COOK OF THE WEEK: Happy homemaker lives to please family with variety of meals

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Jane Miller decided many years ago that if she were going to be a homemaker, then she would be the best darn homemaker possible.
“I wasn’t born a cook or a seamstress,” said Miller, 48. “It’s been a lifelong process to be the best at something. There’s really not a right or a wrong way. It’s whatever works for you.”
And what works for Miller is putting delicious homemade meals on the table every night for her family, which includes her husband, Matt, and children Alyssa, Miranda, Anna and Andrew.
“I really enjoy cooking and that sort of ruins a meal in a restaurant for us. We eat out rarely,” she said. “I try not to get in a rut of cooking things over and over again. We have lots of variety, lots of new recipes.”
Miller’s mother died when she was a year old, and her grandmothers helped to raise her and her siblings in South Carolina.
“My Grandmother Gertrude was a wonderful Southern cook,” she said. “She’d come to visit and bring a carload of food with her and all her cooking supplies. She would spend all day cooking and sometimes we wouldn’t even eat until 8 o’clock at night. She said that was on purpose – so that we’d be starving and really enjoy what she’d made.”
Miller’s other grandmother, Mama Kitty, learned to cook alongside her husband after they married.
“She was never in the kitchen alone,” Miller said.
For years, Miller was a homemaker, but she has also worked outside the home at Heirlooms Forever, A Cook’s Place and, currently, at Tea for T’Arts inside His Hers Antiques and Collectibles in downtown Tupelo.
But she’d rather be at home cooking meals, sewing, helping with homework and volunteering in the community, which includes being president of Pied Piper and the Tupelo Middle School Thespian Club and being a member of the parent-teacher organizations at Thomas Street and TMS.
Miller prides herself on homemade foods like loaf bread, pizza dough and tomato sauce. But she’s also ventured into other things as well.
“I make homemade ranch dressing and homemade french fries,” she said. “Yes, Ore-Ida french fries are good and Hidden Valley Ranch dressing is yummy, but I’ve learned to make my own. I guess it’s an ego thing.”
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 ginna.parsons@journalinc.com.