"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Kitchen Goddess Three

by Julie Tilsner on June 4, 2007

in Kitchen Gods and Goddesses

AudreypirateThis is the second in a series of profiles of the Kitchen Goddesses:
Friends who cook and can coax major culinary experiences out of a
handful of fresh produce and a few utensils. Each of these women over
the years has inspired me in some way. If I can’t exactly follow in
their footsteps, then they’ve encouraged me to gimp along behind as
best I can.
This is the second installment of Kitchen Goddesses; Interviews with friends who can cook who have inspired me.

They say sex sells. And this is indeed a very saucy pic of my friend and Kitchen Goddess Audrey. She doesn’t always dress like this, but this one of her in her Halloween costume does sort of sum her up nicely.

I met Audrey only a few years ago when we moved back to SoCal, but in that time she has influenced me greatly with her skill in the lost womanly arts.

I admit that I didn’t hold cooking, baking, sewing and other householdry arts in the highest esteem until I became a mom myself. Now I find myself in awe of them, mostly because now I know what they entail.

Audrey can not only bake a cherry pie, she will can you some persimmon jam, design and execute a renaissance faire costume for your kid you’d pay hundreds of dollars for elsewhere and keep a troop of girl scouts engaged for years at a time. She’s also a fully-trained artist and designer. The Gap needs to hire her now.  I’ve always described her to folks as Martha Stewart, if Martha had gone to art school and was cool and funky. I admire her every ability. Audge is always encouraging me, sending me new recipes, watching my back. When I cook something she loves, I am elated.   When she invites us over for a meal, we drop everything and get there as fast as we can. She’s also the gold standard when it comes to mommy-ing. “Audrey makes her kids pancakes during the week,” say my kids, throwing down the gauntlet. Oh yeah?…

My favorite food memory with Audrey? That would have to be last summer, when she invited me over for her home-made, garden-grown gazpacho and crostini on her sunny, flower-covered deck. All I needed was a foot massage and it would have been Spa Audrey.

What’s the first dish you remember making by yourself?
Seasoned grilled hamburger patties.

What’s your earliest kitchen memory?
Writing and drawing in my journals, and making ABC books while Mama cooked dinner. I also remember my mom teaching me how to eat “like a lady” by serving me a slice of sweet potato pie and instructing me in the proper way to use a knife and fork at the table.

Who inspired your love of cooking/baking?
My mom loved to cook “Gourmet-style” meals about 10 times a year. The rest of those days were usually “diet” food. I was not a big fan of those special meals as they typically included cooked mushrooms, wild rice (which I hate to this day) or wine sauce, blehh! The baking she did on these special occasions was highly anticipated, primarily because they included fats and sugar. I completely lost control when the ingredients for these items were in the house, seeing as I was deprived of things like butter, cream, chocolate, and real table sugar 350 days out of the year.

What’s your favorite dish to make right now?
I still love to bake desserts. It makes my husband feel pampered and appreciated, and I can’t help but feel that he is slightly proud of himself for hitchin’ up with a woman who can cook.I also love a good soup too. nourishing, warm comfort food. Served with lots of warm and crispy bread or homemade rolls… yummy!

Are you a bread person or a pie person?
Like making pies, love eating bread.

Describe a dish you botched badly.
One Christmas when I was 9 or 10 my mom gave me a book filled with crafts, games and recipes. It was illustrated with reproductions of Victorian pen and ink Christmas images. Among the recipes were how to add pizzaz to an ordinary sandwich. My mistake was trying to incorporate all the suggested ingredients at once. Ham, cheese, onions, and mustard on raisin bread just wasn’t too good.

Your favorite cookbook of all time?
Fanny Farmer

If you could be anywhere in the world, eating anything you wanted, where would you be, and eating what?
Sadly, I have not traveled enough to have a satisfactory answer. Give me another 30 years and maybe my experiences will be able to compete with the fantasy meals floating around in my imagination. Although for 20 minutes I wouldn’t mind going back in time to that kitchen counter and enjoying a slice of sweet potato pie with my mom.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

BaddAss MisterJ June 5, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Mmm. . . SAUCY!!!


Stafford June 7, 2007 at 6:10 am

Loved it. The funny thing about Kitchen gods is that they come from so many different traditions. We’ve shared a few spectacular meals, and I am always amazed by the people who have the “touch” when it comes to food (Think Lulu’s folks). I’ve even met folks who can breathe life into the oxymoronic “middle-American” or “British-Cuisine.”


Lenny January 13, 2009 at 8:44 am

Haha, great article about kitchen gods. I enjoyed the read. http://ddlwolf.com


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