Malissa Lawson is a self identified “spice-mixologist nerd” and we are glad she is putting her "nerditude" to good use. Featured in an early subscription box, her East Nashville Spice Mix is one of the favorite varieties of spice we've found. We asked Malissa how she started making her spice mix, her favorite recipe, and a few Nashville staycation tips.
What were you doing before you started East Nashville Spice Company?
I was doing Home Health Physical Therapy with the geriatric population. While I loved my patients, I was extremely overworked & feeling a little stifled because I had no outlet to “create.”
What led you to start your business?
The catalyst for my business was a 3-week trip to Europe & the Middle East. I was already a “spice-mixologist nerd” in the kitchen so I was absolutely fascinated by the spice shops in Turkey, Egypt & Israel. I ended up bringing back a load of spices from each of the 8 countries we visited & when I got home, I started playing around with the spices trying to recreate some of the amazing mixes I encountered on my trip. That’s how my Original Blend was born.
What have you learned now that you wish you knew when you started your business?
Ha…not to take myself & everything involving my business so dang seriously. I was extremely uptight about having a business & running it well…and consequently created a lot of unnecessary stress for myself. In the famous words of my husband’s favorite band, “Everything will work out if you let it.” Sometimes you just need to get out of the way.
Do you have a favorite recipe using your spice?
“Eastside Chicken & Potatoes!” It’s in the “recipes” section of my website: www.EastNashvilleSpiceCompany.com
What is the oddest recipe/use of the spice mix?
It is ridiculously amazing in lasagna (and also spaghetti sauce).
What do you like to do (and most importantly, eat) on a staycation in Nashville?
Well, even though I love to cook at home, I also LOVE hot chicken & there are so many fantastic places to choose from so that you never get bored of trying all the different variations. I like to top that off with a visit to Five Daughters for a Chocolate Sea Salt “100 Layer Doughnut.” I also enjoy going to the symphony, Cheekwood Gardens & taking my dog, Banjo, to Percy Priest lake for some swimming & exploring.
What local products do you use at home?
Sunday Morning Pancake Mix, beef from Tennessee Grass Fed Farm in Clarksville, Walker Feed Co. Southern Bloody Mary Mix, Colt’s Chocolate Bumblebees, Willa’s Shortbreads, Nut Butter Nation Brown Sugar Cinnamon Peanut Butter & local produce & local honey from the Nashville Farmer’s Market.
What is your go-to gift to give?
Walker Creek Confections caramels or almond toffee or anything Nashville Jam Co. makes (Apple Bourbon or Smoky Tomato are my personal favorites).
Ready to try East Nashville Spice? Pick up some in Laura Lea Balanced Healthy Treats Gift Batch.