Ashlyne Reid produces cookbook inspired by her granny’s melt-in-your-mouth food
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2018
SALISBURY — From the time she was 8 until she left home for college, Ashlyne Reid spent most of her days after school at her Granny Maggie Reid’s house, waiting until her parents returned home from work.
Maggie, famous for her vinegar-based dipped chicken, was cooking all the time in her Granite Quarry home, and Ashlyne helped her cut onions, make gravy and add ingredients to all kinds of recipes.
For Thanksgiving and Christmas family meals, Ashlyne would report a day ahead of time to help Maggie with the advance work. “She cooked so much food,” Ashlyne says, still amazed.
Her granny’s macaroni and cheese was so simple — “not a lot of fluff,” Ashlyne reports — but the way she combined the five ingredients had a magical taste to the young girl and the rest of the Reid family.
“I think it was the love she put in it,” Ashlyne says.
And her collard greens. Maggie Reid cooked her greens with a ham hock, but the trick was to cook them low, slow and overnight. “You never let greens boil,” Ashlyne says. “If you let them boil, they get tough.”
Maggie Reid’s greens melted in your mouth.
All the tastes and memories naturally flooded back to Ashlyne Reid on the day before Thanksgiving in 2016 when Granny Reid died at the age of 73.
Heading into that Christmas, Ashlyne started a project, mainly for herself, of trying to write down the recipes she remembered Maggie making on all those holidays and afternoons after school. She typed them into her laptop and contacted aunts for help.
Soon her project — she lives and works in Charlotte — became something bigger. She asked a photographer friend to take pictures of the food she made from her granny’s recipes.
“You have to publish this,” Ty Sessom told her.
Other friends and family members, for whom she was cooking, agreed.
“I was like, why not?” Ashlyne says.
It took about a year, but Ashlyne Reid, a 29-year-old accountant for Bank of America, is now the author of a self-published cookbook based on and inspired by her Granny Reid’s recipes.
The book, “Granny’s House: My Southern Childhood,” can be purchased at Amazon. In coming days, Ashlyne also attend some book signings.
The first one will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Berewick Manor House in Charlotte.
For the many Rowan Countians who knew Maggie Reid, Ashlyne will be signing her book from 2 to 5 p.m. May 12 at Mean Mug Coffee Co., 1024 S. Fulton St.
Ashlyne says the cookbook covers all categories — appetizers, entrees, sides, desserts and drinks such as her Granny-inspired iced tea, lemonade and sangria. There are 50 recipes over 84 pages.
Ashlyne estimates that 80 percent of the offerings are her grandmother’s. She has included a few of her own and others from her mom’s side of the family.
Maggie Reid’s recipe for banana pudding, apple pie and peach cobbler are in the book. Ashlyne says she had to rely on memory, make dishes, then have people who remembered her Granny’s food taste it and offer directions on how the dish needed to be tweaked.
The one thing you won’t find in the cookbook is Maggie Reid’s still-secret recipe for dipped fried chicken, which relied on the vinegar barbecue sauce.
Maggie made that chicken first at the family’s Reid’s Square convenience store in East Spencer, then later in Granite Quarry at Reid’s Chicken Restaurant, promoted as “The Home of Da’ Dip.”
The chicken restaurant closed several years ago, but when she’s back in Rowan County, Ashlyne can’t go anywhere without someone mentioning Reid’s Chicken, once they know she belongs to the large and well-known Reid family.
Lovie and Maggie Reid had four children, 10 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Ashlyne says Maggie loved to sing and loved the Lord. Maggie’s beautiful voice was good enough that she toured with a gospel group when she was in her early 20s.
Maggie Reid also made many longtime friends as owner and director of First Step Child Care Learning Center. She was highly involved in New Zion Baptist Church and the lives of her children and grandchildren.
Maggie was constantly encouraging her grandchildren and exaggerating their accomplishments, Ashlyne says. Her grandmother often introduced her as a certified public accountant long before Ashlyne actually was one.
Ashlyne says her grandmother harped on the need for a good education and had a soft spot in her heart for single mothers. Ashlyne has tried to carry on that advocacy for single mothers in Charlotte by serving on a nonprofit board that offers them support.
“She was always helping people,” Ashlyne says of Maggie Reid. “She would give, give, give, give — even when she didn’t have it to give.”
Growing up in Granite Quarry and the daughter of Lovie Jr. and Michelle Reid, Ashlyne lived only a few minutes down the street from her granny’s house, so it was an integral part of the “Southern childhood” of her cookbook title.
Ashlyne attended Sacred Heart Catholic and Cannon schools before earning her bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her master’s degree in accounting at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Her work on the cookbook inspired Ashlyne to establish a one-woman catering business in January. Southern Apron Cooking will cater a wedding in June and a couple of birthday parties.
“I’m trying to start slow,” Ashlyne says.
As Granny Reid knew, sometimes slow is best.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.