COOK OF THE WEEK: Pontotoc Schools administrator puts family time first

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

PONTOTOC – Lynnice Carter is all about keeping her family together, even if that means cooking for them just about every night.
“It’s really nice to be able to have family time, so I always say yes,” said Carter, assistant superintendent for the Pontotoc County School District.
She can even rattle everyone’s favorite meal without taking a breath: Daughter Alison Goodwin likes meatloaf, creamed potatoes, English peas and rolls. Alison’s husband, Bradford, prefers breakfast for dinner. Their toddler son, Jon Carter, wants spaghetti, basil salad and green beans. Son Jason likes salmon croquettes, creamed potatoes and homemade biscuits.
Carter’s own favorite meal is baked ham, baked beans, corn and rolls. And her husband, Charles, will eat just about anything and often grills the meats the family enjoys.
“Charles is a hunter so we have a lot of deer meat,” she said. “He also fishes, so we often have baked or fried catfish. And we eat a lot of vegetables. We’ve had a garden in the past and I’d get up and pick peas and take them to my mother before school to shell, but we’re not having a garden this year.”
They will grow muscadines, however, and she will make jelly to give as gifts.
Carter, 56, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in home economics education and a doctorate in educational leadership, learned most of her cooking skills from her maternal grandmother, Bertha Williams.
“When she died, I got all her recipes,” Carter said. “Some were written on scraps of paper or old envelopes. When I thought my daughter and my niece were old enough to appreciate it, I made each of them a scrapbook using a color copier. I made all her recipes and took pictures of the finished dishes and included them with the recipes.”
Carter recalled learning how to make dressing from her grandmother.
“I’m a home ec major so I like to have recipes to go by,” she said. “When she got ready to teach me, she started to crumble the cornbread and I said, ‘Wait!’ And I measured the cornbread. And then she got out the poultry seasoning and poured some in her hand and I said, ‘Wait!’ and I measured it first. That’s how I learned to make dressing.”
Carter said both of her parents, Helen and Donald Gentry, were only children and she grew up within walking distance of both of her grandparents’ homes.
“So every holiday, we were all together, both sides of the family,” she said. “These days, my holiday is Thanksgiving, so I have all my family over and I make the turkey and dressing.”
When she isn’t at school or in the kitchen of her home, which is halfway between Sherman and Blue Springs, Carter can usually be found with her nose in a book.
“I read Christian fiction, educational materials, newspapers, magazines and John Grisham,” she said. “I am not a TV person, but I do read something every night.”
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.