It was a well-planned brunch. Styled to the last detail. And then the most unexpected thing happened.
Let’s call it sassy serendipity.
She was raised on shirred eggs. So when it came time to plan a New Year’s Day brunch with friends (both for fun and as content for a blog post), she knew she wanted shirred eggs as part of the entree. Not one to skip an opportunity to infuse a little bit of southern flavor, she paired the eggs with traditional New Year’s Day Hoppin’ John cakes. Tradition says that Hoppin’ John is supposed to bring good fortune for the year to come.
But something was missing. The dish needed a cheeky infusion. Something — tomatoey. Not ketchup. Or catsup. Or however it was normally spelled. Definitely not a relish. She searched the shelves at Trader Joes and Wegmans — but couldn’t quite find the right thing.
She needed something bold. A spin on an old standard. A simple sweetness that surprised you at the first bite with a whole lot of depth.
A pot of reduced tomatoes fused with the right amount of spice and 2014 was off to a most fortunate — and flavorful –adventure.
kate beck, and all that sass
Kate Beck is a jam maker. At least, that’s what her five-year-old Charlotte tells her.
A single mom in Rogers Forge, she’s passionate about food, family, following wherever inspiration takes her, and always giving back. That passion is reflected in her newest business, Sassy’s Tomato Jams.
According to Kate, Sassy’s is not just a condiment (but that’s the section where you’ll find it at Eddie’s). Sass is a lifestyle. Embracing possibility.
Like taking the chance on a pot of reduced tomatoes that your good friends devour and dish over. Calling another friend whose family owns a small batch private label manufacturer and asking if they’d work with you on a first-batch test run. Reaching out to local specialty stores and asking them to take a chance on a locally-made jam right before the holidays.
Dreaming with Charlotte about one day owning a red helicopter and picking the perfect shade: Pantone 186 U.
“Once an entreprenuer, always an entrepreneur,” said Kate. “You can’t turn off the creativity, and inspiration is to be found everywhere in life!”
She’s been a personal chef, worked in high-end specialty foods with Dean & Deluca, got to know the Baltimore/DC foodie scene working with Whole Foods, crafted events for Johns Hopkins University as an in-house events planner, and made the visions of countless area brides come to life as a wedding planner, among other jobs.
At the heart of all of her endeavors? A love of food and art (she has degrees in both) fused with a passion for people. Especially kids. That’s why a portion of every Sassy’s jar sold goes to support the No Kid Hungry campaign and Share our Strength’s national programs.
Coincidentally, kids love Sassy’s as much as adults do. Kate’s daughter eats it by the spoonful and my Bug devoured it on a cracker with cheese. I may or may not have eaten it on sliced Italian bread with bacon and lettuce for a week straight as well — thanks to a BLT tip from Kohli Flick at Becket Hitch, another place you can score Sassy’s. It’s really ah-mazingly delicious!
As crazy as her life may sound, Kate also whole-heartedly practices the art of kicking back… and yoga. When she found herself going from a full-time mom to having ‘mom time off’ after her divorce, she dedicated her solo two nights a week to taking some time for herself (the other option — jumping off a bridge — wasn’t really realistic, despite how heartbreaking it was to not be with her child full-time). That might mean hitting the gym, going on a date night – -solo, with her boyfriend, or anyone who wants to go — or cozying up with a late-night steak and episode of The Taste. Her favorite date night? Small plates and a flick. She loves hitting an early movie at The Charles and then chilling out with a glass of wine and nosh at Tapas Teatro.
At the start of 2105, Kate finds herself at the beginning of another fortunate endeavor: taking Sassy’s Jam to the next level with a Kickstarter Campaign, launched last Thursday. The campaign goal? To raise $11,000 in 39 days, which will allow her produce another run of jam this spring, launch an online store, and feed more hungry kids.
Her to-do list doesn’t end there. Tasty Travels (the Charm.tv show) was renewed for another season in 2015, she has several events on her planning plate, she wants to volunteer for Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters program and help low income families strategically shop for healthy food in their own grocery store…
In other words, Kate isn’t slowing down on her quest to #spreadthesass.
Coffee With is a new series on (cool) progeny that highlights moms in Baltimore doing (cool) things. Know a mom we should have coffee with? Email Heather at heather AT coolprogeny.com.