About Me

Hello! I am so glad you decided to visit my food blog!

My name is Mary Duke. (Yes, it’s a double name like Mary Jane or Billy Jo. I’m just happy my mother didn’t name me “Bubba!”)

I’m a wife, mother, retired registered dietitian, friend, and volunteer…and I write a food column called Mary Duke Cooks! Sassy Southern for our community newspaper in East Tennessee, The News and Neighbor.

You may be wondering why I chose Sassy Southern. Let me explain. Being “sassy” in the south is not being rude, it’s an attitude of confidence. It’s meeting life head on with your head held high facing whatever life throws at you with just a little bit of spunk.

Being southern is more than being born in a certain part of the country. Anyone can have southern traits. If you can be the chairperson of a 72 hour fundraising event while maintaining a smile and not killing anyone, you’re on the right track. If you write thank you notes, appreciate people for who they truly are, and overlook their faults, you may be more southern than you think. So, if you take a little bit of sassy-ness and add some warmth and genuine hospitality – you have Sassy Southern!

Each week Mary Duke Cooks! Sassy Southern will have a recipe – sometimes with a humorous and yet unbelievable story. (My friends say, “You can’t make this stuff up. Truth is stranger than fiction!”) There will be a variety of recipes for you to explore including tailgating, recipes for kids, teachers’ gifts, decadent desserts, easy appetizers, and foods to entertain with and impress your friends! I will share recipes for the food I grew up with (comfort food) and the multicultural and fusion food I love now.

If you really love delicious food and are passionate about eating and cooking like I am, then this Sassy Southern is for you. You’re welcome to visit anytime!


15 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Please post your recipe for fresh peach pie. My paper was misplaced before I could get cut it out of the paper. Look forward to your column each week

  2. I have made the Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal twice this week…a new family favorite!! I made mine gluten free so my daughter can enjoy them. She ate the first batch in 2 days and then asked me to triple the recipe next time!! Yeah! something she can eat that is semi-healthy. She misses Poptarts, muffins, donuts, bars etc so now she feels like she is not “missing out”!!

    • Thank you for trying the Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal! As a retired Registered Dietitian I cannot tell you how happy it makes me when individuals with food allergies find replacements for foods they miss eating! I became lactose intolerant last year and have had to make so many adjustments but that pales in comparison to having a child with a food allergy. I applaud you for helping her through this transition and looking for gluten free recipes to enrich her life with foods she loves! Did you see the other versions of the baked oatmeal recipe online? Perhaps she will find others that excite her as much as this one did!

      Thank you for commenting. You made my day!!
      Mary Duke

  3. Hi Mary Duke I’m so glad that I discovered your blog glad to see that you’re doing so well I will share the link with Leila Take care. Judi White (Jamaica mission trips)

  4. I made your chicken enchiladas and they were great! Thank you. It was so good that I wanted to prepare it again and make it into a complete meal by adding vegetables. So, in the next batch, I followed your recipe to the letter with these additions: I lined the flour tortillas with fresh spinach before adding the chicken mixture. I added a can each of black beans and corn to the chicken mixture. (I drained the beans well and grilled the corn in a skillet first.) These additions turned out great and now it is a complete one dish meal. I wanted to share that with you and hope it’s okay.. Thanks for all the excellent recipes.

    • Thank you for commenting. Your recipe sounds delicious! Since you like corn and black beans, you may want to try Southwestern Lasagna, a beef enchilada recipe with red enchilada sauce, corn and black beans. My kids love it because the flour tortillas take on the flavor of the red enchilada sauce and get a warm, soft texture. They almost melt in your mouth!

      Best to you!
      Mary Duke Cooks Sassy Southern

  5. Hi Mary Duke! Your acorn squash spring salad looks delicious! So I sent it to a sister in Montana, and she asked me how much maple syrup goes in the vinaigrette. (Typo, I guess; it doesn’t say in the N&N recipe dated 11/3/21.) Thanks!! Katy

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