Norma Davis of Elmore County describes her husband Wayne as mainly a “meat and potatoes man,” so her opportunities to experiment in the kitchen are usually carried with her out the door and to share with others.
“Wayne will eat sweets too, but covered dish gatherings at church, art club, historical society, domino club and (Farmers) Federation meetings give me plenty of chances to cook for other people,” explains Norma.
A native of Missouri, Norma said necessity made her a self-taught cook at a young age.
“My mother passed when I was only five, and I had six brothers. My father was a blacksmith, and we lived in town, so we used to have what were called “hired girls” who would come from the country to board with us so they could go to school. We always had a table full of people, but I didn’t really learn about Southern cooking until I moved to Wetumpka,” she recalls.
“Back then it was kind of difficult, being from somewhere else and settling in a place where there weren’t many people here who weren’t born here. But now, there are a lot of people in Elmore County who retired from the military and, after being stationed in the area, decided to put down roots here,” Norma says.
Norma, a retired banker, and her husband Wayne, a retired Extension System coordinator, now raise Charolais cattle at Dry Lake Farms where Norma said she has her own small herd.
“One year Wayne asked what I wanted for my birthday, and I told him I wanted every cow born on my birthday, so that was the beginning of my herd here,” she said.
Norma says most of her recipes come from trading and sharing with friends and family, a pastime she greatly enjoys. Many of the recipes she shares this month are well-suited for the approaching holiday season.
Treats like Fudge Cookies and Orange Drop Cookies are wonderful take-along sweets when visiting family, while Cranberry Pecan Clusters or finger sandwiches made with her Delicious Olive Spread are fitting additions to a holiday hors d’oeuvres menu. And if house guests are expected, Norma’s recipes for Cheese Grits and Sausage, Egg and Cheese Muffins make a breakfast that comforts like home.