The Happiness Quotient

The Studio Mama and Her Musical Cookbook - Rebecca Wood

October 28, 2022 Thom Pollard Episode 110
The Studio Mama and Her Musical Cookbook - Rebecca Wood
The Happiness Quotient
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The Happiness Quotient
The Studio Mama and Her Musical Cookbook - Rebecca Wood
Oct 28, 2022 Episode 110
Thom Pollard

Rebecca Wood was the chef, trusted keeper, and diviner at Zac Brown’s renowned Southern Ground Nashville studio for nearly a decade. While she was intimately familiar with the ghosts and secrets of the converted church that housed the studio, her passion was cooking for the musicians recording there, curating choice down-home meals and menus from family recipes. The heart of The Studio Mama Cookbook is a collection of these menus, each created for an artist who worked
 at the studio. It’s a combo plate of music, food, people, and stories. 

More about Rebecca and how to get her awesome Studio Mama cookbook:
https://www.heartsinthemix.com/

Send us a Text Message.

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Show Notes Transcript

Rebecca Wood was the chef, trusted keeper, and diviner at Zac Brown’s renowned Southern Ground Nashville studio for nearly a decade. While she was intimately familiar with the ghosts and secrets of the converted church that housed the studio, her passion was cooking for the musicians recording there, curating choice down-home meals and menus from family recipes. The heart of The Studio Mama Cookbook is a collection of these menus, each created for an artist who worked
 at the studio. It’s a combo plate of music, food, people, and stories. 

More about Rebecca and how to get her awesome Studio Mama cookbook:
https://www.heartsinthemix.com/

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Thom Pollard:

This is the happiness quotient I'm Thom Pollard please before we move on to this awesome interview with Rebecca would known as studio mama talking about her cookbook please subscribe wherever you are listening or watching as this is also on YouTube as well okay did it and appreciated Navy and happy today is a good one. I mean how many people do you know that are called studio mama? Rebecca Wood was the chef trusted keeper and diviner at Zac Brown's renowned southern ground Nashville studio for almost a decade. And if you don't know who Zac Brown is, well, chicken fried. My old man. I practically well up just thinking about that second song and chicken fried. I know it's a weird story, but it reminds me of my dog bud driving to Woodstock, New York to visit the Butterfields to do a documentary about Paul. Zac Brown studio was a converted church. I guess you could say that Rebecca's real talents and creative qualities came out helping transform 100 year old building into a warm home where beautiful music was made and as it would turn out, she ended up curating incredible down home meals and menus from old family recipes for her cookbook, which is called the studio mama cookbook, a collection of cherished southern recipes, real life stories and star studded menus from the Music City and that Music City is Nashville Tennessee. The heart of the studio mama cookbook is a collection of these menus, each of them created for an artist who worked at the studio. The menus break into tidbits in music history. What makes the acoustics of southern ground Nashville sounds so good. How was a bucket used to help Kris Kristofferson? Learn how to sing? How do Kacey Musgraves Christmas glitter and taco bowls go together? music fans enjoy learning with the Zac Brown Band Steven Tyler Megadeth Lee Brice the wood brothers Leon bridges, Cheap Trick Shawn Mendes, Carrie Underwood Dirks Bentley, what were they eating while they recorded? Well, let's let Rebecca tell us a little bit more. And I'm going to talk to her today. I need to do a preemptive strike and tell you that I have interviewed Rebecca's husband, Oliver on numerous occasions for the podcast. Oliver wood is one of the wood brothers the amazing band, and as many of you are well aware, their song happiness Jones is the theme song of this podcast to happiness jobs. So long story short, Rebecca is married to all of our wood, and then the wood brothers get into Zac Brown studio to record an album. And as many would imagine, the hours are long, it is not easy recording an album I guess I've never done it. But I know it would take many many hours well into the night, day after day. Being a family with two children, Rebecca and all of her know that family time is oh so precious. I'll let Rebecca take it from there to explain the genesis of this cookbook, the studio mama cookbook, and also her other satellite projects that can only happen when intelligent creatives get together and brainstorm over a good dinner or meal or treat.

