At least that’s the case when it comes to cooking.
Mize, who is president of M&F Bank in Tupelo, likes to simplify recipes. He doesn’t believe in spending loads of time in the kitchen to turn out a good meal.
“But Jim Frerer criticizes my stuff,” said Mize, 56. “He says using canned chicken is lazy. He cooks his own chicken and pulls it apart. He thinks that makes him a better cook.”
And does it?
“I wouldn’t say so,” Mize said with a laugh. “I would say we’re competitive.”
Mize and his wife, Lynne, a music teacher at Joyner Elementary, have two sons, Owen and Will. The banker found out years ago that simpler is better in the kitchen.
“Will came home one night and he was hungry and I was trying to think what I could make,” Mize said. “I looked in the cabinet and found a family-size package of macaroni and cheese, a can of chicken and a can of Ro-tel. I put it all together and it turned out real well. It’s kind like a quick chicken spaghetti.”
He also likes to try to duplicate dishes he’s enjoyed at restaurants.
“I like muffuletta sandwiches and we were on vacation once and I had this muffuletta pasta salad,” he said. “I decided I’d try to make it and it’s been real popular.”
Mize credits three people with teaching him how to cook: his mother, his grandmother and a gourmet chef named Ed Phillips, who used to have the Depot restaurant in Columbus.
“My grandmother used to make soup all the time – wintertime and summertime,” he said. “I’d go to her house in the summer and mow her yard and she’d fix me soup and cornbread. And my mother was a good cook. The pot roast is part my mother’s and part Ed’s. He taught me to put the salsa on top of it. You just pick up things from watching people cook and eating their food.”
Mize often takes his creations to co-workers at M&F Bank on Court Street.
“I take breakfast and lunches,” he said. “These folks like to eat. Sometimes, we have a potluck, but most of the time it’s me cooking for them. I’ll make two big pots of soup and take it.”
At home, Mize and his wife share kitchen duties.
“I’m the wintertime cook and she’s the summertime cook, because she has more time when she’s out of school,” he said. “A lot of times, Lynne and I work together at home. We have a huge kitchen and we love it. When we’re awake, we’re in the kitchen. It’s the gathering place in our home. The bigger the kitchen, the better.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.