THRASHER • Imagine, if you will, a candle salad.
A piece of iceberg lettuce is the base. Put a pineapple ring in the middle of it, cut the bottom off a banana, and stick the banana in the pineapple hole. Put a dollop of mayo on top of the banana, and put a cherry on top of that, for the flame.
“That was the first thing I ever made in the kitchen,” said Barbara McCoy, who lives in Thrasher. “I was probably 7 or 8. As an only child, I pretty much got to do whatever I wanted.”
McCoy, 75, grew up in Booneville. After high school, she attended Northeast and then Mississippi State College for Women (now MUW), where she majored in home economics. She received her master’s in home ec from the University of Mississippi, where she also did graduate work in sociology.
“I took home ec in high school, but I really didn’t think about majoring in it,” she said. “I wanted to major in business. My dad had bought me a typewriter – that would be like a computer today. I’m so thankful I didn’t go that route. I would have been miserable. I loved home ec.”
McCoy taught home economics for 30 years at Booneville High School and Northeast Mississippi Community College. When she retired in 1997, she was teaching sociology, marriage and family, and nutrition. She also had a business, Magnolia Frame Shop, while she was teaching and after she retired.
If there’s one thing McCoy learned from home ec, it was how to cook in bulk. In her freezer, you’ll find packages of macaroni and cheese, vegetable soup, cabbage soup and spaghetti sauce.
“I’ll cook a package of pinto beans and package them in individual packages and freeze them,” she said. “I even freeze cornbread. I cut it in slices, and when I pull out a package of soup, I pull out a piece of cornbread.”
Sundays are a gathering time for McCoy and her family, which includes two sons, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Her husband, Edward, died in 2011.
She might prepare spaghetti or chicken spaghetti, French bread and a salad, or a Mississippi pot roast, stewed potatoes, carrots, and broccoli with a cheese sauce.
“My daughter-in-law and I usually split the cooking, but if she’s burned out, I’ll do it all, or if I’m burned out, she may do the whole meal,” McCoy said. “Sometimes we have dessert, but most of the time they’re full from the meal and don’t want anything sweet.”
When it comes to birthdays, each family member gets to choose his or her own meal, even if the menu makes the retired home ec teacher cringe.
“Whatever they want, I make it,” she said. “We have some crazy meals around here.”
BUTTERMILK POUND CAKE
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
For the cake, cream sugar and shortening together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla.
Pour batter into a greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Do not open the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, test the cake with a toothpick; it may not need the last 15 minutes.
For the glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar and enough lemon juice to make a glaze thin enough to pour over warm cake (after it’s been turned out onto a serving plate).
CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM PIE
1⁄2 cup chocolate syrup
1⁄3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 quart chocolate chip ice cream, softened
Coat bottom and sides of an 8-inch pie plate lightly with butter.
Combine chocolate syrup and chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until hot, about 45 seconds. Stir until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture.
Combine remaining chocolate mixture and cereal in a medium bowl and mix to coat cereal. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
Combine reserved chocolate mixture and sour cream in a small bowl, and mix well.
Spread half the ice cream in the prepared pie plate. Drizzle with half the sour cream mixture. Top with remaining ice cream, and drizzle with remaining sour cream mixture. Cover pie and freeze for 1 hour or until firm.
EASY SOUTHERN SALMON PATTIES
SRIRACHA SOUR CREAM SAUCE
2 tablespoons sriracha (can use less)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (no substitute)
Juice of 1/2 medium lemon
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
5 to 6 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Creole or Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
30 saltine crackers, divided
For the Sriracha sauce, combine sriracha, sour cream and honey. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the patties, add cooking oil to 12-inch cast iron skillet, about 1-inch deep. Heat on stove top over medium heat. Oil will be hot enough for frying when a little water sprinkled over the surface crackles.
While oil is heating, mix together salmon, mayonnaise, lemon juice, egg and Worcestershire. Add onions, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper, and mix well.
Crush 13 to 15 saltine crackers and add to salmon mixture. Mix well again. Finely crush remaining crackers on a small plate to dredge patties in.
Gently form small to medium patties from the salmon mixture with your hands, then carefully place in finely crushed saltines and pat to cover on all sides.
Place patties in hot oil and fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on baking rack with paper towels underneath. Serve warm with Sriracha Sour Cream Sauce.
3 large apples, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
2 unbaked 9-inch pie crusts
Combine apples, eggs, sugar, flour, butter, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour into one unbaked pie crust. Cover with a top crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 25 minutes longer.
POTLUCK HAM AND PASTA
1 (16-ounce) package elbow macaroni
4 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 (15-ounce) jar refrigerated processed cheese sauce
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
4 cups cubed fully cooked ham
Cook macaroni according to package directions, adding broccoli during the last 3 to 4 minutes; drain.
In a large Dutch oven, saute onion in butter 2 minutes. Stir in flour, mustard, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheese sauce and 1 cup Cheddar cheese until blended.
Remove from heat; stir in ham, macaroni and broccoli. Divide between a greased 9×13-inch baking dish and a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, 25 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.
1/4 cup uncooked Minute Rice
2 (6-ounce) cans mushroom steak sauce
2 (10-ounce) cans tomato soup
Combine beef, uncooked rice, onion, egg and salt and pepper, and form into meatballs about the size of a quarter. Put in a baking dish. Combine mushroom steak sauce and tomato soup. Pour over meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve over cooked rice.
OATMEAL ICEBOX COOKIES
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shortening, at room temperature
1 stick margarine, at room temperature
Sift flour with salt and baking soda; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream shortening and margarine until light and fluffy. Gradually add the two sugars. Add eggs and beat well after each addition.
Mix in the flour mixture, with hands, to form a stiff dough. Add oats and vanilla, mixing to combine well. Work in pecans and raisins. Roll into logs, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate. Slice and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until done.
BAKED PECAN PIE SHELL
7 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 1/2 tablespoons hot milk
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Put pecans in a blender on speed 4 until finely chopped. Empty onto wax paper. Put butter in the blender and add hot milk. Run on speed 2 until smooth. Sift flour and salt together in a bowl. Add butter mixture and quickly stir into a smooth dough, adding additional milk if needed.
Shape into a flat round and place between 2 pieces of wax paper. Roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Peel off top paper and sprinkle with half of the nuts. Replace paper and roll the nuts in. Repeat on the bottom. Remove top paper and place pastry into a 9-inch pie pan. Trim and flute edges and prick crust with a fork. Bake at 425 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Use as you would a regular pie crust. It’s particularly good with chocolate, caramel and coconut cream pies.