Spotlight On: Tin Roof Cutting Boards

Dixie Caviar's 'Spotlight On' showcases both established and up-and-coming Southern artisans across a variety of creative fields. We'll be talking shop, the South, and their very best recipes. Read on! Today I'd like for y'all to meet Miss Emily Ann Quattlebaum Tatum of Tin Roof Cutting Boards. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Emily Ann in person, but I've known her husband John for as long as I can remember! He is just the sweetest guy, and comes from a fantastic Alabama family.

Tin Roof's cutting boards are simply stunning. (I can safely say that Christmas gift giving is going to be easy this year.) Read on for more about this cute couple and their growing brand. I wish you two so much success!

Tell me about yourself: To many of my childhood and college friends, I'm known by my maiden name "Quattlebaum." Many nicknames derived from my unique German heritage, however, if I were to meet you today, you'd know me as Emily Ann Tatum.

Born and raised in small town Alabama, I quickly developed a love for Auburn University because of the big opportunities nestled in a quaint southern town. I graduated with a degree in public relations in 2008 and three weeks later married the love of my life, Auburn graduate and Opelika native-John Tatum. We now reside in Sugar Land, TX (a suburb of Houston) managing self-started businesses. On any given day, I'm doing, talking, or thinking about hanging at the beach, boating, running, or traveling.

Tell me about Tin Roof Cutting Boards: Tin Roof Cutting Board products are handmade with solid, reclaimed wood. Each cutting board is unique, individually crafted, and as eye catching as it is functional. Our cutting boards are not stained. They are only sealed, sanded and moisturized with mineral oil to enhance each board's natural colors. Tin Roof specializes in Pecan wood, but we also use a variety of hardwoods that include Walnut, Maple, Oak, Mesquite, Padauk, Purpleheart, Teak, and many more. Whether for daily preparation needs or full-scale gatherings, these reclaimed wood beauties are a cut above the rest!

Tell me how Tin Roof got started: What started out as the perfect Christmas gift for board creator and dear friend Kurt Pratka, quickly turned into a passion. With his resources, Kurt personally chose the wood, aligned it to create a beautiful design, sealed the board and sanded it to perfection. In a matter of weeks, Kurt was fulfilling orders throughout the town. It didn't take Kurt and the Tough County Sawmill team long to see the potential. With John's expertise in e-commerce sales and my background in marketing and public relations, we teamed up with Tough Country Sawmill to offer the products on a website and in stores all around the south.

Tell me the biggest challenge you have experienced thus far? The greatest success? My husband and I had a vision to create a work environment we could embrace for years to come. In October of 2011, we were faced with the opportunity to sell our house in Alabama, quit our "real jobs" and give our dream life a chance. We knew at the time it was now or never. We moved out of our house with no living arrangements made and unsure of our next step. After a couple of months of living out of our cars and staying with friends and family, we settled in Texas. Today, John runs an internet business he started two years ago and I manage Tin Roof Cutting Boards. We work side by side running websites, brainstorming ideas, researching products and people, and of course troubleshooting. It's always an adventure!

What is Southern about Tin Roof: The inspiration for the name Tin Roof comes from many long days John spent at the family farm in central Alabama. It represents a simpler time when all you needed was a comfortable pair of jeans, a dirt road, land to work and a cabin with a tin roof. For us, it's more than a place; it's a state of being. We find such joy in rediscovering the peace that comes by simply surrounding yourself with nature.

All of our products are personally designed and hand crafted in Texas by Tough Country Sawmill. Board creator, Kurt Pratka, learned and developed a passion for woodworking as a small child from watching his dad. Today, we offer those same treasured family items to people across the country.

Tell me who and/or what currently inspires you: As mentioned before, the brand Tin Roof was inspired by the Tatum Family Farm. On our website, you will see that each cutting board is named after a place or a memory that is near and dear to our hearts. I believe it is life's experiences that enlarge your vision and mold you into the person you were meant to be. It is exciting for me to incorporate these experiences and warm memories into the Tin Roof brand.

Tell me about your relationship with food and/or cooking: At the ripe age of 22 I married John. One of my biggest fears was that I didn't know how to cook, and honestly did not have a desire to learn. I've come a long way in the kitchen these past four years and can proudly say that I love to cook! About once a week, you'll find me cooking at night with John Mayor on the iPod and red wine in my glass. I keep it pretty simple, but I guess you need to walk before you run!

Tell me your best food story: This past Christmas, my family decided to spice things up a bit with a little cuisine competition. In an effort to help mom out with all the cooking responsibilities, we divided into teams and had a cook off. My dad and sister were assigned a meal, my brother and I were assigned a meal, and the spouses were the judges. We were judged on presentation and taste. After much deliberation, the winners were announced and presented with a special gift. We had some great meals, made fun memories and mom was able to relax a bit. It was a great idea and I am sure we will continue this new tradition for years to come.

Any favorite MADE IN THE SOUTH brands worthy of your shout out:

Jack Deloney is an artist from my hometown of Ozark, AL. Like Tin Roof, his work reflects the simpler days. Blue bell Ice Cream is a favorite in the Tatum family. We enjoy it best from the Railroad Creamery in Opelika, AL! TieTry is a great resource for our southern gentlemen. Viv-Vah-Chey Designs for personalized invitations and holiday cards.

I'm a magazine junkie, so I enjoy tearing out pages of products and recipes from Southern Living and thumbing through Garden and Gun each month!"

Please share your favorite Southern recipe and what it means to you: My husband John is one of four boys. His mother Lynn is a spectacular cook and knows how to satisfy her boys' appetites when we all come to visit. She shows her love through her cooking and treasures the time around her table when everyone slows down to enjoy a home cooked meal. Her version of green bean casserole is amazing. Once you try this, you'll never use the recipe on the back of the can again!


Source: Emily Ann Tatum Yields: Feeds a crowd

1  (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup 4  cups French-style green beans 1 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1/8 teaspoon pepper Crushed crackers (amount and type not specified) 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1 cup fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine cream of mushroom soup, green beans, sour cream, garlic powder, and pepper. Pour into a 9" x 11" casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, combine crushed crackers, melted butter, and cheese. Sprinkle over the green bean mixture. Bake casserole, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Top with fried onions and bake for 5 more minutes.

Last of all, tell me what you love most about the South/being Southern:

I feel blessed to be a true Southerner! There are so many things I love about the South—home-cooked Sunday lunches, friendly faces, hand written letters, and sweet tea. Being from the South comes with an ingrained appreciation for authenticity, attention to detail in everything and greeting old friends and new faces with a smile.  (Hear, hear!)

ATTENTION: Tin Roof is offering 25% off of their products for Dixie Caviar readers now through September 30th! Use Promo Code ""DIXIE25"" at check out.

Find out more about Tin Roof Cutting Boards here and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. For more of Emily Ann and John's adventures, check out her personal blog.