COOK OF THE WEEK: Nurse shuns café business, but still enjoys cooking for others

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Kim Wood grew up in the restaurant business. First, her grandparents had cafe’s, and then her parents opened the Tishtontee Cafe in Mantachie.
“I was always there,” said Wood, 41. “I’d help Mother and Daddy before school, then go to school and then I would come back to the restaurant and work until 7 or 8 at night.”
Wood even worked at the cafe while she was in nursing school. So by the time she got married and out on her own, she was burned out on the food industry.
“My husband decided he wanted to open a restaurant of our own and I just did not want to do that,” she said. “But then I got to where I’d bring food to work for people and it just kind of grew from there.”
Today, Wood, a registered nurse at the North Mississippi Pain Management Center at Longtown in Tupelo, does some catering for friends and family for parties, luncheons and weddings.
“I didn’t take any classes or anything,” said Wood, who was featured along with her husband, Tim, and children, Kylie and Logan, in a Fit Family series the Daily Journal ran in 2004. “I’m just kind of self-taught.”
Wood’s favorite things to make are hors d’oeuvres.
“Cakes stress me,” she said. “Tim says I love it and I do, but I want them to be perfect.”
While Wood has no inclination to have a restaurant, she wouldn’t mind having a small deli where she could make pastries and simple meals.
“And I wouldn’t be opposed to being a personal chef, where I’d go into a home and set the table, cook the food and clean up,” she said.
Glazed chops, anyone?
When Wood isn’t cooking for others, she’s likely putting dinner on the table for her family.
“I still try to cook healthfully,” she said. “We like grilled chicken, a nice salad and roasted potatoes. But I’m a seasonal cook. In the fall, I do soups and stews with salads and breads. On into the winter and closer to the holidays, it’s comfort food. Spring is chicken salads and garden salads with fruit. Summer is still light with grilled chicken and fish.”
Wood, whose hero is Food Network star Paula Deen, is the first one to admit that her cooking skills have improved over the years.
“My children remind me of mishaps along the way I’d just as soon forget,” she said, laughing. “The most stunning was orange-glazed pork chops. They were tough and the glaze was awful. The dog wouldn’t even eat them.”
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.