Nancie's prowess extends way past that soup pot, though; her other publications dive into various topics like Thai cuisine, cakes and pies and fruits native to the southern region. As a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, she loves exploring the history, culture, and distinctions within the regional cuisines. She stays in the know of new food trends, too, and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Les Dames d’Escoffier, Association of Food Journalists, and the Southern Foodways Alliance. Our interview with Nancie is below:
Why did you select Gumbo as your PeachDish?
Gumbo is the superstar in the universe of Southern soups and stews. Even though this Cajun-style gumbo is a Louisiana treasure, it’s so good and so powerfully loved that people know about it and adore it from Seattle and San Diego to New York and everywhere in between. I wanted my PeachDish to bring people big flavor and a big smile, and this gumbo from the land of “Let the Good Times Roll” seemed like a way to make that happen.
What are your first memories of cooking? Is there a special person in your life who fostered your love for cooking?
My first memories of cooking involve being in the kitchen with my grandmother when I was very small, 5 or 6, watching her make biscuits. My grandparents had a dairy farm about an hour away from our suburban home, and I got to go stay with her during the summer and on weekends. I thought I was cooking, because that’s how she made me feel, but I’m sure I was anything but helpful in truth. What I remember is an enormous bowl and lots of flour, and her energy and pleasure in being in her kitchen, working and creating, keeping me happy, and making something for us to enjoy. I didn’t learn a thing about how to make biscuits (except that making a mess with flour is part of the deal), but I learned that the kitchen is a good, fun, busy place, and that it’s fun to cook with and for people you love.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Keeping track of many projects unfolding at the same time. Planning, groceries, cooking, emails, recipes, writing, pitching new work, meeting deadlines, bank, bills, laundry, repeat. It’s just real life and I’ve got it easy with flexible time and the blessings of being able to travel, explore, and pursue stories I love. But I want it to be linear; to Just Do This; Finish It; and then Start On That. This is not possible; I need to do a little of this, a little of that, focus on now, plan for later, handle something that just popped up - there’s a Caught Up and Organized state that I dream of, which has never existed in my life. Working on being at home in the circus that is always in progress, and embracing its interestingness, chaos, and delights.