Kim Atkinson

“Being my mother’s caregiver after her cancer diagnosis was the hardest period of my life, but it was also very rewarding. I learned that sometimes you just have to process one day at a time instead of thinking about the entire gravity of the situation. Since my cancer diagnosis, I’ve spent more time focusing on how to be happy. I’ve spent most of this year in chemo and have met so many people with amazing life stories—Everyone is fighting some type of battle, and we should be nice and respectful of one another.”

–Kim Atkinson


B YourselfName: Kim Atkinson

Age: 31

Hobbies: Cooking, Reading, Traveling, hanging out with my dogs


What brought you to Birmingham?

I met my husband in 2006. I lived in Kansas City and he lived in Alabama. We dated long-distance for about a year before deciding one of us would have to move. I liked Kansas City but missed the South and the trees. He’s from Birmingham and I found a great job here, so the choice was easy.


Your love for cooking has enlightened you to travel the world finding the most sought-after ethnic cooking classes. What would you say are the top three best experiences?

My top three food experiences are the cooking classes I took in Venice, Italy, and Paris, France, and the meal I had at the Catbird Seat in Nashville, Tennessee.


I personally have tasted many of your delightfully impressive dishes. Would you be willing to tell us your favorite savory (secret) ingredient?

Homemade chicken broth or stock. There is no substitute, even if you are buying high-end labels. It can easily be made in a crockpot and freezes well. There are many yummy health preventative foods even in the south.


How has your diet changed as a cancer survivor?

I eat a lot less refined sugars now and drink a lot of unsweetened green tea. I’ve always loved vegetables, but now I make it a point to eat a good amount of leafy greens. I also try to repurpose leftovers as much as possible—we as a country throw away so much food! It takes planning, but it’s worth it.


What is your idea of the perfect vacation?

My perfect vacation involves exploring the local architecture and museums, taking a cooking class with a local, and downtime to read. Catching a great sunrise or sunset is good, too. Going to a market, grocery, or convenience store in another country and buying random snacks is fun. My wish list vacation spots right now are Morocco and Vietnam.


What is your favorite food?

So hard to choose, but I like some spice. Thai is my current favorite.


If you could meet one person, who would it be and what would you like to say/ask them?

Mark Twain. He seems like such a fascinating personality to me. I’d just like to pick his brain and hear his thoughts on life in general.


What’s your favorite quote or mantra?

My mom got me a lot of cards with Maya Angelou quotes throughout the years. One of my favorites of her quotes is, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


Most played song on your iPhone?

Not so much a song, but I’ve usually got Florence and the Machine playing.


Photo and interview by Angela Karen

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