FALKNER – When Betty Richardson was growing up, she didn’t spend time cooking in the kitchen with her mother. Its place was the cotton field.
“Mom would make us a full breakfast every morning and then we would go out into the field and she would make a big meal that we could eat for lunch,” said Richardson. “She was spreading a large blanket under a shade tree and had pots of vegetable soup, or butter beans, peas and cookies. And always a pitcher of tea. Those were the best times. My boy, c ‘was good in the field. “
And then in the evening, Richardson’s mother had an elaborate meal on the table.
“And I’m not talking about a small pot of something,” Richardson said. “I’m talking about 10 or 12 things. She could throw a meal on the table in the blink of an eye.”
When Richardson and her husband, Danny, got married 47 years ago, she could bake the basics – cornbread, peas and potatoes.
“If I was getting ready to do something, I would bring mum here to the house,” she said. “She wanted to do it for me, but I said, ‘Mom, I can’t learn this way.’ So she stood behind me and taught me how to make things like chicken and dumplings and gravy. “
Richardson, 66, is the middle of three daughters born to the late Marvin and Gladis Brock. She graduated from Falkner High School, then worked in several locations. She retired in 2018 from Ashley Furniture in Ripley, having worked there for 20 years.
“Danny and I saved yards during our retirement,” she said. “We have about 11 that we’re doing. We can’t sit still. We never got to sit down.”
On Sundays, Richardson’s family meets at her or her sister’s house for a big lunch. She and Danny have a daughter, Amanda Barkley, and her husband, Nick; and three grandchildren.
“We have between 10 and 16 here on Sunday,” she said. “Almost everyone at church has been to my or my sister’s house to eat at least once.”
Lunch can be a roast, chicken strips, peas or beans, corn, potatoes, coleslaw, and cornbread. Or lasagna, spaghetti, salad, coleslaw, corn, potatoes and garlic bread.
“There are two things that we will have every Sunday, even in winter, and that is coleslaw and corn,” she said. “And we always have a dessert or two.”
Richardson usually tries a new recipe about every two weeks, and she always serves it Sunday lunchtime to her “guinea pigs.”
“If my family likes this, it goes in my cookbook,” she said. “I have two homemade cookbooks – one is just for candy. I started putting them together when I got married. I don’t know what happened to my original book – it s ‘is lost. I don’t know if it fell in the trash can and was dumped or what. But I made a new one. “
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1 can Duncan Hines Butter Cake Mix
1 teaspoon of coconut extract
For the cake, combine the cake mix, butter, eggs and milk. Bake according to box directions in two greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. When the layers are cool, cut in half to make four layers.
For the frosting, combine sour cream, sugar, 2 cups flaked coconut, whipped topping and coconut extract. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle and pat 1 bag of frozen coconut over the frosted cake.
PECAN NUT BITES
1 tube of chilled croissants
1 tablespoon of butter or margarine, melted
Unroll the croissant dough into a rectangle; press onto bottom and a half inch down sides of greased 9×13-inch pan. Seal seams and perforations. Bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the egg, sugar, pecans, corn syrup, melted butter and milk. Pour over the crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Cool completely before cutting. Makes 2 dozen.
SAUSAGE RICE CASSEROLE
1 pound chopped breakfast sausage
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
Brown sausage with onion and pepper. Add the raw rice, carrots, broth and water, and mushrooms if using, and cook over low heat until the rice is tender.
PATSY’S MEXICAN CASSEROLE
1 pound of ground beef or sausage
1 tin of cream of chicken
1 tin of cream of mushroom
1 can of cheddar soup
Doritos or corn chips, or 8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
Brown beef or onion sausage; to drain. Add soups and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve as a dip with Doritos or corn chips, or stir in cooked noodles for a casserole.
PECAN FUDGE CAKE
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
Prepare the cake according to the instructions on the box and bake it in a 9 x 13 inch pan.
Put the butter, milk and cocoa in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the butter is melted. Add icing sugar and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Stir in the pecans. Pour over the hot cake.
SWEET AND SOUR MACARONI SALAD
16 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 teaspoon of olive or canola oil
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 small green pepper, chopped
4 medium to large carrots, grated
Boil the macaroni in water until tender. Drain, then add the oil and stir to keep it from sticking. Put aside.
Combine the sweetened condensed milk, vinegar and mayonnaise and mix well. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the cooked and drained macaroni, bell pepper, carrots and onion, and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
1 cup of icing sugar
Mix the granulated sugar and the flour. Add milk and stir to combine. Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle cinnamon over the mixture. Combine brown sugar and chopped nuts and sprinkle over everything. Pour the melted butter on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Combine icing sugar and milk to make a frosting. Add more sugar or milk to reach the desired consistency. Pour over.
2 large boxes of strawberry gelatin
2 (46 ounce) cans of pineapple juice
1 bottle (15 ounces) lemon juice
8 bottles (2 liters) of ginger ale, chilled
In a large saucepan, bring the water, sugar and gelatin to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and gelatin. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until slightly thickened.
Stir in the pineapple juice and lemon juice.
Divide mixture into resealable 8 quart ziptop bags (you will have approximately 3 1/2 cups per bag). Seal the bags and freeze until firm.
To serve, let 1 sachet of juice blend sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Empty the bag into a large punch bowl. Add 1 chilled 2-liter bottle of ginger ale. Break the mixture up with a spoon until it is a muddy consistency. Use immediately. Makes 8 packs of punch.
CONFIT SWEET POTATOES
5 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into boards
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Add the sweet potato planks, cover and cook over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally. Uncover and let thicken.