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March 21, 2013   Email to Friend 

Serving Up Southern Traditions
Miranda Mattheis

Inside her vintage diner-chic kitchen, Christy Jordan of Madison County has mastered the perfect recipe for serving life’s most comforting foods while dishing out old-fashioned Southern wisdom. Her appliance of choice? The Internet.

Recognizing some folks do their best to avoid the kitchen, Jordan attempts to warm people up to the idea of cooking by offering simple, step-by-step recipes on her blog, SouthernPlate.com. Cooking, she explains, isn’t hard work or worth stressing over — it’s about bringing people together in a wholesome way.

“I truly believe anybody can be a good cook,” Jordan said. “It just takes the right recipe and a little confidence. A recipe can have three or 30 ingredients, but if you have fun making it, you’ll enjoy eating it… especially when you’re sharing the dish with loved ones.”

In 2012, more than a billion viewers accessed Jordan’s recipes from her blog. Started in 2008 as a hobby with a goal of reaching about 500 people, SouthernPlate.com easily surpassed that goal when it brought in 18 million page views within the first year. That success gained the interest of HarperCollins Publishers, who approached Jordan with a book deal in 2009.

Since then, Southern Plate has become a household name. From live appearances on the “Today Show” to cooking with Paula Deen and judging contestants on “Beat the Chef,” Jordan has made quite a name for herself in the food industry. But, she’s no foodie.

“The main thing to know about Southern Plate is that I’m not here to tell you I cook better than anyone else,” Jordan explained. “I’m just here to share recipes that I grew up on and tell stories of my family and heritage that are dear to my heart. We all have those in common. The success of Southern Plate is really the Southern Plate family — the loyal followers. I look at this as my virtual supper table, and there’s always room for one more.”

As her on-screen popularity increased, Jordan says she realized her heart was in writing — not TV. Fortunately, Taste of the South magazine offered her the opportunity to share recipes and stories as a contributing editor.

“I enjoyed doing TV, but I want to have a platform where I can encourage everyone to get in the kitchen, cook, and pass down their heritage to loved ones,” she said.

Though Jordan’s Southern charm is arguably a reason for her success, her recipes resonate with followers because they are familiar, traditional dishes that have been passed down for generations.

“When I come in the kitchen to cook, I think, ‘Who do I want to be in the kitchen with today?’” Jordan explained, detailing what inspires her daily menu. “I come from a long line of very poor people who were rich in every way that matters. I’m the first generation on both sides of my family to have never known hunger. That really changes how you look at food.”

By focusing on the blessings around her — food, faith and family — Jordan is able to inspire her Southern Plate family to do the same. She also has a positive influence on young people.

In 2010, she ventured into the world of children’s entertainment via YouTube. Her “Story Time” videos and call-in line are one of her favorite parts of the Southern Plate following.

“I really love kids and being able to connect with them,” said Jordan. “It’s good for them to let their imaginations run free. It’s my smallest audience, but it is a very dedicated audience.”

When Jordan isn’t cooking, reading or working, she’s around the supper table with her husband, Ricky, and their children, Brady and Katy Rose.

For a daily dose of wisdom and recipes, find Jordan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthernPlateFamily.

To join the Southern Plate family, visit SouthernPlate.com.


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