Hi and welcome to The Orange Bee, I am so happy you dropped by. I’m Linda and I’m the boss of this blog. Let me state the obvious, I love food. I love to look at food, read about food, look at photos of food, prepare food, cook food and of course, eat food. I also have a mad passion for honeybees. I blame my enthusiasm for bees on my understanding of the important role they play in so much of the food I love.
I spend a remarkable amount of time thinking about food. I don’t merely focus on eating food, but more on preparing it and turning it into a mouthwatering meal, snack or dessert. Whether it be a simple summer tomato salad, an ooey-gooey three layer German chocolate cake, or a big pot of rich, flavorful seafood gumbo; I spend endless hours tossing ideas around in my head with regard to what outstanding dish will come out of my kitchen next. Thoughtful consideration goes into every meal I prepare, starting with availability and ease or non-ease of preparation, followed by flavor, texture and color combos. Without a doubt the #1 reason I cook anything is to satisfy what I am craving or have a desire to eat.
I’ve devoted more than 3 years to the art of keeping bees. I first was mentored by a gentleman beekeeper that kept bees for over 20 years. In addition to his teachings I’ve read countless books, articles and information about bees, but the place where I learned the most was in the field. Literally, out in the field in the apiary working with my bees, capturing swarms and removing unwanted hives. The satisfaction of the hard work pays off when it’s honey harvest time, which I successfully did for 3 years in a row, honey being a wonderful addition to many of my favorite recipes.
To be honest with you my first kitchen memories are of playing in a bath in a big-old country-house sink; complete with a large window for gazing out across acreage crowded with tall Texas pines and live oak trees draped with Spanish moss. Those were the days! Yep, not too sanitary on any count, so let’s just throw that baby out with the bathwater and fast forward.
My joy of spending time in the kitchen began when I was around 3 years old. My Dad was the gumbo man, frequently seen stirring a roux until it became the color of a Hershey bar, at the stove, while I kneeled on an aged kitchen stool, peeling fresh caught shrimp to be added to his famous gumbo.
Alongside learning kitchen skills from my Dad, I learned the technique of baking from my Mom. The “bread” table was enshrined in our family kitchen for the sole purpose of kneading bread, patting out biscuits (the lard kind), or rolling out the perfect piecrust. I, however, have yet to master the perfect piecrust. Since dessert is my favorite course I’m grateful for those piecrusts which often times turned into my favorite pie – lemon meringue. My mom’s lemon meringue pie to this day is my absolute favorite pie!
Growing up on the Texas gulf coast, close to Cajun Louisiana, meant a bounty of wild caught gulf shrimp, blue crab, fish, and crawfish. I grew up eating my share of steamy, spicy boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, crawdads, dirty rice, etouffee, and creole anything. I continue to have a yen for all things seafood, especially gulf caught, as well as Cajun and creole dishes. Other mainstays on my childhood dinner table were southern country-style meals. Mac and cheese, fried okra, jello salad, thick juicy pork chops, mashed potatoes, homemade breads and pot-roast with gravy. Oceans of gravy!
I am a wife, a mother to two grown daughters and one fantastic son-in-law, an empty nester. Besides my love of creating and preparing delicious meals I also love to peruse food magazines and cookbooks. When not wearing an apron, I am an avid bird watcher, devoted yoga student, and lover of the outdoors. I never turn down an opportunity to travel, dig listening to a wide variety of music and like to keep a book at hand.
I put up my first post of The Orange Bee in January 2011, when my man Dan gifted me with a complete beekeeper outfit and I was about to launch my bee keeping adventure. In March of that year I obtained my first hive and continued to build my apiary to 8 hives. Sadly, I had to sell them when recently we moved from Texas to North Carolina. I have found a buzzing opportunity here in North Carolina to be the resident beekeeper at the Greensboro Science Center. I’ll share that adventure as it unfolds in early 2015. I remain passionate about spreading the word and saving the bees as stated earlier, I understand their relevance to the foods I love so much.
I’m delighted to share my trials, failures and successes in the kitchen. In this day of so many trends being brought to the dinner table I find fresh, seasonal, local (if possible), healthy and flavorful meals to be optimal. I use the freshest produce, meats and seafood available, genuine butter, eggs and milk, good quality spices and herbs, and I keep it real. Real, so that you can recreate any appetizing stuff you find here.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or recipe requests. If you have a specific question you may find the answer on my FAQ page.
I write all of the posts, shoot all of the photos, edit anything that needs it and put it all out here for you to dig into. I hope you enjoy The Orange Bee.