"We've probably been to each eight to 10 times," said Pinkerton, 55. "We kid that we had eternal summers because we traveled a lot in the winter."
After the couple had been everywhere they wanted to go and seen everything they wanted to see, they came back home to Saltillo and Pinkerton went back into the workforce, working part time for Barnes amp& Noble in The Mall at Barnes Crossing.
When Pinkerton was retired, she would spend days planning and cooking elaborate meals for family, which includes two stepchildren and three grandchildren, and guests. Now that she's back at work, her time in the kitchen is limited.
"I'm trying to learn to cook differently now," she said. "I'm learning how to do make-ahead things because I don't have as much time as I used to. I used to spend days planning events."
When the weather's nice, the Pinkertons like to grill at their patio home, often preparing a simple meal of steak, baked potatoes, steamed asparagus and Hawaiian rolls. Other casual cooking includes taco soup, potato soup and vegetable soup with cornbread, as well as casseroles.
A more time-consuming dish is her Chicken Florentine, which Pinkerton has learned she can make in advance and then pop it in the oven when she gets home from work. She simply adds about 15 minutes to the cooking time if it's been sitting overnight in the refrigerator.
"My favorite cookbook right now is Diane Phillips' 'You've Got it Made - Deliciously Easy Meals To Make Now and Bake Later,'" she said. "It used to be nothing for me to spend two or three days cooking. I just can't do that anymore."
Pinkerton, who grew up in New Albany, learned how to cook from her paternal grandmother.
"My mom grew up during World War II in Germany and she met my dad in the 1950s and married him and moved to the states," she said. "My grandmother taught us both to cook. We were always in the kitchen with her. She taught me how to make meringues and how to churn butter. She let me play in the kitchen with her and never fussed at me for being messy."
When Pinkerton isn't in the kitchen, you'll likely find her in her yard. Gardening is her other passion. Every year, she designs a new flower bed, and she and her husband have done all the landscaping around their home.
They also built a sunroom that's filled with majesty palms, orchids, bougainvillea and a Thanksgiving cactus.
"Look, it's still giving thanks," she said, pointing to its flowers. "It's still blooming."
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.