Welcome to Westover Plantation and the home of Ben and Mary Ann Bowden, where, especially at this time of year, parties and gatherings are frequent occurrences.
“We entertain every chance we get, because we both love that sort of thing,” Mary Ann says. “And people seem to really enjoy coming out here. I think that’s mainly because ‘city folk’ just like to get out to the country every chance they get.”
Perhaps. But more than likely, the real reason people so enjoy visiting the Bowdens’ Russell County spread is that they know Mary Ann’s gracious hospitality and her fabulous cooking await them there.
To Mary Ann, the holidays are the ideal time to invite friends and relatives to her lovely plantation-style home for a festive gathering. Brunches are especially nice this season, she says.
“The holidays are always so rushed,” she says. “A brunch is a good way for everybody to take a break, sit back, and relax and visit for a little while.”
For a brunch, she recommends including dishes that are relatively quick and easy and that can be prepared ahead of time. That allows the hostess to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with guests.
Of course, Mary Ann’s guests eventually wind up in the kitchen anyway, if for no other reason than to ooh, ahh and marvel, for this kitchen is the ultimate in fashion, elegance and function. It was specially designed for Mary Ann by noted Atlanta kitchen and bath designer Jere Bowden, wife of Ben Bowden Jr. It’s no wonder that Mary Ann finds cooking such a pleasure!
Although you may not know the Bowdens, they’re no strangers to most Federation members, having long been active at the county and state levels. Mary Ann and Ben have spent their 48 years of married life in Russell County’s Twin Springs community, not far from the Barbour County line.
Westover Plantation is where they raised their two sons and two daughters and where Ben has established a highly successful cotton and peanut farming operation that he now works with son-in-law and business partner Charlie Speaks.
As much as she’d genuinely take pleasure in it, Mary Ann obviously can’t invite all “Country Kitchen” readers into her home this holiday season. But she is delighted to share with you the recipes for several of her favorite holiday party menu items.
From Westover Plantation, and from all of us at Neighbors, have a wonderful and blessed holiday season.