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At various times, I have been a musician, a student of literature, and an attorney. I am a wife, a mother, a stepmother, a daughter, a sister, a kickass aunt, and a friend. (I really do some of my best work as an aunt). I have trouble saying “no,” which results in a surprising and terrifying number of meetings and e-mails about things like bake sales, curriculum changes and urban sprawl. I would rather read, write or cook than do anything else; if I could do all three simaltaneously it would be my own, personal Trifecta.  I adopt stray animals, I can make a meal out of anything, I am kind to children and crazy people, and I have a vast array of meaningless trivia at my command including the ability to reel off the marital history of both A and B list celebrities. On the flip side, I am anxious, judgmental, got a “D” in Algebra II and can’t read a map. As I get older, my hair is colored, my right thumb is arthritic and my glasses are stronger, but my heart is still true. Stick with me and I’ll give you the best that I’ve got.


67 responses »

  1. Annette Irwin


    This is a fabulous web site!! At a glance I have seen at least a 1/2 dozen recipes that I am going to try!! You are saving me from the cooking rut! THANKS

  2. You go girl! I love this site. VERY homey and worthwhile recipes that we can all relate to. We all have “leftovers” and many of these suggestions are very appealing.

  3. Thanks, ladies. Perhaps you are biased, though, because you both know how extraordinarily fabulous I am in person. ;>)

  4. Since I do not know you in person, I will add that this is a lovely blog and the recipes do look inviting! Found your site while searching for cuban deviled ham recipes. Will be watching with interest…

  5. Thanks for the kind words, Vera! It does make me feel a little validated to have someone like the blog on its own merits. I am very intrigued by Cuban deviled ham – I like the regular kind, but haven’t had it since I was a kid and my dad used it to make our lunch box sandwiches.

  6. Annie,
    Thanks for the kind words and most of all about my songwriting.
    You must be a fine gal.
    My best to you and your husband,
    Richard Leigh, songwriter

  7. Aw, shucks, Mr. Leigh. I’m honored to have a famous visitor! I’m just an old classical cellist from way back, but I have a soft spot for a beautiful country song…..

  8. Like Vera, I stumbled onto your site quite by accident while trying to locate an old Nigella Lawson cookie recipe. I work in advertising so I was immediately drawn to the clean, nicely designed look of your site. Then I read it and really felt that if I lived in Michigan, not NJ, we would be friends. I share your sense of humor and your philosophy of cooking and eating. And I hope to try some of your recipes. I do think your playlist could use a little help though–would you mind if I sent some of my current favorite song titles your way?

  9. Hi, Janet! We can be friends – we just won’t actually see a whole lot of each other. I can’t take credit for the actual design of the blog because wordpress provides templates, but at least I picked a nice one?

    I would love to know what’s on your playlist – in my defense, I left out some of my more eccentric (mainly emo and early punk) favorites so that I wouldn’t frighten “normal” people. I’ll listen to anything at least once, and I love to get music ideas from other people – some of my most cherished possessions are mix tapes from as long as 25 years ago.

    Now I’m all excited to see what you like! Hurry!

  10. Hey Annie. Since we are now friends, at least the bizarre Internet kind, here’s a custom-designed playlist for Forest Street Kitchen. It’s approved for all audience. Sort of a jambalaya of all different stuff, some old, some new, some ethnic…you get the picture. Enjoy.

    Harvest for the World/Isley Brothers• Good People/Jack Johnson• You Will Be Loved/Future Clouds and Radar• Limon en la Cabeza/Gecko Turner• 1234/Feist• Playhouse/Van Morrison• Mexican Wine/Fountains of Wayne• Incense and Peppermint/Strawberry Alarm Clark• I Wanna Get Married/Nellie McKay• We’re Cookin’/John Lee Hooker• Dance Me to the End of Love/Madeleine Peyroux• I Just Want to Celebrate/Rare Earth• Sweet Pea/Amos Lee• Wear Your Love Like Heaven/Donovan• The Weight/Staple Singers

  11. Janet, I am ecstatic to have a playlist of my very own!! I like Jack Johnson and Feist, but do not know those songs. I can’t believe there is a Van Morrison song I don’t know, but its kind of like finding cash in the pocket of a coat I haven’t worn since last year.

    I am hoping that “The Weight” will not make me feel guilty about the results of my time in the kitchen. Anyway, as soon as I can do it without being interrupted (possibly some time in 2009) I will begin the process of listening and downloading and replacing my playlist with yours – okay if I give you credit on the blog?

