Posted in

A Cookbook Maven Shares Her Passion

Photo: Silver Pebble Photography
Photo: Silver Pebble Photography

One thing is certain. Lauren McDuffie’s joy comes from capturing food through photography. The magic and light she sees is shared through her food, not to mention the unique deliciousness of the recipes. She also laughs a lot: about her foibles, her mistakes, and her utter love of taking on big projects, all the while being a mother of two and keeping her home running in fine fashion. With her third book “Homemade-ish” available for pre-order now, she doesn’t ever slow down.

McDuffie began her culinary career by photographing food for her blog, Harvest and Honey. “It was all about creating a mood and sharing the imagery that inspires people” says McDuffie. “My first love is to share recipes, photograph food and to write. Food blogging allowed me to do that and give my work credibility.”

Nominated in a Saveur magazine blog competition for “Best New Voice” led to McDuffie winning Best Culinary Narrative for Harvest and Honey from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, (IACP) in 2017. The notoriety surrounding the award led to her first publishing offer to create “Smoke, Roots, Mountain Harvest.” She was off and running!

“Smoke” was all about where I grew up as sort of a memoir. It was a total passion project,” she said. Per Publishers Weekly: “[McDuffie] discusses the pleasures of a fall campfire and creates an autumn menu, then offers up fire-roasted stuffed pumpkins filled with sausage, bread crumbs, goat cheese and Gruyère; pasta with scallion and black walnut pesto; crispy-skin trout with lemon brown butter sauce; and s’mores from scratch.”

Full time food bloggers inspired McDuffie to create a cooking blog that would help the home cook be more creative and use accessible ingredients. This kept her making “beautiful photos that happened to have food in them.” She also wanted to monetize her everyday activity more and help grow her audience. Assisting home cooks to meet the demands in the home with a little more ease and fun was the reason her blog, My Kitchen Little was born.

During time spent living in Charleston she created another cookbook, “Southern Lights,” a gentler take on Southern dishes. “A big portion of the Southern table never gets attention for the lighter side of its cuisine and not messing with the goodness of simple, pure ingredients,” she notes.

“I love cookbooks, and especially when I become inspired by place. Cookbooks give me a creative freedom to offer a truly heartfelt product without having to worry about my Google algorithm,” she said. Between her writing and photography, while raising a family, it seemed the more life gave her, she matched through a new cookbook project. “I’ve never worked harder than when I was a new Mom,” says McDuffie. “The cookbooks gave me a way to keep my identity while stretching myself creatively.”

McDuffie’s latest project, “Homemad-ish” is due out this July. Its aim is to help home cooks “get dinner on the table by leveraging store-bought items in creative, fresh ways.” According to McDuffie, “this book inspires us to look at the grocery store in a different way and bridge the gap between takeout and real food. Hopefully it helps home cooks leave a little gas in their tank at the end of the day; to ‘snap their fingers like Mary Poppins’ and have a beautiful, nutritious meal on the table and spend more time with family.”


Susan Nefzger

A seasoned PR pro and food photographer, Susan is an inspirational writer who travels the world planning her trips by dining reservations. She started the GA Lottery in the 90’s and turned to food watching Public TV with Jacques Pepin, Natalie Dupree and The Frugal Gourmet. She is an accomplished home cook and lover of all cuisines.



Leave a Comment