Those soups and stews and hearty meals served you and your family well through the cold months of winter. But now that spring has sprung, your taste buds are telling you it’s time to lighten up the menu.
Here to help you make that seasonal transition is Tuscaloosa County farm wife and country cooking connoisseur Peggy Walker. From a cheesy asparagus casserole to a scrumptious Blueberry Torte, Peggy’s recipes will get your spring off to a deliciously refreshing start.
If Peggy had asked her husband, Johnny, which recipes to share with Neighbors readers, odds are he would have put her pecan pie at the top of the list. Others, no doubt, would’ve insisted she include the recipes for her unbeatable and much-requested red velvet and coconut cakes.
But Peggy didn’t ask for any input. She put together this collection of wonderful recipes herself, specifically with you readers in mind. “Everybody has pecan pie and red velvet cake recipes, and I just don’t believe mine are that much different from anybody else’s,” Peggy says. “I wanted to come up with recipes that were a little more unusual.”
Although Peggy enjoys cooking, you won’t find her spending all her time in the kitchen, especially now that another growing season is here. On any given day, there’s a good chance Peggy will be out working somewhere on the 2,500 acres of cotton, soybeans and pastureland that Johnny and the Walkers’ son, John E. IV, farm around their home in New Lexington.
“I am so fortunate because, for the nearly 34 years we’ve been married, I’ve been able to stay home, run the household and help on the farm,” Peggy says. “It’s meant a lot to Johnny to know that, whether he needs help in the fields or parts from town, I’m here, available, and ready to do anything that needs to be done.”
This fall, things could get a bit hectic for the Walkers because, right around harvest time, their daughter, Tara, is getting married. To be honest, Peggy is hoping that she will be running herself ragged then, between finalizing wedding details and helping bring in the bumper crops she’s anticipating.
“Last year was a disaster,” Peggy says, referring to 2000’s devastating drought. “This year has just got to be better.”
Hope and optimism: for all farmers, the rites of spring.