The Plan to Eat Podcast

#25: Modern Comfort Food with Food Blogger LaKita Anderson

July 27, 2022 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 25
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#25: Modern Comfort Food with Food Blogger LaKita Anderson
Show Notes Transcript

Join us for an interview with food blogger LaKita Anderson of simplylakita.com.  Her food blog shares simple weekly recipes with a modern twist on comfort food. She began blogging as a way to share her family recipes and love of food photography. What began as a creative hobby, developed into a small business and she was able to grow her creative passion into a full-time career.
We talked with her about how she learned to cook and bake, how she makes comfort food modern, and the baking competition her family has every year. We had so much fun talking to LaKita and we hope you enjoy this episode!

Find her copycat toasted steak sandwich recipe

Find her online:
Blog - https://www.simplylakita.com/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/simplylakita/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SimplyLakita

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[00:00:00] 

I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner.

Riley: Hello and welcome to the Plan to Eat podcast. Today we gotta talk to LaKita from simplylakita.com. It was an incredible conversation about comfort food, her journey to becoming a blogger, um, and really how she became such an excellent cook.

Roni: LaKita is a self taught baker and chef. She shares simple weekly recipes that have a modern twist on comfort food. Um, she talked to us today about how she's really focused on keeping the time of recipes much shorter than like a normal comfort food recipe would be.

We really love talking to her. We laughed a ton. She's a very enjoyable person to talk to, and we hope you enjoy this interview.

Hi LaKita. Thank you for joining us on the podcast today.

LaKita: Hi, thank you [00:01:00] for having me.

Roni: We're just excited to talk to you about food. You are a food blogger, so why don't you give us a little rundown of how this came to be? What you.

LaKita: Oh, it has been a very interesting journey. I actually started food blogging as a hobby in 2013. I was working in corporate America and I absolutely hated. I would come home after work every night and I would make cookies and I would make my grandmother's cake recipes and my mom's recipes. And I just found so much joy in doing that, that a friend gave me the idea.

She was like, you should share this on a blog. You should, you know, share this with friends and family and let people see what you're doing in the kitchen. So I started doing that and over the years I kind of grew my audience. And became very consistent with it. And then I found out, um, brands started reaching out to me, wanting to give me money.

And I was like, what do you mean I can make money doing this? this is crazy. And it was like, that was the only thing that I needed. [00:02:00] Um, I went full force with blogging. It became a very regular thing. It became a very part-time, um, Passion project. And from there, um, within a year I was able to like surpass this was in like 2016.

I was able to surpass the income that I was making in corporate America. So I was like, you know what? This feels like a good jumping off point when another year. And then I just left my job and I've been doing it ever since.

Riley: That's amazing. Really impressive that you. To make that transition. I know so many people are like fighting for that, um, with whatever their side passion project is. So congratulations. Um, can I ask what you did in corporate America?

LaKita: I was like, I worked in project management, so that was something that I always did. And I worked with different corporations doing that. So it kind of fit into what I do with blogging very naturally, because I mean, each, you know, um, blog post each brand partnership is like a individual project.

So I'm really good at managing those things.

Riley: [00:03:00] I, I ask that because a lot of people we talk to who are food bloggers, there is some kind of correlation, um, or something that they did that really speaks into what they do. We talked to a lady who, um, used to be an accountant. And so like her whole thing is like, She's super detailed. She makes up these recipes.

She tweaks everything. She keeps really diligent notes and that's so that's connected to you. Like you do all these partnerships. You used to be a project manager and now you're managing all your own projects.

LaKita: Yes, that's right.

Riley: I love it. So tell us about your blog and what kind of flavors and what's your, um, tell us all about what you put out there. What's your, what's your, your food favorites.

LaKita: Ah, the good stuff. So my blog is pretty much, I say it's modern comfort food. So a lot of it is, uh, my family recipes, but I kind of do them with a twist in my own, you know, kitchen and kind of make them, um, more easy and accessible for anybody to make. So, um, minimal ingredients, minimal [00:04:00] time. Um, because like I said, coming from corporate America, working on a full time job, I was always, you know, in a rush in the afternoon to.

