Amanda Parks is an East Tennessean by birth and now by choice, having returned to the area after a short time in Memphis while earning her master's degree in professional writing. Her love of travel and "eating anything with excessive amounts of cheese" provide a combination that likely explains her having experienced the World Cheese Dip Championship in Little Rock, Ark. She also loves reading, fashion, playing board games, Mexican food, and her two dogs, Bella and Bentley. She spends most of her time chasing her nearly 3-year-old daughter Madison Kate, who teaches her unconditional love, patience, and how to suppress laughter at undesirable behaviors that remind her of a younger version of herself.
What is the name of your favorite restaurant and why is it your favorite?
My all-time favorite restaurant sadly shut down about four years ago. Chihuahua was a small, family-owned restaurant located in Greeneville, Tenn., and served the best Mexican cuisine I’ve ever had. The owner and his whole family knew me by name and began preparing my go-to dish when they saw me come in. They used fresh, local ingredients and always went above and beyond to treat their customers like family.
What is your funniest kitchen disaster or mishap?
I recently renovated my kitchen and replaced several outdated appliances. I was so excited to use my new range to bake lemon blueberry bread for a party, I forgot to open the oven prior to preheating, which resulted in a very well-cooked user guide that was taped inside. Luckily, I realized my mistake shortly after smelling smoke and the house didn’t go up in flames.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Chili hot dogs from a gas station deli in Clinton, Tenn.
What is the best meal you ever ate?
Deep dish pizza at Chicago’s Lou Malnati’s.
What food that you make are you most proud of?
My mom’s spinach casserole. It’s incredible.
What is your favorite kitchen tool or gadget?
My KitchenAid mixer and slow cooker are my most prized kitchen possessions.
What is your favorite kitchen memory?
Helping my mom in the kitchen over the years, especially preparing large holiday meals for our family. Chaos usually ensues when we’ve both donned aprons. My mom is an amazing cook who works carefully and meticulously, and I operate on a much less precise level, typically tossing things around, moving at a rapid speed, and generally driving her crazy.
What got you interested in writing?
Throughout middle and high school, I claimed English as my best and favorite subject, but it wasn’t until I began pursuing an English degree in college that I discovered my passion for writing and editing.