By Ginna Parsons
HICKORY FLAT – Brandy Courson doesn’t really remember when she learned how to cook, but she does recall that it was out of necessity.
“Here I was married and all I could cook was eggs and the occasional hamburger and that gets old after a while,” said Courson, 34, of Hickory Flat. “I spent many an hour calling and bugging my MaMaw about how to cook something. She’s my go-to on food. I can’t think of anybody’s cooking I’d rather eat than hers.”
MaMaw is Katie Black New.
“I’d call her and she’d walk me through how to do everything,” Courson said. “Vegetables, casseroles. I think a Veg-All casserole is the first thing I ever fixed that she helped me with and it turned out well, but there aren’t many ways you can mess that up.”
Now, Courson cooks dinner just about every night for her husband, Brian, and their 14-year-old daughter, Breanna, a student at Hickory Flat Attendance Center.
“Brian is a help, though,” she said. “Some nights he’ll take it and I won’t have to cook anything. He didn’t cook when we first got together, but in the last few years he’s gotten in here and we cook together. Now, he thinks he can instruct me and tell me how to cook.”
If it’s Courson’s night to cook, she might prepare a baked ziti casserole, salad and Italian biscuit balls, or fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, green beans and fried okra.
“Breanna will eat eggplant, okra, corn on the cob, potatoes and fried green tomatoes, but she will not eat a red tomato to save her life,” Courson said. “And she won’t eat anything green except broccoli, and she’ll only eat that every once in a blue moon.”
Once every couple of weeks Courson, who works at the Mountain Fountain coffee shop at Blue Mountain College, will try a new recipe she’s gotten from a cookbook or from Pinterest.
“I like stuff that’s easy – like crazy easy – but I want it to look like I slaved over the stove all day,” she said.
Brian and Breanna are both big hunters and Courson will cook deer meat on occasion.
“I will allow deer, but no rabbits or squirrels or the yucky parts of animals, like tongue,” she said.
Not everything she tries turns out well.
“One time when I first started cooking, I thought I’d cook bacon in the Fry Daddy,” she said. “Grease went everywhere and flames and sparks were shooting out. Luckily, Brian was home, or I would have been a goner.”
One reason Courson likes to cook is because it helps make memories.
“We have grandparents’ breakfast on Christmas morning every year,” she said. “We invite all the grandparents here and cook for them. I want Breanna to have those kinds of memories. Food is a big deal to us because it’s the only way you can get people together sometimes.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.