Rebecca Wood:

studio hours are long. And in order to get any sort of family time we started making meals and the studio kitchen after that session was over the studio manager Matt and Gano came to me and said this is awesome. Can we do this for every session and so we read negotiated the studio rate so that it would include that like it wasn't an extra charge it wasn't like a negotiable thing. Every session that was in the main room got lunch and so I use as many local organic ingredients is that can find I had a food hub that I work with and you know lots of local farmers and kept a freezer full of things and made my own pickles and jams and jellies and and kept all of that stuff sort of on hand. And so even if there was a last minute session like we have so and so coming in tomorrow, I was able to pull things together.

Thom Pollard:

That is so awesome. What a cool thing to do because I mean not that it, it would be a bad thing to continue doing the what you originally started at the studio with, you know, doing some of the paperwork and things like that, but, but if you love to cook, it's like, hey, let's express ourselves here. And that's what music is, I suppose so. Must have gotten rave reviews. And you know, so are you still doing that? Is this still your thing? Are you have you,

Rebecca Wood:

when the pandemic hit, Zack shuttered the studio for a while, and few people have gone into record and have hired me as a contractor to come in and cook for them. So I have that and to go in and do that. But I got to spend most of that time really putting my book together. And I also started a weekly meal delivery for people, you know, when nobody was going out or whatever. Now I'm working on the studio mama Supper Club, which will be like a 30 person Max audience with and with an artist and multicourse meal and you know, wine and booze and all those things.

Thom Pollard:

That is awesome. So you because you started when you were promoting the book for the first time you did that with all of her I believe your husband Oliver wood to so people who contributed. Obviously, it wasn't like buying a book, you had to contribute something extra, but it was for a private showing. I think it was at your house or in the backyard

Rebecca Wood:

was that the wood brothers recording studio?

Thom Pollard:

Amazing. Amazing. So how did that go? It obviously went well, if this is an idea that you're, you know, continuing onward was

Rebecca Wood:

dreamy in every way it was the the guests were happy, the performers were happy. Even the bartender is a friend of ours. And he plays an incredible harmonica and as a poet, so he came and recited one of his works and played harmonica and my son came and sat in and he's an awesome musician, too. He played trombone, and the guests that were there were just blown away and really happy to be there too. And, and one of them actually asked me like, What is it that you you know, you have this book, and you've been doing these meals? Like, what is it that you want to do next? And my response was this, I want to do this. And so he has offered to help finance some of that going forward. So I have you know, since I have that project in my pocket, you know, and I know what the costs are. And I know I have a good handle on the business part of it. So now I just need the book it

Thom Pollard:

right on. Yeah. So what is there a musician or a band? The upcoming or you're just keeping just doing the basics first,

Rebecca Wood:

just in the basics first? Yeah, just trying to get a have a one sheet and a promo reel that I've been sending out to some managers and agents and making relationships and trying to try to make a pad

Thom Pollard:

Hey, so what's in the if, if somebody wanted to know what kind of recipes you have in there, you're from you're in Tennessee, so I would think ostensibly, there'll be some southern cooking in there and some of your own styles. What's in it like what, what?

Rebecca Wood:

Plenty of southern sort of things but there's some there's some flair to there's like an Asian chicken salad that's in the air that you would use with the leftovers from you know the spatchcock chicken or whatever so there's, there's a lot of there's there's a lot of main recipes. I mean, it's set up like a like a traditional cookbook so there's starters and drinks and mains and salads and soups and you know desserts and then spreads and things

Thom Pollard:

scrolling through it. I'm sorry about that fried chicken and waffles. I see honey drizzle. Like what's

Rebecca Wood:

was such an accident?

Thom Pollard:

Like obsessed with it right?

Rebecca Wood:

Hi. I well I had a corporate dinner coming in and they asked for a selection of of menus that they could choose from and I don't know what came over me but I've put chicken and waffles in there and then they picked it and I was like holy crap I don't fried chicken so I had to get our studio assistant Preston to come and teach me how to fried chicken. The recipe is is his fried chicken.

