Lettiann Southerland Masterfully Mixes Tried-and-True Family Treats with Helpful Real Estate Tips
Lettiann Southerland has always known the important difference between a house and a home. As part of a large Italian clan, life revolved around meals shared by generations of family at her grandparents’ sprawling home in Pennsylvania.
Yet when she relocated to Kansas City to start her own family, Lettiann found herself desperately homesick. So she set about accomplishing two feats—making her new abode into a place that felt like “home” and helping others find the home of their dreams by becoming a real estate agent.
In 2015, she masterfully mixed her passions of cooking and real estate with the release of her book Homes That Cook: Best-Kept Secrets for Buying, Selling, and Creating a Home.
“It started as a project to preserve my family’s recipes and share them with my brothers and sisters-in-law,” Southerland recalls. “But I also started adding some of my own favorite tried-and-true meals. For me, home has always been intrinsically intertwined with food—and wine—and the family. I like to cook; it makes me happy, and people really respond to sitting down to enjoy a good meal.”
The manuscript evolved when Southerland realized it was also the perfect platter on which to present helpful real estate tips.
“Being that real estate is my full-time profession, I thought, ‘How could I go about sharing staging tips, buyer pitfalls and other important real estate advice in a fun and meaningful way?’” Southerland says. “The book is beneficial for anyone starting the buying or selling process, but its usefulness extends far beyond that transaction and into creating a true home. It’s a nice little bundle. I kept the real estate section short and sweet because the book really stands on its own outside of the real estate realm.”
The response to the book’s publication has been emphatic, Southerland says, which brings her great joy.
“I’ve been told, ‘Thank you for reminding us how important mealtime is when shared with family and friends.’ Others have commented on the awesome recipes. Other comments have included, ‘Thanks for the staging tips; they were very helpful as we prepared to put our home on the market!’”
Readers appreciate that it’s an easy read with good advice, and Lettiann hopes it reminds people to slow down and savor the memories made around a good meal.
“Food brings back memories and creates new memories, so even when I was most homesick, I could make meals that reminded me of when I would eat with my extended family. There’s power in that. People don’t eat together anymore. It’s a necessity, not an event. Communication in the family happens at meal times, which only takes 30 minutes a day. I grew up with it, and I feel badly not everyone does that.”
Those who like tried-and-true recipes will find a feast of them within the book. Lettiann Southerland is widely recognized among her friends and family as a truly excellent cook. Of the included recipes, her favorite is the diced pork sauce with polenta.
“It’s off the charts! It’s my Aunt Letty’s recipe from when my brothers and I were kids.”
But Southerland doesn’t want any kitchen-impaired folks frightened at the thought of having to concoct elaborate meals.
“Even if you’re ordering a pizza, have people gather around your table,” she urges. “Visit and get to know each other. It doesn’t matter what you make; it’s a matter of being together.”
And the kitchen is not the only place where Lettiann cooks up success. Ever the entrepreneur, she recently unveiled her own boutique firm, Lettiann & Associates Real Estate Services LLC, based in Leawood.
“My forte is a listing agent, as I love to negotiate,” she says. “I’m a full-time realtor with an emphasis on service. I give clients 150 percent and revel in the fact that no two deals are ever the same. I love meeting new people and helping them find a ‘home that cooks.’”
Among the most important ingredients for making a house a true home? “I believe it’s spending time with family and friends—and what better place than sharing a meal at a table? It doesn’t matter what that meal is. Just gather and enjoy!”
If you’d like a personally signed copy of Homes That Cook or have real estate questions, contact Lettiann at Lettiann.com. The book is also available at online book retailers.