- (Photo: Courtesy of A&E and Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Miss Kay, the matriarch of the Robertson family whose cooking is a staple on A&E's mega-hit reality television show "Duck Dynasty," spoke to The Christian Post about fame, faith and her new cookbook, Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen: Faith, Family, and Food – Bringing Our Home to Your Table, that will be released on Nov. 5.
In her book, Miss Kay shares her family's favorite recipes that busy parents can use to lure their children to the dinner table and create lasting memories. Of course, Miss Kay isn't only known for her cooking, she's also known for instilling a love for Jesus Christ in her four sons, and for trusting that He would lead her husband, Phil, to seek salvation and restore their family.
Even though Phil is known for having toured the country for many years to preach his message about faith, family and ducks – which includes talking points about the U.S. Constitution and being pro-life – their sons, Alan, Willie, Jase and Jep publicly credit Miss Kay for making Jesus Christ No. 1 in their lives.
The Robertsons' fearless evangelism by way of the popular reality show is just cause for critics and tabloid magazines to stir up controversy and rumors about one of America's most favorite families.
"There's a spiritual battle in our walk all the time," Miss Kay said about criticisms against the family. "I noticed we made the tabloids now – 'the Robertson family feud,' which is a lie. We're not having a family feud."
Similarly, Miss Kay noted that some people are speculating about the future of "Duck Dynasty," specifically Phil's comment that he's tired of taping the show.
"Phil is tired," she said. "Is he tired of doing the show? Yeah. But he's fixing to get over two months break for hunting season. He'll be fine. But you see how people would twist it around; and so, that's sometimes hard. That's just part of the life we live now."
Fans who follow Miss Kay or who've heard her speak at an event will know that her grandmother was among the most influential people in her life – a woman who not only taught her about cooking, but who also taught her the facts about marriage and family relationships.
"Her thing was always that, in a marriage, you're in it for forever, for the long haul. That commitment is for life," she explained. "Another thing she always taught me is that people are far more important than things. And don't ever let some thing, no matter what it is, come in the way of a relationship with someone you love; because a person is far more important than the thing. There's nothing so important that it's worth losing a relationship over. And I love that advice."
She continued: "I tell my kids and my grandkids, 'Never forget where you came from. Never forget your roots.' My grandkids, they didn't go through the hard times as much as other ones in our family did. One thing is to just never forget where you came from and you never forget that nothing is more important than your relationship with Jesus Christ."
"That's the most important thing of all," she added. "That we never forget He's the source of everything. Because we could have all of the success and money right now in the world, but everything could be gone next week. You just don't know. Then, where are you going to be? Are you going to be the same person, or are you going to be just bitter or unhappy because you don't have what you did have? You lose it all when you think like that."
A timely scripture
A Bible scripture that Miss Kay said she loves to share and one that is most timely in her life, especially with the popularity of "Duck Dynasty" and her family's busy schedule, is Philippians 4:13.
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength," she said, reciting the scripture from memory. "I have to rely on Him to get through the busyness of what my life's about. Right now, I'm in my mid-60s, and yet I'm just fighting for time even to be with my grandkids."
Miss Kay told CP that although she sets time aside for prayer and reading the scriptures, she's found that she has work through the daily interruptions in life, and emphasized that God listens to believers' prayers whether they're long or short.
"A lot of times you have to be able to change and adapt to whatever is going on," she said. "Sometimes, I feel like I don't do as good as I do at other times. But, you know, we're imperfect people following a perfect Christ, and He loves us. I'm hoping He forgives me when I don't do it as much as I should. But I know all the time I give Him the credit. And when I pray to Him, I know He hears a little prayer just like He hears a long one."
She added that the Robertson family wants people to know that "what you see is what you get."
"I tell Phil that's all we can be. That's who we are and we don't want to lose that. And, I pray this prayer: If the fame or money or anything changes us and we forget. We forget where we came from and we forget the Lord. Then I hope He takes it all away and we are left with nothing. And then we'll be better off, because I've seen it change a lot of people. And I pray daily that it will not happen to this family. And I appreciate America praying for us too."
Three of Miss Kay's favorite recipes
One thing readers won't find in Miss Kay's cookbook is a recipe from Si, but they will have access to many of her favorites, including some from Lisa, whom she says is the best cook among all four of her daughters-in-law.
Miss Kay not only complemented Lisa for her ability to replicate her cooking, but said that she makes some of the recipes that Lisa, Alan's wife, has developed.
Among Miss Kay's favorite recipes in her new cookbook are her dumplings, cobblers and homemade biscuits.
"I used to have a hard biscuit recipe," she said. "But Phil went to a duck blind over in Texas, to hunt, and the cook for the camp gave him this easy recipe for biscuits and we fell in love with them. They're so light and easy, so I thought, with so many women working, this would be a great one to introduce to America."
However, her No. 1 pick is her squirrel and dumplings.
"I love my squirrel and dumplings, but you can make it with chicken and dumplings. I love making the dumplings. I think I just like to rollout dough. Then another one would be peach cobbler, or any of my cobblers, such as blackberry cobbler."
Miss Kay told CP her hope is that families can use the book as an opportunity to unite and grow together through cooking, eating and the enjoyment of spending quality time together, away from cell phones and electric gadgets.
"Families need to have a time when they can cook together. They can eat at the table and you can look eye-to-eye. Phones are put away and there are no interruptions. And what you do is concentrate on each other. Listen to what they have to say, and let them listen to you. And just refresh yourself with each other, and then enjoy the food and talk about it. Just laugh together, cry together and share together."