“Yesterday was bad,” she said. “We had a death at a manufacturing plant and a suicide. I just felt drained when I got home.”
So, the next day she cooked.
“I always cook on my days off,” she said. “I’ll cook three meals a day when I’m off.”
Brown has two sons: Lee lives in Fulton with his wife, Sierra, and Brown’s younger son, Hunter, lives with her. She cooks Sunday dinner for them every chance she gets.
She might fix a pot roast with potatoes and carrots, butterbeans and cornbread, or a baked ham, macaroni and cheese, corn and homemade rolls.
“My homemade banana pudding is my kids’ favorite dessert,” she said. “I also make it for the Itawamba County Sheriff’s Department every year for the Christmas dinner. They like meringue on top of it, but I don’t, so when I make it for my family, I just put crushed vanilla wafers on top.”
Brown started cooking when she was about 12. She learned from her mother, Dathel McComb, who died in November, and from an aunt she used to spend the night with.
“Mother was in the hospital one time and when they came home, I had a whole meal cooked for them,” she said. Brown’s father, Jack McComb, a police officer, died when she just a teenager.
Around the time Brown started cooking, she also started writing down recipes for her mother in a spiral-bound notebook with the cartoon character Snoopy on the front of it. A couple of years later, Brown started writing them down in a book of her own.
“At first, they’re in my handwriting and then when we got a typewriter, I’d type them on index cards,” she said. “Now, of course, I put them on my computer.”
Brown still has and uses recipes from that old Snoopy notebook, along with ones from the more than 200 cookbooks she has amassed.
“I collect them from churches, flea markets, antiques stores,” she said. “And I experiment a lot. Pinterest is my best friend now.”
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.