By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – Myra Langley said when her friends see her pictured as a Cook of the Week in the newspaper, they’re going to laugh.
“People who know me know cooking is not my passion,” said Langley, 66. “But I do enjoy the holidays. If I had my choice between cooking and gardening, I’d be out in the yard. My husband keeps the lawnmower running, but I mow and weed-eat and plant and mulch and do all there is to do.”
That said, Langley has managed to perfect some pretty special candies that she makes only at Christmastime.
“Pecan Clusters are my family’s favorite during the holidays,” she said. “I just about can’t make enough of them. I’ve worked for years on my recipe to get it just right, and it’s the closest thing to Russell Stover’s Millionaires that I’ve ever tasted.”
For those wanting to make these at home, Langley warns that you need to buy your bags of Kraft caramels at Halloween.
“If you wait until mid-December, you just about can’t find them,” she said. “And they’ll keep for several months.”
Langley also prepares her mother’s German Chocolate Cake during the holidays.
“It’s the most complicated recipe I make,” said the mother of two and grandmother of six. “I only make it at Christmas or if one of the grandchildren requests it. The recipe is at least 50 years old. I’ve tweaked some of the directions to make it more modern. Mine is not as good as my mother’s ever was, but I’m getting better.”
Langley, a retired schoolteacher, has two other 50-year-old recipes she likes to make that came from two of her aunts, Nell and Beck.
“I just treasure all the old recipes, especially if they’re in the cook’s own handwriting,” she said.
It’s probably no surprise that Langley is a self-proclaimed chocoholic.
“I admit it,” she said. “I know I am. I have a sign in my kitchen that says, ‘Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of chocolate.’ I play in three different bridge clubs and we always have coffee and dessert. When I’m the hostess, they know the dessert is going to be chocolate some way or the other.”
Langley and her husband of 47 years, Curtis, both grew up in Houston, but they moved often with his job in industry.
“This house is the 20th dwelling we’ve lived in since we’ve been married,” she said. “We moved to New Albany in 1986 and this is the sixth place we’ve lived in since we moved here. But this house is the last one. This is it. Of course, Curtis says I’ve said that about the last four houses we’ve lived in. But I mean it this time.”
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.