Trisha Yearwood wears a lot of hats: award-winning country music recording artist, entrepreneur, author, and actress. She’s also passionate about cooking, having authored several bestselling cookbooks and hosted her own Emmy Award-winning show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. She visited the 2021 ALA Annual Conference Virtual on June 26 to discuss her upcoming cookbook, Trisha’s Kitchen: Easy Comfort Food for Friends and Family (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, September), its inspiration, and what recipes readers can find within its pages.
Moderated by Karen Murgolo, editorial director of the Lifestyle and Culinary imprint at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and editor of Trisha’s Kitchen, Yearwood’s talk was brief but rich in details about her family’s influence on her cooking and her new book. When asked how food keeps family traditions alive, Yearwood said that the dinner table was where her family connected each evening while she was growing up.
“It was where we’d share our day,” Yearwood said. “I don’t think we realized how important at the time that was for us as a family. It shaped how I create that space for my own children.”
Yearwood said that food also has allowed her to reconnect with her late parents.
“My parents were both really great cooks, and this entire process of writing these books, doing the show, has really helped keep them alive for me,” she said. “When I meet someone out in the world and they say, ‘Hey, I made your Grandma Lizzie’s homemade biscuits,’ it’s like your family becomes a part of their family, too.”
Yearwood said that working on the cookbooks and her show has changed how she approaches cooking.
“Most of us cook the same eight or nine things all the time; we have a rotation of things we make,” she said. “Doing the show and learning from culinary chefs has given me the confidence to try new things and has made my dinner table change.”
Those changes have infiltrated how Yearwood approaches recipes as well, allowing her to take chances when creating new dishes, she said. She pointed out two new favorites from the book: chicken pot pie burgers and breakfast lasagna.
“Those are the types of things I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do if I hadn’t done the cooking show,” she said.
Yearwood also credits her sister with influencing the book. While Yearwood was writing Trisha’s Kitchen, her sister moved nearby and built a house on land that contained a peach orchard. The sisters were able to spend time together, harvest the peaches, and make things that ended up being in the book.
“Every peach recipe in the book stems from that summer of peaches,” she laughed.