Steel Magnolia Series: The Honorable Kim S. White
All rise and allow us to introduce The Honorable Kim Slayton White, a steel magnolia and classic modern day belle, who presides over professional and personal accomplishments with commanding presence, grace and style.
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of anything involving mother-daughter pairs, so when we set up a Saturday brunch with Kim, and she proposed bringing her teenager (Katherine) along, we were pleased as punch. Indeed, seeing Katherine was icing on the cake and experiencing the mutual love and respect between these two generations was truly heartwarming. Kim’s deep southern roots radiated through her beautiful daughter, who is already charting her own course in life. And it was easy to see that makes her mama immensely proud!
Kim is an ideal role model, not only to her own daughter, but also for any young lady. Educated at Mary Washington College and a graduate of Mercer Law School, Kim has worked her way through the ranks of our local and state judicial system as a Public Defender, elected Commonwealth’s Attorney, Circuit Court Judge, and was recently named the Chief Judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit of Virginia. The only female judge in the region for quite some time, it takes a split second to realize that she holds her own just fine. She carries herself with an unassuming humility that puts anyone at ease. And her achievements go far beyond the bench.
Kim embodies the strength, beauty and mystique of a southern woman. She has mastered the art of balancing an enormously successful career, with being a devoted wife and mother to two bright, ambitious and impeccably mannered teenagers. In fact, her personal roles are what make her piercing blue eyes twinkle. Watching Kim and her daughter share stories and finish sentences for one another is truly heartwarming and raises the bar for mother-daughter duos.
Indeed, Kim stays true to her Southern values and ensures they remain a touchstone in her own family. Her Southern ways are as natural and breezy as fresh air and sparked a warm conversation about traditions, recipes, and the privileges and responsibilities of being a daughter of the South.
Following are some of the highlights of our time together, along with delicious family recipes that Kim generously shared. It is our pleasure to pass them along to all of you.
In The Judge’s Own Words:
Q: What does being Southern mean to you?
It means knowing where you’ve come from — good and bad. Knowing where you’re going. And I think being strong, but polite enough, to get there.
Q: What’s your favorite Southern saying?
Truly, it’s got to be, ‘Bless your heart.’ Because it means so many things.
Q: What are your favorite Southern traditions?
Big school football is a great southern tradition. Other places don’t do it the same way.
If you think about it, dressing up is different too. I almost never, when I go to Virginia Tech for a football game, wear something that says ‘Hokies’ or ‘VA Tech.’ I wear the colors. You can clearly tell who I’m pulling for, but it’s going to be cute and stylish.
I also love a Southern Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. There’s more togetherness of extended family. It’s ‘casserole heaven.’ It’s also about new twists on old foods.
The Judge’s Last Word:
Never generalize. Always see the good in people. Always be polite.
The Judge's Curried Fruit
The hot curried fruit is a favorite of my family’s. I almost always take it for church lunches and other covered dish meals as it goes with most any thing and almost never is duplicated!
- 1 can sliced peaches 29 oz
- 1 can sliced pears 29 oz
- 1 can pineapple chunks 20 oz
- jar maraschino cherries small jar
- 1 cup raisins or craisins
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp curry powder
Drain all fruit and put in large mixing bowl.
Melt butter and pour over fruit.
Combine brown sugar, flour, curry and stir into fruit.
Spoon into greased baking dish. Cover with foil.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Togetherness Sweet Potato Biscuits
I have worked on the sweet potato biscuit recipe over a number of years. I absolutely love country ham - the saltier the better - and wanted a traditional one bite biscuit to serve with the ham. I was tired of getting baked ham rolls impersonating country ham biscuits.
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp cold salted butter
- 1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 425.
Boil sweet potato until very soft. Peel, mash and cool.
Add 1/3 cup milk (reserve remaining) to potato and whisk.
In separate large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups of flour (reserve remaining 1/2 cup), sugar, baking powder and salt.
With your hands, add cold butter until mixture is crumbly.
Add sweet potato mixture to flour mixture and gently combine. If mixture seems too dry, add a little of the remaining milk.
Generously flour (with remaining flour from Step 4) hands and work surface (Kim declares her granite countertops are her favorite surface).
Working in small batches, pat out dough to 3/4" thickness. Cut out silver dollar sized biscuits and place on greased cookie sheet.
Brush biscuits with butter and bake approximately 10 minutes.
Versatility and resourcefulness are a hallmark of southern people and Kim was forced to get creative with her recipe when family members presented with gluten allergies. She learned to swap all purpose flour out for gluten free alternatives, such as coconut or almond flour.
SDB Note: We played with spreads for the ham biscuits using: local honey, herbed goat cheese, hot pepper jelly, strawberry preserves, Kerrygold butter, and Gruyere cheese. Each lent a unique flavor and we're still mulling over which was our favorite!
Pay It Forward Chili
Chili has become a Halloween staple at our house. We live on a block in a small town, where the police block it off allowing just pedestrians on Halloween. We love making the yard into a spooky graveyard and welcoming the crowd with candy, chili, and beverages! Sneaking some vegetables into the chili makes it more tasty and healthy.
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 2 cans diced tomatoes 14.5 oz
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 can black beans
- 2 zucchini shredded
- 5 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 cups water
Saute onion and garlic until softened.
Add ground beef and cook until browned.
Add to crock pot with remaining ingredients.
Cook on low for about 6 hours.
If needed, add water as recipe cooks.
SDB Note: We can't quite put our finger on it, but something magical happens when you pair a solid pinot noir with this chili.
The Rest of the Story: We named the above recipe, “Pay It Forward Chili,” because that’s exactly what we did for a family we know whose lives were recently turned upside down. A couple weeks before Christmas, their 12 year old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor and rushed to emergency surgery. In a matter of hours, this sweet family went from having a vibrant preteen, to a life and death situation. By the grace of God, the tumor was successfully removed and that precious girl returned home six weeks after surgery. After offering to bring them a meal, they took us up on the offer for a Valentine’s Day dinner. We prepared the Judge’s delicious chili recipe (it tastes and smells like fall — see her description in the recipe summary above) and it was a tremendous hit. Kim, your recipe passed from your hands, through our kitchen, to a family’s table who needed a home cooked meal on a special day. It simply doesn’t get any better than that!