Ginna Parsons 5/25/09
Photos by Thomas Wells
Jane Moore Pickett of Pontotoc likes to prepare old-fashioned Southern favorites, like steak and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans and cornbread for her co-workers in the accounting department at North Mississippi Health Services in Tupelo.
Strawberry Supreme Cake
By Ginna Parsons
TUPELO – Sometimes when Jane Moore Pickett is cooking, she can almost feel her late grandmother, Louise Sudduth, at her side, guiding her through a recipe. That may be because Pickett lives in her grandparents’ homeplace in Pontotoc.
“When I started cooking, if I had questions, I called Granny,” said Pickett, 49. “Her phone number was on my speed dial. And now, today, I’m still cooking on Granny’s stove. There’s certain things I do in Granny’s kitchen just because it’s Granny’s kitchen.”
Pickett may not cook as often as her grandmother or as elaborately, but friends and family do like to gather when she decides to put out a spread. Weekend before last, she prepared baked ham, baked Vidalia onions, potato salad, green beans and white chocolate bread pudding.
“I cook more on the weekends because during the week, we get home at 5 or 5:30 and I’m tired,” she said. “If I do cook during the week, it’s a one-pot casserole.”
Pickett works in the accounting department at North Mississippi Health Services in Tupelo. She and her husband, Jim, have been married four years and he has three children. The couple share a Yorkshire terrier, Diesel.
Pickett made her cooking debut about 20 years ago, when she began catering parties.
“I couldn’t cook real food, but I could make dips and punch and party foods,” she said. “Granny taught me to make real food.”
She also relied on cookbooks, especially the Bell’s Best series. She also likes the cookbooks that Walmart periodically publishes.
“The shelves around the top of my kitchen are filled with cookbooks,” she said. “But friends and family give me most of my recipes. I also like looking at them on the Internet. I just put in a search word and go from there.”
Project Hope supporters
Pickett and her co-workers are very involved with Project Hope, an annual team-based fundraiser benefiting patients in Northeast Mississippi with heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Community groups, neighborhoods, churches, businesses and individuals come together to make up the teams.
“We did a cookbook as a fundraiser for Project Hope year before last,” she said. “We all piddle with food up here. And sometimes, I’ll make a cake and bring it up here and sell it for a dollar a slice to raise money for our team. We call ourselves Facts and Figures.”
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.