COOK OF THE WEEK: Booneville educator has some mighty hungry boys to cook for

BOONEVILLE – To be such a little woman, Marianne Holley has certainly raised some big eaters. Her sons, 22-year-old Carter and 18-year-old Collin, leave her cupboards bare quite often.
“It’s a race at the dinner table between the boys,” said Holley, 49. “Carter can eat seven hamburger steaks at one time. He’ll eat 12 to 14 tacos, so when I make tacos, I make 24 or 25. He’d eat a whole pot roast if I’d let him.”
Collin doesn’t eat quite as much as his older brother, possibly because he doesn’t stand a fighting chance.
“I’ll see Collin eyeing a platter of food to see if he can get seconds before Carter digs in,” said Holley, a speech therapist and psychometrist at Booneville Middle School. “When it’s gone, you’d better be sure you’ve got something else coming.”
Both boys are tall and slender.
“It’s been unbelievable to cook for them. I’ll make a bag of hamburgers or doughburgers to send back to school with Carter and he’ll eat five or six of them at a time. Sometimes I meet him in West Point with a load of food to tide him over until the weekend. I should get mother of the year for that, don’t you think?” she said, laughing.
The boys come by their big appetites naturally. Their father, Roy, is also a meat and potatoes kind of guy.
“I didn’t grow up cooking, but when I married he wanted real food,” said the petite brunette. “So I got out my cookbooks. I’ve certainly branched out since then, like zucchini. I never would have touched zucchini years ago.”

The cookie lady
When Holley isn’t cooking for her family, she’s usually preparing something for friends who are sick.
“I watch my husband and my sons eat and I see how important that is to people,” she said. “So I take casseroles, soups – whatever they need.”
And at Christmastime, Holley is known for her Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies, which she makes by the bucket load.
“I’ll make 1,200 to 1,500 at a time,” she said. “When I run out of Tupperware containers to put them in, I go to ice cream buckets. In the winter, it’s so cold in the basement stairwell that I store them there. I give them to students, teachers and family. I freeze them in buckets and Carter takes them to college.”

Do you know a good cook? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can fax them to (662) 842-2233 or e-mail them to

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio