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3 questions with cookbook author Martha Earnhardt

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If you've spent many nights spinning your tires over what to make your family for dinner, slow your roll and pick up a copy of Pit Stop in a Southern Kitchen, a Southern-inspired cookbook. In it, you'll find family recipes from Martha Earnhardt, mother of the late racecar driver Dale Earnhardt and grandmother to Dale Jr., and Carol Gordon Bickford, mother of driver number 24, Jeff Gordon. The hard-cover cookbook features scrumptious Southern-inspired recipes, as well as a hardy helping of family photos and excerpts contributed by the Earnhardt and Gordon families. "It has been a hard life and a good life; it has been my life -- racing," said Martha Earnhardt while reminiscing about her family's upbringing. Earnhardt, mother of five children and a sibling to 11, knows the value of family and how a home-cooked meal can bring everyone together.

Creative Loafing: What is your favorite recipe in the cookbook?

Martha Earnhardt: The two of my recipes that would be my favorites would be my vegetable soup and my sundrop cake. We [Carol Gordon Bickford and I] gathered recipes from her mother and some from my sister and my sister's daughter. We also asked friends of the family, you know, [the recipes] came from different places -- they weren't just our recipes.

Are you solely a meat-and-potatoes kind of woman or do you have a sweet tooth as well?

Do I have a sweet tooth? Yes, ma'am. Especially for chocolate; that's my downfall. I need to try to quit that but it's so hard to do. I love sweets. I love pecan pie, but I would rather make a cake than a pie -- pies never did turn out for me.

I read in an online manuscript that each of your family dinners would come fashioned with a side of biscuits and gravy. Do you still make biscuits and gravy at every meal?

Well, no. I hardly cook at all anymore. When you're home by yourself, it seems a waste sometimes, to me; if I wanted to cook a vegetable like cabbage, then I've got to eat it for two or three days. I was taught never to waste food; raised in a family of 12, you didn't throw food away. I eat frozen dinners or I'll go out and eat with a friend. It's a lot different from when [my kids] were all home. Things have changed a lot.

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