  12. Hi imagineannie ~ I absolutely love your blog and look forward to further exploration of your archived entries AND I absolutely do not know you in person so hope my opinion counts a little more. Wink. Say, do you have a ‘cannot screw up’ recipe for shredded beef? I have tried numerous slow coooker recipes (meaning at least 4-5) only to be disappointed in the final product. Thanks for your super blog site! junemoon

  13. Hey, Annie. Thanks for putting the playlist up. More importantly, thanks for your tribute to comfort food. I can only hope that William Grimes looks back on his 2001 essay and feels great embarassment. (There is now a “fast food” (ironically) mac and cheese store in New York City where you can take out all sorts of mac and cheese dishes.) It is a cool, clear Sunday in NJ so I will kick off comfort food season tonight and I just might do it with your macaroni and cheese recipe. I usually use Ina Garten’s recipe but yours seems so much simpler. Btw, I was once appalled to read David Rosengarten’s recipe included vegetables to provide “relief in a relentless sea of dairy”. He is so missing the point.

  14. Janet, I LOVE the playlist. It is on my iPod (which my family believes I would save from a fire before I rescued any of them) and burned on a CD in my car.

    I think Mr. Grimes probably doesn’t care what I think, but I care what he thinks, I said so, and I feel better. I am intrigued by a mac & cheese restaurant – there are lots of ways to fix it, and to “gussy it up” (I have also read about urban restaurants serving cubes of fried mac & cheese) but I consider “gussying” to be gilding a perfect lily. Relief from a “relentless sea of dairy” can more appropriately be gotten by, oh, a green vegetable and some salad on the plate with the mac and cheese. We do it here all the time with stunning success.

    I hope you like the recipe – its not fancy, but it tastes good. I like anything Ina does, but sometimes I can’t face the degree of difficulty.

  15. Welcome, Junemoon!! I do have a recipe for shredded beef, although its pretty down market – much more “Good Housekeeping” than “Saveur.” Its good, though. I’ll post it in the near future, and if I can’t for some reason (like I am busy creating cold fusion in a glass or something) I’ll e-mail it to you directly. I am flattered and honored that you added me to your blogroll, and it means a great deal that you like the blog unless you are in some way secretly connected to my family or friends….:)

  16. Ann- I was not sure what I was reading when I tumbled into your blog somehow I was reading your email and ended up here! What an absolute treat! It is now on my bookmarked favorites list fo me to enjoy regularly. Just possibly the recipes will motivate me or maybe they will intimidate me from ever having you over for a meal I’ve prepared (just kidding if my food doesn’t bring you witty reparte and chocolate ought to do it!)

  17. Diane, I will write you a private message because I’m not sure the blogging community is interested in my desire to give Emma an old shirt of Stephanie’s, but I am glad you found and enjoyed my little sideline!

  18. So this is where you have been hiding!

    I will have to send this link to Terri.

    Make it a Great Week!
    Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!
    Ray Woodall

  19. love love love this
    you are really totally fabulous
    no, really…

  20. Thanks, Eilene!!

  21. What a lovely blog! I have my own blog I would love to add you to my blog roll and hope you will do the same – let me know your thoughts. I’m also part of You should check it out and add your profile, it’s a great way to promote your business and blog.

    I look forward to connecting with you and continuing to read your blog.


  22. And, I for one, can’t wait to get to know you better!

  23. I love your writing – it really is giggle-inducing! I also happen to specialize in B list celebrity trivia. It’s an excellent skill to have.

  24. Hilary – thanks so much! I do find that people are dazzled by the B list celebrity thing, although I can’t tell if they are impressed or just incredibly worried about how I spend my free time….

  25. You say, you can’t say no. That is perfect, because we need a host family for a teacher from Germany and your family would be perfect. Let me know, if you are up for it.

  26. hi there! just wondering if you would not mind sending me an email. had a quick question about your blog. enjoy your posts :))

  27. Just found your blog and love it. Joanie and I spend every Thanksgiving at St George with family. And yes, even a southerner like me finds the Piggly Wiggly very interesting. My daughters have Piggly Wiggly t-shirts. They were 20 bucks, but they had to have them. Every year its “we gotta go to the pig!” This time we will stop at Popa Joes for oysters!

  28. Jeff, how great to hear from you!! I guess I thought the Piggly Wiggly was a Southern institution. i wish I’d known about the T-shirts…next year. Love to Joanie, and I hope you are all well and happy.

  29. bobby tyburski

    Hi Ann,
    Hey, this is Bobby, Ed Cronin’s partner aka Rob’s step brother. I told Rob to get you the original Paul Prudhomme cookbook. It’s the Cajun Bible! He did not. If you really want to explore Cajun stick with Paul he is an excellent guide and I truly depend (being a northerner myself) on his books for all good cajun cooking. The must have book is Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisianna Kitchen (check Amazon). To me he is still the God of Cajun food. Ed and I will take you to his restaurant and tell Rob to cut back on the hot sauce.

  30. Bobby, I know who you are! I feel like I know you, although it’s not as good as the real thing. 🙂 In Rob’s defense, he didn’t get a Prudhomme book because he knew that a friend had just told me that she was going to give me some cookbooks (including at least one of Prudhomme’s) that she never used. He did listen to you, and feels terrible that he picked a dud. I am dying to go to his restaurant (I have a whole list of N.O. restaurants I’ve been reading about for years) and I’d also like to meet your friend Paolo, who sounds fascinating. If I ever get out of this place…I’m in your guest room with the dog. As for the hot sauce issue – I’ve kind of given up.

  31. I just added you to my blogroll. I hope you don’t mind. I have been reading and commenting more at your site than most any I read lately so I figured it was time! I subscribed to you some time ago since my passions and yours are so similar.
    I am a past retail store owner (kitchenware and gourmet foods)/ cooking class teacher who misses the whole food chatter thing I used to get with customers and fellow foodies. You have a marvelous blog! Thanks for keeping me interested and amused!

  32. Trisha, of course I don’t mind! I’m honored! I have also read your blog, which I like a lot, although I haven’t commented yet. I’m lurking. 🙂 I’m glad you find the blog interesting’ I find your comments interesting and useful, and I hope you continue to come and chatter about food with us!!

  33. Amy (from Runs with Spatula) just told me about your blog, and I’m loving it! I’m obsessed with the Meridian Farmers’ Market, so it’s fun to read about your adventures there and I’m getting some great ideas! I’m originally from Tallahassee (and going to visit in 2 weeks!), so I’ve also enjoyed reading your posts about the panhandle 🙂

    • Katie, I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. I am still in love with the Meridian Farmers Market, although the East Lansing version (practically in my back yard) is providing some stiff competition. I hope, that since you are in Tallahassee and so close, that you can check out Wakulla Springs, Apalach and St. George Island, if you haven’t already.

  34. Thanks for the Topopo and cheese dip recipes. we’ve been making topopo’s for years out here in NW Washington, almost bang on with your recipe. But I recall El Az using canned peas…….am I wrong? My memory is starting to become frayed, as the last Topopo I had was over 20 years ago. (MSU ’86) We are trying the cheese dip this evening. Thanks again.
    Dave Allan
    La Conner, WA

    • Dave, thanks for visiting! I have it on pretty good authority that they use frozen peas, but I can double check with my “sworn to secrecy” source at El Az. Even if I find out that they use canned peas, I’m pretty happy with my version of the Topopo…now if I could just get the cheese dip right….

  35. I don’t know if you ever noticed this, but after you say “I adopt stray animals” you immediately follow with “I can make a meal out of anything”. Might want to think about separating those. I’m just sayin’.

  36. Ann,
    I am a friend of Rob’s from the old neighborhood. Love your page here. I have lived in TN now for 18 years and I am finally learning to marry yankee and southern flavors. Collard Greens Yuck! I still don’t drink sweet tea. I have learned to like country ham, pinto beans and grits. Paula Deen is my favorite down home country southern cooking teacher.

  37. Your site is really great, and I love your bio.

  38. Thanks, Jennifer! It’s all me, I promise.

  39. Are you still making donuts?

    • Alas, Sally, I am not making donuts. My husband was diagnosed with diabetes about a year ago, and I work very hard to keep us low carb and healthy. I still dream about them, though – but only the cake kind. 🙂

  40. I stumbled across your blog during a spare moment when going to update my own and have to admit that I love your writing. Your latest post on living affordably, yet still being rich describes my life perfectly. Thank you for blogging. I think yours will become a regular for me.

  41. You are so sweet! I think I love you.

  42. Álvaro Gómez (Spain)

    Congratulations for your blog ! delicious !

