Cook of the Week: Retired restaurateur getting used to the slow life again

Thomas Wells | Daily Journal Glenda Williams, who lives between Belmont and Dennis, said customers used to enjoy her layer cakes when she and her husband had the Belmont Cafe.

Thomas Wells | Daily Journal
Glenda Williams, who lives between Belmont and Dennis, said customers used to enjoy her layer cakes when she and her husband had the Belmont Cafe.

By Ginna Parsons

Daily Journal

BELMONT – Glenda Williams said she’s always enjoyed cooking, but she didn’t get to do much of it while growing up in Tishomingo County.

“We didn’t have much when I was growing up – groceries – and my mother was afraid to turn us loose in the kitchen because if we messed it up, then we’d be hurting,” said Williams, 68.

Home economics class was where Williams learned a lot about putting a meal on the table.

“We learned the basic principles, how to measure ingredients, how to follow a recipe,” she said. “Country cooking was just a pinch of this and a dab of that. No recipes. No measuring.”

Williams must have been a good student because for 14 years, she and her husband, Wallace, had the Belmont Cafe. They retired in January and sold the business.

“At the restaurant, I made a peach cobbler daily that was real popular and people would just go on and on about the way I cooked my green beans,” she said. “When we had the restaurant, I didn’t cook at home though. We ate breakfast and lunch there and I brought something home for supper from the restaurant. When my kids would come, there would never be any groceries in the house.”

Now that Williams is a lady of leisure, she’s enjoying getting out in her garden again.

“We’ve always had a garden where we grow our own vegetables and can them or put them in the deep freeze,” she said. “I couldn’t do it very much when we had the restaurant, but this summer I enjoyed it because I had time to can and freeze again.”

At least once a month, Williams will cook a big Sunday lunch for her family where she welcomes her three children and their families, which include seven grandchildren.

“I usually make the dessert and meat the day before and then I get up on Sunday morning and get the vegetables started and I put it all together when we get back from church,” she said.

The folks at Second Street Church of Christ in Belmont may not be food critics, but they can smell a store-bought pie a mile away.

“One time I was taking a pie to church and I ran out of time and I took a bought pie,” she said. “I almost got kicked out of church for that.”

Williams said when she had the restaurant, she tried new recipes all the time. She might look at four or five similar recipes and then pick out the ingredients her family would like and put something together to make it her own.

“I enjoy making casseroles,” she said. “I haven’t made them much at home since I retired, though, because it’s hard to get used to cooking for two when I’m used to making enough for three steam trays.”

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.