TUPELO – Carolyn Rasberry didn’t tell her two grown sons, Johnny and Todd, that she was going to be featured in the newspaper today as a Cook of the Week. She just called them and asked for some of their favorite dishes from childhood.
At the top of both boys’ lists: Porcupine Balls with Potatoes.
“I was amazed that they each listed almost the exact same things,” said Rasberry, 66. “The boys grew up liking to eat. And my husband likes to eat. And I like to cook. So we all fit together just fine.”
When her sons were growing up in Tupelo, the Rasberry house was the place to be. She always had food prepared, never knowing how many were going to be around to eat.
“They wouldn’t even call,” she said. “They’d just show up. There were a lot of mothers who didn’t like to cook and that was OK with me, because I did.”
Rasberry, who has been the bookkeeper for Danver’s restaurant since it opened in Tupelo 32 years ago, learned how to cook from her mother, the late Wilma Vinson, when she was about 9 or 10.
“I can remember my mother turning a chair around and I’d stand at the stove so I’d be over a pot and not get burned by the steam when I lifted the lids,” she recalled.
Looks like Morrison’s
Now that Rasberry’s children are out of the house, she doesn’t cook as much for herself and her husband, John, as she used to. Once a week, she might make a pot roast or chicken and dressing, but she’s likely to give most of it away to the sick or those who live alone.
“We’ll get hungry for roast and fried green tomatoes, but we can’t eat all that,” she said.
Her favorite time of year to cook is Thanksgiving.
“They say I look like Morrison’s cafeteria when I get through,” she said. “I try to make everybody’s favorite. I’ve been known to have three different potato dishes on the table.”
Once, she put four or five different meats on the table, but not because it was Thanksgiving.
“When my boys were in high school both of them were big hunters and they’d bring home duck and quail and squirrel and deer meat. They’d say, ‘Mama, we want you to cook this,’ and I’d put them off and put them off and stick it in the freezer.
“Finally, I said, ‘Get it all out of the freezer. We’re going to cook it all tonight and get this over with. Call all your friends and get them over here.’ So I fixed biscuits, mashed potatoes, rice and corn on the cob. We fried some meat and broiled some and pressured some. Everything was good but the squirrel. It was as tough as shoe leather. We couldn’t eat it. But you know what? They never asked me to cook squirrel 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 email@example.com.
Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal