TUPELO – Sandy Maharrey doesn’t care if she’s cooking for four or 400 as long as everyone leaves the table satisfied.
Since 2003, Maharrey has been preparing plate lunches, fresh salads and homemade desserts for customers at Rick’s Mart on South Thomas Street. For 15 years before that, she and her husband, Rick, had the Rick’s Mart on South Green Street.
Now, the couple’s son-in-law, Matthew Foster, operates the Texaco gas station and convenience store on Thomas Street, but Maharrey still does the cooking.
“When I started here, I just took recipes I’d had at home and brought them here,” she said. “I just made them in larger quantities. Now, it’s hard for me to cook in small quantities at home.”
When the couple had the Green Street store, their specialty was the Teddy burger, which was conceived by Maharrey’s father, the late Robert Tedford.
“He would mold burgers in PVC pipe, so they were real thick,” she said. “We still do them that way.”
Thanksgiving all year
When the couple was on Green Street, Maharrey, 50, was a court reporter, so she mainly provided cakes and peanut butter treats for customers. But when they bought the Thomas Street location, the store was already known for its plate lunches, so she decided to continue the tradition.
Customers are particular to the chicken spaghetti, chicken and dressing, chicken and dumplings, Swiss chicken casserole, mixed vegetable casserole, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese and country fried steak and gravy as well as the large selection of smoked meats.
“I used to think chicken and dressing and chicken and dumplings were only for winter, but I’ve found people want those
all the time,” said the new grandmother. “Every other Thursday is Thanksgiving here. That never changes. We offer chicken and dressing with gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and deviled eggs.”
Every other week or so, Maharrey tries a new recipe she finds in a cookbook or magazine or in the newspaper. If it turns out, she might even try it out on customers.
“There’s been things that didn’t work out, like a Mexican casserole,” she said. “Later, I might think of a way I might try it 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 e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal