There was a time, a few years back, when Charles Waters probably didn’t have much trouble finding good workers for his Dale County farm. Sure, helping Mr. Charles with his peanut, cattle and poultry farming was hard work, but laboring on the Waters place offered one absolutely unbeatable benefit: the mighty fine cooking of Charles’s wife, Jane.
Somehow or another, Jane got in the habit of cooking a hearty noontime meal every day, not just for Charles but for his eight or 10 farmhands, too.
“I don’t know how that got started, but I’d cook a big meal, and every one of them would come in and sit down and eat,” Jane recalls.
One day, she put her foot down.
“I told Charles I’d had enough of that,” she says. “It was either them or me.”
(He picked her, of course. And incidentally, later this very year, the couple will celebrate their 50th anniversary.)
Jane and Charles’s place is in Level Plains, a small community just on the Dale side of the Dale/Coffee County line. It’s where Charles, who’s now retired, spent decades farming; where they reared their three now-grown children; and where their five grandchildren–three of whom live close by and two who live in Brewton–love to visit.
With her years of experience cooking and baking for family, friends, neighbors, church dinners, Farmers Federation meetings, community potlucks and the like, Jane is a well-seasoned cook–the kind who gives even the most ordinary dishes that special, down-home touch.
This month’s Country Kitchen features some of Jane’s all-time best-loved recipes, as chosen by her children, children-in-law and husband. From her wonderful Chicken and Dressing, which was her mother’s recipe and which is just as good in March or June as it is at the holiday season, to her refreshingly delightful Pineapple Cake, these recipes are guaranteed great.