If anyone has ever heard me take off talking I think they’d be pretty amazed to know that there was a time when I wasn’t a pro!

10. Is there any one person (aside from yourself) you think of pleasing with your cooking? My husband and my kids are the most important people at my dinner table. If I can please them, my work is done.

11. What would you be doing if you weren’t a home cook and blogger? My primary job and the one I am most proud of is being a Mama and a homemaker. Southern Plate hasn’t changed that, it has just given me a platform to talk about my job as a Mama and a homemaker. Long as my family likes to eat and have a house to live in, I got pretty good job security!

12. Is there a particular ingredient, herb, or spice that’s really inspiring you right now? Bacon Grease 😉

Comments
7 Responses to “A Conversation with… Christy Jordan”
  1. replicabags replica exquisite bag line at the Etro showroom in Milan last month! Inspired by traditional femininity with a menswear-inspired twist, the brlouis vuitton

  2. sandra says:

    I was wondering since u don’t have your online store anymore can I still get the canister decals I have wanted them for a long time and was just able to get them and seen your message about not having the store and I am so hoping I can still get a set of the decals. Thanks

  3. I don’t know ANYBODY who has gotten to know Christy Jordan who doesn’t love her. You can’t help yourself. She is authentic and just a sweetheart. Love ya like my bacon grease sweetie!! 😉 Congratulations on everything.

  4. WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOUR COOKBOOK. WHERE DO I GET IT?

  5. Mary C says:

    We ALL love Christy at southernplate.com! She has been a treasure since the getgo and we wish her ALL the best!

  6. PAULA says:

    This amazing woman is the kind of cook I love. Simple, homemade southern food! Hoping one day to watch her on her own cooking show! And I know when I do she will KEEP it simple..not go all fancy on her fans. I have turned my “yankee” friends on to her website and they LOVE IT!

    Keep it up girl…all your fans are behind you!

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