Hale County Cookbook Believes In Nature
Country cooks who crave down-home desserts and mouth-watering meals can find recipes to suit just about any taste in Linda Heurion’s “Cooking on the Farm” book. But one thing they won’t find is a bunch of recipes calling for margarine.That’s because this Hale County dairy farmer is dedicated to not only promoting butter and other dairy products, but also to encouraging families to cook and eat meals featuring whole, unprocessed foods.”I’ve always believed if God put it here it’s healthy,” Linda said. “I’m a strong advocate of butter and whole foods — pure products. That’s the way I’ve always cooked, and I think we are a pretty healthy family. Anything in its natural state has got to be good for you. It’s certainly better than anything with a lot of additives.”That philosophy, along with a desire to preserve her favorite recipes from family and friends, prompted Linda to take on the year-long project of editing and publishing “Cooking on the Farm.” The result is a 300-recipe, hard-cover tribute to farm-fresh foods and the rural way of life.Linda, who was featured in the June 2004 issue of Neighbors magazine’s “Country Kitchen,” runs Windy Hill Dairy with her husband, Joe. The dairy was operated by Linda’s father, Connie Jones Sr., from 1949-1969, but sat idle for almost 20 years until 1987 when the Heurions returned to Greensboro from Mobile County and re-opened the milking parlor.The cover of “Cooking on the Farm” features a mural of a farm scene that Joe and Linda painted with their children, Andrew and Mindy, on the wall of the milking parlor shortly after returning to Hale County.The cookbook is dedicated to Linda’s late father and includes a special thank you to Andrew, whose computer skills made the project a reality. It also features memoirs about Linda’s grandmother, Adeline Sanford “Mama” Jones, and her Aunt Dorthea — affectionately known as Aunt Dort — who inspired Linda’s love of cooking.As for the recipes, the cookbook includes everything from classics like chicken and dumplings — Joe’s favorite — and Mama’s blackberry jam cake, to unusual items like potato chip cookies and transparent pie. But “Cooking on the Farm” is not just a list of recipes. The 130-page volume is peppered with pictures of decades-old recipe cards and seasoned with proverbs about rural life as well as a heaping spoonful of scriptures that are especially meaningful to Linda.There are also directions for making homemade butter and buttermilk, and wedged between shrimp salad and avocado buttermilk salad, is Linda’s favorite grace:”For the hand that feeds us, for the heart that loves us, and for the grace that saves us, we thank thee, oh Lord.”When asked why she included so many verses and poems in the book, Linda said, “I wanted it to be something interesting and fun to look through. I just wanted to put me into it.”The book also honors great country cooks Linda has known throughout her life. Among them is Marge Hardenberg, who ran a restaurant in Greensboro. “She took me under her wing,” Linda said. “She was a wonderful cook and a very community oriented person.”Linda, however, also has the cooking credentials necessary to make her cookbook a success. Before her marriage to Joe, she studied nutrition at the University of Montevallo, and after returning to Hale County, she ran the kitchen of a popular restaurant in Tuscaloosa.The cookbook, more a labor of love than a business venture, is for sale for $18 plus $2 shipping. It can be ordered by sending a check to: Windy Hill Dairy, 10012 Alabama Highway 25 South, Greensboro, AL 36744. Orders received in early December will be filled in time for Christmas.