COOK OF THE WEEK: Tupelo woman enjoys cooking for neighbors, co-workers, shut-ins

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

When Sandra Grissom and her husband, Greasy, decided to leave their home in west Tupelo for a cottage at Traceway Retirement Community last year, she certainly didn’t downsize her cooking.
Grissom, 64, still prepares meals every day for her husband, and possibly a neighbor, a co-worker at the LeBonheur Clinic in Tupelo, where she works one day a week, or anyone else who is hungry.
“I cook supper every night for Greasy and I cook several times a week for a friend of ours who is legally blind,” she said. “Usually when I cook something, I’ll take it to the lady next door or somebody here who is by themselves. And I have people at work tell me what to fix. They’ve all got their favorites.”
The Grissoms eat simple meals, like pork chops with green beans and macaroni and cheese or maybe a Mexican casserole with a salad. But she also gets requests for her chicken spaghetti, chili, and red beans and rice.
“I try at least one new recipe a week,” she said. “When I see one I like, I have to make it. I may give it away, but I do make it.”
Grissom, who was born and raised in Tupelo, is the only child of Ben and Helen Finney. She learned to cook standing in a chair by the stove.
“Mother had to have a couple of surgeries when I was smaller and I’d cook breakfast for my daddy,” she said. “It wasn’t the best breakfast, but that’s how I learned.”
Grissom worked at Delta and at Blue Bell before going to work at the North Mississippi Medical Center’s Heart Institute, where she spent 11 years. She retired from there to start a ministry through Parkway Baptist Church to help the sick and shut-ins.
“Anybody who needs a visit, we go and we always take them a little treat,” Grissom said. “It seems to excite them. It doesn’t matter if we take a cookie or a piece of cake. Some of them are Alzheimer’s patients and they don’t even know who we are, but that’s OK, too.
The ministry is in its second year.
“I was just at work one day and the Lord just spoke to me and said, ‘I need you out there,’ and it has worked out beautifully,” she said.
The Grissoms don’t have any children, but they do have one special “baby” – a beagle named Snoopy they share with former neighbors, Martha and Jimmy Langley of Tupelo.
“We drive over to Pemberton every morning to walk him,” Grissom said. “Sometimes he’ll come home with us for a few days and we keep him when they go out of town. He’s like part of the family.”
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.