Fire & Flavor Brand Ambassador: Ann Taylor Pittman

By Sadie Hobbs
Marketing Intern

Mom, editor, wife, cook and author are just a few accolades that describe Ann Taylor Pittman. She's written dozens of professional articles for her own website, as well as Cooking Light magazine, where she formerly served as food editor. 

She published her first book in 2012, when she co-wrote The New Way to Cook Light. In 2016, she followed with her first cookbook, Everyday Whole Grains. She later won the James Beard Foundation Award for her feature article, Mississippi Chinese Lady Goes Home to Korea. Pittman is an expert in recipe development, nutrition, editing, writing and more. We're thrilled to have such a talented ambassador joining the Fire & Flavor team!

Pittman currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband, twin 13-year-old boys, and their two dogs.

Her blog highlights the words: “Healthy. Delicious. Easy.” Such a mantra exemplifies why she is perfect for our mission at Fire & Flavor. As one reads through her recipes, it’s obvious that simple processes can reach amazing results. We cannot wait to see what this partnership brings in the near future, including fresh new recipes and live video tutorials.

Get to know Q&A with Ann:

Go to last-minute meal:

I do a lot of what I call snack dinners. It's sort of like a charcuterie or a cheese board, but with far less meat or cheese and way more vegetables. I arrange food like a little nub of good cheese, a few pieces of prosciutto, some quickly steamed green beans or broccolini, some raw veggies like carrots and grape tomatoes, clusters of grapes, some crackers, and little bowls of nuts and olives on a sheet pan, and we all just snack our way through dinner. It's a great way to use up those little bits of food you have hanging out in the fridge, it takes about 10 minutes to pull together, and everyone loves it.

Being a mom, how would you recommend dealing with a picky eater:

Well, I first have to admit that I hit the mom jackpot and that my kids (13-year-old twin boys) are very good, very adventurous eaters. That said, I've spent plenty of time with picky eaters. Some tips that have helped with them are to involve them in prep, which gets them more interested in what you're eating and gives them a sense of pride about it; never force them to eat the food (which always backfires; and somehow play up the idea that interesting people try new things (without actually saying that outright).

Favorite southern dish:

Banana pudding! Homemade pudding, of course, never the boxed stuff (which tastes like chemicals to me).

If you were stranded on an island and had to survive with nothing but a grill, what are five things you would bring:

Assuming that I could make my own firewood and catch fish, here's what I would bring:

  1. Good salt: Because a nice fleur de sel is a necessity in my book.
  2. Ground cumin: My favorite spice for grilled food
  3. Olive oil: To enrich that lean fish I'll be catching and grilling
  4. Romaine lettuce seeds: So that I could grow as much as I could for grilling--my favorite veggie to grill (and great with that olive oil and good salt)
  5. Loads of garlic: To mix with that olive oil and put on all the fish, shrimp, clams, mussels, and oysters I'll be harvesting!

The hardest challenge when cooking for your boys:

Trying to stay out of a cooking rut. Because we are often so busy, I have my fallback meals that I repeat over and over. And even though my whole career is built on creating recipes and writing about food, I'll find myself asking, "What other things do people eat?" because I'm so mired in the same old thing.

Craziest cooking story:

This was in graduate school, when my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I didn't have much money. We wanted to have a cookout, but we didn't own a grill. Rather than go through the trouble and effort of borrowing and transporting one, we brainstormed and came up with what turned out to be the perfect solution. Patrick simply dug a hole in the backyard, built a charcoal fire in it, and topped it with the rack from our oven. I honestly don't even remember what we cooked--probably steaks or burgers--but I love that we just figured out a way to make it work with what we had.

Role model:

My mom. She is the most caring, generous person I know.