Linda Jones of Hale County has worn many hats through the years, but has always most enjoyed being at home.
“I liked staying home with our kids, and Meador (her husband) and I felt like it was beneficial for them to have me at home,” she said. “And I always found lots to do on the farm.”
The oldest of five children, Linda was doing a significant portion of the family’s cooking by the time she was 10 years old.
“My grandmother lived with us, so we cooked for a family of eight people,” she said. “My grandmother taught me a lot about cooking, but I learned to cook by watching, eye-balling ingredients rather than measuring them. It was hard for me to cook from a recipe at first, but it helped me when I married and began cooking for two people instead of eight. That was a tough transition, and I still don’t mind cooking for a crowd.”
In addition to cooking, Linda says she helped with the farm chores as a young girl.
“Daddy had a few cows and some pigs and chickens, too,” she said. “We learned to milk cows, and churn the milk into butter. I’m not much of a milk drinker, but I miss the taste of that fresh butter.”
Although Linda and Meador reside in Hale County, most of their farmland is in Marengo County where Meador serves as president of the county Federation, a position that Linda says has been both busy and enjoyable.
“The previous Marengo County president told us we should get a bigger mailbox, and he was right,” she said. “We get mail almost everyday about the Federation, and even moreso since rejoining American Farm Bureau. Meador and I both have really enjoyed it though, meeting so many nice people and taking fun trips with them.”
Linda and Meador raise beef cattle, and in the past, have custom cut hay and farmed catfish. But, Linda says, they are gradually scaling down their operation.
“Our daughter Leesa and our son Lee and I raised the catfish for over 10 years to help pay for the place after we moved out here, and Meador started buying hay two years ago after years of cutting our own,” she said. “Our small place grew over the years, but now we’re circling back around to a smaller farm so we can travel more with the Federation. We look forward to spending time with the people we’ve already met and making new friends as well. We’ve learned that other farmers are fun to be around.”
She and Meador also like to entertain, and plan to spend more time enjoying their rural lifestyle. And she adds that they love the simple pleasure of sitting down together to enjoy the quiet beauty of a sunset.
Linda said she liked gathering the recipes to share with the Country Kitchen, and since July is Pork Month, included some of her family’s favorite pork recipes. She also encourages readers to remember that part of the joy of cooking is working with a recipe to suit the family’s tastes.
“I think that’s the quality of a good cook, adjusting a recipe so everyone around the table can enjoy it,” she says.