Martha Hall Foose, who recently helped the famed chef defeat their competitors during an Iron Chef America battle, worked as her assistant during the cooking demonstration.
“We were totally victorious,” Foose said of her television appearance. “It was the most nerve-wrecking thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.”
Foose is currently preparing for her next stint on national television. The Yazoo City native will appear on “Good Morning America” June 10 to talk about her new cookbook, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook.
Published by Clarkson Potter ($32.50), the cookbook crosses literary genres with a Mississippi history theme. It’s filled with recipes, as well as photographs of Mississippi landscapes, landmarks and locals, Foose said.
After graduating from high school, Foose worked at La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles. She attended culinary school at Ecole Lenotre in France before returning to Mississippi to open Bottletree Bakery in Oxford.
After three years, she sold the business, married the head bread baker, and moved to New Orleans, where she worked as the head bread baker at Susan Spicer’s Bayona restaurant in the French Quarter.
A job as the food editor for Pillsbury Publications in Minneapolis followed, but Foose became homesick and returned to Mississippi, where she was hired as executive chef of the Viking Cooking School.
She continues to work for Viking today, but is currently participating in a nationwide book tour and working on her next book.
“It’s Ann Arbor (Mich.) one day and Sarasota (Fla.) the next,” she said.
The book is filled with 150 recipes and short stories. Some are tales about who inspired the dish or memories of Mississippi. Photographer Ben Fink, a Memphis native now based in New York, provided the photography of Delta scenery and locals.
“It’s more than just pictures of food,” Foose said.
Some dishes include apricot rice salad and Darkness on the Delta, a frozen chocolate mousse cake. You can also try watermelon salsa and blue cheese pecan bread.
Marlana Walters, owner of Jackson’s Everyday Gourmet, said Foose recently taught a cooking class at the store using some of her own recipes.
“Her cookbook is about bringing families together,” Walters said. “It’s something we’ve gotten away from, and she wants more people to get back to home cooking.”