At some point in my young and dreamy eyed path toward my thirties, when I was struggling as a writer to feed my children and watching my husband eke out as much time as he could to devote to his sculpture without neglecting his family or his art - our life a proverbial juggling act that, to this day, I'm not sure how we survived - I picked up a copy of an old cookbook. It was tucked deeply into the crevasses of a bookstore in Nashville called McKay's. It was 2004 and I had just had my second child, a daughter. My heart was so full, but my bank account was always, always empty. I felt a closeness to my kitchen that went beyond my artistic endeavors as a budding baker because, most days, even with just a bag of flour and a few bits of ham and a sack of dried beans, I could do something meaningful for my children. I could make biscuits. I could make beans. I could feed them. And me. I could do more than just survive. I could make something beautiful out of nothing - and we had a lot of nothing.
That book, and moreover, its author, would become a lodestar for me - even to this day. In 1976, one year before I was born, Edna Lewis wrote a book that, by all accounts and purposes, has guided me to the path I am on today. The Taste of Country Cooking is, in my mind, one of the most significant pieces of food literature that I've ever laid my hands upon. And, Edna Lewis has been someone whom I have carried with me in a very personal way as I've grown as a cook, baker, chef, woman. When I was made head pastry chef at City House, the first thing I hung up above my pastry table was the picture you see above. In as much as most people feel that Julia Child changed the face of food in America, Edna Lewis changed the face of food in my world, indubitably.
As I was discovering Ms. Lewis, I was also discovering my own family food culture - my now legendary Aunt Ruby in Floyd, Virginia and all my Blue Ridge Mountain family, with all their old bootlegging stories and quiet country charm, started connecting so many dots to a vast space in my heart that had never made much sense to my normal city-girl sensibilities. Visits to Floyd, talking about fried, dried, apple pie with my ancient Aunt Ruby, all while I was reading books by Ms. Lewis, whose own family and heritage was just a hop and a skip up the mountain range in Freetown, Virginia created an overwhelming completeness - all by talking about pie crust, baked ham and pickled vegetables.
On January 6th, 2013, in honor of these things that have built an empire of completeness in my heart (wow, over the top much, Lisa?), Buttermilk Road Sunday Supper will crank out a Supper solely based on Edna Lewis' book, The Taste of Country Cooking with a little bit of Aunt Ruby mixed in there. This Supper will be handled a bit differently. Rather than posting the full menu and location here, I will send the menu and location to our confirmed guests. And, to make it more festive and merry to really ring in an exciting new year, I will open this up to more guests, but still capping it at 40ish. Be prepared for a full Sunday Revival feast with plenty of put-up fruits and pickled vegetables on the table to enjoy from this summer. It will be completely family style and there will, of course, be beautiful wine pairings (and maybe even a bit of home made Elderberry wine that I've been working on on hand). There will be some string pickers there, there might be some singing, and hopefully you'll all feel moved to tap your toe and do a jig or two. We will celebrate our local bounty, our new year, our future, our past and, most importantly, each other!
If you'd like to reserve your seats for our January 6th, 2013 New Year celebration Supper please do so HERE by making a donation of $120 per seat. You will receive confirmation of your seats within 24 hours of making your donation. Once your reservations have been confirmed, you'll be receiving the full details of our Supper in the weeks to come - to include location, full menu, wine pairings, music line up and more.
I can't think of a better way to start our new year! See you all at the table! LD