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About:  Taste of Southern
YOU can cook Southern style meals even if you’re just a beginner.  Or, maybe you’re a professional and looking for some good basic recipes to add to your menu.  Our simple steps can have anyone cooking old fashioned Southern style meals in no time.  And, we include a printable recipe for your convenience at the bottom of each page.

Taste of Southern is devoted to good old, down home, Southern Cooking.  It’s all about the food I grew up on, the food that I continue to enjoy each and every day and, the food I served in my restaurants.  With recipes handed down and inspired by family and friends, I hope to pass that information along to anyone willing to spend a little time with us here on the Internet.

We offer all of our recipes with convenient step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions on how YOU can create the same great dishes in your very own kitchen, just like mama use to do.  We use ingredients that are easily available at most grocery stores and try to utilize many of the products that you already have in your kitchen.  It’s just simple food with a laid back Southern style of life.  I hope you will enjoy it.

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About:  Growing up Gordon
I grew up in a family with parents that worked hard to provide the best they could for my older brother, older sister, and myself.  Daddy was a bit older than my mom when they married.  Mama always said that it was daddy that taught her how to cook.  However it happened, mama just took a real liking to cooking and it turned into her hobby as well.

Mama never won any ribbons or awards for her cooking, never entered any contests that I knew about, but she certainly won a tremendous amount of love and accolades from anyone ever privileged enough to sit at her table or be a recipient of one of her cakes or other dishes that she so much loved to prepare.

I was the youngest member of the family, and I’ve heard the stories about how scarce food and other necessities sometimes were growing up in North Carolina.  That’s not what I remember though.  I remember having about 15 folks at our house EVERY Sunday for dinner.  I remember there was ALWAYS something to eat at our house.  You didn’t visit us without mama offering you something to eat within minutes of your arrival.  To me, we had an abundance of food.  Life was good. 

Sunday dinner was just the absolute best.  That was family, friends, and usually the church pastor and his family.  It was a time when people gathered around the table together, adults in the dining room and kids at the kitchen table.  Or, most of the time, the kids had to wait until after the adults ate first.  It was a time when people paused before eating to Give Thanks for what they had.  A time when you pushed the plate back and just stayed and sipped coffee or sweet tea and talked about all kinds of things.  Life was good.

Of course, one pastor in particular was always exciting for me when he and his family came by.  He had two kids of his own, a boy and a girl.  The girl was about four years younger than I was and stole my heart the very first time I ever saw her.  I truly believe in love at first sight.  Many years later, we became man and wife and God granted us 17 beautiful years together.  I wish it could have been much longer.  I lost my wife suddenly in 1998 to sickness and my life has never been the same.  I hope you will allow me to share some of those fond memories, good and bad, as we develop Taste of Southern.

About:  Our Southern Cooking Recipes.
Most of our recipes are based on those handed down in my family.  While there aren’t a lot of those that were actually written down on paper, we’ll do our best to re-create them for you.  Mama pretty much only used recipes when trying something new,  but she didn’t measure very often.  She had it down pat and just used a bit of this and a pinch of that.  She enjoyed reading recipes and collected many from magazines and newspapers, but she mostly just used them for “inspiration” for something that would soon become her own.

Mama had 6 sisters and two brothers.  One brother died right after his military service.  I was only about 4, but his death has affected me tremendously.  That’s another story for later.  Back then, they brought the body of the deceased to the families’ home.  Parents didn’t tell kids back then much about what was going on.  Instead, they’d just tell us to go outside and play.  I just remember that his death made my mama and the entire family cry an awful lot and that bothered me greatly.  It had an everlasting effect on me and I still have problems with it to this day.

All the “sisters” including the one sister-in-law, were fantastic cooks.  They prepared 3 meals a day for their families, 7 days a week.  Family reunions and birthdays were highlights of the year as far as I was concerned.  And, they didn’t skimp on loading down the table with all kinds of meats, side dishes and desserts.

Daddy cooked some, but not as much as he probably did when I was too young to remember.  He cooked pigs for BBQ at hog killing time, made his own sausage,  and ever so often he’d make apple fritters and one of my favorites…potato candy.

I loved everything that mama cooked….well….except one thing.  I don’t like collards.  I never have liked them and probably never will.  Other than that, she didn’t make any cooking mistakes.  However, in honor of mama, the first recipe that I posted on Taste of Southern was one for collards.  How could I resist?

Daddy passed away in 1968.  Mama passed away in 1994, and we lost the last of the sisters just this past year in 2010.  I can only imagine what Heaven must be like with such great cooks assembled in one place.  It makes you look forward to being able to “go home” one day.

The yearly family reunions did manage to create a cookbook of its own years ago.  I hope to share many of those recipes with you here on Taste of Southern.

I also hope to share my own collection of recipes from back in the late 70′s when I was a radio broadcaster on one of our local radio stations.  I did a call-in type program for many years for people to buy, sell or trade things they had.  Stuff like cars, furniture, appliances, clothing, toys and more.  It was a four hour show and people were more patient back in those days.  We actually started taking recipes down over the air from many of our listeners.  I always wanted to put them all into a cookbook but never did.  I still have about 5 composition books filled with handwritten recipes that I hastily scribbled down as they were called in.

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About:  Me
I’m not going to pretend to be something I’m not.  I’m not a Chef and haven’t been trained at some fancy school here or abroad.  I just had the privilege of sitting at the table and hanging around in the kitchen of the BEST cook I’ve ever known.  That was my mom.

