Country Kitchen – Neighbors – January 2008
Delle Bean of Calhoun County says she’s not one to just clip a recipe and give it a try.
“I think every recipe I have is one I tasted first and then asked for the recipe from friends or family,” she says, “but that gives all my recipes special meaning to me because I think of the people who shared them with me whenever I cook.”
Originally from Perry County, Delle says she moved to Calhoun County when she married her husband Ray. “I spent the first 14 years of my life on a farm, but Ray wasn’t raised on a farm. He learned to love it by helping an uncle of his who farmed. I actually got to teach my husband how to milk a cow,” she says.
Long-time members of the Calhoun County Farmers Federation, Ray and Delle have taken active roles. Ray serves as a county Federation board member and as chairman of its beef commodity committee; Delle is the newly elected chairman of the State Women’s Committee.
When time permits, the couple also participates in the Alabama Farmers Federation’s annual Beef Tour. “We went and enjoyed the beef tours eight years in a row, but we couldn’t go the last couple of years because they were during our hay season,” said Delle, adding that she’s glad to see the tour return to the fall months.
In addition to hay, the Beans have four broiler houses and about 300 head of crossbred commercial cattle — a pretty big operation considering she had to teach Ray how to milk.
Likewise, Delle says agriculture also rubbed off on both their sons, although in different ways.
“Rusty is a veterinarian in St. Clair County, and Josh has four chicken houses on the farm where we raised the boys,” says Delle. “In fact, he and his wife and daughter live in the house where he grew up. And Rusty has a son and a daughter. Life couldn’t be sweeter.”
Delle says she didn’t grow up cooking, but started in earnest when her children were born.
“As long as the boys were at home, boy, I did a lot of cooking!” said Delle. “We sat down as a family for a big breakfast and dinner, and I thought that was standard operating procedure. I didn’t realize until the boys were in junior high school and had their friends over all the time that everyone didn’t do that.”
She says that she doesn’t cook big meals for Ray and herself the way she did for a family of four, but she does a good bit of cooking for her friends at Eastaboga Baptist Church.
“Some other ladies and I take turns cooking breakfast for our Sunday school class, and I fix Breakfast Casserole and Orange Nut Cake quite a bit for that,” she says.
Then, there’s the recipe for Alabama Apple Wraps that she picked up while visiting Oregon.
“We were on a Federation Beef Tour, and we visited the farm of a lady named Lou Anne Wolfe who served us Alabama Apple Wraps,” Delle explained. “The recipe had come to her by way of her daughter-in-law from Enterprise. So I had to go across the country to get an Alabama recipe.”