Trisha Yearwood on Casseroles, Kitchen Messes, and Her Mama's Home Cooking
About Biscuits & Jam: In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, Editor in Chief of Southern Living, sits down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid takes us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.
Episode 18: August 31, 2021
Trisha Yearwood has become as famous for her cooking as she is for her music, and that's saying something. Over the past three decades, she's racked up around 60 award nominations for songs like "How Do I Live" and "Walkaway Joe," but she's also produced an Emmy-winning television show on the Food Network, Trisha's Southern Kitchen, and has a string of best-selling cookbooks. Her latest one, Trisha's Kitchen: Easy Comfort Food for Friends and Family, comes out this month. Like the others, it was written with her sister Beth, drawing on recipes and traditions they learned from their mother. We caught up with the Monticello, Georgia, native, who talked about making a mess in the kitchen, what being a Southerner means to her, and how she and her husband, Garth Brooks, came up with a breakfast lasagna.
Do singing and cooking for people come from the same place for you?
"Well, I think they both feed my soul. I can't imagine not singing, because it's what I truly believe I was born to do. Until I started cooking more and more, I didn't realize that also feeds my soul. It's so therapeutic, whether you're baking a piecrust from scratch or just having the people you love over and making them a meal. It's kind of like playing to an audience. Maybe the applause is a little less, but there's something very gratifying in doing it, and there is that ego boost of having them appreciate what you do too."
What was the most important thing your mom taught you about cooking?
"She was not a chef, obviously, but she seemed to just know everything. If you had a question, like how long to boil eggs or how to frost a wedding cake, she had you covered—and she was just fearless. She was not afraid to try stuff in the kitchen. I would put her cakes up against those from any bakery in the world. She even made sugar flowers, using icing not fondant. She always made me feel like it was okay to not know everything and to ask questions."
Your new cookbook [like your others] was a partnership with your sister Beth. How are you different as cooks?
"If you could imagine us both in our kitchens, hers is clean and mine has flour on the floor. As the older sister, she's the responsible one. So she's going to measure everything exactly and weigh all her cake pans to make sure they're the same weight before putting them in the oven. She's more like my mom in that regard, very precise. On the other hand, if my dad wasn't making a mess, he wasn't cooking. I'm a bit more like him."
What's something you like to make when it's just you and Garth?
"He loves anything that's a casserole and will just stick a fork in the dish, you know? So he asked me about breakfast lasagna, which is in the new book. He said, 'Can you make a full-on lasagna, but all the layers are things that you would have for breakfast?' We worked on that together, tweaking it and giving it more flavor every time. It's become a staple at our house."
What does it mean to you to be Southern?
"For me, what I think about most is my family and how I was raised. I'm not saying that other parts of the country aren't that way, but in the South, there's such an encouragement to gather. We have a family reunion every time you turn around, and that's where the sharing of stories and recipes all comes from. Sometimes there's a slower pace, which is nice. Those are things I take with me as a Southerner—and also how to make a good biscuit, which I think is really important."