I come from a long line of good cooks. In the south a good cook can crank out a casserole with the best of them. Dinners in our house were almost always a ‘meat and three’, for those of you not from the south – this is a common term used in country restaurants and diners. You would have a list of meats and vegetables that were prepared fresh that day that you could choose from – and yes macaroni and cheese was considered a vegetable!
My grandmother was the queen of casseroles. Any given Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter would consist of at least 6 different delicious casseroles laden with butter and cracker crumbs. She introduced me to my cooking hero – a lady named Ida Ramsey from Viola, Tennessee. After she married, she began to teach herself to cook drawing on her childhood in Mississippi and the ladies in that small middle Tennessee town. She became a celebrated cook and began to publish her recipes in a series of cookbooks – all in her own handwriting, then copied and bound.
When I went to college Miss Ida’s cookbooks went with me. Pages stained with food and notes on the edges – I always relied on the recipes. I remember a family friend phoning me one day and asked what I was doing…I told him I was putting up corn. What college junior sits at their backdoor with a bushel of Silver Queen Corn, shucking, scraping then freezing for the winter!
After living in Tennessee my whole life, I ventured off to Texas. This was a whole other world! So many new things to learn and straight from the source. How to make fluffy, warm tortillas and the importance of a good smoke ring on your brisket. I had a little trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that Barbecue was beef and not pork – but I adapted.
In March 2010, my first child was born. Soon after we arrived home from the hospital we received a call that his newborn screening had indicated he had a metabolic disorder called MCAD. This means he cannot metabolize fatty acids properly and would need to maintain a lowfat diet his whole life. In the grand scheme of things, I told myself this was not the end of the world – he just needed to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat the proper diet.
I wanted my son to be able to enjoy the comforts and traditions of the foods that I had grown up on. To be able to say this is your great-grandmother’s cornbread or my nana used to make this for me was a big deal. So I got out Miss Ida’s cookbooks and my family recipes and started an adventure to lighten up most of my favorite recipes so he could enjoy them too!
I want to try your chili. Sounds yummy. Maybe you could whip some up next time you’re in town.
What a talented and creative individual you are! Just to let you know…all that cooking knowledge never made it past Nana’s sister…your second cousins are not as efficient in the kitchen! Thank goodness my husband enjoys cooking, so I’ll be sure to share some of your yummy recipes!
By the way – Jack is a real handsome dude!
What an awesome adventure you are taking Lora Leigh!
Even more, what an incredible gift you have for using your many talents to create a blog that shares your family food traditions as well as connecting with others that want healthy and delicious recipes for their friends and families.
Thanks for subscribing. Pass along to all our Chattanooga friends too!
I was playing around on my IPAD with Facepad and stumbled across your blog. I am excited for your new adventure. You are a great cook and really influenced me when we were in college! I remember you cooking for many dinner parties and coming to your parents house for wonderful meals. I love to cook and entertain and still even make some of the recipes you used to make for us in college. I am very excited to try some of your low fat southern recipes. I am sure they are all delicious!
Thanks for the comment Jill and for subscribing. I have seen your exercise status updates when I’m vegged out on the sofa at night! You are motivating me to get back in gym…let me know next time you will be in Columbus and we’ll try to get together.
Hey Lora Leigh! I found your blog browsing on facebook. What a great idea. I have been lightening up recipes for my family for several years now, and incorporating cuisines from other cultures. It’s a lot of fun – and they seem to appreciate it. And Fage yogurt is one of my favorite products, too. I make a creamy pasta dish by tossing the pasta with a container of the 0% fat yougurt, a couple table spoons of pesto (but I guess you could make your own pesto and substitute for the olive oil), and any roasted veg. (I like asparagus and artichokes) and chicken or shrimp.I hope you all are doing well. Can’t wait to read more on your site.
Hey stranger! Did you all survive the snow in the ATL – that was crazy! Thanks for checking out the blog, maybe you could do a guest recipe. It sounds like we cook a little alike. Give the girls big hugs and hope to see you soon.
Hahaha – Tanya, I was reading your comment & thinking…HEY I MAKE THAT!!!…then I looked to see who wrote the post. DUH…
And Lora Leigh…I think we’re ALL going to TN in April…we need to plan some type of reunion thing!!!
So glad you started this. My youngest daughter, Ellie, has been diagnosed with epilepsy and they are recommending a low glycemic diet to keep her blood sugar low. I’ve been struggling with shifting from Paula Deen to alternatives, not knowing if it will taste that good. Looks like I now have find my favorite! We will be trying every one of these. Awesome job!
Love You! Thanks for reading – I knew you would be one of my biggest fans! I’ll keep ‘em coming so you can keep cooking for those precious girls.
Hey girl! I’m so proud of you and think that your blog and cooking adventures are awesome! Keep it up! I am always following along
PS – we need to get together soon – hope your lil’ guy and family is doing well!
So good to hear from you! Your ski trip looked amazing. Um, clearly your welcome for breakfast, lunch and dinner over here! Let’s get together soon. Thanks so much following the blog and pass along to your friends too.