COOK OF THE WEEK: Banking, baking take up most of Belmont woman's time

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

BELMONT – When some folk are having a bad day, they go outside to work in their flowers or curl up in bed for a good cry or maybe head to the mall for a shopping spree.
Not Peggy Montgomery.
She makes a beeline for her kitchen.
“When I’m blue, when I’m down – everybody has down days – if I can just get in my kitchen, I’m as happy as a lark,” said Montgomery, 67, of Belmont.
In fact, nothing makes her happier than cooking a big Sunday dinner for her husband, James, and their two children, Mike and Mitzi, and their families, as well as Montgomery’s own parents, Dallas and Gladys Wigginton.
“We try to get together once or twice a month,” Montgomery said. “I just have to fit it into their schedule and mine.”
Montgomery doesn’t hesitate when asked what she might prepare for one of these special meals: roast or minute steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, cornbread salad, creamed corn, carrots, green peas, deviled eggs, homemade rolls and chocolate pie, coconut pie and banana pudding.
“I’ve got a big table and I usually have to set something to the side,” she said. “I love to feed them. I love to see people eat. My greatest joy is to have family around our table on Sundays after church for a big meal.”
Montgomery got used to cooking big meals daily when her children were young.
“We had a son who wanted meat and potatoes and a daughter who wanted vegetables and cornbread, so I always tried to have a meat and three vegetables on the table at mealtime,” she said.
Cakes, cookies and pies
Montgomery, cashier at Spirit Bank in Belmont, has been in banking for 28 years. She worked at First American National Bank in Belmont for 18 years before moving to Spirit, where her son works.
For many years, Montgomery’s love of baking led her to make cakes for people as a side business. She even took classes from Linda Wildmon in Tupelo.
“But it finally got so hectic, I stuck to banking and gave up baking for the public,” she said.
But she still likes to make goodies for her co-workers at the bank as well as for her church family at Old Bethel Methodist Church.
“Once every week or two, I bring something to work,” she said. “I’m really the only one here who likes to cook.”
At work, they want her pound cake or her chocolate-oatmeal cookies, which she’s been making ever since she got the recipe from her good friend Deneca Ivy.
“But at a church dinner, the first question I’m asked is, ‘Did you bring a chocolate pie?’ And I always do,” she said. “I’m afraid I’m fixing to have to start making two. I don’t claim to be a good cook. I just love cooking for my family and the people I love. Isn’t that what mothers do?”
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 ginna.parsons@djournal.com.