Homegrown artistry comes from Charlene’s kitchen

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Aug 01, 2012 - 03:01 PM
Photo: Charlene Johnson uses what she grows, deliciously. Below, a cake made for a baseball player.

Charlene Johnson uses what she grows, deliciously. Below, a cake made for a baseball player.

Photo:
You’ve met her many times if you shop at Best Value Supermarket in Mathews. She’s there at least four days a week sharing her sweet smile and a cheery hello as she checks out your purchases. But what you might not know about Charlene Johnson is that she’s an artist both at work and at home.
 
At home, her kitchen is one of the main studios. “I love to cook and nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing someone enjoy what I have cooked. 
 
“Nanny, my dad’s mom, and my dad have taught me the love of cooking. I have this cookbook I put together of Nanny’s recipes, written by hand when I was a young girl. I was visiting her one day and asked if she had any scrap paper and she came up with some old wall paper book sheets. I wrote down her special recipes that I liked and still use it today. She gave me a cookbook when I was 18 and that one I’ve really used. Even today if I have a question about cooking I’ll call Nanny or my dad. My dad is always coming up with new recipes.
 
“Whenever you went to Nanny’s, the minute you opened the door there was always that great aroma coming from her kitchen. What I think is the greatest compliment is when my children come in and say that the kitchen smells just like Nanny’s.”