Every time Steve Dunn sits down to one of his wife Melinda’s home-cooked meals, he ought to say a special thanks for Mary Lee Shaver and the late Edna Gladwell. It was those two ladies who years ago taught Melinda, their granddaughter, the fine art of country cooking.
“They never minded me being in the kitchen with them, and when I’d start in on them to let me help, they always had the nerve to let me,” Melinda says.
Although she learned to cook from grandmothers whose best recipes were stored, not in books and files, but in their heads, Melinda has plenty of fantastic “written-down” recipes, too. She shares some of them this month from her own “Country Kitchen.”
And speaking of her country kitchen, it’s a brand-spanking-new one, in the beautiful new home she and Steve just built on their Conecuh County farm.
“I worked on the plans for this house for five years,” Melinda says with pride. “It’s exactly what I always wanted. It is my dream home.”
It meets the criteria for being Steve’s dream home, too.
“The only thing he insisted on was that it had to be situated so he’d always have a clear view of the dairy barn from the house,” Melinda says. “We can’t get too far from that dairy, you know.”
Steve operates the successful dairy with farming partners James and John Cook. In addition to milking close to 200 Holsteins in the dairy, Steve and the Cooks grow cotton and corn on their farm in the Lyeffion community, just north of Evergreen.
When you get right down to it, Steve and Melinda are some of the most down-to-earth—and salt-of-the-earth—folks you’ll meet. Steve hasn’t even let serving as state secretary-treasurer for the Farmers Federation go to his head.
The Dunns have been married for six years and have two daughters: Alex, 4, and Abby, 2. Melinda has one other daughter, 19-year-old Monica Morrison.
Besides being a busy farm wife and mother, Melinda also holds down a full-time job as a registered nurse at Georgiana Hospital. With a plate that full, it’s no wonder that she favors quick-and-easy recipes, like the ones that follow. Like Melinda herself, there’s nothing fancy or elaborate about these recipes. They’re just down-home cooking as its finest.