I wish I had paid greater attention to what she was doing back then and realized what a great opportunity to learn that I had right there in front of me.  While she wasn’t fancy in her style, she was one more great cook,  just preparing for her families needs day by day.  You may have had many of the same opportunities that I had growing up.  Moms all around the world took care of their own and helped others as much as they could back then.  Many still do today.  My mama just learned by doing and experimenting on her own.  I’ve done a lot of the same.

I was 27 when I married.  That preacher’s daughter that I mentioned had married and had two children by then, but the marriage didn’t work out.  I never had any contact with her during her married years.  When things fell apart at the end, she called me where I worked to talk.  She even said she wasn’t sure if I would remember her or not.  I most certainly did.  Mama had kept some contact with her parents over the years and I knew she had two children.  The rest became “our” history as they say.

I started creating pizza for the family and that kind of gave me the bug to open up a place of my own.  You know how it goes, you make something that folks like and you start thinking maybe you should go into business.  Ha.  We did however, eventually open a small restaurant and ran it for a couple of years.  We never did serve pizza though…go figure.  We were just young and brave, or foolish, not really sure now.  I didn’t have any prior restaurant experience, but God blessed us to keep it going.  A few years later my brother opened up a Seafood Restaurant and I worked with him managing the kitchen first then the whole restaurant for awhile. 

Restaurant work is the hardest work I’ve ever done.  There were the nights that I sat in the tub and literally cried because of the heat rash between my legs and the tiredness of the day.  Wait, I’m having flashbacks….let’s move on.

They say the difference between an amateur and a professional is that the professional is getting paid instead of doing something for free.  So, I guess in that respect, I can list myself as having been a Professional Cook.

Most of my life though has been spent in the Motion Picture, Television and Radio industry.  And, most of that has been locally here in the small town in which I live.  Sounds good when you say it though.  My first job was at a local movie theatre where I started out selling popcorn and soda behind the concession stand.  I spilled the first drink (an orange soda) I was asked to fix, can’t forget about that.  Years later, I managed another theatre for the same company and during my last year with them I was voted “Showman Of The Year” for the entire chain of over 100 theatres.

I’ve worked at two television stations.  I was the Guest Coordinator for a Christian Television station out of town for awhile.  My wife and I both worked there at the same time.  Several years later, we both had the opportunity to work together managing a small local TV station.  That’s where we were when she passed away.  It’s extremely difficult to lose your best friend, wife, lover and business partner all at the same time.  I’m still recovering.

Like most announcers, I’ve been in and out of radio a lot.  I work full time with one now and I’ve gone pretty much full circle with it.  I’m doing the same type of call-in show that I did between 1976-1981 at the first station I worked at.

At the end of 2009, I was taken off full time work and moved to part time.  It’s a long story.  Being unemployed, I started wondering about what to do next with my life.  That’s when I discovered food blogs.    Maybe I’ve missed my calling by not being more involved with food over the years.  I certainly like to eat so it seemed like a logical move.  It’s just turning out to be more work than I had originally anticipated. 

It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare a recipe, take the photos, edit them and write it all up.  Sometimes I wonder what I was actually thinking when I started.  Hmmm.  Maybe it’s just because I’m much older and it’s not as easy to get around in the kitchen as it use to be.  Then too, maybe I realize that I need to go ahead and get this information down on paper – or the Internet – while I still can.

Then, out of nowhere, I got called back into full time employment with the radio station.  That happened about 2 days after I had finally decided that I was going to push forward with this website.  Two months later, working full time, I realized I hadn’t cooked one single thing at home since I’d gone back to work.  Go figure.

About:  Fishing
At the first of 2009 I discovered fishing.  I had fished a little as a child but not a lot.  I really enjoy fishing except I work at it more than just relaxing with it.  Crappie fishing is what I do and I have yet another website devoted to fishing.  I’m a widower and I live alone…spending too much time on the computer.

I’d started talking about all my fishing adventures on my radio program.  I’m a big guy and didn’t want to go out on bass boats or regular small fishing boats.  I’d be happy on a pontoon boat, but you just don’t see them used in fishing tournaments.  I reckoned that I’d have to start my own organization of fisherman and my own tournaments.  That way, I could use whatever boat I wanted or just fish from the bank of a lake or river. 

Finally, I started talking about becoming a Professional Fisherman on my radio program and one day declared that I was going to do it.  I declared myself a Professional Fisherman.  Only problem is, I still don’t have any sponsors.  So, I may not be a “real” pro as most folks think of one, but I do “play” one on radio.  It makes for some good conversation anyways. 

About:  My beliefs.
I became a Christian in my 20′s.  Well, I became one again around that age.  I was blessed to have been brought up in a family that believed in God and I guess I was in and out of it all my years. 

Something different happened the last time though.  Can’t really explain it but I’ve tried to live the life ever since then.  Sometimes I’m not really good at it.  Maybe that’s what happened in those late 20′s, I got the wisdom and courage to keep trying even after I fail.  I’m not a Bible scholar.  I don’t try to push my religion on anyone.  I’d rather hope they SEE something in MY life that will make a difference in theirs.

I do trust and pray that you will enjoy our home here on the Internet.  I want really know that unless you add some comments or respond to our recipes and other postings.  If I can help you learn how to cook for the first time, or just give you something to read and look out during your day…my mission will be part way accomplished.  Through it all, I hope to share some memories, make you smile, share some good food and maybe even occasionally cause you to shed a tear.  Either way, hang on and let’s enjoy this time together and the freedom to make it happen.  We are such a blessed nation, under God, and that too….shall be a part of the journey.

 So…are you ready? 

If so….LET’S GET COOKING!

Be Blessed!!!
Steve

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