Now a grandmother herself who really enjoys cooking, Elizabeth Jones Hayes recalls how her grandmother and grandfather cooked; "they taught me."
Elizabeth remembers that her grandmother’s biscuits "were always cut into squares. My grandfather’s specialty was pound cake, and everything in it was a pound. I can still see him weighing his ingredients. He would let me make a little small cake along with him while he was making his cake. They were both good cooks."
Recently, Elizabeth served as chairman and chief cook at a fundraising dinner at First Baptist Church in Mathews, where she is church clerk and a lifelong member. The menu, with all proceeds going to an upcoming baby contest, included fried chicken, pigs’ feet, fried fish, crab cakes, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, greens, green beans, rolls "made by Aunt Mary Sue," cornbread, beverages and desserts. With all this to fix and serve, the kitchen and dining area at First Baptist became a busy place. "The ladies of the church bring some of the foods but we cook a lot of it right in the church kitchen, especially our most requested potato salad, and we had homemade ice cream, which was sold separately," Elizabeth explained.
Making sure there was enough food for 100-plus people was second nature for Elizabeth. She has served in this position before and is looking forward to the church’s homecoming day, another big, big meal to have on the table Aug. 1.
Although Elizabeth has a full-time job with the Gloucester Extension office where she works with families teaching better nutrition practices, and says, "I’ve learned to adjust some of my recipes," she still has the time to continue a long-time family tradition. "Following church services we always have our Sunday gatherings. Everyone comes. It’s at my house now."
The following recipes are some of those Elizabeth might serve at one of her family gatherings.
Makes 12 muffins
1 c. cornmeal
½ c. all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
½ c. light sour cream
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
8 oz. (1 can) creamed corn
Preheat oven to 425°F. If using iron skillet, place skillet in oven to heat. Spray muffin tin or 9x9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray to keep food from sticking. Combine well cornmeal, flour and baking powder in large mixing bowl. In separate bowl, add egg, sour cream, oil and creamed corn and mix well. Add corn mixture to dry ingredients and stir only enough to dampen flour. If using iron skillet, remove from oven and hold away from face and oven while spraying lightly with non-stick baking spray. Spoon batter into muffin tin to 2/3 full or pour into pan. Spray top with baking spray. Bake muffins for 20 minutes; pan or skillet bread for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm. Cut bread into 12 servings.
GROUND TURKEY STROGANOFF
8 oz. egg noodles, uncooked
1 lb. ground turkey
8 oz. (large can) mushroom pieces
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 beef bouillon cube
8 oz. sour cream (light)
Cut ends off onions and peel off brown layer. Chop into small pieces. In large saucepan, prepare noodles according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, brown ground turkey and onions in non-stick skillet until meat is no longer pink and onions are soft. Add mushroom pieces, garlic powder, black pepper and beef bouillon cube. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add sour cream during last 5 minutes of cooking time. To serve; Place 1 c. egg noodles on plate; top with ½ c. turkey mixture.
SQUASH AND BACON CASSEROLE
Non-stick cooking spray
5 squash, sliced ¼-inch thick
¼ c. low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
3 turkey bacon slices
1 egg, beaten
½ c. skim milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut ends of onion and peel of brown layer; chop into small pieces. Cut ends off squash and slice. In a 2-quart casserole dish, microwave onions until tender. Add squash and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, fry bacon in non-stick skillet over medium heat until crisp; drain on paper towels and crumble. Add bacon and cheese to squash and onion mixture and mix together. Season to taste. In a glass bowl, beat egg and milk together with fork. Pour over squash, onion, cheese mixture. Bake at 350°F. until hot and cheese is melted.
Can use any type of squash. Try butternut or zucchini.