About Me

IMG_3725
Roxie, my lovely little beagle, and me.

I’m Laura, the shug behind the spice.  I started this blog to share my love for food and my family.  For many of us, both food and family are so deeply intertwined it’s hard to separate one from the other.  For example, every time I think about making ginger snaps, I think about how wonderful Mama’s kitchen used to smell when I would bake these.  Daddy would usually eat the entire first pan by the time the second batch made it to the oven!  When my family gets together, you better wear your stretchy pants because you’ll “eat like a sawmill hand” (i.e., hogbeast).

The last few years I realized that outside of doing the things I have to do, i.e., work, exercise, sleep, etc., I always found myself in the kitchen during my free time.  It’s incredibly therapeutic to get in the kitchen, turn on some good tunes, make a mess, and create something absolutely delicious.  More importantly, it keeps me grounded and connects me with my family.

I owe so much of what I love about baking to my mother (a.k.a. Mama) and my Aunt Gay.  Growing up, Mama almost always had a homemade cake on the counter every week, and Aunt Gay makes the best biscuits I have ever tasted in my entire life…and I’ve tasted A LOT of biscuits.

I grew up in rural South Carolina, where almost all of my family still lives.  In the words of Tim McGraw, “I’m from a map dot.  A stop sign on a blacktop.”  Over the last few years my work has taken me from Carolina to Washington to here in Phoenix.  The farther from home I venture, the more difficult it becomes to find those “southern” ingredients I adore, like Duke’s Mayonnaise and stone ground grits.

Infamous Duke's Mayonnaise, Maurice's Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce (heavenly), and Happy Home flavoring.
Infamous Duke’s Mayonnaise, Maurice’s Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce (heavenly), and Happy Home flavoring.

I get homesick all the time, and recreating many of the recipes I grew up with is such a comforting feeling.  Whenever I bake certain things, the aromas take me right back to being in my parents kitchen.  By putting a little south in your mouth, maybe you too, can get through those homesick feelings.

“Shug?”

Somehow during study abroad my junior year of college I developed the nickname “Shug.”  I think it was because I kept calling other people that as a term of endearment.  Evidently my non-Southern friends all liked it, because it followed me to Washington, DC and now Phoenix.  I’ve been called much worse.  Disclaimer: apologies for some of my non-intelligible southern slang.

IMG_5029

 

IMG_5028
Farm-fresh strawberries in Lexington, SC.
IMG_4596
Homemade jam: an excellent reason to eat more bread.

The South, the place where….

1.) The tea is sweet and the accents are sweeter

2.) Summer starts in April

3.) Macaroni & cheese is a vegetable

4.) Front porches are wide and words are long

5.) Pecan pie is a staple

6.) Y’all is the only proper noun

7.) Chicken is fried and biscuits come with gravy

8.) Everything is Darlin’

9.) Someone’s heart is always being blessed

DSC_0004
Who doesn’t love homemade caramel sauce?!