Courtney Hill’s new cookbook puts a fresh spin on mid-century Midwest cooking

Growing up in Southwest Missouri, Courtney Hill was taught everything about cooking from her mother, who learned from her mother. With relatives who are farmers, Hill was surrounded by good food and loved to create dishes with her family. After getting her master’s degree in family and consumer sciences, she taught high schoolers for four years before getting married in 2005. Now, she and her husband own 8183 Studio in downtown KC, a commercial production studio. As a mother of fraternal twins, most of her time was devoted to Hill’s children and being a stay-at-home mom. Her new project, Homemade: The American Family Cookbook, out now via Mascot Books, was a way of getting a little time to herself. Hill loves anything with a mid-century vintage vibe, and this book channels it into cooking. “While I was a stay-at-home mom, I found myself slipping away a bit,” she says. “I was knee-deep in dirty diapers and schedules. I needed to do something for myself as a creative outlet.”

In 2015, Hill started a video cooking blog to share her recipes and show new and experienced cooks how to create simple, delicious meals. With the pandemic, she found the time to turn the project into the cookbook she had always wanted to make.

What’s in the cookbook? The cookbook is a general cookbook with classic Midwest American recipes, as well as many of my own. Like most American cooking, there is a mixture of ethnicities and genres all rolled into one. They are simple recipes, with real ingredients, that you’ll actually make.

Who is the intended audience? The cookbook is for any and everyone. It is a collection of easy-to-prepare recipes, staples for every pantry. It is great for beginners as well as longtime cooks because there are a lot of cooking tips. I hope it will inspire and teach people to cook more meals at home.

How does your love of both nostalgia and modernity play out in the book? I think a good example of this mixture is the SP(Courtney) recipe (spaghetti with meat sauce). It is a simple, classic meal many of us have had all of our lives. You can either use store-bought sauce or make the included sauce recipe from scratch, and it gives a modern, low carb-option of replacing pasta with spaghetti squash. There are many recipes that tie the vintage with the modern in the book.

Favorite Places In KC

West Bottoms: “I love to thrift and antique, and going to first Fridays with my best friend is a monthly tradition.

Midland Theatre: “The Midland Theatre is one of my favorite buildings in the city. The architecture just transports you to another era, and it is truly magical to see and experience.

Antiquing: Hill loves antiquing for vintage and mid-century pieces at places like the River Market Antique Mall, the Shawnee Antique malls and Brass Armadillo Antique mall.

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