Lee Jackson is a reading teacher at White Plains Middle School. She and her husband recently started a business called Brick House Butter, which creates flavored butters, including Italian, barbecue and maple-cinnamon.
Describe your educational background.
I studied education at Auburn. Originally, I started as an interior design major, but sitting behind the drafting table was not for me.
Why did you pursue education?
I figured out that I liked to work with people, and I knew I could be really creative in this field.
What is your professional background?
I have been teaching for 11 years. I taught in Atlanta, Oxford, Anniston, and now I am in my first year at White Plains Middle School. I teach seventh and eighth grade reading.
What brought you to the Anniston area?
My husband is from Anniston. After we got married, we stayed in Atlanta for a year, then moved to Anniston, and we have been here for almost 11 years.
Did you always plan on working with middle schoolers?
No, but I enjoy it, because it is a very moldable age. They are interesting; it is a tough age, but they are easily influenced, and you can do a lot with them.
What are your classes learning about currently?
Right now, my eighth graders are reading the drama “The Diary of Anne Frank”; that is one of my favorite units. My seventh graders are studying mythologies. I try to mix up genres every couple weeks, so my students experience different styles.
How do your students react to something like “The Diary of Anne Frank”?
They get very passionate about it. They have big thoughts and big ideas. It helps them realize that the world can be a certain way, and it is important to prevent history from repeating itself.
How did you start Brick House Butter?
It started when we got that snow in December. I gave my husband a food and beverage smoker, and we were throwing around ideas of what we could do. We found smoked butter and started playing around with that. Then I wondered if we could start infusing flavors in the butter.
Tell us about the flavors of butter.
They range from an Italian butter — which could go on anything, including bread or meat — all the way to our bourbon-infused butter. We have a very spicy butter and a sweet cinnamon-maple flavor. Our newest flavor is our berry butter; we put fresh strawberries and fresh basil in it.
Take us through the butter-making process.
It starts out as heavy cream. You churn that for a certain period of time, then it will thicken and “pop,” causing the liquid to separate from the butter; the liquid is buttermilk. You have to rinse the butter and squeeze it with cheesecloth.
How long does it take?
It depends, but typically it goes fast. The hard part is waiting on the butter while you churn.
How are the butter churning duties distributed between you and your husband?
We take shifts. He is typically doing a lot of the churning and rinsing. I have to give him the credit. If we are making huge batches, usually we try to set up a chain.
Do you make one flavor at a time?
We make the butter then infuse the flavors as the orders come in.
What is your favorite flavor?
The one I love most is The Rebar, which tastes good on red meats, potatoes and seafood. Sweet Mortar, our maple-cinnamon flavor, is our most popular. The Matton (the Italian flavor) is good, too.
How much is the butter?
Each 4-ounce jar is $7.
Is Brick House Butter available in restaurants?
A chef at a country club in Tuscaloosa was interested, so he has been using it and getting great feedback.
Is your butter solely for sale on your Facebook page?
Yes, we are not currently available in stores. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/builtwithflavor . Right now, we can only accept cash or checks.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.