Sandra Paulette Pierce Mathis, the author of Cooking with Love—Just Like My Mama Taught Me (Authentic Virginia Cuisine), was born and raised in Surry, Virginia-- a small rural community on the James River. With her mother’s guidance, she started baking and preparing meals by the age of nine. Although Mathis is not a professional baker, she has an extensive recipe collection that dates to the early 1980’s. She enjoys the art of cooking and baking and has twice won The Virginian- Pilot Norfolk, VA Dream Team Awards for baking. In 2016, she won 2nd Place in Norfolk for gingersnaps as well as 2nd Place statewide for gingersnaps at the Virginia State Fair in Richmond, Virginia. In 2017, an Honorable Mention for Mama’s Coconut Pie was awarded by The Virginian-Pilot Dream Team in Norfolk, Virginia.