January 1995 Neighbors Country Kitchen
I’m not much of a sitter. I want to work and ‘do’ rather than sit around,” says Carol Simpson of St. Clair County. And true to her word, Simpson keeps busy at home and in her community.
“I belong to several senior clubs, and I enjoy going to Farmers Federation meetings. I sew and quilt, cook and clean, and we have a small vegetable garden every year, and I participate in a lot of church activities. It’s a good life,” says Simpson.
After she and husband James retired, the couple moved to their weekend getaway home on Canoe Creek. “We just fell in love with this place. It’s like living in the last Mayberry,” she said. It was there that she became involved with the Federation.
“Another lady invited me to a monthly Women’s Committee meeting, and I was impressed right away with how active their group was. Everybody works well together and seems to enjoy themselves. We’ve really been blessed with such strong leadership, particularly that of Margaret Evans and the late Hope Burger. Hope was and Margaret continues to be the force that makes our group so strong,” said Simpson.
While Simpson has spent her adult life away from the farm, she says growing up on her grandparents’ small farm is something she still treasures. “I learned a lot of things from necessity because there was always work to be done, and cooking was something I took an interest in,” she said. “A lot of my cooking is still based on the way I was raised.”
“We used that lard for everything. I still think it makes the best biscuits,” said Simpson, who has made countless biscuits in her lifetime.
“I learned from my grandmother at a very young age to make them, and we always had biscuits for breakfast and biscuits and cornbread the other two meals of the day,” she said, adding that her mother-in-law was also a great influence on her cooking.
“We were neighbors for 30 years, and she was a wonderful cook — more than willing to share her recipes with me,” she added.
Even though her current kitchen is smaller than the one where she raised her family, Carol says she still enjoys having her children and grandchildren visit for birthdays and holidays.
“We used to get in there and cook together, but now they all bring something for our family meals. I feel so blessed that we all enjoy each other’s company so much,” she said.
With the holidays behind us, Carol shares some of her favorite winter warm-up meals.