COOK OF THE WEEK: Tupelo woman likes to cook more than she likes to eat

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Teresa Blalack loves to cook, but she doesn’t really care a lot about eating. “My husband thinks about food all day long, but I just eat when I get hungry,” she said. “I might fix half of a peanut butter sandwich or have a bowl of cereal or wrap a piece of lunch meat around some cheese.”
Blalack, who works as a secretary for a plumbing company, learned the basics of cooking in a home economics class when she was growing up in Greenville. Her family moved there in 1959 to open a Shipley Do-Nuts franchise.
“We had to plan and cook a meal every year in home ec and our parents had to grade us on it,” she said. “That’s where I learned the fundamentals of cooking, how to measure, how to follow directions.”
She also learned a few things from her mother and mother-in-law, but more often, she relied on cookbooks.
“In my opinion, if you can read a recipe, you can cook,” she said. “But cookbooks are a thing of the past, I think sometimes. Everybody gets recipes off the computer now. All you have to have is a key word.”
Blalack, 54, has actually compiled a cookbook of her favorite recipes on her computer and she passes them on to family members.
“When my nieces and cousins get married, I make them a copy and give it to them as part of their wedding gift,” she said. “I guess there are close to 100 recipes in it. I’ve yet to put together one for myself, though.”
Blalack cooks three or four times a week and her husband, Ronnie, grills on the weekends.
“I try not to cook on the weekends,” she said, laughing. “We might grill hamburgers, hotdogs, smoked sausage, fish or chicken. We’re big on leftovers. We hardly throw anything away.”
Even when it’s bad.
“The first meatloaf I ever made was like a brick,” she recalled. “I have no idea what went wrong. But my husband ate everything I made. Bless his heart. One time, I made homemade pizzas and I had a cold and I couldn’t tell by smell how much garlic I’d put in it. Well, it opened up my sinuses and the whole house smelled like garlic for weeks. It was strong, but he ate it.”
She’s had many successes since then, especially when it comes to her Jalapeño Pepper Cheese Log.
“That recipe has been all over Tupelo,” she said. “Everybody wants it. People think they don’t like anything hot, but once they try it, you’ll see them coming for another little bite.”
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.