COOKS OF THE WEEK: Friends share love of cooking with marathon sessions

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – For 20 years, Rebecca Lawrence and Melinda Trapp have been getting together to cook labor-intensive meals to share with house guests.
Lawrence, 50, of Tupelo, and Trapp, 64, of Pontotoc, first met through their husbands, who practiced together at the same Tupelo radiology center. The two women soon discovered they had a love of cooking in common.
“We both have a lot of family who like to come visit for, like, three weeks at a time,” said Lawrence. “We’d prepare meals together ahead of time so we wouldn’t have to be in the kitchen when guests were here. And we wanted to serve something good to our guests.”
The two- and three-day marathon cooking sessions used to happen several times a year, but since the women have become business partners – they own The Farmhouse Tupelo with two other partners – their cooking time has diminished.
“Before we started working at The Farmhouse, we did this all the time,” said Trapp. “It’s kind of slowed down a bit. We miss doing this.”
One cooking session might produce four pans of homemade lasagna, chicken pot pies, chicken casseroles with spinach and cheese, and butternut squash soup, and appetizers such as crawfish triangles, bacon-wrapped dates with olive sauce, and spiced pecans, along with assorted cakes for dessert.
Then they’d pop everything in their freezers and wait for the guests to arrive.
“Cooking is something we love to do, and we love to do it for family,” Trapp said. “To cook for the public would be overwhelming.”
The women get their ideas from some of their favorite celebrity chefs, such as Michael Chiarello, Tyler Florence and Giada De Laurentiis.
“We both like to read cookbooks, too, so we get inspired by recipes and just take it from there,” Trapp said.
Lawrence said at home on a typical weeknight, she hardly ever cooks the same thing twice.
“I just open a cookbook and say, ‘I’m going to cook that tonight,’ and I go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients and come home and make it.”
The women have tried their hand at Italian, French and even Chinese cuisine.
“We make homemade lasagna, fettuccine, linguine, ravioli,” Lawrence said. “Melinda is the one who taught me now to make homemade pasta. She also knows how to stretch a meal. We can have four extra people show up for dinner and Melinda makes that meal feed everyone and no one goes hungry. I’ve learned from her how to do that.”
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.