Food on the table to my family in the afternoon. So I'm very mindful of that. So I always share recipes that can be done very quickly for people to share with their friends and family. So, um, and some really good dinner recipes, you know, because I think that's what most people struggle with getting dinner, like in the afternoon to their family.

So I try to make sure that I'm sharing quick and easy recipes. Um, my favorite flavors, um, I was raised in the south. So, um, a lot of my recipes are like butter and cheese and, you know, flour dough and the corn meal and, you know, everything is fried, but, um, I've kind of pulled back with that in my personal life.

So I, again, try to be mindful and a little bit health conscious, although, you know, it's, you know, healthy is very relative. Um, but I just try to make sure that I'm sharing. In my own way, that makes sense that you can still have [00:05:00] it on a regular everyday basis.

Riley: when you're making all this yummy stuff at home, Who are you feeding it to? Are you giving it to neighbors and friends and your family? Like, I could just imagine that every time you're trying an recipe, you end up with a lot, um, of whatever it was that you made, whether it's cakes or dinner or something like that.

Are you having friends over all the time to feed it to them? Or are you giving it away? How do you handle that?

LaKita: Yes. And that has been a challenge because I used to be, you know, I used to have a family. I used to be married. I'm now divorced. I used to have a son at home. He has gone off to college and graduated. So I'm an empty nester now. So now whenever I cook, it's pretty much for friends, family. I put things in the freezer and give 'em to people as they come over.

So definitely everyone loves it. I never have a problem, like getting rid of the things that I cook. it's just a couple text, couple phone calls.

Riley: I'm sure if I lived in your area, I'd be like, can I be on your list?

LaKita: Yeah. And the funny thing about it is I think, as a food blogger, like we [00:06:00] fuss with it so much and it has to go through so many tweaks to get it, to, you know, be able to be posted on the blog. And so many tests that by the time, like I've perfected it and taken the photographs. It's like, I don't even wanna look at it.

I don't wanna see it. I don't want anything to do with that.

Riley: could, I could understand that.

LaKita: yeah.

Roni: So where do you get your, obviously you said you use a lot of family recipes, but do you have other places that you get recipe in for inspiration from Hmm.

LaKita: Ooh, that's a good one. Um, sometimes I'll get it from travels restaurants. I'll try to, you know, tweak it and make it my own. And just the flavors that like I love, that's usually where my inspiration comes from. And a lot of my recipes are really from my audience really, and truly most. Of them come from them.

They'll say, Hey, can you make a recipe? You know, based on this, I would love it. If you could use this ingredient in the recipe and I'll say a good 80 to 85% of my inspiration comes from what they want.

Riley: Wow. That's that's impressive.

Roni: That's awesome. [00:07:00] That's really great that you have such an engaged, like readership of your blog. That is really cool.

LaKita: Yeah, it has been amazing. And I love it. And a lot of it is in my email, which I always find fascinating PE people, I think comments on blogs has kind of lost its luster people. Don't really like to leave comments on blogs, but I'll get a ton of emails. I get emails all the time from people asking questions and telling me their experience.

It's so funny too, cuz I think I had a mother once that she emailed me at like two o'clock in the morning and she was like, oh my God, I'm having a problem with my cake. Can you help me? I didn't get it until like, you know, nine o'clock the next day. And I was like, oh, I hope that worked out for her.

Riley: oh man. It's when she found the time or it's when she was baking it, which either one is impressive. So

LaKita: right.

Riley: Yeah. Oh man.

Roni: Well, I would like to hear a little bit of the, um, backstory of even before you started your blog, how did you learn how to cook and bake and everything?

LaKita: Oh, I think that I would, that's just [00:08:00] always been a part of like my family. I came from a big family raised in the south. Um, As early as I can remember, like my grandmother was my babysitter before I even went to school and she was a big, you know, cook and baker. She was the person that, you know, there was always something sweet in her home, up under the cake plate.

So every day she made a cake or a pie or cookies or something like that. So I remember, you know, having a milk crate and her pushing the milk crate up to. The counter so I could stand on top of it. And then she would give me a little dough of whatever she was making and I would use that to play with it, to make my own creation.

