By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
Jeanne Meek makes no bones about it: Her passion for cooking and any talent she might have in that department are all thanks to her mother, Betty Cayson.
“I love to cook and I know that comes from my mom,” said Meek, 45. “By the time I was in school, my mom had retired and was a homemaker. That’s the way I remember my mother – in the kitchen. She waited on my dad hand and foot. I never knew anything she wouldn’t try. And everything turned out good.”
Cayson, who was featured as a Cook of the Week in the Daily Journal eight years ago, died in April 2010.
“I remember Mom making cookies and me helping her when I was 9, 10, 11 years old,” Meek said. “Then my teenage years came and I didn’t want anything to do with it. In college, I’d come home and that’s when I got interested in what she was cooking.”
Meek said when she was growing up, her family made mealtime a centerpiece of their day.
“My family always had breakfast together every day of my life and it wasn’t Pop Tarts either,” she said. “We had chocolate gravy and biscuits, French toast and we always had a meat. So when our boys were little, we tried to have at least one meal a day together.”
The boys aren’t so small anymore. Tyson has moved out and married and Aaron is 20, but they’re still known to come around when the dinner bell rings.
“My husband and boys like meat and potatoes and that’s it,” said Meek, a bookkeeper at Mooreville High School. “They don’t like casseroles – they don’t like things to be mixed together.”
A typical meal in the Meek home in Saltillo might be pork chops, creamed potatoes, green beans and bread, or maybe a shepherd’s pie and bread. In the wintertime, the family eats a lot of soup and chili.
“I cook at least six nights a week,” she said. “We usually go out one night a week. As a wife, I think it’s my duty to cook for my husband and family.”
That husband, Alan, actually does a little of the cooking himself on his Big Green Egg grill.
“Alan loves his Green Egg,” she said. “He smokes Boston butts, Smithfield hams, pork loins and lots of chicken.”
When the two aren’t cooking, you’ll probably find them out junking.
“We go wherever it looks junky,” Meek said. “We call it junking and antiquing, but not froufrou antiques. We go to yard sales, thrift shops, estate sales, antique stores, second-hand stores. We like bringing new life to something old.”
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 email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.