Georgia native and country music star Trisha Yearwood has spent more than two decades regaling fans on concert stages. But she also knows her way around the kitchen, including writing two best-selling cookbooks.
After the Food Network approached her last year to translate those books for television, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen” debuts Saturday at 10:30 a.m. for a six-episode test run.
Despite being comfortable entertaining music fans, Yearwood called the art of doing a cooking show “kind of intimidating.”
“When I’m doing a live performance,” she said, “I become a character in that song. You’re acting. On a cooking show, you’re interacting with people while making a recipe. It requires concentration.
“The producers would tell me to smile more. I look kind of mad when I’m focused.”
But Yearwood said she had fun doing the show’s January tapings in Nashville (she splits her downtime between the capital of country music and Oklahoma, where husband and country music icon Garth Brooks is from). “Everybody had a good time. Nobody had a meltdown. Nobody got mad.
“We were cooking food. This beats a real job!”
Yearwood did not want to just stand by herself in a kitchen sticking butter in a pan. So each episode features her cooking family recipes with friends, bandmates and relatives: “We tell stories and food accidentally gets cooked in the process.”
In the first episode, Yearwood demonstrates recipes for a very cheesy quiche, cheese sticks (which she handed out to record label executives in her early days) and salty/sweet brownies with coconut pecan frosting. The meal was for a friend’s baby shower, so at the end of the episode, she sang a lullaby as a gift.
“I really wanted to incorporate music into the show,” she said, who has 19 top 10 country hits to her name.
Yearwood didn’t bring her husband and country icon Garth Brooks to the table but she gives him props on air. She dubs him “Gartha Stewart” because he has a knack for cooking, too, though he is far better at improvisation.
“I have a hard time going off the map on recipes,” Yearwood said. “He’ll go in and experiment. Fortunately, he has good instincts.”
Many of the recipes come from her mother Gwen, who died last fall before the show started production.
“She decided at age 73 that she wanted to feel as good as she could, even though she was sick. She changed her eating habits. She converted heavily laden cream and butter dishes into healthier ones.”
So Yearwood is trying to make some of the family recipes less fatty. And one of her shows will be a tribute to her mother, featuring Gwen’s recipe for a meatless pot pie.
“Trisha’s Southern Kitchen,” 10:30 a.m. Saturdays, Food Network
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk