Chasing A Dream: Sister Suze

My parents didn’t raise just ONE dreamer—no, sir!  They raised an entire gaggle of dreamers!  And if you like dreamers, you should know my sister Suze.

The Culinarian in the Family

All three Fields girls are pretty creative kitcheneers, and even though I was the oldest and started cooking the earliest, my sister Suze is the most creative in the kitchen.  Susan’s tastes in food have always leaned toward culinary adventure.

Okay, let me get something out of the way first.  I know all this is going to sound funny, but you have to realize that we grew up in Pegram, Tennessee in the 60’s.  There was NO fast food, no ethnic food, and the only person we knew who ate anything other than “Southern home cooking” was Richard Young, a friend of my daddy’s who liked rattlesnake and would drop everything to come fetch one of the critters when Daddy caught one with his shoe strings and a forked stick.

  ... the only person we knew who ate anything other than “Southern home cooking” was Richard Young, a friend of my daddy’s who liked rattlesnake…

… the only person we knew who ate anything other than “Southern home cooking” was Richard Young, a friend of my daddy’s who liked rattlesnake…

That said, let me go back to the fact that Suze was the most adventurous culinarian among us.  She was the first to try Chinese or Thai or Vietnamese food; she was the first to eat bean sprouts.  She celebrated cucumber or watercress sandwiches while the rest of us considered it “rabbit food.”  She relished dips and spreads and garnishes and seasonings, and frequently introduced us to a new dish she’d enjoyed somewhere, because she’d always come home and recreate a version of it.

When we were fairly young, she was the first one of us to visualize having a restaurant, she wanted to offer things that were not the typical Southern fare (like the aforementioned cucumber or bean sprout items among them) and call it “Something Different.”  That came from the numerous times we’d be going out to lunch and someone would remark, “I want something different.”  (For me, that meant something other than fried chicken, but it did NOT mean bean sprouts!)

At one time, Suze opened a restaurant in a small Tennessee town and offered homemade bread each day and family-sized casseroles for take-out.  At that endeavor, she worked herself ragged, arising each morning at 4 a.m.  to bake bread and working until late into the night.  I was happy to see her choose to STOP doing it for her own physical and mental health, though her customers were sad when her kitchen closed.

After literally decades of dreaming about a food-related eatery and endeavors that she (and only she) considered failures, she decided to take the leap into the food business.  There’s more to the story, and I encourage you to go read it at her website here.

Zuzu’s Joy Was Born

joy146With her epicurean nature and discerning palate, I think it was fate that led her to the development of her own line of gourmet food products.  The creativity and practicality borne in the Fields clan spawned an ability to taste, reconnoiter and recreate the flavorful spinach dips and decadent soups she enjoyed.  Even more exciting to her were the discoveries she made in finding suppliers of things like tomato or buttermilk powder and dehydrated spinach that could easily be used to develop products that were easy to store, ship and prepare.

Set to Live the Dream

Suze is now in the place where she’s ready to fly—into stores, into success, into living the dream.  In the last few days, she has been able to complete the nutritional information on her products that will allow them to be in major markets across the United States (can you say “Cracker Barrel” and “Publix”?).  She is poised to launch into the kind of success that comes of following your passion, having developed the products, the packaging, the marketing and everything else about her products ALONE.

And I have to say, I am looking forward to the time when I can enter a grocery store in my California neighborhood and find products from Zuzu’s Joy on their shelves.  That time will come, I just know it.

Congratulations and best wishes to my sister Suze.


I always do!



  1. Miss Peg — you made me cry …. again. I love you and am going to miss your four star accommodations when I come to Nashville for sales trips. But I am so happy that you are dreaming big and following where it leads you. I can remember when I was about 12, Daddy saying, “Susie, you and I need to go into business to do this”or to “do that”. I think that is what gave me the drive and desire to do something on my own. He was always the only one who would try absolutely anything i cooked. When I was on the alfalfa sprout sandwich kick (I still love those by the way) you all turned up your noses but before he went to work one night he said “Suze can you fix me one of those grass sandwiches to take for my lunch tonight?” I miss him soo much. I know you’re shedding lots of tears these days – happy, sad, mad — all calls for tears. but just like our mama we love a good cry. Run fast toward your dreams… as fast as your little short legs will carry you. Love you.

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