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Sample grandma's cooking



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Michelle High, owner of A Familiar Taste at 33. N. Washington St. (click for larger version)
December 16, 2009 - There is nothing quite like eating a Sunday dinner after grandmother and mother cooked in the kitchen all day.

Michelle High remembers the days of going to her grandma's house and eating hearty meals made from scratch. "My grandparents just about shucked, peeled, shelled, picked and grated everything we ate," she said.

High had plenty of opportunities to experience the Sunday dinners as a child, and now she wants to bring those experiences to the patrons of Oxford with her new restaurant, A Familiar Taste.

A Familiar Taste, located at 33 N. Washington, brings a little southern hospitality to the breakfast, lunch and dinner table as High prepares her southern recipes from scratch.

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High's recipes were inspired by her and her husband's mother and grandmother, who loved to cook.

She recalls her grandma going down to the Eastern Market and picking the freshest ingredients to use in her recipies. "Every summer my grandmother made time to go to the Eastern Market to get barrels of fresh peaches, apples, corn, green and red tomatoes."

She applies those same principles when picking her ingredients. All her ingredients are locally grown in Michigan; she gets her bread from Birmingham and her produce and meats come from Eastern Markets.

She introduced Oxford to her Southern American Cuisine at her grand opening on Monday, Dec. 14.

"We're talking about Georgia, Texas and Louisiana. So when we look at all those states, Louisiana is known for gumbo, Georgia is known for peach cobbler and Texas is known for hearty meats and soups," said High.

"The passion that I have for Southern American supersedes loving to cook. It is therapeutic to cook these recipes and know that someone else will receive the same love and nurturing my husband and I received growing up with our grandparents."

Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., the restaurant offers a wide selection of simple foods, beginning with a breakfast menu full of different sandwiches and hot and cold cereal to a lunch and dinner menu that features eight different kinds of soup on a daily rotation, sandwiches, salads, and desserts all made to order.

The soups come with a side of cornbread, made fresh daily, the salads come with rolls, and the sandwiches come with the choice of potato chips or potato salad and a pickle.

The prices range from a $3.95 buttermilk biscuit to the corned beef sandwich, which is $7.50. High prides herself on her corned beef sandwich, which takes meat from Wrigleys in downtown Detroit and adds mayonnaise, mustard, shredded lettuce, tomato, red onion, American and Asiago cheese.

She features different cakes of the day, as well as numerous pies, puddings and parfaits.

She will be introducing an entree section to the menu in the spring, which will feature classic southern food like fried chicken, braised short ribs, pork chops, chicken pot pie, crab cakes, etc. She is looking to hire an assistant cook and an assistant baker to help get their entrees ready.

"One of the most unique things about us is that we actually cook. It takes it a lot of hard work and it allows us to keep the integrity of what southern cooking is all about, scratch cooking," said High. "Once you order it, we make it. So it does take us a little while longer because it's not like a grab and go, but you are getting the freshest product."

For more information call (248) 572-6333.

foods, beginning with a breakfast menu full of different sandwiches and hot and cold cereal to a lunch and dinner menu that features eight different kinds of soup on a daily rotation, sandwiches, salads, and desserts all made to order.

The soups come with a side of cornbread, made fresh daily, the salads come with rolls, and the sandwiches comes with the choice of potato chips or potato salad and a pickle.

The prices range from a $3.95 buttermilk biscuit sandwich that includes egg, the customers choice of Cheddar or American cheese and the choice of applewood bacon, ham, Georgia sausage, Georgia beef sausage or spicy sausage, to the corned beef sandwich, which is $7.50.

High prides herself on her corned beef sandwich, which takes corned beef from Wrigleys in downtown Detroit and adds mayonnaise, mustard, shredded lettuce, tomato, red onion, American and Asiago cheese.

She features different cakes of the day, as well as numerous pies, puddings and parfaits.

She will be introducing entree section to the menu in the spring, which will feature classic southern food like fried chicken, braised short ribs, pork chops, chicken pot pie, crab cakes, etc. She is looking to hire an assistant cook and a assistant baker to help get their entrees ready.

"One of the most unique things about us is that we actually cook. It makes it a lot of hard work and it allows us to keep the integrity of what southern cooking is all about, scratch cooking," said High. "Once you order it, we make it. So it does take us a little while longer because it's not like a grab and go, but you are getting the freshest product."

"They're from scratch; they have that fresh, that little unevenness, a little edgy to it," High noted.

The restaurant can sit 10-12 people at a time, which High set in order to keep the patrons flowing in and out of the restaurants.

For more information, contact Michelle at (248) 572-6333.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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