COOK OF THE WEEK: Family, church, co-workers – Pontotoc woman cooks for them all

PONTOTOC – Marilyn Tutor is the quintessential grandmother – soft white hair, an easy laugh and something good always cooking on the stove.
Tutor has her children and grandchildren over every Sunday for lunch, not because she has to, but because she wants to.
“We usually have 11 on Sundays,” she said. “They like creamed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, ham, string beans, rolls, a congealed salad and peach cobbler with ice cream. One week, we’ll have Crock-Pot pizza, corn on the cob, slaw and banana pudding.”
Tutor’s cooking isn’t just limited to her family, though. Every Wednesday, she helps prepare the evening meal for 200 to 250 people at West Heights Baptist Church in Pontotoc.
“We cook the complete meal,” she said. “The director plans what we’re going to have and gets it there and we put it all together.”
Tutor feels fortunate that her employers, Shelly and Howard Carnes at Carnes Frames in Pontotoc, let her leave early on Wednesdays to head to the church to cook.
“They’re really good people,” she said. “They don’t want you to hurt or need anything. When my husband, Jerry, had hip replacement surgery, Shelly was right there with me through the whole thing.”
Tutor worked for 12 years for the Pontotoc City School District and then for Renasant Bank for 18 years. She started working three years ago at Carnes Frames, where she handles the payroll.
“I came here to work part time, but I enjoyed it so much, I work full time, now,” she said.

Cooking a gift from God
The 69-year-old figures she’s been putting meals on the table since she was about 13.
“I was the fourth of six children – three girls and three boys,” she said. “My oldest sister had already left home when my dad went to get my baby sister from the hospital. I remember that morning, Dad told me to get lunch ready and get the house straight. And I did. Back then, you did what you had to do.”
And she’s still doing it. Her hobbies are few, she said, because she spends all her time working, taking care of her home, enjoying her four grandchildren and cooking.
“I feel like cooking is a gift the Lord has given me to give to other people,” she said. “I feel bad if I don’t get something to somebody who is sick or had a death in the family.”
She also likes to take cakes to work for her co-workers’ birthdays.
“They all look forward to that,” she said. “They let me know when their birthdays are getting close.”
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