Country music superstar and best-selling cookbook author Trisha Yearwood opens up to us on her show, her favorite foods and how she does the holidays.
Trisha’s Food Network show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, premiered its second season on Oct. 20, 2012. It features delicious Southern family recipes, nostalgic stories and traditions, and a special episode with husband Garth Brooks.
SheKnows: What inspired you to have a cooking show?
Trisha: Well, it took a lot to talk me into it! I created the first cookbook as a way to get all my recipes in one place. I had no idea it would do so well, so when the idea of doing a show came about, I didn’t want to at first. I wasn’t sure if it would be fun. I didn’t want to stand behind a counter by myself just reading off a recipe. A friend of mine said it can be whatever I want it to. I can have my friends and family on it, tell stories from where the recipes came from, and interact in the kitchen. It’s been a lot of fun — everything is natural and we all hang out together.
SK: Growing up, was cooking something you enjoyed doing?
Trisha: As a kid, I did what I was told. I set the table and did simple stuff. Going to college was when I really started missing my mom’s cooking. I remember the first thing I made that tasted like my mom’s — a basic potato salad. I took comfort in that. I wasn’t at home but it felt like I was. My mom taught me everything that I know.
SK: How is being on TV different from performing?
TY: When I’m on stage performing, I’m focused on the music. Every song is like a mini-movie, and I put myself into that role and lose myself in that song and in that moment. With cooking, there are so many things going on at once. I have to make sure the guest is comfortable, the stories get told and the recipe gets made. They’re similar because of their structure and what has to get done. With the cooking show, the recipe must get made; and with a live show, the set list must be sung. Everything else can change, which keeps things fresh.
SK: You currently have two cookbooks, “Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen” and “Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood,” any plans for a third?
TY: I do want to continue making cookbooks, but one challenge is that those that have dozens of cookbooks have to relinquish control. The first few books are all you, but the reality is there are only so many family recipes. I love that all of the recipes in my books have a story that goes with it. It’s personal. If there were a third book, I would want to focus on what we eat every day. My first two books are all about comfort foods, not necessarily how you eat on a daily basis. I’d want it to be a comfort book that won’t kill you!
SK: What is one of your favorite holiday traditions?
TY: We have a tradition where Garth, the girls and I all drive around and look at Christmas lights. We seek out the neighborhoods that really decorate for Christmas. It brings us all together as a family and is a lot of fun.
SK: Do you like to entertain or do you prefer to be the guest at holiday parties?
TY: I like to entertain! It’s very casual, though. I’ve never thrown a formal dinner party in my life! Friends will come over, they sometimes bring a dish, or I’ll put them to work in the kitchen! Cooking is something I love to do and it relaxes me. Our place is the gathering place, but again it’s never formal.
SK: What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish to make and eat?
TY: Grandma’s cornbread dressing is my favorite. If I could only eat one thing at Thanksgiving, this would be it. It’s made from cornbread, toasted breadcrumbs, grilled onions, saltine crackers, hard-boiled eggs and turkey pan juices. It’s by far my favorite part of the meal.
SK: What is your favorite holiday treat to bake?
TY: Every year we have a cookie party. My sister started this in Georgia. Everyone comes over with their favorite cookie recipe and bakes. We make hundreds of cookies. I’ve been making a white chocolate macadamia cranberry cookie. It’s very festive! Garth suggested adding coconut, so this year I’m going to try that.
SK: What’s on your Christmas wish-list this year?
TY: Garth and I are so bad about that! This past summer, my sister and I sold my mom’s house, and we cleaned it out. It was very bittersweet — there were 45 years worth of stuff in this house. We kept a lot, but it was cleansing to get rid of some, too. We both agreed not to buy each other anything for Christmas. People have too much stuff in general. After cleaning that house, I haven’t really bought anything. I enjoy giving gifts.
On husband Garth Brooks, new music and downtime
SK: Does Garth cook for you too, or do you mostly enjoy cooking together?
TY: He does! He’s pretty awesome, he will take over and cook. I love to cook, but not every day. Garth doesn’t follow recipes. His specialty is a taco pizza. It’s a plain crust, with a combo of refried beans and picante on the bottom, topped with low-fat cheese, lettuce, diced tomatoes and sour cream. It’s healthy since it’s meat-free, and he uses low-fat cheese.
SK: Other than cooking (and singing!), what are some hobbies you and Garth enjoy together?
TY: We live on a farm, and are very outdoorsy people. Garth’s a real cowboy, he likes to get out and do stuff. He’s currently on the roof hanging Christmas lights! We like to hike with our rescue dogs, get in the Jeep and drive around the farm, play sports (basketball is our favorite) and, of course, watch football together on the couch.
SK: We hear you’re in the process of making a record. Any plans on a release date or upcoming tour?
TY: It’s still in the works. The show has been really time-consuming, and we’re still editing the shows up until the end of the season. My goal is to take January off and then finish the record. I would love to have it out by fall of 2013, possibly earlier. Garth and I want to tour together in 2014.
SK: What do you do to relax?
TY: I like things that allow me to escape. I love reading and watching mindless television (her favorite shows are Grey’s Anatomy and Mad Men). I wake up before Garth and read while drinking coffee every morning.
SK: And finally, what brings you the most joy in your life?
TY: My family. I am so lucky — I married the love of my life. I feel very lucky to have found this and to know that it exists. My sister and I are very close; we’re sort of the last men standing in our family. My parents were both really great cooks. Everything I know is from them. The show has been a great way to keep them alive and keep all the memories. My sister’s very involved in the show, too. Everything we make has something to do with them.