In the Kitchen With: Angie McGowan of Southern Grace Gourmet

| Jan 21, 2010 Food & Party

  • Meet the Family

    angie mcgown of southern grace gourmet

    Angie with Julien and her husband, Josh.

    My husband, Josh, and I met in high school in '93 and started dating. We got engaged in '98, and married in '02. I was a dental hygienist for eight years before deciding to stay at home with my little boy full time. We have just our one beautiful son, Julien, and hope to have more children in the near future. My husband is a physical therapist assistant, and also a doctorate physical therapist student. We both grew up in the same small town in the Florida Panhandle, Chipley. We lived in Panama City—which is famous for sugar sand beaches—for a short time while in school. We now live in the northern suburbs of Orlando, Florida. In our little bit of spare time, we like outdoor activities like cycling, hiking, and boating.

  • The Blog

    peanut brittle

    Peanut Brittle from Southern Grace Gourmet.

    Southern Grace Gourmet is influenced mainly by Southern cuisine. When I was a kid growing up in the Florida Panhandle, we were close enough to the coast to enjoy fresh seafood every week. We had a large garden and lived in the midst of many acres of farmland. We had an abundance of affordable or free fresh vegetables. Our property had several pecan trees, and one of the main crops in our area was peanuts.

    The town close by, Dothan, had a huge peanut festival. I have eaten my weight many times over in boiled peanuts. Our area of the country has the deepest, darkest red clay. The redskin peanuts grown in those fields with the darkest clay are the most delicious you will ever taste. My hometown had its own festival—an annual watermelon festival—because our area produced so many of them, too. I love watermelon so much, I can completely gorge myself on it.

  • The Kitchen

    Southern Grace Gourmet kitchen

    Angie's remodeled kitchen.

    When we moved into our town home seven years ago, there were a lot of little things that I wanted to change. The kitchen was on the top of my list. It was a small eat-in kitchen that I wanted to convert into one large kitchen. We had many people come and give estimates and consults on how to make the kitchen better, but they all failed miserably.

    So, I took it upon myself to measure everything and design the remodel myself. My husband and I then ordered the cabinets I had specified, ripped out the old kitchen, and placed the new ones in four weekends.

    We had unexpected things arise along the way: The back of the sink was all moldy, and I had to replace lots of drywall. The dropped ceiling that I wanted to keep almost fell out when we removed the cabinets that were supporting it. We had to support the ceiling with car jacks on the refrigerator until we got the new cabinets in to support the heavy dome light in the ceiling. It was all worth it, though. I love our redesigned kitchen. It is much more functional for our needs.

  • The Kitchen

    Southern Grace Gourmet kitchen

    Original dome light in Angie's kitchen.

    This is the massive, old dome light that I insisted on keeping. It may not be in fashion, but it certainly is functional. I also did not want to get rid of my ceiling fan; living in Florida, I think it is essential to have a fan in every room of the house. I like having lots of landing room on either side of my cook top. I also love having a big hood and exhaust fan. I do lots of cooking and frying, and even with the big exhaust fan, my house usually smells like a restaurant.

    The back splash you see in the photo? I did that all myself. I wanted something simple but still interesting. I bought colored glass tiles to match our bar lights. I cut every piece of tile, laid them, grouted them, and sealed them. All the other work in the kitchen was done by both my husband and myself.

  • The Kitchen

    Southern Grace Gourmet kitchen

    Bar and kitchen tile in Angie's kitchen.

    You can see our bar in this picture. Before, this opening was half the size. We ripped off all the drywall to expose the studs and header. We then raised the header and I, because of my artistic tendencies, was put in charge of re-drywalling. I was covered in mud and tape—fun!

    The patterned tile you see on the floor was a part of the original home. The previous owners had used that tile in the living and dining areas, but then stopped short of carrying it into the kitchen and breakfast nook. I looked everywhere for that tile for months. I would carry a sample of it into every tile store I came across. Finally, I was in a tile store, and the sales guy came up to me and said, "Oh my gosh, I have that same tile in my kitchen. I love it, too!" I said, "You are familiar with this tile?" He said, "Yes, they discontinued that tile more than five years ago, but we have a several boxes in our warehouse we couldn't get rid of." It was such a find, I couldn't believe it! I quickly bought all they had, and we went to work removing the old mismatched tile from our home, and replacing it with this tile.

  • The Kitchen

    Southern Grace Gourmet kitchen

    Breakfast area in Angie's kitchen.

