When people meet me for the first time, without fail, the conversation turns to food before they leave. And the inevitable question always arises, "how did you get in to cooking?” I don't know if I really "got in to cooking” as much as I just became totally engrossed in it.
Around the age of five, I would always beg my mom to let me cook. I loved the different colors of food, I loved the textures and I loved to create. Cooking was like a grand art project to me! Since my mom worked Monday through Friday, Sunday was the perfect day to relax, bake, and spend time together. So we started a tradition we called “Baking Sunday.” I looked forward to making treats (mostly sweet back then) and serving them to my dad. I was inspired by my mom and dad’s encouragement and starting branching out with new recipes and helping my mom more and more in the kitchen as I got older.
When I was in fifth grade, my parents decided to start home schooling me. Because I got tutored one on one, I was finished with my daily assignments well before the typical school day ended. My mom wanted me to have extra projects for school, so she purchased a web domain and I started www.savannahfuller.com. After starting the website, I had a section for recipes and starting posting them there. I got a great response from my family and friends asking for more entries. Also, during this time period I began watching Food Network pretty much exclusively. My whole world began to center pretty much around food. I took the love of cooking that was already engrained in me and raised it to another level. I learned skills, terminology, and just became completely fascinated by the food and cooking world.
Besides learning from television shows and my mom, I also got inspiration from other family members. I have watched and helped my dad cook his specialties many times--red beans & rice and chicken parmesan. They are still two of my favorite meals. He also taught me how to cook the perfect pot of rice. In case you were wondering, the secret is not lifting the lid. And although I never met either of my grandfathers and my paternal grandmother died when I was three, I learned from them though stories my parents would tell me when I was younger.
One of the first stories I remember my mom telling me about her father, Granddaddy Wayne, is how he loved cooking for people. He especially loved cooking for a crowd. He would cook as many as 20 chicken halves on the grill and put his special seasoning mix on them. He also loved to fry fish, make big pots of catfish stew and cook huge “chicken bogs,” as they called it. His greatest joy would come from watching other people eat and enjoy his food. So, when I think about him, that is what I envision. A big smile. It would be so much fun to see him cook in real life. I get pretty close to seeing Granddaddy Wayne when I watch my Uncle Jerry (my mother’s brother) cook. He has taught me how to fry fish, hushpuppies and even how to make the famous chicken bog. Yum!
|Granddaddy Wayne grilling chickens|
|Nana and Granddaddy Wayne, 1963|