COOK OF THE WEEK: Houston cook wears many hats: mother, waitress, mail carrier

HOUSTON – Misty Grimes stays busy.
The 32-year-old mother of two works as a waitress at My Friends Place restaurant in Houston during the week and is a rural mail carrier for Houlka on the weekends.
But she still makes time to cook a hot meal just about every night for her family, which includes her husband, Johnothan.
“I’m not into glamorous meals,” said Grimes, a pretty brunette with an easy smile. “Peas, cornbread, fried chicken and creamed potatoes. We just like the plain stuff.”
Grimes learned to cook from her grandmother, Betty Smith of Houston.
“She is the one who has inspired me,” Grimes said. “When I was a little girl, I’d sit at her table and she’d have all these vegetables made. I envied her. I decided that’s what I wanted to do. Now, I have a garden and I can vegetables. I learned everything from her.”
Grimes, who was born and raised in Houston, is the youngest of four children born to Debbie and John Tackett, who now live in Tupelo.
“I’m the sweet one,” she declared proudly.
When Grimes was growing up, her mother worked and her older sisters did a lot of the cooking. When her sisters left, the cooking fell to Grimes.
“I can remember making hamburger steaks for supper when I was about 15,” she said.
Cookbook collector
And while Grimes can put a Southern meal on the table with the best of them, baking is her specialty.
“I love to make pretty desserts and give them away,” she said. “I see something and it becomes a challenge. I try to learn new recipes all the time. I’m taking advanced decorating classes now, although I’m not too good at the decorating yet.”
Grimes recalled when she was in high school, she made a big coconut cake and took it to class one day.
“And they were like, ‘You did not make that cake,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, yes I did.'”
Grimes gets lots of new dessert recipes from her cookbook collection.
“People give me cookbooks for my birthday and for Christmas,” she said. “That’s the best gift I can get is a cookbook.”
She’ll have one more to add to her collection before Christmas. Nancy Vance and her staff at My Friends Place have put together a 312-page cookbook called “Friends at Tea: Just for You.”
It’s scheduled to come in from the publisher the end of this week. Copies are $25 and available at the restaurant by calling (662) 456-5576.
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.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal