SOUTHERN WOMEN MIGHT JUST BE BORN KNOWING HOW TO PRESERVE THINGS. Be it jams or jellies, pickled okra or dilly green beans, if it can be sealed in a jar to be gifted and enjoyed later, we’re all in. Jenny McCain is one of those women who comes by her preserving skills naturally while also being blessed with a business acumen like no other. A practicing attorney by day (and nights too, if you know anything about the kind of hours lawyers put in), she founded Woodhill Cottage as a creative outlet, one that honors the entrepreneurial spirit of her grandmother.
“Don’t try to figure out how it usually is done or how it should be done. Instead, think about what you want to accomplish, think through the first steps, and look around the corners. Be active and intentional— and have fun!”
Find Woodhill Cottage Jams at Christine’s in Mountain Brook Village and Little Hardware in English Village.
Business in Birmingham:
The enthusiasm and experience-based advice I’ve received from friends and business owners in Birmingham may be the single greatest reason I decided to start this venture. So many people have encouraged me. Birmingham is a food town, and for a long time, everyone I knew either was working at Southern Living or used to work there. These friends are now some of my best advisors and cheerleaders.
Tell us about the woman who inspired you to start Woodhill Cottage.
My grandmother Ruby co-founded and served as chief operating officer of our family’s children’s-wear manufacturing company. She also majored in home economics at Samford University (then Howard College). Our time together focused equally on discussions about business and home economics. She loved to cook and loved a pretty table just as much as she loved landing a new customer. Her life was a lovely blend of business and home, and I’m very similar to my grandmother in that way. I love both business and home—and I like a challenge.
So attorney by day and jam-magnate on the weekends. How did that come about?
Well I probably wouldn’t call myself a jam- magnate, but I do love this endeavor that is my creative outlet. The recipes are ones I’ve had forever and have tweaked over the years. I often give something homemade to my neighbors and friends for Christmas. One of my favorites to give is tomato jam. Few folks have ever had it, and everyone wants more as soon as they taste it. Tomato jam is fantastic on a grilled cheese (and on a grilled pimento cheese sandwich), on scrambled eggs, and over cream cheese with crackers. And it honestly takes a hamburger to another level.
Woodhill Cottage Cream Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, cut up
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine first 4 ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add cream, stirring just until moistened. Knead 5-6 times. Roll to 1⁄2-inch thickness. Cut and cook for 15 minutes.