Our series on Muddy's eight guiding principles--featuring eight guest posts by eight great Muddy's gnomies--continues this month with a post by the master baking gnomie CJ.
I spend a lot of time thinking about food. I talk to my mom on the phone nearly every day on my way home from work, and 90% of the time we talk about food. What we’ve cooked recently, what we plan on cooking, new ingredients we’ve just discovered, etc. I grew up around my mom cooking in the kitchen, and our daily conversations are the evolution of those times. Food is a way for my mom and I to connect. Even if my day was boring and her day was boring, we always have food to talk about. And it helps that the two of us are both creatively minded people who constantly think about food. I can’t talk to my dad about food the way that I talk to my mom about food. He and I have different ways of connecting (we’re both musicians). I’ve tried to instill that connection I have with my mom into my child. We end up talking about food quite a bit, and I think my passion for good food has rubbed off on him.
I dated a girl in high school and college who, during the summer months, lived with her mom on a farm outside of Huntsville, Alabama. Being a bored, mostly unemployed teenager at the time, I’d drive out to this farm, some 45 minutes from my parents’ house, to hang out with her and her mom and step-dad. I helped out on the farm a bit and did a little bit of cooking. I remember this being a very pivotal moment in the development of my palate. I learned what a vine-ripe blueberry tasted like. What a fresh egg tasted like. What fresh honey tasted like, and being rebellious teenagers we’d often sneak sips of their homemade mead. It changed me in a real way, and although that relationship was fleeting, the effects it had on my budding personality were profound. So when a friend of mine asked me this morning to drive to Nesbit, Mississippi on my day off to pick blueberries, of course I said yes. And the minute I ate one of those blueberries--still warm from the sun--and it popped in my mouth, a flood of memories came back to me. Blueberries in the grocery store don’t taste like that.
My son Joe has been a regular on the Muddy’s Instagram and Facebook feed. He’s the goofy 7-year-old. His favorite thing to eat in the whole world comes from a fast food chicken franchise with a cow for a mascot. You know the one I’m talking about. If left to his own devices he’d eat chicken strips every day for the rest of his childhood. As a responsible parent and a foodie, I have done my best to discourage this. Now that school’s out, whenever I have a day off he and I usually hang out together. We have a routine. We wake up early, eat some breakfast, run any errands that need to get done (bank, grocery store, etc.), and then play the rest of the day. Last week we went to Porcellino’s for breakfast. Joe of course got the fried chicken biscuit as I rolled my eyes. Little did I know that the two of us were about to be schooled on some fried chicken. Joe inhaled it. I managed to sneak one bite of it while he wasn’t looking, and oh man. It was incredible. When Joe finished he said he never wanted another fast food chicken biscuit ever again. He raved about it the whole way home. Later that afternoon he asked me when my next day off was, and I told him it was a whole week away. I tell you, this kid talked about this chicken biscuit for a week. Every. Day. And on our next day off we went back to Porcellino’s and we got two chicken biscuits this time.
This chicken biscuit story reminded me of my blueberry story so much. I was 17 before I realized what a real blueberry tasted like. He’d been eating gross, processed, fast-food chicken all his life, and then he tasted the way fried chicken could taste and it was like an “AH-HA!” moment. Food is one of those things that can energize you, motivate you, and inspire you. It made me really happy to see him at 7-years old get so excited about food. The kid’s alright.
CJ's reflections on the role "real, delicious food" has played in his life is a testimony to why we at Muddy's find it such an important part of our mission. Whether we're providing a mini-Memphian's first taste of sugar in the form of a custom smash cake iced with real buttercream, or hearing a baby boomer's testimony of how they didn't think they liked pie crust until they tried our buttery, flaky, scratch-made variety; we believe real, delicious food should be a meaningful part of every human being's life. That's why we strive to ensure every one of our products is the best version of itself that is possibly can be. We hope to provide you more than the best cup of coffee in Memphis or a carefully crafted birthday cake, because at Muddy's we know this is the stuff memories are made of. Mindful moments spent with your loved ones or refueling by yourself are intrinsically woven together with the smells and flavors that accompany them, and those smells and flavors are too important to be anything else but real and delicious.