Meet Rebecca Gordon, a Southern lifestyle expert, as well as media personality, cook, writer, hostess and football fanatic. After a 13-year career, she recently stepped away from running the Southern Living Test Kitchens to launch her own brand, Buttermilk Lipstick, that encompasses of all her passions–food, fashion, style and beauty.
Where did you grow up? And what brought you to Birmingham?
I’m proud to say that Birmingham is my hometown. I always refer to it as the biggest small town, where everyone knows your mama and your daddy and they’re quick to make sure everyone is doing just fine. Not to mention, it’s one stop shopping for superb barbecue, the best doctors in the country, beautifully manicured neighborhoods and award-winning schools all fueled by undertones of a passion for Southern college football that run generations deep. It’s also an easy city to fly in and out of. I’m here to stay.
Tell us about Buttermilk Lipstick.
A dream come true! I’ve always wanted to launch a brand of my own that speaks to all of my passions from fashion, style, and beauty as well as being able to learn from others by sharing their unique stories through interviews—everyone has a story to tell. Having worked in a professional home kitchen setting, I also wanted to share all of the brands and products on the market I love as well as that priceless cooking knowledge that used to get left on the cutting room floor due to lack of space. Most everything on Buttermilk Lipstick ties back to my obsession for Southern food and cooking. I also wanted a way to connect with other college football fanatics like myself so you’ll find a hefty dose of tailgating and such. Each post is accompanied with a song to further enhance the visitor’s experience. I made that decision pretty late in the planning but I can’t imagine the recipes and posts without them.
Can you share with us a cooking memory, a kitchen disaster or something else memorable?
I actually have a suppertime memory that I can’t seem to shake… The Lima Bean Stand-Off, sort of Cool Hand Luke-style. It took place in my grandmother’s kitchen complete with 1950’s boomerang formica countertops in Mobile.
I’m like, “No thank you, I don’t care for any.” And she’s like, “But you’ve never had mine.” And I’m like, “No thank you, I don’t care for any.” And on it went … Needless to say, strong wills run in the family and my mom loved every minute of it, knowing she would have had to eat them, where I, on the other hand, did not. Ironically, my heart now flutters over a serving of farm fresh succotash loaded with smoky chunks of crisp bacon. Oh well, you live, try new things, and see what sticks.
Did you have a cooking mentor growing up?
Yes! Said grandmother above, Nana. I mention her from time to time on Buttermilk Lipstick and her legacy in the kitchen inspires me to make sure I celebrate the past.
I also used to cook with my mom a good bit. She’s the one who actually walked me through my first chocolate layer cake. We used a cake recipe from a vintage Hershey’s cookbook and Nana’s old fashioned boiled chocolate frosting. She was always good at troubleshooting if something went awry by asking a ga-zillion questions. Her tips and advice have served me and folks across the South well over the years.
What did your bedroom look like as a teenage girl?
Oh glory. Laura Ashley pink and green complete with custom balloon valence. It was the 80’s and it carried me through high school. I’m sure I had a dress to match with grosgrain ribbon threaded ballet flats that wrapped around my ankle. When I grew older and I would return from being out with friends, sometimes my mom would have the sheets on my bed turned down just so, like you’d find in a hotel. It always made me feel special. I have three siblings so the little things always meant so much.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I have two:
Treat others as you would want to be treated.
Don’t judge. You just don’t know what they’ve been through.
What advice would you give to others?
The same as above… be sweet to one another.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I like to work, so it’s sort of not relaxing when I’m not progressing forward in some way whether cooking, gardening, going to the gym, doing laundry, pinning images on Pinterest (preferably with a cocktail), or watching a football game. The most important thing is that I have my husband and pups around for company while I do it.
Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
I’m a nerd. I’d prefer to have nothing on the books and see how the night unfolds naturally.
Favorite local restaurant?
Chez Fonfon–burger, fries, and a couple of Old Fashioned’s, please.
What are you listening to these days?
Everything! Each post on Buttermilk Lipstick gets a song so I’m constantly revisiting the old and checking out the new. It also depends on what I’m doing while I’m tuned in. In general, I feel like you can’t go wrong with the Allman Brothers.
What books are you currently reading?
Ummm, People magazine and US Weekly
Do you have any personality quirks or irrational fears?
Of course and I try to embrace them. I’m obsessive, so my profession has served me well (it’s sort of perfect in that regard). You’re always in search of the next best, latest and greatest. On a more personal side, I think and speak in pop culture one-liners from movies and songs, the volume must always be on an even number, I have to have peppermint tic tacs on my person at all times. (Fresh breath is EVERYTHING.) And fresh blonde tresses must be maintained every 4 weeks (shampoo sink gossip, optional).
If your house was on fire what’s the one non living thing you would grab?
My grandmother’s recipe box.
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God).
Buttermilk, bacon and skinny jeans.
Thanks for sharing, Rebecca! To learn more about Rebecca, visit her site Buttermilk Lipstick and be sure and catch Rebecca on Fox 6 at 10 a.m. on Tide & Tigers Today each Saturday morning during football season for delicious tailgating recipes and tips on how to elevate you tailgate at home or away!
And a huge thanks to Beth Hontzas for today’s photos! To see more of Beth’s work and follow her blog, check out her website at www.bethhontzas.com!