Eat, Drink And Be indie: Tasty Recipes, Inspiring Maker Stories & Exclusives

The Gracious Gourmet

Nancy Wekselbaum has been passionate about food since she was a kid. "When I was 9 years old, my parents went out and I baked an angel food cake. When they got home, they thought I had set the house on fire! The cake was a flop and my mother told me 'Never cook again!' But I didn't listen to her."

For years, Nancy's love of cooking mostly benefited her family and friends. One night about 6 years ago, during a particularly rough storm, the power went out as it often does in her small Connecticut town. She called a neighbor who lived alone and said, "Come on over, we have a generator, I'm making steak." Nancy served that steak with a delicious homemade chutney and the friend raved that it was so good Nancy should sell it. This set off sparks at this particular moment in Nancy's life. She launched into action, came up with a plan and – after 9 months of research and experimenting in the kitchen – The Gracious Gourmet was born, with about 6 different products.

She laughs about the first time she ordered apples in a large quantity – 75 pounds worth. As she looked into the huge barrel, she realized she'd be peeling and coring apples all night.

The Gracious Gourmet now sells about 20 products. Nancy's goal is to keep food healthy – all are lower in sugar, salt and oil than most dips and spreads. She still develops and realizes all the recipes in her home kitchen in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and hopes her products can be used to make cooking at home easier. "People love good food but no one has time to cook anymore. My products can help people prepare dinners that are delicious but use short cuts."

Nancy's tapenades and spreads are produced in small batches to maintain their integrity. And it's worth noting that Nancy's Spiced Sour Cherry Spread won a Sofi Gold Award at the 57th Summer Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C.