By Ginna Parsons
Debi Houston of Aberdeen is another one of those examples of people who flourished in the kitchen after marriage.
“I cooked growing up, but not like I do now,” said Houston, who works in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen. “I wasn’t on my own in the kitchen until I married. I was always afraid to try things, but I had a friend who said, ‘You can do this!’ so I started trying.”
Today, Houston and her husband, David, a retired bankruptcy judge, are members of a gourmet supper club that meets quarterly.
“We try to find new and different things when we host,” said Houston, 57. “And we like to share our recipes. Some people don’t like to do that and I just don’t understand that.”
Houston figures she cooks about five nights a week and the couple eats out or has leftovers the other two nights. At home, she might prepare a quiche and her mushroom bisque with a salad, or catfish sautéed in butter with roasted asparagus.
Recently, she had some family members visit and she prepared breast of chicken Dijon, Southern carrots, lima beans, rice, squash casserole, homemade rolls and peach cobbler.
“I like looking on Pinterest to find new recipes and I get a lot of ideas from the cookbooks I collect,” she said. “I try a new recipe at least once a month. I usually spring it on someone close first. When I see a recipe, I automatically adjust it to the way I think I’ll like it.”
Houston, a mother of four and grandmother of five, particularly likes to go out to a restaurant and try something new, and then go home and try to duplicate it in her own kitchen.
“Long recipes don’t bother me, as long as I can find the ingredients,” she said. “If I can find it, I can do it.”
Her favorite things to cook are hors d’oeuvres and main dishes, rather than sweets and casseroles. And she’ll even prepare things she personally finds distasteful.
“I don’t like shrimp, but I will cook it,” she said. “Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean I won’t make it for others. I just have to follow a recipe more closely on something like that since I don’t taste of it as I cook it.”
Houston has a habit of making notes in her cookbooks when she tries different recipes.
“I’ll put the date beside the recipes when I make them and I’ll write ‘good’ if we liked it,” she said. “If I write ‘OK’ beside it, that means I might make it again, but I might not.”
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.