So that's when I first fell in love with like cooking and baking. And then as I got older, just, um, It was such a big thing in my family, with the women being in the kitchen, my moms, my aunt, and everybody. So you just kinda, you know, as a little girl, I just hung out in the kitchen with them and then it's like, you hang out in the kitchen so long and then they're like, okay, you need to help.

So you're gonna do this. [00:09:00] You're gonna do that. And that's when I learned how to properly measure ingredients and how to read a recipe and how to taste as you go and balance flavors. So from that, you know, I just kind of took that into my life. As I got older.

Riley: I just love the beautiful mental image I have of little baby LaKita in her grandma's kitchen on the milk crate. I love that. Um, and I'm sure that made you, like when it's such a family affair one, I think I can connect with that, cuz that was. Definitely part of my childhood too, just the whole family, um, you know, being together in the kitchen, sometimes there was one person who like wanted to be the one, um, but a lot, you know, like we got to help a lot.

And so it just made a big difference in my life. Feeling confident in the kitchen and feeling like it was a place that I. Had a place, you know, like I, I could be here, um, like acceptance, like this is not a scary place for me. This is just a place where it feels comfortable. And then that translated into just feeling like a confident cook.

Like I'll figure it out. It's [00:10:00] not, is that true for you? That's just what you, where you got all your blogging confidence from, cuz you just knew what you were gonna do.

LaKita: Yeah, I think that, um, you know, I went to college, I graduated college, went into the corporate world and I was all about that. But then I think I got married and then you're like, okay, I have to cook for a family. Now let's figure this out. And just getting in the kitchen and just, you know, fumbling. Cuz I remember like I think the first year I was married, I think I only cooked hamburger cuz that was the like ground beef.

Cuz that was the only thing that I was comfortable. So anything with hamburger, I made it that year and then I started getting cookbooks and, you know, um, just trying new things and stuff. And from there, I definitely, you know, found my way. That's why I always say, you know, it's your kitchen, do whatever you want.

You're gonna, you know, figure things out, make mistakes. That's what it's there for. You can't break your kitchen. Even though I say that some people are always like, uh, I don't know, LaKita.

Roni: That's 

great advice. Yeah. You can't break your kitchen. I mean, you had to try really [00:11:00] hard at least. Right? So

LaKita: Yes. Yes.

Roni: Uh, let's see, I had a question that was related to what, what Riley was asking about. And I don't remember what it was. Maybe it'll come back to me anyways. I, I really like this, this story that you have, because we, um, have been talking to a lot of people on the blog recently about like, getting your kids involved in helping you cook and helping you do things in the kitchen.

And like, your story is just Testament to like what that could lead into like for your future, you know, or for like, for your kid's future is like, it might seem like a little thing at the time. Like, you know, give a child just like a little piece of dough to play with, but like that's obviously revolutionized your life.

And I think that's pretty amazing.

LaKita: Definitely.

Riley: I had the same thought, Roni, but it like, it's really motivating like this. I mean, maybe this is not what my child does for the rest of their life and, or that becomes their passion thing, but it could be

LaKita: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Riley: yeah, yeah. Did you, did your son spend a lot of time in the kitchen with you?[00:12:00] 

LaKita: He did. He did. And it's, um, interesting that he, um, he's always been a good cook too. He, you know, found his way in the kitchen and he's made his own things. He now he's graduated college, he's grown he's in the world. So I love that. You know, he'll sometimes send me messages that he's cooked my recipes from the blog.

So I always love, you know, seeing that and seeing his different creations that he comes up. Just knowing that he's a 22 year old, he's out in the world, in his apartment and he can cook for himself is like, I've done. I've done what I needed to do.

Roni: mm-hmm

Riley: Yeah. You, you crushed it

Roni: yeah. And his future partner is gonna thank you for that.

LaKita: I am.

Riley: yes. Yep. We're gonna have a follow up on the blog. Put on the, on the podcast one day when you're like, yep.

Roni: You know,

LaKita: yes. And then you think about like his kids, you know, one day my grandkids and hopefully their kids. So I love, um, being able to, just to share my recipes as well as [00:13:00] my mom's and my grandmom's recipes, especially now, like my mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dementia. So, you know, I feel. Like so blessed that I took the time to get in the kitchen with her and have those moments and get those recipes and you know, her favorites because it's like, if I hadn't done that, I'd look back now.

And I'm like that would've definitely been lost.

Riley: yeah. And those memories, like that's so special to you. And now because you have that, you're gonna give it to, well, you gave it to your son. He can give it. It's just for generations. We'll benefit from this. Um,

Roni: Yeah. Now those, and now those recipes mean so much more than they did before, you know, like, uh, it's easy to just think like, oh, it's just like, you know, a family favorite or whatever, but when you actually put it into a kind of a context like that, uh, it makes it, it makes it mean a lot.

LaKita: Yeah, it definitely is. And even just to be able to make her recipes for her been like amazing. And for her to kind of, you know, remember those moments here and there.[00:14:00] 

Riley: Yeah. I was just thinking about handwritten recipes and how special it is to go back into some of my handwritten cookbooks that I've gotten from my mom and grandmothers. And, um, just like, see, I don't know, this has changed a bit since everything's so digital now. Um, but like I know my grandmother's handwriting.

So well, because of her recipes and she's written me letters through the years and I, and I've saved them. But I like when I think about her handwriting, I think about it in a recipe format. Um, and that's really special. Like I I've seen in a couple of people that I know is kitchens like a framed recipe with their grandmother's handwritten recipe in it.

And I think that's a beautiful way to like decorate your kitchen, um, and have this like special memory and the rest. I don't know something about that is just so special to me. And it's just feeling like that's really special to you and your family and right now, so

LaKita: yeah, definitely. I love those, those recipes. Um, and like receiving my grandmother's hand, rent it and, you know, note cards.

Riley: Yeah.[00:15:00] 

LaKita: Old like newspaper clippings of recipes that she loved. Like that's been, you know, so amazing. My mom actually had my grandmother's, her mother's cast iron skillet, and that thing was like season perfection, just amazing.

And it had last. Did all those years and you know, that just my mom using it all those years and then her giving it to me, it was like, oh yes, I've made it. I've

Riley: It's like your It's like

LaKita: yeah. I have cousins that are like, yeah, that should have been ours. when are we gonna get our time with grandma skillet? . Right.

Riley: What skill it? What skill it are you talking

LaKita: Exactly. Exactly.

Riley: oh man. Well, let's shift gears and talk about what is your method for modernizing comfort food? Like when you take a recipe [00:16:00] that maybe your, that was your grandmothers, how do you, how do you update it and modernize it?

LaKita: Ooh. I think the way that I updated wi with, um, With my own personal twist on it is I always feel like our grandmothers, they used to spend like hours upon hours in the kitchen for one. And I never understood that. I was like, I don't have that kind of time. I have a job. I have a family, I have a million things going on.

So, um, just. Try. My main thing is trying to find like shortcuts whenever it's possible. So for instance, like, you know, if you're making, um, lasagna. Okay. Uh, well maybe I don't, I wanna get the no boil noodles. And use that instead of having to boil the noodles. That's, you know, a step that my grandmother would've taken, I'm not, I don't think they had those back when it was in my grandmother's or my mother's time, but, you know, that's a nice, quick shortcut that you can use to kind of shave time off of it.

And I know that, you know, with, you know, those old comfort food recipes, [00:17:00] everything is butter and, you know, just crisco and just everything. So I try to cut that as well, wherever I can.

Roni: Yeah, I was gonna say, I have a recipe. That's my grandma's that's for sugar cookies. And it's an amazing recipe, but it calls for oleo

LaKita: Yeah. 

Roni: so, yeah. And so I'm like, I would, I would just cut that out. I'd probably use butter instead.

LaKita: yep. A lot of

Roni: yeah.

LaKita: in my grandmother's.

Riley: Literally, that is exactly what I was about to say, Roni, that. For a long time, like when I was younger and I would make my grandmother's recipe, I would have to call my mom and say, what is oleo? mean, obviously I could have Googled it, but I went the call, my mom route, and I would always ask her, can you tell me what that is again?

So now I know and I swap it out. So that's, that's so funny that that's where our minds Roni

LaKita: Yeah. mm-hmm yep. That's a . Yep. Yep. Like even my grandmother's chocolate chip cookie recipe, it always required crisco. And it's like now all of my chocolate chip cookies, they do not use Crisco. They [00:18:00] just use butter.

Riley: Yeah.

Roni: Yeah. 

Yeah, I'm wondering if you have any tips for food bloggers, um, either like, uh, tips for, well, so like looking at your blog, I'm just like curious maybe how you, um, decide, like what's gonna be your next recipe. Is it based off of what people are, are asking for you? Do you have kind of like a method of, like, I do one sweet recipe for every two dinner recipes?

Like, do you have a system like.

LaKita: Mm, I don't think I really have a system like that. I think it goes per season. I think I've been doing this so long that it's kind of. Seasonal. So I find that the baking is more so like, you know, the holiday time. So like quarter four is when people pretty much want those, but in January, you know, January, February, March, first quarter people more so want lighter, fare.

So they want, you know, like the smoothies and the salads and, you know, just those more health conscious health driven plant centered recipes. So I think that's kind of how I do it. I don't really have a [00:19:00] method where it's like, okay, I. Two dessert recipes. And now I have to share a dinner. I think it's just, you know, it's just whatever it kind of falls on the calendar, you know, just whatever the season is, whatever's going on.

Whatever I see as a trend, you know, in the back office, in the Googles, you know, Google sphere, I'll kind of, you know, post based on what people are looking for in that area as well. Mm-hmm,

Roni: Yeah. Imagine it's a little easier when you have a, an established blog as well, because you have this whole backlog of recipes that people can reference. So if they're like, well, LaKita's putting out a lot of, you know, cookie recipes right now. She must be really craving cookies. Uh, you also have like tons of other recipes that they can go search through and stuff.

LaKita: And that's another thing I've been doing this since 2013. So a lot of, you know, a lot of my recipes too, are just updates from older recipes that we just might give, you know, a rework we might, you know, refresh and do new photos and make sure that the recipes still works. Cuz we go back a lot to make sure the recipes still work and test [00:20:00] those and tweak whatever we need to.

So I think that. A lot of what I do. And then here and there, I'll just kind of add new recipe. Yes.

Riley: in 2023, you'll be 10 years of blogging. Are you gonna put out a cookbook?

LaKita: Oh, you know what think I say every year that I'm, I wanna do a cookbook and you know, there's been many times I've sat at many tables and it just hasn't worked. The contract just hasn't worked. The numbers just has, haven't worked. So I still have that on my vision board that, you know, we're still trying, we're waiting for the right opportunity.

I even got all the way to the contract and, you know, just, they decided to move in a different direction during the, because of the pandemic and everything that was going on. So we're still waiting. We're still open to a cookbook. So maybe that might be my year, the 10th year

Riley: It. Yeah. I mean, it feels like the right year

Roni: Mm-hmm

LaKita: Yeah. I accept that.

Riley: Yeah. I like it. Okay. We'll put it out there. When you [00:21:00] cookbook launches, we'll do a big giveaway with plan to

Roni: Yeah.

LaKita: I love it. I love it. I am. Hey, I'm here for it.

Riley: I mean, I think, you know, I'm from the south too and modern comfort food or, well, just comfort food. It feels like home to me.

And I know, I know that other people feel the same way. And so to me having a cookbook, like that would be really special. So,

yeah. Um, so I have, I have a question for you if you . Hey. Health healthy aside. Uh, and I know you said that you don't really eat like this at home all the time, but so putting that aside, what is your dream meal sides? Desserts. All of it, craft it, craft it for us.

LaKita: Oh, I think my dream meal like that, I just love, I think it's kind of like a long, like what my family's Thanksgiving looks like. So [00:22:00] that's like you have the Turkey, the fried Turkey, of course. And then you have the ham and the candy yams, and, you know, the collar greens that have been cooked in all of the, the pork and smoked Turkey that you can imagine.

