With a name like Joy and a penchant for down home recipes, she was destined to publish a cookbook.
Fort Mill's own Joy Smith gathered up a decade worth of stories and recipes from her popular food column in the Fort Mill Times and published a book which she shared with friends and customers at Crossings on Main recently.
“Tell Me a Story, I'll Bake You a Cake,” is filled with stories, recipes, memories and amusing anecdotes from Smith’s adventures in the kitchen. And other parts of the planet.
“I grew up with plenty of Wednesday night snacks and casseroles,” she quipped about being raised up with a Baptist minister father and a creative — and thrifty — mother in Roanoke, Va. Smith's family lived in New York for many years because of her husband's work. Marvin Smith, Joy's co-pilot in adventure — both worldly and gastronomically — inspired many of the stories and served as an unofficial editor.
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A childhood photo of their daughter Whitney, now an adult, graces the cover of the book, published by Authorhouse, squealing with delight and covered in Red Velvet cake made from a recipe “stolen” from the late Peggy Swink of Greensboro — “one of my best friends,” Smith says.
“I sent a copy of that to the (Charlotte) Observer's Helen Moore,” Smith said of another beloved Southern cooking columnist. “It's Peggy’s official recipe.”
Today’s social media and blogging platforms are a modern day version of those recipe request-type columns which have graced the “Living and Home” sections in newspapers throughout the years. Food writers back in the day were aggregating and sharing recipes in much the same way, but with different devices.
“I've stolen recipes and food ideas up and down the eastern seaboard and around the world,” Smith laughs. “I toyed with the idea of ‘The Bootlegging Foodie’ as (the name for) a blog.”
Carol Scuderi of Fort Mill, one of several folks in line to speak with the author, bought a book at the Crossings event.
“I've always been interested in Southern cooking,” she said.
Scuderi, whose family owns Mr Putty's Fun Park up the road in Tega Cay, said she feels a deep kinship with Smith. They chatted about the writing process, local roads, certain snack food products and living on Long Island.
“She really loves to talk to people,” Crossroads owner Cathie Smith (no relation) said about the author.
“We love being a part of the downtown community here,” she said. “Hosting local authors and artists is a really good thing for everyone.”
One of the best faces in the crowd at the signing was on the cover of “Tell Me a Story, I'll Bake You a Cake.” A few customers chuckled and remarked about similar faces in their own kitchens.
They were talking about good times. Conjuring up good memories. Sharing pure Joy.
Want to get the book?
Buy a copy of “Tell Me A Story, I'll Bake You a Cake,” by Joy Smith at:
▪ Barnes and Noble
For more, visit Joy Smith's website at cookingwithjoysmith.com