Popcorn is the only thing Ronald Jenkins says he can cook, besides sorghum molasses, which he has been doing for three years now. For as long as he can remember, he watched his grandfather, the late E.L. Steele, cook molasses.
Tara Winter Terrell of Vardaman likes cooking in the fall and her recipes of homemade creamy chicken noodle soup, crockpot loaded potato soup and peanut butter bars are ones she likes best.
Betty Metzger grew up in a family of eight, and their parents made sure they all knew how to cook. When she and Dennis first married they had a lot of leftovers because she was used to cooking for such a big family. She uses mostly family recipes, a lot of which have been shared at reunions.
“There is nothing like a grandmother’s touch,” said Chad Whitworth about his grandmother’s Red Velvet Cake. Instead of birthday cake, she always made him his favorite red velvet cake for all of his birthdays. And even though he has her recipe, he hasn’t tried to make one.
“My sisters, Mindy and Jessica, and I started tailgating at every home game when we were undergraduates at Ole Miss,” said Susan Byrd Jenkins, formerly of Bruce, and now Oxford. “We would get out to The Grove around midnight and set up the tent, table and chairs. Poor Ryan (Jenkins) would have to tag along with us girls as it was easier to put the tent up with four instead of three. We would get up really early the next morning and get the food and decor ready.”
Most of what Becky Mitchell learned about cooking was from Bert Johnson’s home ec class at Bruce High School. She recalled making a strawberry chiffon pie there and “it was good!” she said. Mrs. Bert taught them about setting the table, and when they cooked a full meal in class, they invited the other teachers to come and eat.
Fish sauce and garlic can always be found at Ann Massey’s house in Bruce, along with jasmine rice and her rice cooker. A native of Thailand, dishes from there are what she enjoys cooking the most.
“We are peas and tater folks, with cornbread,” said Canzas Williams. “Cornbread is a must,” and says she has been making it “forever.” Since daughter Skylar has also learned to make cornbread, she wants to be the one making it every time.
“Talerine is a good winter dish I serve with slaw, rolls and creamed potatoes, that I make a lot,” said Sarah Moore.