About My Work: I’m a writer, cook and photographer. After graduating from the University of Michigan, I was employed with Hill and Knowlton in Manhattan, and worked as a technical writer and photographer on international accounts. In the eighties, I returned to Ann Arbor to open a specialty food store, The Back Alley Gourmet.
After 20 years of honing my skills as a business owner, cook, recipe writer, and cooking class instructor, I sold the store. It’s still thriving, a fine establishment. Check it out if you’re passing through. After the sale, I was afforded to time to pursue my passion as a writer. I took on the challenge of writing a real time food blog for AnnArbor.com for 365 consecutive days, including weekends and holidays, as a way of disciplining myself to transfer exhaustive files of pulp recipes to digital. I launched this site in November of 2011.
As well, I had the time to release the characters that have been bottled up, pounding stakes into my dreams. My first novel, Simmer and Smoke; A Culinary Tale, is scheduled to be published in March, 2014. Ten percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
About this site: My recipes are clearly-written and well-tested; the results of thirty years in my professional and home kitchens. For my store to be successful, I had to learn what my customers wanted to eat and be consistent in my delivery. After working long hours, I had to pull it together to provide healthy food for my children, who didn’t necessarily want to eat adult food from my store. “This whisk is not a magic wand!” was, and still remains, my mantra.
The recipes in this blog are accessible and delicious. They are more than lists of ingredients and vague instruction; I share my thoughts on preparation and ideas on what can be made in advance. My blogs sometimes inspire stories from the ingredients point of view; if a recipe insists I think like a cabbage, I pen the voice of a cabbage.
I categorize recipes according to my own, and my families, bias. The recipes are a suggestion; customize them as you will. More about my philosophy on nutrition…
I’ve been accumulating recipes for 30 years from my family, friends, co-workers, books, magazines, blogs, Pinterests and readers such as yourself. I’ve been on the “learn while you burn” plan and for every recipe that makes the cut to this site, dozens lie buried in the trenches.
I can’t zest your citrus, or dice your carrots; but I can entertain you with unbiased, seasonal advise and no-gimmick recipes that are delicious. I hope you enjoy visiting me as much as I enjoy writing and sharing my culinary discoveries with you.
About My Life and Family: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Birmingham, Alabama are my home towns, each unique citizenry shaped by their passion for food, which have inspired my cooking through the years.
Raised in Alabama, Farm-to-Table is no fad for me, but a way of living. I grew up eating food drenched in sunshine, heavy on the vine. My family still lives in the house where I was raised, a plume of smoke more than likely curling from the chimney in the back woods barbecue pit, where a pork butt smokes. The Birmingham Farmers Market – Pepper Place – is one of my favorite spots in America; I visit whenever I can.
I left Alabama to earn my BA from the University of Michigan. After college, I landed a job in New York. The bourgeoning new American food scene, however, captured my passions far more than my career in public relations. I returned to my beloved college town, and opened the Back Alley Gourmet in 1981 – been here ever since. Ann Arbor is a small city, but because of the University of Michigan and tech shops such as Google dotting the downtown landscape, it has an uptown, cosmopolitan flavor.
Ann Arbor is a mecca of international cuisine, and I’ve dozens of ethnic markets, farmer’s markets, the nationally acclaimed Zingerman’s, a Trader Joe’s and two Whole Foods in spitting distance of my kitchen. Several years back, Bon Appetit named Ann Arbor runner-up for the best small foodie town in American. In October, 2011, The New York Times described Ann Arbor as the ultimate college town, going into length about our food scene. The relationships I’ve built with the local fishmongers, butchers and bakers are priceless. Lord, how I love this town.
I raised two children, Greta, a custom furniture designer in Chicago, a graduate of The Art Institute in Chicago. My son, Zan, graduated with a poetry degree from the University of Michigan, and is engaged to Lucy, co-owner of Rose’s Fine Foods, a pioneering eatery in Detroit. I was a single mom while raising my kids, and understand the challenges of feeding your children tasty and nutritious food.
I’ve travelled the world inhaling the local color and food that speak of a culture’s passion – France, Italy, Thailand, Turkey, Mexico, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia are recent favorites – not to mention the nooks and crannies in America.Back to Top