Georgia girl Jenni Sampson writes about the challenge of restoring her beautiful 1919 Craftsman bungalow at ThirteenEleven, beloved by many for its “Sunday Walks” through historic neighborhoods. Behind the scenes she’s a talented designer with an eye for color and an ear for history – in her words, an “artsy-crafter, family historian, and DIY-er.” Married to contractor Chris and momma of black-lab mix Puppy, Jenni also inspires at Zinnia Art Studio and recounts her grandfather’s WWII years at Buster’s War. When she’s not fighting the kudzu jungle, her garden yields the most delicious things.
How often do you think about eating?
The real question is when do I NOT think about eating? If I am not in total concentration on a project, I am thinking about food, eating, or what I am cooking for supper.
I am a latte lover. Skim or 2% milk. Usually one large mug a day – but some days deserve more coffee.
Favorite hometown food?
I love southern things like fresh corn, fried okra, black eye peas, collards, squash, corn bread, and so on…homegrown is my favorite hometown food.
Ever been served breakfast in bed?
Um…. I guess if you count bringing home a sausage biscuit in a sack from a fast food joint and tossing the sack on my side of the bed.
Your absolutely reliable, go-to dish for entertaining is:
When was the last time I entertained? Our house is a wreck. I guess I would say poppyseed chicken, or if it is warm out, grilled marinated chicken and ribs with all the fixins’.
Food that makes you gag?
Salmon Croquettes. I love salmon, but even the smell of salmon croquettes makes me want to hurl.
Worst kitchen disaster:
I was making the icing for German Chocolate Cake, and when I added the eggs to the hot mixture, they scrambled. I did not know they would do that. I have never made that mistake again.
Also once for Thanksgiving I was supposed to bring corn. I made a corn casserole and the casserole dish exploded in the oven. That was messy – and smell of burnt corn is nasty.
Three things in your refrigerator right now:
Milk, wine, and cheese.
Your idea of a romantic meal is:
Eating seafood on the deck or patio of a quaint little restaurant on the coast while the breeze from the ocean cools the air and the sun sets in the background.
Secret snack of shame?
Keebler Fudge Sticks. But I never buy them, because I can eat the entire package in a day.
Most ambitious thing you’ve ever done in the kitchen:
I made petits fours for a baby shower. I actually made everything from scratch including piping the icing and adding those cute little Wilton plastic babies with piped diapers on them. I was in the kitchen all freaking day.
Best restaurant if you’re not paying:
It would have to involve flying to Italy and having authentic Italian food, with great wine.
If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
A Lemon Drop. Kinda sweet, and kinda tart.
Extra Credit: Where is the world’s best pizza?
Well, I have been to some great Chicago pizza joints, but usually when I travel I don’t end up in a pizza place. But to answer the question…I’m going to say Fellini’s in Atlanta. I love the spinach mushroom pizza.