I am so excited to launch this new featured Mom post where we will showcase one of YOU awesome Gridiron Moms. I could not think of a better Mom to kick start this off with other than MY Mom! After all, she is the foundation of Mrs. Gridiron! January is a memorial time of sorts for me as we celebrate my Mom’s birthday on January 12th and the anniversary of her death on January 20th. I still can’t believe it has been nineteen years since she passed. She would have loved the adventure of Mrs. Gridiron and been right alongside me for the ride. So here is a little bit about the best Mom, mine!
Evelyn Cary Briggle was a native Dallasite who was renowned for her wicked sense of humor, fashion sense, creativity, cooking and her parties. Oh, her parties! Evelyn had an innate ability to learn quickly about her guest’s likes and dislikes and to tailor her gatherings in a way that each guest felt special, tended to and honored. Her passion with every party she had was to create a moment where time stood still, and people were present in their fellowship with one another. As such, whether it was a Tuesday night supper or a Saturday night seated dinner with Royalty, each guest left full of delicious food and feeling as if they had been a part of something magical.
Evelyn got her start in the kitchen as a little girl with her Mother and her Grandmother and immediately took to cooking. She had a thirst for knowledge and for creating unexpected and ahead of their time dishes. It was through Helen Corbitt that she honed her skills as she cooked alongside her for many years. Their relationship began when Helen took the reigns as Executive Chef of the Zodiac Room at Neiman Marcus downtown. Helen was a pioneer of her time in many ways, least of which as the first female chef at the Zodiac Room. Helen decided to start doing cooking classes for the ladies and Evelyn was asked to be one of her sous chefs. It was an extraordinary experience that opened Evelyn up to another world of cooking and entertaining.
The mother of three grown daughters, Evelyn spent most of their childhood as a stay-at-home mom. In addition to cooking and entertaining she had many talents. She loved anything that tapped into her creativity such as needle pointing and interior decorating. As her girls grew older, she went to work in a needlepoint shop sharing her talents and helping others to improve their needlepoint skills. Later in life, she worked at an amazing gift shop helping young brides register for all the essentials they needed to begin their new lives and their new entertaining adventures.
Sometimes I sit and imagine what it would be like to cook with her today, and I imagine all the things she would have taught me, and I her. My Mom was a rare breed, and she is missed dearly every single day!
As a part of this ongoing feature, we will be asking a series of “favorites” questions. Since my Mom isn’t here to answer, I’ll share my favorites with you all.
MVP Mom Q+A
What is your favorite meal?
This is a tough question because I love and appreciate all types of food. I get such joy over fixing someone else’s favorite meal and watching them enjoy it. If I had to pick just one meal that I love to make it would be braised short ribs with parmesan risotto and green beans with tomatoes, shallots and pine nuts. Now I’m hungry!
What is your favorite restaurant?
Picking just a favorite restaurant is like picking a favorite child! For Italian, it would be Taverna, for southern classics it would be Rapscallion, for BBQ it would be 18th and Vine, for French it would be Boulevardier, for German-American it would be Blatt, for sushi it would be Sushi Axiom.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget/tool?
I probably could not survive the most without my KitchenAid Mixer. I use it every single week for a variety of things, and it makes my cooking life so much easier and faster!
What do you like to do to recharge your batteries?
I am a people person, so what gives me the most reset is to spend time in fellowship with my friends and family. It feeds my soul, and I crave the connection.
What is your go-to hostess gift?
I love to bring a favorite bottle of wine. One that I know the host may not have tried before. We have found several new favorites from wine given to us!
What is your entertaining must have?
For me creating the right ambiance is the most important part of hosting any party. So, I start with thinking about the party from my guest’s perspective. I mimic the feel I want to convey with my menu, china, serving pieces, flowers, decor and party favors.
What is your favorite holiday to host?
This might have been the easiest question for me to answer. While we host several parties throughout the year, hands down my favorite is our annual Christmas party. Growing up, my parents always had a party on Christmas Day night. It was a typical buffet table of finger foods, and I just remember how much fun I had with my cousins and friends eating and playing. We started hosting our annual party a few years back, and while the recipes might be different, I serve many of the items my Mom did like meatballs, little smokies, and shrimp. I always change a few things up every year to keep it fresh and new. And as soon as the party is over, I take copious notes so I can remember the next year what to repeat and what to change.