COOK OF THE WEEK: Mooreville mom takes great pleasure in cooking for teens

SALTILLO – Saturday is Pam Gumm’s one day of the week to sleep in.
But does she?
Not usually.
“Most of the time I have six to 10 teenagers at my house to cook for,” said Gumm, property manager for the Tupelo Seniors Apartments in Saltillo. “You know you love cooking, and your child, and his friends when you will get up at 7 o’clock on a Saturday morning – your only day off – to prepare breakfast for a house full of teenagers.”
And these friends of her 16-year-old son, Matthew, are some kind of big eaters. Breakfast at the Gumm home in Mooreville usually includes three pounds of bacon, two pounds of sausage, a dozen or more eggs, homemade biscuits, white pepper gravy and chocolate gravy.
“The first thing my son does when he brings new friends home is take them in the kitchen and say, ‘This is where we keep the glasses, this is where we keep the plates and this is the junk food cabinet. You can have anything in it you want because my mama and daddy don’t care.’”
But Gumm, who will turn 49 on Thursday, said cooking for the bunch is not a burden.
“It’s one of the greatest joys of my life,” she said. “When I make beignets for them for breakfast, I can cook 200 of them and they’ll all be gone in a jiffy. They love them things.”

Queen of the class
Gumm’s mother, Marie Black, is actually the one who got Gumm started in the kitchen.
“I was 10 years old and in the fifth grade,” Gumm said. “Each year, the young lady who raised the most money for her class was crowned the queen during the Halloween carnival at our school. I remember coming home from school and telling my mom that we had to get busy and make some things to sell because I wanted to be queen.”
The next day when Gumm walked in the kitchen after school, her mother had all the fixings for popcorn balls.
“I think we made 100 of them,” she said. “I took them to school the next day and sold them for a quarter each. Within two hours, they were all gone. After that, the contest was on, and at the Halloween carnival, I was crowned queen.”
The next thing Gumm learned from her mother was how to make homemade biscuits and chocolate gravy – her son Matthew’s two favorites.
“And I shouldn’t forget to mention that I’ve already taught him how to make homemade biscuits and chocolate gravy,” she said proudly. “I have to say, he is a pretty amazing cook, too.”
But Gumm doesn’t limit her cooking to her family and her church family at Tupelo Church of God. She also prepares traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for all 40 of her residents at Tupelo Seniors Apartments and any family members they want to invite.
“I love my seniors, now,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade this job for anything.”

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.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal