COOK OF THE WEEK: Wren woman calls herself an old-fashioned cook

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Mothers are often the ones responsible for teaching their daughters to cook. Not so in Lou Booth’s case.
“My mom didn’t want anyone in the kitchen with her and I’m kind of that way myself,” said Booth, who will turn 85 Friday. “I think I just saw my mother cooking enough that it just came to me. When my husband got out of the service, it wasn’t that hard to cook for him because all he wanted was black-eyed peas and kraut and cornbread.”
Booth, who calls herself an old-fashioned cook, does not care to make casseroles.
“I never have,” she said. “I’ll make a chicken pot pie now and then, but that’s about as close as I get. A lot of times when I cook, I just make it up as I go.”
Booth and her husband, Roy, were married 50 years when he died in 2001. They have three children as well as five grandchildren and five great-grands.
Because Roy was disabled after he left the service, he became a stay-at-home dad.
“Most of our married life, he was Mr. Mom,” she said. “He took care of the house and the children and I worked.”
The couple used to tend a garden behind their home in Wren.
“One day he lost his wedding ring and he was convinced he had lost it on one side of the yard, but we never found it,” she said. “Several years after he died I was out in the vegetable garden and I saw something shiny and it was his wedding ring. It had been in the ground more than 40 years and it was still shiny. I just sort of felt there was a sort of connection between me and my husband that day.”
Booth still has a garden, thanks to her son, Tom.
“Tom gets it ready and opens up the rows and I’ll drop the seeds,” she said. “Then I do the picking and the putting in the freezer. We don’t have an abundance of stuff, but we do have fresh vegetables in the summer.”
But Booth isn’t wedded to her garden or her kitchen. She loves to travel and will use any excuse to get out of the house.
“I love to go,” she said. “If they can’t find me, they say, ‘She must be out running the roads again.’”
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.