Statesboro Herald food columnist and “Food Network Star” finalist Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser has released her debut memoir, “Some Kinda Good: Good Food and Good Company, That’s What It’s All About.” The 283-page book is filled with recipes, restaurant reviews and more than 100 color photographs.
In addition, Lingenfelser has included a compilation of short stories highlighting her cooking competitions, her journey through Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah, family traditions and life lessons.
A native of Augusta, Lingenfelser was a top 10 finalist on Season 14 of “Food Network Star,” a top 36 finalist on ABC TV’s “The Taste,” and she represented Georgia in “Dr. Oz’s Nationwide Healthy Recipe Challenge.” A graduate of Georgia Southern University, she is also a regular contributor for Southern Soil magazine, and the author of the blog, Some Kinda Good.
“I started my blog in 2011 with one idea in mind, a quote from the late Julia Child, who said, ‘Find something you’re passionate about, and keep tremendously interested in it.’ This inspired my blog and my book, and so much of my success in culinary entertainment has come because I found something I was passionate about and kept tremendously interested in it,” she said.
Lingenfelser says that what drives her is a desire to make a living doing something she loves.
“I have goals and I believe in pursuing them with passion. We’re all wired with gifts and talents, and when you can align those with what you want out of life, that’s a recipe for thriving! We get one life to live and have to make it count,” she said.
When asked why she chose to write a book at this stage of her life and career, Lingenfelser says there’s no time like the present.
“I’ve thought of having a book for a long time, and this is the year I decided to make it happen. I wanted to capitalize on the momentum from my time on ‘Food Network Star,’ and continue building my brand,” she said.
Lingenfelser has been in the culinary world for quite some time, she said, performing live cooking demonstrations, writing, guest judging food events and reviewing restaurants, but she’s never had her own product to showcase.
“It’s nice to finally have something I can allow others to take home, and [it] will give folks an opportunity to connect with my life, food and upbringing on a deeper level,” she said.
Writing about food has been inspirational for Lingenfelser.
“When you do what you love, success comes. So often, we get stuck in a rut or just go through the motions of life. This idea resonated with me when I was in a low place. Blogging and food writing kept me going and gave me something to look forward to. One thing led to another and here we are,” she said.
Lingenfelser has developed a following because Some Kinda Good is a Southern coastal brand that celebrates in-season, locally-sourced food — and that resonates in this area in particular. Many of her recipes are reflective of the ingredients that can be readily found on the Georgia coast, like wild Georgia shrimp. Her recipes in this book feature those ingredients, as well as Southern staples like spicy pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes.
“There’s a wonderful cold Georgia blue crab dip recipe, too, that I’m probably most excited about,” she said. “But it’s not just seafood. My family’s farm is in middle Georgia, in Twiggs County, and my husband often hunts the land. I share some tasty ways to cook with venison, too.”
Lingenfelser says that her recipes are an excellent choice for local cooks because they celebrate local ingredients that are grown in and unique to this area.
“This is approachable, recognizable food that you don’t have to be a chef to know how to execute. The recipes are easy and made for folks who enjoy sharing a good meal with the ones they love,” she said.
In addition to the recipes, Lingenfelser has included a chapter “On Cooking,” which includes practical tips she learned in culinary school and in her years of cooking for family and friends.
The book also features restaurant reviews, which are a tricky thing, Lingenfelser says, because, “as we all know, they come and go.”
“They open and close. While I only feature a few restaurants in each city, I strived to include those anchor restaurants — the ones who have longevity, are the shining jewels of a town and locally-owned establishments truly unique to a place,” she said.
She also included coffee shops, farmers markets and meat markets.
“Think of it as a food lover’s guide to each destination,” she added. The book features locations from Atlanta to the coast and in between, even rural locations like Juliet and Uvalda.
Lingenfelser, who lives in Savannah with her husband, Kurt, is quick to point out that she did not arrive at this point in her journey on her own.
“I’d like to thank my good friend, Tori Ivey Sprankel, for designing a highly professional and beautiful book cover that will compete with the best of them,” she said, adding that she plans to now sit back and take in the feedback from this book and learn from it. She is considering more restaurant reviews.
“If people love the restaurant reviews, maybe that’s the next direction for me — a more comprehensive restaurant review guidebook. I think a full-on cookbook is definitely in my future,” she said.
Lingenfelser describes herself as a food writer and food enthusiast, someone who enjoys great food and learning about it. But she says her book — and her story — is not just about food.
“My story is about overcoming. It’s about using what you’ve got, where you are, to go after the things that make your heart beat, no matter the size of the stage. ‘Some Kinda Good’ is a timeline of my journey to present day, a window into a world of risks, dreams and possibilities, my heart poured out onto its pages,” she said. “I hope my story inspires others to be fearless in the pursuit of what sets their soul on fire, and to go confidently in the direction of their dreams. It’s the perfect book for anyone who dares to dream and acts on those instincts.”
Lingenfelser will host a book launch party Aug. 3 at E. Shaver, Bookseller at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com for the event located at 326 Bull Street in Savannah. The book is available as an eBook and hardback, and can be purchased at more than 39,000 bookstores and major online retailers such as Amazon and Barns & Noble.
For more information, visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.