By Ginna Parsons
SMITHVILLE – Every Sunday after church, Melinda Ford gets together with her mother and her younger sister and they each plan out a week’s worth of meals.
“We get ideas from each other and this keeps us from eating out so much,” Ford said. “And if something they have sounds good to me, I may do it the next week.”
The 51-year-old has liked to cook ever since she was a young girl growing up in Jackson.
“When our parents would go out for the night, me and my sisters would play restaurant,” she said. “Me and my older sister would sit down and make our younger sister wait on us and bring us stuff from the fridge. When it was her time to be the customer, we’d say we were too tired. We were so mean.”
Now when the three sisters get together, all they talk about is food and the new recipes they’re trying. Ford likes to get ideas from the Food Network and she especially likes Ree Drummond, Giada De Laurentiis and Ina Garten.
“I like to try a new recipe at least once a week,” Ford said. “I’m in the process of trying to come up with the best pizza crust and sauce. That’s what we do on Sunday nights – try different recipes. Sunday night is pizza night.”
A few years ago, the Poe family – Ford’s parents are Glenn and Linda Poe of Amory – got together for one of their reunions and decided to compile a cookbook.
“It fell to me to put it together,” Ford said. “It’s full of the recipes we all grew up with, just old family recipes. I printed copies of it and gave it to everybody in the family. It probably took two years to do it.”
Ford and her husband, Ricky, live halfway between Amory and Smithville, and every year they have a big garden (they also raise cattle).
They usually grow peas, butterbeans, tomatoes, okra, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, corn, watermelons, basil and zinnias.
“I can a lot and put up a lot of stuff in the freezer,” she said. “It’s funny because, growing up, Ricky’s mother always made him shell peas and shuck corn. He always told himself he’d never marry a woman who put things up, and dang if he didn’t marry the ‘canning queen.’”
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.