And, you know, just the, the really nice. Dinner yeast rolls that are homemade, that are slathered in butter. And then, you know, you kinda have to have the cranberry sauce. You have to have the dressing, um, with the gravy, all of the Gibblit gravy, that's thick And then I think, you know, you have to round all that out with dessert.

So dessert is obviously gonna be like a sweet potato pie that you're gonna top with all of the whip topping imaginable. And then you're gonna have like some pound cake or some red velvet. And you're gonna wash it all down with like some sweet tea.

Riley: Yep. So we're recording this over lunch. Maybe I shouldn't have asked you that question.

LaKita: right. Right.[00:23:00] 

Riley: oh, man, that

Roni: That does sound amazing.

LaKita: Yes, but that's nothing like my family every year they have like, um, a family reunion in the summer and it's like this long table with just everything you can imagine. All of that food, it's like three different kind of greens. It's chicken, it's baked, fried, and roasted. And it's like a whole weekend of just indulging in food.

Riley: Yeah, that's sounds amazing.

Roni: with so many people in your family who enjoy to cook, who enjoy cooking, you said all your aunts and everybody loved to be in the kitchen. Is it, uh, a little competitive when y'all get together like that?

LaKita: Yes, it is. As a matter of fact, every year we have like a bake off . So what we do is we have a bake off and everybody brings, you know, their most prized dessert recipe. And, you know, they make enough for everybody to. Sample. And then we vote on which one is the best and there's this one trophy and the trophy gets passed [00:24:00] around each year.

And so the person that has that trophy, they have the bragging rights to the whole extended family for the whole year. And

Riley: is amazing. I love that there's a trophy.

LaKita: yes, yes. There's a trophy and a apron.

Roni: Oh,

Riley: really cool.

LaKita: yeah.

Riley: really

Roni: that's such a great, that's a fun, like a fun reason to get together as a family. That's

LaKita: Yes,

Riley: So as a professional food blogger, do you feel like, do you put a lot of pressure on yourself to be the one that wins?

LaKita: I do not. I absolutely do not because like, you know, I have, everyone has their special thing. Like my aunt makes amazing sweet potato pie. I have a cousin that makes amazing pound cake. You know, I have another male cousin that makes amazing banana pudding. So everybody like has. Their specialties. So a lot of times I just kind of sit back and enjoy everybody else's treats

Riley: You take the [00:25:00] opposite approach? I

like 

LaKita: yeah. 

Riley: I like it. Yeah. that's great. Oh man, you're making me dream of like Southern comfort food over here. My grandma, my great-grandmother used to make the world's best chicken and dumplings.

LaKita: Oh 

Riley: And she, I can just like picture her, like rolling 'em out on her freezer. Cuz she had like a long chest freezer.

LaKita: mm-hmm

Riley: And I only went to her house a few times as a kid. Um, but I, I don't even know where I think the kitchen was like or the kit, the freezer was like right off the kitchen. She'd go there and she'd roll. 'em all out and nobody can make them as good as she made them the version in my mind, at least um, I try, they're not as good as hers, but I.

Roni: is rolling them out on the freezer because that was the easiest place to do it, or cuz it keeps the dough a little colder.

Riley: That's a really good question. I don't know. I, so in my family, the dumplings are not like some people do like balls of dumplings in [00:26:00] chicken and dumplings. We do 'em flat in like little strips.

And so she rolled him out there, but maybe cuz it was the most space she had like her kitchen wasn't very big.

And so like that was the easiest place. But it's interesting that you say that about being cold too. I don't know.

Roni: I don't know. I don't, I don't, I've never made dumplings myself. So I don't know if it's like, like a pie crust kind of recipe where you would like the, the dough to stay cold or not, but it was just the thought I had, I

Riley: I never keep mine cold. Maybe that's what makes him.

Roni: maybe that's why they're not as good as grandma's.

LaKita: That's right.

Riley: Yeah. I mean, she do, it's like water and salt and Oleo or Crisco. Um, I don't make 'em with Crisco either, so that probably maybe plays into it. I don't know. But

anyway, this is anyway, beautiful mental picture. Um, so where's your family from? Can I ask you that?

LaKita: um, my family is my mother on her side is from Virginia and my dad is from Northwest Florida.

So his family is from there. 

Riley: Awesome.

So my I've, I grew up in Alabama, but [00:27:00] I've got family in Georgia, too. 

LaKita: Mm-hmm 

Riley: Um, and one of my favorite things about the south is the growing season. Cuz you can grow vegetables for so long. Um, and that just, it's why the food down there is so good. Or maybe, I don't know why the food down there is so good, but the growing season is so long.

You have so many fruits and vegetables. For like the majority of the year. It's insane. so now I'm in Colorado and it is so different. It's so different. Yeah.

LaKita: Yeah. Cause I think I've had friends that were up north and they would come and visit and it's like, I think that's the main thing that they always talk about is they're like the overabundance of food that you have available. Like there's a, there's a grapefruit and a lemon tree in your backyard.

Like we crossed a, a place that said you can pick strawberries. You know, and you can pay for 'em by whatever, you know, the pound that you pick. So, yeah, that's always been something that's been amazing. Fruit and vegetables have been in abundance. And even when they're not in season, like most people just can them or freeze them so they can enjoy them [00:28:00] all year.

Roni: I have a little bit of a off the wall question, but is there a, a recipe that's like known as a very like quintessential comfort food recipe? That's just not your favorite.

LaKita: Ooh, that's a good one. That is not my favorite. That is, you know what, I'm just gonna say, like chicken and dumplings. I.

Riley: It's fine. It's fine. You haven't had my

LaKita: sorry. 

Riley: sorry. 

LaKita: I'm but you know what? It's just not like, I don't know. And I've tried, everyone's like, you know, chicken and dumplings and not to say that I haven't eaten my share of chicken and dumplings, but it's just like, I could take it or leave it.

Riley: It's totally fine. No hard feelings.

LaKita: It's probably, you know, it's because they don't make it with oleo. That's probably what it was or they don't roll it out on the freezer. See, I haven't had grandmother's version

Riley: You haven't. And that's, that's the missing

LaKita: that's what I'm missing. I believe that I believe that.[00:29:00] 

Roni: I thought you were gonna say something like fried okra or something, and that was gonna be very controversial.

LaKita: Yeah. There's not a lot of comfort food recipes that I don't like. I think I would say like chicken and dumplings is not my favorite. I think cuz of the texture too really is why I don't, I'm not a fan of that. And you know what, like Lima bees, the green ones that people make and everyone tells me they're like, you just haven't had mine. And and it's like, I try it and I'm like, Hmm, I just, I don't. And I think, again, it's that texture that I'm just not a fan of when it comes to the green lima beans.

Roni: Yeah. I remember actually eating Lima beans as a kid and my mom would have to, like, she would, you know, use some of the like tactics to be like, they're good for your brain or they're good. You know, whatever, like you should eat 'em for that reason. And I was like, they are kind of like Neely on the

LaKita: mm-hmm yeah.

Roni: not my favorite.

LaKita: Yeah.

Riley: All

Roni: sorry. Sorry. Riley.

Riley: Well, I like Lima

LaKita: Oh,[00:30:00] 

Riley: it's fine. It's fine. It's fine. It's fine. We can have different preferences. It's okay.

Roni: See, this is why we, we all need to go to the same potluck because then Riley, then we won't be fighting over the food, you know?

Riley: we all can have our own share.

Roni: yeah,

Riley: I just wanna go to her family reunion, honestly. 

Roni: yeah. Me too. 

Riley: sure.

LaKita: yes, yes.

Yes. Cause my family is definitely full of characters, so it's always fun.

Riley: what a sweet way to describe it. Like full of character. I love that. That's great.

Roni: Uh, do you have any other questions that are coming to mind? Riley.

Riley: I do actually. Um, do you do all of your own food photography?

LaKita: I do I do. I do all of my own food photography. There's been a couple times I've had, um, maybe one other person that helped me here and there, but for the most part, yeah, 98% of that. That's just me.