    This is a picture of our breakfast area. I have the coffee pot, the coffee bean grinder, and the container for the coffee beans. I also have the toaster and my trusty kitchen scale. I don't have a sugar bowl because my husband is the one who drinks coffee, and he prefers it black. I like my iced tea in the morning—it's a Southern thing!

  • The Kitchen

    Southern Grace Gourmet kitchen

    Pantry, microwave, and mixer in Angie's kitchen.

    On the left of this photo, you can see my little closet. It used to be a broom closet. I redesigned it by adding lots of deep shelves to make it a good-sized pantry. (I moved my broom closet to a corner of the garage.) I have my microwave here out of the way. I don't like microwaves above the stove. Those all-in-one microwaves with the exhaust fans don't have a strong enough fan for me. And, I hardly use the microwave, so it was better for us to have a very small microwave out of the way. My cookbooks are in the cabinet above the microwave. I always have my Kitchen Aid out because I use it at least once a week; it's so heavy it gets its own place on the counter.

  • The Kitchen

    Southern Grace Gourmet kitchen

    Artwork hanging in Angie's kitchen.

    This picture hangs on the door that leads out to the garage. I have no space in my kitchen for any artwork. I found this piece at a yard sale a few years back for a couple of dollars. It was just someone's art project on a stretched canvas—nothing fancy. I just screwed it into the door so it wouldn't move when you opened it. I liked the colors because they are similar to my kitchen.

    I also like the imperfections of this painting: It's a little off-center, but pretty. This kitchen we created is like this picture: not perfect, but cute and practical. It is in no way my dream kitchen, but it serves its purpose for us. It's a place for me to cook comfortably and make many memories with my family.

  • The Food

    pulled pork

    Slow-roasted and simmered pulled pork from Southern Grace Gourmet.

    I like to think that my family thinks that everything I make is the best they will ever have. There are many dishes that my family won't order at a restaurant because they like my version much better. My family's favorite dish is my fried chicken. My son won't even eat any other fried chicken. And, I, personally, do not like anybody else's fried shrimp or oysters, because I feel everyone overcooks them.

    I think my whole family concurs, though, that they like my slow-simmered pulled pork the best. My recipe is quite time-involved, and made with much love, so it turns out amazing.

  • The Food

    chicken and dumplings

    Southern chicken and dumplings from Southern Grace Gourmet.

    They aren't very many recipes that have been passed down in my family. I can count on my two hands the dishes my grandmother and granny use to make. Not to say they weren't good cooks, but they never tried anything new. I have made it my goal to try new and different recipes and cooking styles. There is so much fun that can be had with your family in the kitchen.

    My favorite recipes that I haven't changed are chicken and dumplings, Appalachian biscuits, chili, cornbread, fried catfish and mullet, grape dumplings, and fried green tomatoes. Also my granny's pecan pie recipe, which is straight-off the Karo bottle. Who says traditions have to be some secret family recipe? Some of the best recipes ever created are on the back of the labels of the key ingredients.

  • The Food

    crockpot apple butter1

    Crock pot apple butter from Southern Grace Gourmet.

    My biggest indulgence? I love good sushi, and we order takeout sushi on special occasions. The three of us order enough sushi for about 10 people and then really indulge our craving. My favorite sweet is probably freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I make them on a regular basis at home. The whole batch is gone by the next day, we are really big eaters.

    Since I had my son, we have been eating at home much more—not because we don't want to take him out, but in order to save more money because we are a one-income family now. Before Julien was born, I worked many hours and was often too tired to make a homemade meal at the end of a long day. When I cooked before, I used many convenience ingredients and cooking shortcuts that I no longer use. Now, my cooking is much more frugal. I do so many more recipes from scratch now to save money.


  • The Favorites

    buffalo chicken sandwich

    Buffalo Chicken Sandwich from Southern Grace Gourmet.

    I have many favorite foods, the foremost, of course, being dark chocolate, because it keeps me sane. Also, I couldn't possibly live without flour: Flour to make breads, cakes, biscuits, muffins, pasta, and gravies. I guess I am a carb addict. I could live without meat, but couldn't go without any of the carbs or wonderful fruits, vegetables, and herbs...

    I have so many favorite food sites and blogs. At the top of my list are: Christy's Southern Plate, Jaden's Steamy Kitchen, and Kim's Paper Apron. I also love the Noble Pig, 5 Star Foodie, and Drick's Rambling Cafe...I have learned so much from the wonderful food bloggers out there. I have really been able to take my cooking to another level with the help of fellow bloggers, as well as some wonderful readers offering me invaluable advice along the way.


family meals food food blogs trends slideshow

More Slideshows