COOK OF THE WEEK: Booneville grandmother downplays exceptional cooking skills

BOONEVILLE – Lana Tapp says she learned how to cook from her mother, her grandmother and some aunts, but that she can’t cook nearly as well as any of them.
Don’t believe her.
One look at her mile-high meringue and her succulent roasted pork and red potatoes will tell you Tapp certainly knows her way around the kitchen.
“We’ve got some good cooks in our family, but I’ll never measure up,” said Tapp, 52. “But I do like watching my family and friends enjoy my food.”
Tapp and her husband, Mark, have two married children – a son and a daughter – and three grandsons.
“My family eats with me three to four times a week and on Sundays,” she said. “We used to eat at Mom’s, but she’s not able to get up on her feet as much now. So they always eat with us, too. I’m an only child, so we never leave Mom and Dad out.”
Tapp used to prepare lots of casseroles, but lately her children have shown an interest in eating healthier. Today, she’s more likely to roast pork tenderloins or bake chicken and have roasted broccoli, sweet potatoes and green beans as side dishes and maybe fresh fruit for dessert.
If there’s a birthday or a holiday being celebrated, Tapp might prepare grilled salmon, spinach salad, asparagus, baked sweet potatoes and homemade bread.
“Casseroles are so full of cheese and butter and sour cream,” she said. “I’ve kind of gotten away from those.”

Thank you, honey
Three months ago Tapp quit her job at North Mississippi Regional Center/Prentiss Industries to become a full-time grandmother.
“I left the best job I ever had,” she said. “And I wouldn’t have left it if not for my grandchildren.”
Tapp’s husband of 34 years is a banker with Farmers & Merchants Bank in Booneville. The two met in high school at a basketball tournament.
“I was a cheerleader and he was a fan,” she said.
Even today, he’s still a fan.
“Sometimes, you don’t know if your family appreciates the time it takes to prepare a meal,” Tapp said. “And then one time, Mark got up in front of the Sunday school class and said, ‘My wife gets up and prepares a delicious meal for the family every Sunday morning.’ And that kind of let me know he did appreciate me and my time in the kitchen”

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@djournal.com.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal