October 24, 2018
By Marlee Moore
For food blogger Stacey Little, few things are better than a fresh-baked biscuit. The unofficial bread of the South is fluffy, complements most meals and is steeped in memories of childhood in a Southern kitchen.
And it’s simple.
“Just smash down and fold the dough over,” Little told son Jack while whipping up a batch of three-ingredient biscuits in their Prattville kitchen. “Some people use a rolling pin, but Gamma never taught me to use one.”
Little is a recipe developer and cookbook author who’s lending his Southern Bite food blog flair to Neighbors magazine. This November, the Farmhouse Kitchen with Stacey Little debuts, heralding a new era of recipes for the magazine’s beloved cooking feature.
“Neighbors has played a huge role in feeding Alabama families,” said Little, 36. “That’s also part of my mission — to help people get food on the table quickly and easily. It’s a natural fit.”
Little was raised in a kitchen full of Neighbors magazine recipe clippings, a history Neighbors Editor Debra Davis said brings familiar flavor to the revamped section.
“For years, the Country Kitchen has been our magazine’s most popular section,” Davis said. “We’re excited to share Stacey’s simple recipes, down-to-earth charm and heartfelt stories with loyal readers in the Farmhouse Kitchen.”
Cooking is therapeutic for Little and Heather, his wife of 12 years. But the former non-profit management professional never imagined a food-focused career, even when he started SouthernBite.com in 2008.
“I grew up sitting down with my family for dinner every night. It was just what we did. When I had my own family, we did the same thing,” said Little, who jumped into full-time recipe development for food companies in 2016. “But during my Southern Bite cookbook tour, I realized families aren’t doing that anymore. It became important to do what I could to help them get a home-cooked meal on the table.”
Growing up in the South, eating garden-fresh food was second nature to Little. But classic side dishes like peas, collard greens and okra unnecessarily intimidate many cooks, Little said.
“In the South, we celebrate everything with food, from births to deaths and everything in between,” said Little, who has written for Southern Living magazine and appeared on NBC’s "Today" show. “So much of that food makes use of fresh, local ingredients. I joke that the South was farm-to-table before it was cool.”
From fruits and vegetables to homegrown beef, Alabama farms yield fresh ingredients ideal for the state’s home cooks, including Little, who will feature Alabama-grown staples in the Farmhouse Kitchen.
“By giving families easy recipes where they can spend the morning at the farmers market getting ingredients, they connect with their past,” he said. “If it fails, you can always order pizza. But you have to get in the kitchen and try.”