In December 2009, fresh out of the French Pastry School in Chicago, I left the Windy City after almost 25 years and moved to Madison, WI to open a bakery. I built a commercial kitchen in my basement and started making my savories and sweets and selling them at Madison’s Westside Farmers Market in the summer of 2011. Based on the memories, recipes and food culture of my youth in a small town in middle Georgia, it took it's name from my mother, Ethel Ann Cook Kibler. The name just seemed to fit under that bright orange tent at the far end of the parking lot. At the end of that summer, having gotten a little too big, a little too fast - and in need of a big expansion in a short amount of time and a great deal of cash - I decided to put my dreams on hold, put my little orange scooter in the garage and teach English-as-a-Second Language a little bit longer.
After some starts and stops, we came back as a wholesale version of our bakery in the fall of 2019. Thrilled to have landed Nordstrom as one of my first clients, I delivered to the Nordstrom stores in Chicago and Milwaukee in November and December and then in January, the pandemic happened. Everything closed. Within two weeks, we went online, created a new website, added a home collection to our offerings and worked 24/7 to sustain this new "pivot," as I often heard during the pandemic. My devoted customers were my driving force and their dedication, warmth, and patience [and wearing masks to pick up orders from my front porch] sustained us through the spring, summer and fall. Sadly, like so many other businesses, the pandemic forced me to close my doors at the end of that year.
That January, I decided it was time to move home to Georgia and my family welcomed me with open arms, lots of support and much understanding and patience.
I had started quilting in my early 50's [teaching myself to sew] and expanded the bakery with a home collection of my napkins and children's quilts as a way to survive the pandemic. Under the wing of 'my quilt whisperer,' Gail I continued to sew and quilt. When I moved into a condo in Decatur in February of 2023, after my saint of a sister allowed me to live with her for way too long in Midtown, I found I had a great big sewing room. In that room, on the second floor of my condo, as winter turned to spring -- I thought ---- well, could I? ---- was it a crazy idea? ---- Am I insane?!
With a new look and some new products - Ethel Ann's Home Collection and EA's Cocktail Party have found a new home. We're making our Atlanta debut in just a few weeks. Please come check our products out, do a little holiday shopping, and enjoy the food and music at Holiday Shopping Spectacular on December 2 and 3 at the Georgia Train Depot.
And as Ethel Ann would say, “What’s not to love about that?”
In 1965, my mother, Ethel Ann Cook Kibler (called EA) lived in Augusta, GA, with four children under the age of six (including twins) and a husband doing a second medical residency. As a young new mother, Ethel Ann really didn’t like to cook. It was just not something she enjoyed very much. But as she has always said, if you have to do something (which she clearly did), you need to do it well. Liking, for her, was beside the point. So - she went to school to learn: vocational school, department stores, anywhere there was a teacher. And then she went to a cooking class taught by legendary Southern chef, Natalie Dupree [one of my gods of Southern cooking], at the Rich’s Department Store, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I told my mother once, while in pastry school, that I loved to cook and she said, "Of course you do, honey, because you just do it whenever you want. Have four children and see if you still are in love."
In planning for the creation of the original bakery, the foundation were the recipes, meals and memories of my rural GA childhood focused around the recipes of my mother and the African-American woman who was a lifelong caretaker for our family, Sennie Mae Allen. Then I looked to the amazing bakers, chefs and cooks specializing in Southern cuisine all around me. There is a group of five that I refer to as the “Gods.” I like to say that I worship this small group who have shaped both my personal and culinary lives. I adore them so I just want everyone to know about them.
Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock’s THE GIFT OF SOUTHERN COOKING represents the beauty and narrative of a friendship whose translation into recipes and stories provides a glimpse into what is meant by the “New South.” Two chefs representing two very different versions of life, of food, of history, of experience, and through their relationship an entire narrative is transformed.
Their long, standing friendship – and seemingly at odds personas (he – a young, white, gay male and she – an older, widowed African American woman) resulted in them being referred to as "The Odd Couple of Southern Cooking". Lewis and Peacock would work together to try and ensure that classic Southern dishes and details would not be forgotten – as they were both deeply dedicated to the preservation of Southern cooking. As Lewis aged, Peacock would go on to become her caretaker up until her death in 2006.
For more about Miss Lewis, check out www.ednalewisfoundation.org
The great culinary editor, Judith Jones, remembers Miss Lewis at https://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen/The-Personal-Touch/
For more about Scott Peacock, check him out in Garden and Gun magazine, at
Better Homes and Gardens shares some of his favorite recipes at
The wonderful Scott Peacock has created an unusual and fantastic experience in Marion, Alabama, where he now lives. My sister and I drove down and got to spend a half day with Scott.
This James-Beard-Award-winning chef has opened the historic kitchens of Reverie mansion for intimate workshops in the fine art of traditional Southern biscuit-making. It isn't everyday that Scott Peacock asks if he can make you a ham biscuit.
I'm a geeky Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis super fan. Our day in his kitchen has to be one of my top best days of all-time.
Head to Marion. It's so worth the drive! We shared a class with a great guy who combined a deep sea fishing trip planned around a morning with Scott.
Mr. Fowler is the author of some of our favorite cookbooks and our go-to, NEW SOUTHERN BAKING. He’s been nominated for numerous awards including the James Beard Award. He writes articles (Food & Wine plus lots more) blogs and is a featured columnist for the Savannah Morning News in Savannah, GA. He is a food historian, he is a marvelous chef. So what we’re saying is the man knows his stuff. He’s also a wonderful wit, and a tremendous person.
Check him out at www.damonleefowler.com.
Ms. Dupree and the New Southern Cooking movement are synonymous. She created it. She’s won numerous awards, even two James Beards. She’s written ten cookbooks, hosted more than 300 cooking shows on three networks, and owned three restaurants. Our and his mother and think she’s a goddess. You wanna know what Southern food is, it’s Nathalie Dupree. It’s that simple. Ethel Ann and friends used to caravan with other couples to her restaurant in Social Circle, GA. She’s one of those people who everyone dreams of sitting next to at a dinner party. She lives in Charleston, SC.
Check her out at www.nathaliedupree.com
She's as “warm and gracious a belle as you could ever hope to meet” says Scott Peacock, and that’s good enough for us. Southern through and through and also a classically trained French chef, she’s a television producer, food stylist, cooking teacher and the former kitchen manager for Martha Stewart. Her cookbook BON APPE’TIT, Y’ALL is a pure treat and chock full of everything you need to know.
Check her out at www.virginiawillis.com.