Dea and Willard Powe entered their marriage with an important prenuptial agreement: In their family, Dea would do the cleaning, and Willard would handle the cooking. “Actually, I love to cook and bake,” Dea says. “But I knew from the start that I didn’t ever want to have to come in from work and immediately head for the kitchen, so we settled that right up front.”
Of course, the premarital pact wasn’t set in stone, and the Powes have amended it in their 13 years of marriage. But for the most part, it’s still in force. Dea cleans, and Willard cooks.
So seldom does this farm wife, mother of two and third-grade teacher ply her culinary skills, in fact, that when asked to share some of her best recipes in this month’s “Country Kitchen,” she just howled with laughter—as did Willard and all of Dea’s family when they heard the news.
“Everybody here just thought that was the funniest thing they’d ever heard,” Dea says good-naturedly from her home in Dallas County’s Browns community. “My grandmother (Carolyn Weissinger) even called me up and said, ‘Dea, honey, do you even have enough recipes for the magazine? Do I need to give you some of mine?’”
Well, excuse me, but for somebody who “doesn’t cook,” Dea has certainly put together a fantastic collection of recipes, straight from her very own files—with a little help from her mom, Ginger Wilson; her Grandmother Weissinger; and her late great-grandmother, Carrie Woodfin.
Willard, who operates a thriving catfish and cattle farm with Dea’s dad and brother, Butch and Travis Wilson, doesn’t seem to have a bit of trouble with his role as chief cook in the Powe home.
“I cooked a whole lot when I was a kid,” Willard says. “My mama trained me. She was real good about ‘making’ me cook, and then ‘letting’ me clean up. But I have never minded cooking at all.”
Many of the meals Willard puts together for Dea, 5-year-old Trey and Carrie Lea, 3, come straight off the grill. His irresistible entrees include grilled catfish fillets—that Willard cooks to perfection while basting with a spicy sauce—and his deer-meat special, featuring whole hot fresh jalapeno peppers wrapped in strips of marinated venison cube steak (Willard uses only Original Allegro Marinade) and bacon.
Not surprisingly, catfish-farming Willard is a master catfish fryer, but he insists anybody can turn out a mouthwatering mess of crisp, golden-brown catfish. The “secret,” he says, is to dredge the fillets in a product called Louisiana Fish Fry and then drop them in hot oil.
So settle back and enjoy these great recipes from Dea Powe. True, she “borrowed” nearly all of them from family members, and she leaves it up to Willard to prepare most of them, but she is the one who took the time to send them in to Neighbors, and for that you’ll be most grateful.