Thom Pollard:

Well when you you know for breakfast at least for me, it's the magic bullet is is salt Allah ittle bit of salty, a little bit of sweet some, you know, so like pancakes and syrup, but with the eggs too, and the toast and then the homefront, so that I'm like, I can almost not even talk looking at the picture. Are there any contributions from Zac Brown or from people in the bands? Or is this just your thing or just the favorites, maybe

Rebecca Wood:

it's my thing there, there are recipes that I created for. For those folks. Like there's a chocolate chip banana bread that I sort of created from my grandmother's recipe and made it into something for Zach, specifically, and every time he would come into the studio, I would have it ready for him. And then you know, have another loaf when it was loadout time for his bus to take home with him

Thom Pollard:

interviewed Oliver a couple of times for the happiness quotient and I just have this real fascination with the idea of because as a little kid, you you know, I would have my heroes who were musicians or rock stars or something. And, and as a kid, you never put them into a family, you don't think Oh, it's a what a family man. And you just think this guy who goes out and he jams and people Yeah, you know, go

Rebecca Wood:

appears on stage. And then that's,

Thom Pollard:

and then he and then he goes into a closet and sleep wires recharging. But but the more that I do the the the music is actually on? Well, I mean, granted a tour that takes many, many months of out of one's year. It is it is can be overwhelming at time. But it's actually the music is almost second in a way like these, like, like all of her all these people are just so committed to the what's not on the stage. And that, to me has become a much greater source of, of inspiration than anything, you know, because it's about a balance, I guess. And I know I'm veering away from the book a little bit, but, but during COVID, you probably saw the balance equal out because he tours a lot. But these are there's like some really amazing people of of character and dignity that are out there that they're not just these people who know how to jam on a guitar and sing a song. Yeah.

Rebecca Wood:

When Oliver was hum during COVID, it was the most time we had ever spent together. Like we don't usually spend more than six weeks at a time together. And that is a that seems like a long amount of time and so to be together for a year and a half and really get to know each other in a different sort of way. And they even get to work together. So he made a solo record, their studio is not too far from our house, so he could excuse himself and get a break from you know, these walls. Give me a break from you know, interacting.

Thom Pollard:

Any good marriage knows.

Rebecca Wood:

Yeah, I mean, having some space is important. But, but he also gave me the opportunity to do some to use my artwork to do the cover for his for his record, too. So that was a that was a fun

Thom Pollard:

project. Yeah. So did you grow up in Nashville? Where are you from there?

Rebecca Wood:

I grew up in Columbus, Georgia, Columbus, Georgia. Columbus, Georgia is a river town right on the border of Alabama. And it's sort of a military town. Fort Benning is there's sort of the world infantry training center.

Thom Pollard:

Do you grow up in a military was your dad or mom both

Rebecca Wood:

of my grandfather's retired at Fort Benning and so my, my parents grew up there and Columbus. Yeah, I went to high school and stuff there. And

Thom Pollard:

um, so how did you meet all of her?

Rebecca Wood:

Um, when I finished high school, my stepfather had taken a job in Atlanta. So we moved to Atlanta and I went to college at Georgia State and moved out and lived on my own and developed that sort of what you do when you're 20 something. We met through a friend of mine in college. And then I started going to shows and we were acquainted for a number of years and then in one day, something clicked and it got extra

Thom Pollard:

so awesome. Yeah, I it's I love long histories sometimes. And I'm my partner and I met we knew each other when she was still in high school and you know that we've just crossed paths and like what a really nice person and then we both lived our lives and 30 years later. Oh my gosh. while you're still that really nice, so you establish this connection, and then like there's no attachments or expectations on it, which is really cool, because you're not acting any other way than genuinely. Right. So you get to know each other. And then when you get back there, it's not like, Oh, let me tell you about myself. It's like, you already know the important stuff. So

Rebecca Wood:

we have a friend who said, you know, if there was a narrator for, you know, your life, or for whatever they're, they would say, Okay, you see that person, they'll be important later.