  43. Hi,

    I stumbled upon your blog by happenstance and was mesmerized by your writing skills, which has a great sense of style, content and joie de vivre. Not to mention perfect punctuation. You appear to be very much like a new millennium version (New Age version?!) of Erma Bombeck.

    If you were in Boston, we may possibly be best of friends, although I don’t like shopping even though I’m gay!

    Keep up the great work/writing!

    – Dan

  44. Hi Ann –

    Thank you for your kind words about Dreamfields Pasta in your “Grateful. My Way” post. We’re glad you enjoy it! We agree that no one should have to live without pasta even when you’re living the low-carb lifestyle.

    We love the idea that Dreamfields Pasta controls carbs by stashing them in an “organic lock box.” What a great image! Thank you again and enjoy this holiday season.

    As an additional thank you, we’d love to send you a Dreamfields sample to make and share with friends!


  45. Hi Annie,

    I was wondering if you’ve ever considered publishing on OpenSalon. It would give you huge exposure, and your stuff is perfectly cut out for it.

    I started there and quit because it didn’t give me the flexibility I needed, but since you’re doing mostly a straight blog, I believe it would be worth a look.


  46. Wonderful blog Ann! Please e-mail me when you have a moment.


    Nat Decants Wine Online

  47. Re: Interest in your movie blog/site


    My name is Linda and I’m a blog relations consultant. We’re currently reaching out to bloggers like you to form a content partnership, or a guest blogging partnership, where our professional writers can contribute guest blog posts on
    your blog once or twice a month.

    Our writers would not be writing marketing material, but would like to provide Unique content for your blog.

    Please fill out this form,, if you are interested so that we can set up an editorial calendar or set up a day when we can deliver our first guest post for your blog.

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  48. I just stumbled on your site, searching for a topopo salad recipe! I grew up in EL, but am now out by Lake Michigan, and am having some serious cravings right now! Thank you!

  49. kyle harrison

    You have beautiful feet; I would love to see them up close and in person
    They are gorgeous and look DELICIOUS

  50. We seem to have much in common : )

    I may be a bit younger, but I think the nuttiness equates to about the same…

    I couldn’t help but wish I had a mother like you as I grew up…although, the struggles I DID have in that area have made me who I am this very day, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. It IS nice to wish sometimes though. : )

    By the way, I’m Samantha…a mother of 5 little girlies…originally from Detroit, Michigan, but now in NC with my husband and kiddos. I’d love to get to know ya’.

    Samantha Ann

  51. Michelle McDonald

    Hey Ann-

    Don’t know if you remember me-from TPC. I was so excited to get this link to your site!

    Topopo is my favorite (with the chile colorado sauce) because the salsa is TOO hot for me to handle! 🙂

    Anyway, Jerry and I are in Ohio now with my three girls.

    I asked Elizabeth (Betsy) to let you know that I still wear the bracelet you made for me frequently! The silver letters are a bit “loved” off now, but it is still beautiful. One of my favorite gifts ever!

    Hope that you and yours are doing well. I’d love to hear how your family is doing. Feel free to email me or get a hold of me on fbook.

    What TALENT you have!


  52. Hi! My name is Ryan and I’m the editor of I think you have an awesome food site so I posted a link to it in our blog directory. I wasn’t able to find your email address on your site but I’d like to invite you to be a part of our Featured Website program. I would love to send you more details about the program, so if you are interested, please email me at ryan [at] howtocookfantasticfood [dot] com.

  53. You know, I have always really liked that picture……….

  54. I’ve always loved eating but i never really learned how to cook. I guess this blog will help me a lot. Thanks for all the posts and thanks for the follow. More recipes to post. 🙂

  55. Very very nice site Ann. Am stealing elements liberally.

  56. Such a fun blog! I was reading about St. Sebastian and remembering my own childhood fascination with my mom’s books on Michaelangelo and DaVinci. I thought that the David and the Pieta were the most beautiful things I’d ever seen.

    I’ve nominated your blog for the Liebster Blog Award. You can find out more about it here:

  57. I came across your blog today and read some of your posts. Wonderful! Was wondering though, I didnt see any recipies that some of the other readers mentioned.

  58. sorry, not sure if my first comment was successful – having technical difficulties! I discovered your blog today and thought your writing was just wonderful. I didnt see any recipies that were mentioned by other readers… are they all gone 😦


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