May 2017
Homeplace & Community

The Co-op Pantry

"Our mother was a simple lady who raised her children with love and the Bible. As you will see in the recipes, we did not have many material things but we did have our mother’s love and prayers. She could make something out of nothing. As I look back over the years when I envied what my friends had, I now realize we were the richest children in the neighborhood."

What a great tribute to a wonderful lady! Rebecca Blount has provided us with a wonderful story and great recipes, and what better time to use them than when we celebrate Mother’s Day.

This is Rebecca’s story:

"I write this in loving memory of our mother Fannie Merle Coody Dixon. Our mother did not have material things to give to her children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, but what she gave to us no money or credit card could buy.

"To us she was the best cook in the world and she taught four daughters how to cook. None of us will ever come close to being the cook she was, using a pinch of this, a handful of that or a dab of something. Sometimes, in our modern kitchen with all the luxuries of measuring utensils, our minds go back to the days in our mother’s kitchen watching her make biscuits while listening to her tell of her childhood when her mother taught her to cook, dipping her hand into the lard bucket and the salt bowl where she scooped out the perfect amount to use. The meals were perfect.

"Let me tell you about ‘Our Mother’s Biscuits.’ This is from memory. Mother kept flour in a large lard can. She used a large, white dishpan that she would sift flour into, using a large, round sifter. When she thought she had enough flour in the pan, she would take her fist and make a hole in the mound. She would then dip her hand into the lard for a handful and place it in the hole. Then she would mix dry milk and water (probably a cup), and add it to the flour; squeezing it in through her fingers and mixing until just the right consistency. Then, she would pinch off just enough of the mixture, roll it between her hands and gently lay it on a greased flat pan. When that pan was full, she would flatten the biscuits out perfectly and cook them until they were golden brown."

This lady was indeed a special Mom. Her granddaughter, Marcia Mazingo, shared this wonderful story about Mrs. Dixon’s fried chicken. I will paraphrase so I can include this in the column.

Marcia was a new bride and wanted to learn to fry chicken like her grandmother. Mrs. Dixon began the lesson early one morning after having a houseful of family over for the holidays. Yet, the house was spotless when Marcia arrived for her cooking lesson. Mrs. Dixon talked while she worked with a bowl of chicken and a bowl of flour. She picked up the chicken, floured it and put it on a clean plate. Marcia asked her grandmother exactly how much flour went on the chicken.

The reply was, "Just enough."

Marcia’s next question was, "How long do you fry the chicken?"

"Oh, just until it’s done."

"Well, how do you know it is done?"

"When it looks cooked through."

Marcia wrote this wonderful story after 16 wonderful years of marriage and two children of her own. After the cooking lesson from Mrs. Dixon, she states that now she understands what her grandmother was trying to teach her about life as well as wonderful fried chicken.

You cook it slow, it takes time. You can’t rush chicken or love or wisdom.

It would be so wonderful for everyone to have such a splendid example of love in their lives! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, whether you got to raise your children to adulthood or only had them for a short time. For all the moms (like me) who adopted, or those special moms who gave their child up for adoption because they could not raise them but loved them enough to do the best for the child. Let’s not forget all those "other Mothers" who played a part in our lives, be they aunts, cousins, neighbors or your school or Sunday school teacher. Thank you for what you did for us.

The national foods we will be using for June are dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, and papaya. For July, they are baked beans, ice cream and pickles. Or contact us about being our featured cook.

Plain Layer Cake or Jelly Cake

1-7/8 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening (solid type)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, unbeaten
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pecan or hickory nuts, chopped, optional
Apple jelly

Onto waxed paper, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In mixing bowl, combine shortening and sugar; cream until well-blended. Stir in unbeaten eggs, once at a time, beating after each until light and fluffy. Stir in sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk to make a batter. Add nuts. Stir until batter is well-blended. Stir in vanilla. Into 3 well-greased layer cake pans, pour batter evenly. Bake at 375° until done, about 30 minutes. Spread apple jelly between layers.


Coconut Pudding

2 large cans PET Milk
2 can water (use milk can)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated (reserve whites for meringue)
¼ cup flour
1 box Ritz crackers, crushed

In bowl, mix milk and water. Mix in sugar and egg yolks. Add flour in small amounts to thicken and cook until thick. Remove from heat and add coconut. Cover bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with crackers, saving some to sprinkle around edge of pudding. Pour coconut mixture over crackers. Cover with meringue. Bake at 375° until meringue is brown. Chill before serving.


Ice Box Fruitcake

1 (10-ounce) bag vanilla wafers
2 boxes dark raisins
2 packages coconut
2 cans condensed milk
1 quart pecans, chopped

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into loaf pan. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Enjoy.

Super Easy Meringue

3 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup white sugar

In large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until mixture forms stiff peaks.


Sardines, Eggs & Biscuits

1 can Eatwell sardines
12 eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons solid shortening

Remove bones from sardines. In bowl, mix eggs, sardines, salt and pepper. In a frying pan, put shortening. Add mixture and cook until done. You must stir often to prevent burning.

Note: Must use Eatwell Sardines if you can find them.


Smothered Fried Chicken

1 fryer, cut into pieces
Prepared rice

In skillet, fry chicken until done. Pour off grease. Put chicken back into skillet. Cover with water and cover with lid. Simmer 20-30 minutes. Serve over cooked rice.


Jell-O Pie

1 small can Pet Milk, chilled
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 box Jell-O, any flavor
1 cup hot water
1 bag vanilla wafers, crushed

In a bowl, whip milk until it forms stiff peaks, adding sugar as whipping. In another bowl, mix Jell-O with water. Add to milk mixture. Place enough vanilla wafers to cover bottom of pie plate. Pour mixture over wafer crust. Refrigerate until pie is firm.

Fruit Cake

1 cup lard
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1½ cups fig preserves
1½ cups watermelon preserves
3 cups pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon cloves
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (15-ounce) box dark raisins
2 heaping teaspoons cocoa
1-2 cups milk
8 cups flour, to make batter stiff

Mix all together. Pour into a tube cake pan. Bake at 375° until done, about 1½ hours. Use your own judgement on when done.



Strawberry Spinach Salad with Strawberry Balsalmic Vinagrette Dressing

3 cups baby spinach
3 cups mixed baby greens
2 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced, optional
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ cup blueberries, optional
¼ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

In a large bowl, mix greens, grilled chicken, strawberries and blueberries. Top with pecans and feta cheese. Toss with strawberry balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 large strawberries, hulled and sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a food processor or blender, mix honey, vinegars, olive oil and strawberries. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper.

Note from Jena: This is a fantastic spring salad. Fresh and crisp with a dressing that looks and tastes delicious! You can fix this one to suit your taste! We used a spring green mix in place of the mixed greens for a bit more color, skipped the blueberries and used blue cheese instead of feta. I added a little more honey to the dressing because I like it sweeter. Enjoy!

(Recipe from Marie Cook, AFC safety director)


 Mary Delph is an associate editor with AFC Cooperative Farming News. You may email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..