MARIETTA – Carolyn “Scarlet” Boren likes to joke that the strawberry cake her big sister Catherine Ann Guin makes is so large it almost has to be hoisted onto the dining room table with a crane.
The joke isn’t far from the truth.
The cake, which Guin has named for her sister, is about 10 inches tall and weighs every bit of 10 pounds. With seven layers, including an entire cheesecake in the middle, it is a sight to behold.
“A small piece is all you need,” said Guin, who made the cake for the first time last Thanksgiving. “It’s really rich. They all just loved it. It feeds a lot of people.”
Guin, the third of five children born to Bill and Catherine Morton, grew up in Booneville, but she didn’t learn to cook in her formative years.
“I enjoy cooking now, but my mother hated cooking,” she said. “She didn’t have to. We had a maid and a cook. And my daddy cooked. He pampered Mother. He did the canning and the jellies, too, because he enjoyed it. And he knew Mother wasn’t going to do it.”
Besides, Guin had more important things to do than hang around the kitchen.
“I’m the tomboy of the family,” the 62-year-old said. “I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors. We raised bird dogs growing up. I rode horses. That’s why I enjoy being out in the yard now, hauling hay.”
Guin and her husband of almost two years, Robert, have about 100 acres at their farm in the Kirkville community outside Marietta, where they raise cattle.
Two weeks ago, Guin, the mother of two and grandmother of four, retired as the head cashier from Prentiss County Electric, where she worked for 39 years.
And while she knows she’ll miss the customers and her co-workers, she’s also happy to be at home where she’ll have more time to cook.
“I don’t try new recipes very often, but since I’ve retired, I plan to try more,” she said.
When she was still working, she’d cook a big meal in the evening and eat, although Robert preferred his big meal in the middle of the day. So he usually heated up leftovers for his lunch.
Now, she cooks a big meal at noon for both of them to enjoy, like pork roast, fried okra and squash, turnip greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread. Then, at night, they eat a light supper together.
“I want to start eating healthier,” said Guin, who keeps all her recipes taped in spiral notebooks and a three-ring binder. “I want to get away from fried foods and cut back on bread and cornbread.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal