Our next guest on Servin’ It Up is Amanda Gibson the author and founder of Lemon Baby, a local blog featuring Gulf Coast food and recipes. Go follow Amanda at Lemon Baby she is also a good Instagram follow! Enjoy!
1. What was your favorite thing to eat growing up?
Although I was raised in the North, my parents are Southern, and we would often visit our relatives in Virginia and Mobile. One of my favorite things to eat growing up was a dish my Granny made for us—poached eggs with buttered toast, all cut up together into a buttery, eggy, delicious mess. She also made a killer chicken salad sandwich on a buttered and toasted croissant, which remains a major comfort food for me to this day. Her chocolate pie, named “Bereavement Pie” for its frequent place as a funereal offering, was superlative, as well.
2. What was been your go-to restaurant in Mobile lately?
I honestly can’t pick just one, but the most recent experience I had was last Friday at The Cheese Cottage—a lovely spot to go for some bubbles, artisanal cheese, and ‘cuterie. I adore the atmosphere and the revitalization of that area of St. Louis Street.
3. You’ve lived in different parts of the U.S. What region of the country have you found the cuisine to be the most fascinating?
The first four years of my life I spent in Brooklyn, NY, so my formative food memories are linked to our Italian-American neighborhood, Carroll Gardens. There was NY-style pizza, of course, and this super-thin sausage from a butcher on Court Street that we grilled whole in a giant coil (that I don’t think I appreciated until I was a teen). Italian ice, a more concentrated version of super finely shaved ice, was always a go-to treat, but pistachio, lemon, or chocolate, only. After a brief stint in Charlottesville, Virginia, we moved to Brookline, a suburb of metropolitan Boston, where I spent most of my childhood. It was there I began my love affair with the lobster roll, one that I can satisfy in Mobile with Royal red shrimp—a pretty impressive knockoff. After our graduation from Florida State, my husband and I spent four years in Montana, in Libby, a tiny hamlet nestled in the Rocky Mountains. It was there that I really started to cook seriously, scouring the internet for challenging recipes and beginning a career as a food writer as a columnist for the local newspaper. Our town was a Scandinavian settlement, so I found that influence to be particularly fascinating (they even had a Nordicfest every summer complete with lutefisk, a lye-soaked whitefish). But nothing enthralls me more than the cuisine of the South—one that has seemingly endless influences and variations. From barbeque and succotash to crawfish Étoufféeand West Indies salad, not a single other region I’ve resided in has as much fascinating food history and culture as the American South.
4. What is your favorite summertime treat?
I’d have to pick my basil-watermelon granita. It’s akin to shaved ice, and the flavor combination of the fruit and herb is out of this world. It’s refreshing to the max.
5. If you could pick your “last meal” what would it be?
I’m glad you didn’t specify any geographical limitations, because my favorite food in the world is real, honest-to-goodness pizza, in Italy: bubbly, blistered, fresh-mozzarella-laden, thin-crust pizza, preferably aquattro stagioni, (literally meaning “four seasons” wth prosciutto, artichokes, mushrooms, and black olives each representing a season). And lest we forget dessert—a flourless chocolate cake (if it’s my last meal, I’ll take the whole cake). And Champagne. Always Champagne.