COOK OF THE WEEK: Ecru woman never at a loss when it comes to food

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

ECRU – After raising a daughter and riding herd over two grandchildren, Sherry Todd is not one you’re going to catch unprepared in the food department.
Todd, who works at Genesis Furniture in Pontotoc, keeps assorted pies and other sweets in her freezer for special, as well as unplanned, occasions.
“You never know when you’re going to need a pie for something, when someone’s going to pass away,” said Todd, who lives in Ecru with Pat, her husband of almost 39 years.
When the Todds’ daughter, Gina, was in school, Todd would often send homemade teacakes with chocolate icing to school functions and bake sales.
“Then, when my grandson, Chase, got in school, teachers got wind of my cookies, so now I’ve got to make them for him, too,” said Todd, 56. “And now, it’s starting to be the same thing with my granddaughter, Haylee. I always have something ready.”
Todd can remember cooking at an early age, although she uses the term “cooking” loosely.
“My grandmother passed away when I was 6 and we moved into the house with my granddaddy,” she said. “I can remember pushing a chair up to the stove to fix what I called supper, but it was actually hotdogs, or something like that.”
Many years later, when Todd’s paternal grandmother was in poor health, Todd and a cousin went to her home to clean out the kitchen.
“My cousin looked around and said, ‘Where are the recipes?’ and I said, ‘They’re all in her head.’ And she said, ‘How are we ever going to make her dishes?’ I told her we’d just have to wing it, to find something close. We found one recipe in that whole house and it was for a raisin cake she used to make at Christmas. And I hated that stuff. It was ugly.”

Hunters in her midst
While Todd’s specialties are cakes, pies, cookies and candies, she also puts a mean dinner on the table every Saturday night.
Her mother, Betty Harkness, died in 1995, but her father, Shorty, still comes to the Todds’ home to eat with the family.
“Dad will bring his little bowls with him and take stuff home to eat on all week. If you’ve got your vegetables cooked, then you can come home and fry some tenderloin or cook a hamburger steak and you’ve got your dinner on the table pretty quickly.”
Todd isn’t a picky eater, except when it comes to deer meat. All her family – even 9-year-old Haylee – likes to hunt but Todd has never acquired a taste for venison.
“I don’t care how well you cook it, it just has an odor to it,” she said. “Sometimes, if it’s seasoned and battered and fried and smothered in onions and gravy, I can get it down.”

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.