Riley: Yeah, that's awesome. [00:31:00] Do you have a, oh, go ahead.

Roni: I was gonna say, how'd you go through the process of learning that because that's pretty challenging. I think, to like, make food look good. Well, you know, I guess if you're just using your iPhone, like I do, it never looks good, but

LaKita: Well, the iPhone you'll be surprised. Like I take photos, so. When I'm out and about and about with my iPhone too. And they come out well, but I think, um, I think his photography was also a part of my life as I was growing up too, because, um, my dad was in the army. And so he would, you know, he bought, you know, this fancy cannon camera, you know, before digital, it took the film, it had the, the hot shoe on top and he, you know, got that camera so that he would.

Could take, you know, pictures on his travels. And so, you know, he bought me the kid camera, you know, the one that you put the film in the back and you just took, you know, I had the little cube on top and, um, that was my very first camera. So I was taking pictures of everything. So I think that that's always been a part of my life was photography.

So it was just a natural transition for [00:32:00] me to kind of do that with food. I always knew, okay, I gotta find the light and I have to do this. And I knew how, you know, the basics. Of like photography. So I think it just came natural. And then I think over the years, like if you look at my pictures that I took in 2013 versus a photo that I took yesterday, you can see the growth.

And I just tell people, it's just the practice. It's just practice doing it over and over and finding your groove and finding out what works for you. So.

Riley: Do you have a studio in your house or do you just have like a little setup or do you have an office? I, yeah. Tell actually I'm curious about that too. 

Do you have a team? 

LaKita: I have a small team and we are all like in our own respective places. So, but, um, as far as a studio, um, I actually moved, I used to be in a house and then I said, I'm an empty nester. So I moved into a one band room apartment. First time ID ever lived by myself in my. So I just kind of have just like a little, you know, corner where my office [00:33:00] is.

And then I just literally have a table, like actually it's right there in the background. I literally just have just a table and, you know, a couple lights set up and that's it. It's very minimal. And I find that that's what works for me. Like you really don't need a lot. You just need a table and you know, a couple lights or you can put it by a window and that's it.

Riley: Really cool.

Roni: I don't think I have, I'm having any other questions that are really jumping out at me that I really wanna ask you. I'll probably have one when we get done talking and I'll be like, I should have asked LaKita that thing.

Riley: Almost every time. Like, so often when we stop recording our podcast, we like continue talking and we're like, oh, why did we hit stop? We wish we

LaKita: oh yeah. Yeah.

Roni: Yeah. 

But we do like to, um, end our interviews asking you, uh, just tell us about. Recipe or a meal that you had recently doesn't have to be your all time, but just one that you had recently that, um, you really enjoyed and you

LaKita: Ooh, a meal that I had recently that I [00:34:00] enjoyed. Mm. You know what I am.

Roni: would like to share with us.

LaKita: I think my favorite and most recent thing that I've had is, and I have actually shared this on the blog, but it is like from Panera bread of all places, they have a toasted steak and white cheddar sandwich. And it comes on, like, you know, this toasted bun and you have this very thinly sliced steak and it has these pickled red onions, horseradish and it's just all of this white gooey cheddar, and it's hot and it's pressed.

And I usually add arugula to that. And that is like, I had that yesterday for lunch. And, you know, I actually have the recipe on my blog as well, the copycat, and I think that's just like been my favorite thing to eat recently.

Riley: Sounds your, um, my stomach literally started growling as you were describing it. So that sounds amazing. Everybody could check that out.

Roni: yeah, we're gonna link to that [00:35:00] recipe in our show notes, for sure. Your copycat recipe.

LaKita: yes.

Roni: Yeah.

Riley: All LaKita will tell everybody about your, where your blog is and where they can find you online. Yeah.

LaKita: Um, my blog is at simplylakita.com and my, you can find me, um, at simplylakita, just simply lakita on all social media platforms.

Riley: Uh, thank you so much for your time. It's been so fun to talk to you and reminisce on Southern comfort food.

LaKita: Yep. thank you for having me.

Roni: We hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you did, please share it with someone and subscribe to our podcast. Wherever you listen to your podcasts.