Saturday, December 12, 2009

Foodie Five # 4- Julie Britton Haden







My latest Foodie Five features Julie Britton Haden. She was a great friend and fellow server at Chili's in Charleston, WV back in the early nineties. She currently lives near Charleston with her husband and her son Tripp. The profile pics are a former pic of Julie and her son and her present profile pic...evidence of her ever-present sense of humor.

1.) You and I became friends as fellow servers at Chili's. Any particular memories of our old Chilihead days? Ones I can print, that is...
Oh,the Chilihead days. To steal a quote, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times...". I LOVED the environment of that place but absolutely HATED waiting tables. I sucked at it and knew it but when I left with all that cash at night it was like Christmas. I loved talking with the customers but struggled with the timing and serving, etc... That said, I think EVERYONE should have to wait tables for a week of their lives. The Israelis make everyone serve in their military and I think Americans should require everyone to slap on an apron, bring plenty of change and see how well they make out. I think we would learn how to treat each other better from that experience.

2.)You have a family of your own now. Do you have any family food traditions you have created or are continuing? You told me you were the baker of the family.
I have always made it clear to my husband that if he wants a home-cooked meal every night than he better leave work early and get to it. I have never been a good cook but my grandmother was an awesome cook. Thinking back on it now, it was amazing how many people she would feed and how ddamn good her food was! She had a huge house and it was a given every holiday was spent there! Everyone would come and it was chaos but wonderful. What I'm trying to do now is have an Open House all day on Christmas Day. We tried one Christmas dinner and it was too hectic. This way, there is food out all day, people can come and go and it has worked out awesome! Our one main family tradition is my son Tripp and I making tons of banana bread(best recipe ever!) for people to take with them. And of course, we must have our Peanut Blossom cookies....they are Santa's favorite, you know.

3.)You have done amazing work with your grant programs in support of the homeless and HIV/AIDS patients. Tell me about your latest endeavors.
Thank you for the props...it is my passion although I'm not as involved in the advocacy part as I used to be. My number one project these days is my son Tripp. I'm no earth mother here but raising kids is tough! I want Tripp to grow up to have a good heart, empathy for others and their situations, have the ability to love what he does for a living and to be able to take care of all of his needs. I work very hard to make sure he's aware he's very lucky to have many options that others don't have. I guess I don't want him to grow up with a sense of entitlement that others seem to have these days. I'm now officially off of my soapbox!

4.)If I came back to visit you in Charleston, where would you take me to eat? Is there any old faves or a new joint to take me to?
I would take you to this new place over on the East End-the Bluegrass Kitchen. It's owned by the same people who run the Empty Glass(THE best spot for live music in Chas-bar none-Ed.note). The food there is wonderful! The bleu cheese slaw is absolutely fantastic. I am trying to recreate a vegetable lasagna I had there. It was more savory than typical Italian lasagnas. Less tomato-based sauce and flavors I hadn't had before or since. They use a lot of organic food and local produce...it's a real treat.

5.)What is your ultimate comfort food?
Grilled cheese and cream of tomato soup. Nothing better! Homemade, of course. I'm amazed at how many restaurants can screw up something as simple as grilled cheese.



Thank you, Julie! Can't wait to try out Bluegrass Kitchen...

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