About us

About Us Image vineyard

We (Andy and Ann) met in 1966 and married in 1967.  As early members of the Louisiana State University Gourmet Club, we threw Zorba the Greek parties featuring casseroles bubbling with moussaka in the 70’s, then moved on to Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Corn Maquechoux,  and Blackened Redfish a la Paul Prudhomme in the 80s.  The New Basics Cookbook by Rosso and Lukins came out in 1989 and we poured through it for inspiration for the next decade, bookmarking recipes such as Marrakesh Lamb Tagine, which is still a favorite.  By 2001 we’d moved to northern California and were totally caught up with farmers’ markets, fresh, organic, healthy Michael Pollan-esque foods.  And now we’re revisiting those decades of recipes, finding the real winners, revising and enjoying ones that need a little updating, and are on the constant look-out for exciting new food ideas.

If you ask our 2 kids about our cooking, they would agree that Andy, their dad, cooked up a hot breakfast every morning until they headed off to college—and requested they sit down with us to eat it, much to their chagrin. When our son, Travis, got his NYC apartment post-grad school, I coached him through each step making “Hamburger and Campbell’s Pork n Beans casserole, a recipe from Mom Hill (we called my grandmother “Mom Hill,” since she wasn’t fond of the “grandma” label).  Always game for a culinary challenge, we diligently tested recipes for our food writer daughter Sara’s four cookbooks, which required us to take a dive into the unfamiliar world of Asian vegetables and then, for her most recent book Tacolicious, go equally deep into Mexican guisados.

Our together-in-the-kitchen didn’t begin in the gourmet wine country of Sonoma where we now live.  Andy and I were both teaching in Southern California  when we met.  Andy was in his first year teaching high school in Chino and I was in my first year teaching middle school in Claremont. We married 9 months later in my hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado, survived being apart two out of our first three years of marriage when the Army and Vietnam inconveniently intervened, moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, raised our two kids there, and settled in for 26 years of po’boys and crawfish boils.

Andy, as he puts it, is a “technologically-challenged” former LSU and Sonoma State U sociology professor. He sorely misses his captive student audiences who felt obliged to laugh at his puns. (It’s not easy to find fresh material for a spousal audience of one.) Andy can be incredibly funny, is always corny, and is probably as gentle and forgiving as is humanly possible. You’ll find him riding long distances on his Cervello road bike whenever he’s not cleaning up the kitchen or repairing the drip system in our yard.

As for my past life, I was a high school teacher at Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge. After I retired from the classroom and put in a few years at LSU’s Honors College as an advisor, I finally figured out a way to be my own boss (even though Andy claims I’ve always been his). About 12 years ago, with lots of help from Andy, I launched Miniblooms, a little garden design business, which helped us blossom in teeny Glen Ellen.

Today we cook and garden for two. Even when it’s just us, Andy will grill up his famous tri-tip steak, pouring rain be damned, and I’ll make a wilted arugula and tomato salad (with miso dressing) to go with it.  I have gone through my anything-with-yeast phase, my obsessive-compulsive granola phase, my jam-making phase, and I’m now focused on perfecting dan dan noodles. While I know cooking can a pain in the butt for some folks, for us, it’s a pleasure—one I’m hoping I can impart a bit here.

However, as much as we love to cook, we’re not into fuss. Big Little Meals is an extension of our love of bold flavors and little hassle. All paired, of course, with a lot of Sonoma wine. I hope you’ll enjoy reading and get a few go-to recipes out of it.