Everybody Eats: A food conversation with Karen Beavor

Karen Beavor

Welcome to the interview series where I discuss food with citizens of Atlanta who are prominent for non-food-related reasons. Let’s get to know our most high-profile residents a little more personally, shall we? For this installment, I spoke to Karen Beavor, President and CEO of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

How do you like your eggs cooked?
I seriously hate eggs. My fear is that I will be incapacitated and unable to speak and someone will be feeding me eggs. I have instructed my children to make this known should I ever have that unfortunate eventuality.

What are your two favorite things to put in mac and cheese, other than the mac and the cheese?
Uhhh… more cheese? If this is not a choice then lobster or hot sauce or fresh herbs.

What are some of your favorite spots for brunch?
Local 3
East Pearl Dim Sum
Wahoo Grill in Decatur
Goldberg’s

When you were studying at Agnes Scott College, what was the best place to walk to for a meal?
It used to be called Trackside Bar in the space that is now Kimball House. They had a lot of good late night food – melted brie with toast points, which was so avant-garde at that time.

Are you any good at gardening?
Yes, I have always had a flower garden and have tried vegetables on and off. (Yes, I have grown the $50 tomato) Now, I live Intown and do containers.

Wine and beer, or the hard stuff, or none at all?
Is it a cocktail? Then I like it! But really, my preference is bourbon.

What is your guilty pleasure snack food? Favorite food for a tailgate?
Snack food – I love any dip and anything that dips into the dip.
Tailgate – hot dogs.

What are your feelings about red velvet cake?
I feel that it isn’t all that velvety – which is good because who wants velvet in your mouth?

Is there any food so disgusting to you that you just won’t eat it?
Eggs of course. Anything with visible fat on it. Am I the only one who thinks pork belly is gross?

Wahoo Grill in Decatur is one of Karen Beavor’s go-to brunch spots. (Image courtesy of Wahool Grill)

Who does most of the cooking in your house? Who cooked while you were growing up?
I do the cooking. My mom cooked most of the time but my dad is very gifted at smoking meats. My entire family are incredible cooks – they perfect things like pickles, jellies, biscuits and yeast rolls, smoked salmon. We always had gatherings at my grandparents houses and they were amazing cooks. My mother won 4H prizes for what are now termed “angel biscuits” in our house and my dad was and is a hunter so we grew up eating venison, wild turkey, Alaskan salmon, etc. It’s just a Southern thing that you would naturally have a freezer full of that type of food.

GCN has a tradition of asking new staffers about their favorite foods during their first staff meeting. What is the most memorable or unusual or perfect answer you ever got to that question?
Oh, that is a hard one! First – we ask (our staff, but also sometimes full groups we are facilitating) because food is a connector. You will always find someone that you have a commonality with and it is a great way to kick off getting to know someone. The perfect answer – only a few times has someone answered XYZ item and then proceeded to describe it in detail with passion. Whether pizza or peach pie – that is a perfect answer because they are letting you in – and that’s what the question is all about, which is connecting.

GCN is an umbrella for very many service groups. In what ways are you helping to change the ways Atlanta experiences food?
One of the most fun things about working at GCN is learning about and helping to scale the myriad of organizations serving Atlanta (and GA). We see them at their very beginnings, as they grow and as they are working through challenges or leveraging good ideas or investments. We have, for example, watched the Giving Kitchen go from a ancient idea to a highly successful organization doing incredible things for this community. Georgia Organics is another example of a group that has become a movement along with the whole urban farming scene pioneered by groups like Truly Living Well. It is incredibly important that, as Atlanta grows, all its citizens have access to healthy, fresh food – there are many nonprofits such as these, that are leading the way and we are proud to work with them.

In 2018, you’ll celebrate 20 years at the helm of GCN. What do you want to eat and drink during those festivities?
It hardly seems like 20 years, until I look in the mirror. I don’t know what I’ll be eating and drinking but I’d want it to be alongside the company of the wonderful staff and board at GCN. They make everything we do shine and I adore them.

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