COOK OF THE WEEK: Booneville man takes great satisfaction from home garden

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

BOONEVILLE – Get on Mike Timbes’ good side and you might find yourself the recipient of a loaf of fresh sourdough bread.
Timbes, 61, makes two loaves every Saturday to give away.
“I’ve got two batches of starter in the fridge that I feed every week,” Timbes said. “I hate to waste it and I’m sure not going to throw it away. So I make bread and take it to people.”
The Booneville man, who works as the dietary manager for Longwood Community Living Center, got his love of cooking from his mom.
“My mother was a wonderful cook,” he said. “She was kind of like that show ‘Chopped.’ You just put something in front of her and she could make something with it.
“I watched her cook when I was young. But the first time I made corn on my own, you couldn’t eat it. I didn’t put any seasoning in it and I cooked it and cooked it and cooked it until you couldn’t cook it anymore. Daddy ate it to make me feel better, but I threw the rest of it out.”
Timbes’ culinary skills have improved greatly since then. In fact, in 1999 he made his own family cookbook. He and his wife of 38 years, Jimmie, have two children and one grandchild on the way.
“For eight years – 1980 to 1988 – I had the Belmont Restaurant and Steakhouse,” he said. “We made homemade rolls every day and homemade coconut and chocolate pies. Friday was always chicken and dressing day.”
A lot of what Timbes cooks today comes from his garden, where he grows 30 different vegetables, including corn, beans, okra, peas, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, shallots, garlic and peppers.
“On the weekends is when I work in the garden,” he said. “On Fridays when I get off work, I come home and I don’t even go in the house. I just go straight to the garden and start working.”
For his birthday, he received canning jars as gifts, and he’s hoping for more of the same for Father’s Day.
“There’s just something about a garden,” he said. “One day I was standing out in the garden with a cup of coffee and my wife came up and asked me what I was doing and I said, ‘Watching my garden grow.’ And I was. It was a real still day and every now and then, if you were watching close, you’d hear a little ‘shoo-shoo-shoo’ and see a little movement from a plant. It was fascinating.”
Do you know a good cook? Send your nominations to Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can fax them to (662) 842-2233 or email them to ginna.parsons@journalinc.com.