COOK OF THE WEEK: Preacher’s wife a master of home-cooked vegetables

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

MANTACHIE – If you like old-fashioned, home-cooked vegetables, then you need to pull a chair up to Janice Rushing’s table.
Rushing, 69, almost always has a pot of something going on the stove, like peas, corn, butterbeans, green beans, squash or sweet potatoes.
“I cook vegetables all week and we eat out on the weekends,” she said. “My kitchen is closed on the weekends.”
Rushing and her husband, Buddy, the pastor at Center Star Independent Methodist Church in Mantachie, make their home in the Centerville community. They have been married almost 16 years and share four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
“He was my first love,” Rushing said. “I was 15. Then we had some kind of misunderstanding and stopped seeing each other and moved on. And then my first husband died and he was divorced and everything just turned out. I told him when we first started dating again that I was not a pastor’s wife. I just wasn’t cut out for that. But here I am. And it’s been fun.”
Buddy’s the one who plants and tends the gardens that grow all the fresh vegetables the couple enjoy.
“He just loves to grow and plant,” she said. “He can’t sit still. He has more than one garden. I’ve been known to ask him if he’s got any seed in his pocket, because he’s always planting.”
Her husband’s favorite vegetable is probably sweet potatoes.
“I think he’d eat sweet potatoes for breakfast if I’d put them on the table,” she said.
The Rushings don’t eat a lot of meat. That was how both of them grew up – vegetables during the week and maybe a roast or chicken on the weekend.
Only now, Buddy won’t eat grilled chicken.
“He tells everybody he doesn’t think he was really called to preach because he doesn’t much like chicken,” Rushing joked. “I used to make chicken and rice a lot for dinner, but he’s put an end to that.”
Rushing learned how to cook from her mother, the late Bertie Raburn.
“But she didn’t want you fooling around in her kitchen,” Rushing said. “She taught me first to cook cornbread and then a dessert. After I married, she taught me to make meats and vegetables. But desserts are my weakness. There’s almost always something sweet here to eat.”
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.