Thom Pollard:

So true, but you don't know it. That's the, you know, this is my classic tangent thing. But that's the most important thing that you could ever know, in life. And this I have two sons are 24 and 21. And they're, and I'm like, human, it doesn't even matter if there's a future with a person, but how you treat a person and how you behave and how you respect people, not judging or being unkind. It is important. And then sometimes it does come full circle, and you're like, Whoa, like it, this is crazy how life works. So hey, Rebecca. So if somebody is interested in in looking at your book, or at least getting a little overview or buying it, what do they do? Where do they go? And how can they get one

Rebecca Wood:

easiest place to get it would be my website, which is hearts in the mix.com there are signed and signed copies available. In addition to all my swag, I've got t shirts and bags and spice blends, and all of that sort of stuff. It's also available in local shops here in Nashville.

Thom Pollard:

That is awesome. So hearts in the mix. Tell me a little bit about that. That seems like that's who you are a little bit.

Rebecca Wood:

Yeah, I feel like so I was just listening actually, to your authenticity podcast and I love I love the idea of ripple reaching out and you don't know how far your ripple goes. Right. So putting myself putting my heart and to the things that I do means that you know, wherever that thing goes, it feeds the need of of whoever consumes it or wears it or passes it along. And you know, we don't we don't know how far reaching a ripple

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, we shut down and that's that's kind of the cool part of the mystery, I think. And so you you had because obviously you have that and I I've seen some posts and you know, follow social media and have been to your website and there's that you exude that. So that I mean just just you can kind of tell by seeing your face and your smile and everything. But now you create like this joy, you warm people's you nourish them literally with food and I'm excited to try some of the recipes and without putting you on the spot is do you have a favorite one recipe that you'd suggest like if you're going to start with one I would go right to the just put you on the spot sorry about that.

Rebecca Wood:

Well know when that is super simple and really makes a splash just the pimento cheese like you grate some cheese and add some mayonnaise and some roasted peppers and brought on a cracker right. So that is one that really is delicious and easy to do. Some of the ones that are a little more complicated and take a number of steps like if you wanted to go all the way out is the shrimp and grits where you make bacon jam and you make this smoke salsa and then then you assemble all of that with the shrimp and grits and that one is really special and over the top but it definitely requires planning ahead

Thom Pollard:

well I'll have to try that and I'll send a picture and it might not look as good as it tastes but that

Rebecca Wood:

I was so grateful to have a pro food photographer because it is not beautiful but man does it make you feel so happy?

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, no but and I wasn't projecting on to you. You're the cuz it looks lovely. But I would probably make what would look like a mush or something and be like what the leave me it's good. Like I'll show you Rebecca's photograph. But a professional photographer for food is vital. Yeah. They are worth their weight in gold. Hey, so any any appearances coming up? Are you doing a book signing hours there? No The event coming up or you're just in the planning stages now

Rebecca Wood:

I have a couple of catering gigs coming up and I have been asked to be on today in Nashville once a month so I'm gonna start doing that just like a little five minute cooking slot so trying to work out the dates on that and I would like to mention that all of the recipes in the book are affiliated with with a particular session or musician that I made them for so it's all you know I kept good notes for eight years and and then made a made a spreadsheet so I was able to track who who cooked what for and so each it's it's as much a cookbook as it is a coffee table book so there's it's a story book in addition to a collection of recipes

Thom Pollard:

hearts in the mix. Studio mama her heart indeed is in the mix. Rebecca wood has written the studio mama cookbook a collection of cherished southern recipes, real life stories, and star studded menus from the Music City. It looks absolutely fabulous. Good luck trying to even look at the pictures without hate to say it without salivating amazing stuff Zac Brown himself has said about Rebecca quote, Rebecca's spark and badass re were a perfect fit in the fold. She made southern ground a home away from home for anybody who came in. She was the heart of that place the studio Mama says the happiness quotient I hope you'll take a moment to subscribe or share this episode with anybody who might be inspired anybody who might want to have their heart in the mix. For more info on Rebecca wood and the studio mama cookbook, visit hearts in the mix.com where you can buy a signed copy of the book. It's a pleasure having you here thank you to the woods brothers as always for permission to use their amazing song happiness Jones. I will see you all real soon happy happy happy happy happy happy happy live