Whether we spend our days on the farm or in the office, it’s probably been a while since you heard folks complain about free time on their hands. While no one seems to know where the time goes, Dorothy Cook and her family in Crenshaw County have found a way to make the most of their time together.
Birthdays, weddings or graduations, everyone in the Cook family knows that special occasions mean the whole family will find its way to the table at Dorothy and Augusta Cook’s house for a nice dinner.
“I really enjoy the planning that goes into having a dinner party, and it’s just a fun thing to do,” says Dorothy. “Life can become rather routine, and a dinner party can give everyone that feeling of ‘I’m special.’ … Everyone gets to pick the menu when it’s their birthday, but it’s funny the way they all try to influence what everybody picks.”
Some might be intimidated at the thought of putting together such an event. But growing up in a household as one of seven children, Dorothy learned to cook for a crowd at an early age. Besides, she gets plenty of help from her husband, who is president of the Crenshaw County Farmer’s Federation.
“My husband really enjoys cooking, and the two of us make a great team,” says Dorothy. “When we’re making something special, he knows what goes in next, when to melt this or that, and how to help.”
They also make a great team outside the kitchen. Both are active members of Spring Hill Baptist Church, the Treasure Forest Association and the Crenshaw County Historical Society.
Before retirement, Augusta’s primary occupation was row cropping on their farm near Brantley where they raised mostly peanuts and corn to support their pork operation. Augusta also spent 38 years as a rural mail carrier, and Dorothy worked for 39 years in the textile industry. Nowadays, they focus on forest management, patrolling for signs of insect infestation and keeping fire lanes clear.
After 50 years of marriage, the Cooks have accumulated quite a bit of experience in the kitchen together, and have the recipes to prove it.
Her Breaded Ranch Chicken and her Butternut Cake were both winners in the Heritage Cooking Contest in Crenshaw County. The other recipes Dorothy shares with us this month are some of her husband’s favorites.