Libbie Summers is a chef based out of Savahnna Georia who’s debut cookbook “the whole hog” just hit the shelves early this month. As the title suggests this book is dedicated solely to the goodness of God’s tastiest creation, the pig. Brimming with delicious sounding recipes like pumpkin pie pancakes with bacon butter and serroano ham croquets, it’s also filled with short and often comical anecdotes on subjects like telling someone’s personality type by how they eat osso buco, Libbie’s early life growing up on a hog farm in Missouri, and her obsession with Elvis Presley. It’s certainly not a traditional cookbook with its sharp photography and modern lay out it almost feels as if it’s a study in the artistry of bacon. Though Libbie would inform me that bacon is actually not the tastiest cut of pork (blasphemy), no that honor would have to go to the pork belly.
I liked Libbie the moment I met her at the book signing (whether or not the ten pounds of pork cracklings she brought to snack on had something to do with that is debatable). She was affable, but sarcastic in a charming sort of way and what was meant to be a 15 minute interview became a 3 hour affair, chewing the fat with her and some of her friends (figuratively and literally munching on fried pork fat). She entertained with stories of traveling the world preparing food on yachts, cooking for Rosalyn and Jimmy Carter (Jimmy went back for seconds of her famous ‘kings belly sandwich’) and being star-struck while frothing a cappuccino for Princess Diana. Libbie is not just a globetrotting chef and writer though, she’s also been working in television for over a decade with such culinary artists as the ‘soul food savant’ herself, Paula Deen. She’s worked on Paula’s show for a number of years and try as i might to procure some dirt on Mrs. Deen all i got was 5 “she’s greats” and 1 “she’s fabulous” albeit maybe with a hint of sarcasm.
Apparently though cooking, writing, television, and travel is not enough to keep one person occupied as Libbie decided to bring her unique talents into the video blogosphere. One recent project I discovered floating through the interwebs is a video she made for Kraft foods called ‘Pork Baby’. It was meant to be a standard, boring PSA on the importance of supporting food trucks, but as I’ve come to find out the words standard and boring are not a part of her vocabulary. What was created instead is a three and a half minute video involving spray paint, hot dogs, a baby (not hers), and a screaming match with a portly 9 year old. If anything can describe Libbie Summers in three and a half minutes it’s ‘Pork Baby’: hysterical, artistic, and a bit twisted.
In the end not many people showed up to have their books signed, but Libbie didn’t seem bothered in the slightest, as she told me “When ever you do signings in big places like this the only thing you end up doing is telling people where the bathrooms are”.
Buy Libbie Summer’s “The Whole Hog Cookbook” in fine bookstores everywhere, you can watch “Pork Baby” on funnyordie.com or youtube, and visit her website libbiesummers.com to see what she’s up to in the coming future.