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Some Kinda Good with Rebekah Faulk: So long, Statesboro; hello, Lowcountry
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Rebekah Faulk - photo by REBEKAH FAULK/special

     Sometimes you have to embrace a place before you can move on. I remember the moment I chose to embrace Statesboro. It was during a solo lunch at McAlister’s Deli. No one here was writing about food, at least not in our hometown newspaper. I saw a need to highlight the local restaurants in our city, to draw positive attention to the chefs and restaurant owners and to help promote our outstanding farming community. I reached out and pitched my idea to the Statesboro Herald, and thankfully they agreed.
    That was nearly two years ago.
    Back then, I had no idea I would be invited to speak and single-handedly cook my shrimp and grits for 50 attendees at The Garden of the Coastal Plain at Georgia Southern University’s annual Lunch & Learn event — one of my most challenging feats yet — become a regular celebrity chef at the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers Market or host a local television program called “Statesboro Cooks.” I hadn’t a clue the opportunities following my passion for food writing would bring about.
    Every other week since May 19, 2013 — 40 food columns later — I’ve shared seasonal recipes, neighborhood restaurant reviews and hopefully have entertained you with my culinary adventures; among them, meeting Paula Deen and sharing what it was like to be a contestant on Season 2 of ABC’s “The Taste.” I’ve had a lot of fun with the “Local Spotlight,” featuring Statesboro staples such as Ellis Farm Fresh Meats and CAKE Bakery and Cool Beanz Espresso Bar. I’ve shared personal stories, too — like “Table Talk and Family Ties,” a tale about how the family table is a symbol of togetherness and an iconic, central hub in homes across America. “Food for the Soul — A Feast for Uncle George” discussed the precious tradition and binding social covenant of funeral food and how as Southerners, we sometimes eat better at a funeral than we do on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Those stories shaped my upbringing, and your response to them expressed genuine empathy. During my time as food columnist, I hope I’ve encouraged you to try a new restaurant, to cook something you’ve never experienced before or to ponder how food is connected to your own memories.
    Just as all good things must come to an end, my time has come to move on. It is bittersweet to announce that this is my final food column in the Statesboro Herald. This Georgia girl has accepted a new job in Charleston, South Carolina. By the time you read this, I will be settled in my new apartment just miles from the Atlantic Ocean, planning my next fishing excursion and where to eat dinner among the hundreds of award-winning restaurants led by James Beard-nominated chefs.
    You see, living in the Lowcountry is a dream come true for me. I always said when I left the Coastal Plains of Southeast Georgia I would inch my way closer to the coast, and that time is now. But though I may be sinking my teeth into Charleston benne wafers more often, cooking from “Charleston Receipts Repeats” and spending my weekends soaking up the sun, the 'Boro will always have a special place in my heart.
    I’ll miss the cotton fields and sunflower gardens, the John Deere tractors blocking up the two-lane back roads. I’ll miss Vandy’s BBQ and Georgia Southern football. I’ll miss the friendly, familiar faces at the Farmers Market, who, like clockwork, are there without fail every Saturday morning in the same faithful spot. I’ll miss Ricardo’s bell peppers and eggplant, JJ Lee’s sweet corn on the cob, Jacob’s Produce’s blackberry jelly and Sugar Magnolia’s tomato basil focaccia. I’ll miss how the waitresses at RJ’s call you "darlin’ " and the Sunday buffet there. No new city or fancy restaurant can ever replace small-town America. Never underestimate it.
    I’d like to thank you for reading my columns, for sending me emails when something I’ve written has spoken to you, or for stopping me at the gym or in the grocery store to say you’re trying that recipe I shared or that you cut it out and kept it. As a writer, there is no greater reward and your feedback has meant so much to me. If you’ve never reached out and would like to, feel free to email me at SKGFoodBlog@gmail.com.
    Farewell, y’all, and remember, just because I’m no longer your local food columnist doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy reading about my culinary adventures from the Lowcountry and cooking my recipes! I hope you’ll check out my food blog by visiting SomeKindaGood.org or follow Some Kinda Good on social media. Good food and good company — that’s what it’s all about!
     I’ll leave you the same way I was introduced to you, with my favorite quote from the legend Julia Child: “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” It is my life’s motto.

    Now based in Charleston, South Carolina, Georgia expat Rebekah Faulk is a freelance writer, entertainer and food enthusiast. She blogs at SomeKindaGood.org and hones her skills daily as Director of Marketing & Public Relations for Trident Health Systems in the Lowcountry.

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