Jodi Rhoden is a writer, baker, activist, and entrepreneur in West Asheville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Duncan, and their son, Jasper. Jodi is the founder and former owner of Short Street Cakes in West Asheville, and she uses her 10 years of small-scale business experience to mentor entrepreneurs through Vision + Vocation, Birds Eye Business Planning and Adventures, and Mountain Bizworks. Jodi loves to travel, aspires to keep chickens and bees, and is currently writing a memoir about her life in cake.
We had a small but mighty convening of the Feel Good Book Club last night, graciously hosted by Molly Hamilton in Sugar Hollow. 📚💖 Our book was Becoming by Michelle Obama. To be honest, l I love Michelle but I didn’t think this book would be earth-shattering. I felt that it would be bland & safe & maybe a little sappy. It was none of these things. Her writing style is so engaging, her warmth & empathy is so palpable, her convictions & clarity & truthfulness and integrity so clear. This book was insightful and a joy to read (spoiler alert: the book ends with the 2016 election and that ending SUUUCKS 😂😭😕) As Emergent Strategy / adrienne maree brown said, “she’s not a radical or even really political, but she lets love lead her life.” Brava, Michelle, and please tell Barack Obama that I miss him and I made him this Sweet Potato Pie. 🍠🥧 So the pie! I selfishly did not take pictures of anybody else’s food but let me tell you about it: our food theme was “presidential” so Molly made the Obama’s chili recipe- a beautiful fresh veg and bean chili with ground turkey and turmeric! She also made grits a la Jimmy Carter. Cathy made a gorgeous kale fennel salad (Cathy what else was in that salad?), inspired by Michelle’s garden, nutrition, food security and local food initiatives (which, as a group of farmers, bakers, and food activists, we agreed had made a huge difference in casually bringing those issues into the mainstream and pop culture). Annie Louise made a delightful sweet potato pecan salad from the Moosewood cookbook. And I made sweet potato pie because it’s Barack’s favorite. It turned out really good so here’s the recipe!
Gingersnap crust: 1 box Gingersnap Cookies, pulverized in the food processor (should yield 1.5-2 cups of crumbs). Mix that with 1 stick melted salted butter and 1 t. ground ginger. Press into bottom of your pie dish (no need to parbake the crust).
The filling: combine in this order: 1-ish pounds of baked sweet potatoes another stick of melted butter (don’t judge!) 1/2 c. Brown sugar 1/4 c. maple syrup 1 t. cinnamon 1/2 t. salt 2 eggs 1.5 cups whole milk Pour filling into crust and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.
The whipped cream: 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1/2 cup powdered sugar Pinch salt 1/2 t. Cardamom Whip in mixer with whisk attachment until stiff peaks form.✨😘 ... See MoreSee Less
I’d fly in for that book club experience! Just started this book and echo your thoughts in her writing. So nourishing.
I’ll have to try out this pie recipe! Also I may just have to check out this book after such an enthusiastic endorsement!
I love how you deftly blend a book review, a party review, a smattering of political observation, and a delicious recipe all in just a few dozen words. Jodi, your writing is so tight and engaging. Thanks for sharing it. I want to read this book now. And try the recipe.
“Reputation has a lot to do with success in anything. Thats why you should always keep it honest!” -words to live by from Charity Ray of the Mount Olive Community, Mars Hill, NC.
It was an honor to document Charity Ray’s oral history of Black Walnut Pound Cake for Edible Asheville! Of course, a cake is always so much more than a cake: it is a story of celebration and community. I learned so much about Appalachian natural and human history working on this story, from Rosenwald Schools to the local wildcrafting economy. I hope you’ll pick up a copy and check out the recipe, and take a moment to honor our foremothers in baking.
I want to share with you this note I received from a friend who has relocated from Asheville to Pittsburgh, and works in a needle exchange program there (Prevention Point Pittsburgh), and bought a copy of Cake Ladies for a beloved volunteer there. I have saved and re-read this email so many times, because it reminds me of who I am and what I care about and why I bake and why I started Short Street Cakes and why I wrote the book and what my highest hopes for any of my work could be. Thank you, Sarah Danforth, for reminding me of my purpose and joy. May we each find and be reminded of these in our creative expressions, and may the New Year bring many more opportunities for each of us to use the gifts of creativity that we ALL possess in ways that are, as Sarah says, sacred and essential.
Just wanted to let you know that I gave my friend Rachel her copy of Cake Ladies yesterday, and she burst into tears at the inscription and totally loved the book. It’s real, you know (I mean, of course YOU know), the ways that baking sweets for people in our community is both a sacred and essential act of showing love and commitment. Yesterday at the exchange we had a holiday cookie table (cookie tables are a thing up here in Pittsburgh) for the needle exchange, and the ways that people were so excited and sharing stories about cookie tables from their family’s past…just that baking is so much more than just baking, and I’m so glad that I got to give your book to my friend and volunteer who really epitomizes that.
Thanks for all the great work that you do in the world. It’s a light that shines, and is needed.
p.s. remember when you were getting started with short street and you used to bring cupcakes to the Ahope shelter? That meant so much to the people there, that they got to have beautiful baked goods. I just remembered that and wanted to remind you of it, too." ... See MoreSee Less
Holiday sale! Free Shipping on inscribed copies of Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition!
The weather is cooling and the holidays are upon us. In honor of the High Holy Days of Baking, I am offering free shipping on inscribed copies of my cookbook Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition! The first 50 purchases placed by December 15th will receive free shipping, and all orders will be shipped within the United States in time for Christmas. After you order, you will receive a confirmation email, at which point you can give me information about the inscription you would like.