There’s nothing wrong with fancy foods and gourmet cooking; it’s just that they don’t do much for Venice Rains and her family.
“We’re country folks, and we like good old country cooking,” the Cherokee County resident says.
Sure, every now and then through the years, Mrs. Rains tried out new and unusual recipes on her husband, Woodrow, and their three children, but she didn’t make a habit of it.
“There wasn’t any sense in cooking something they weren’t going to eat,” Mrs. Rains says. “I pretty much stuck with the things I knew they liked.”
Many of the Rains family’s favorite recipes are ones Mrs. Rains got from friends and relatives, like a tea cake recipe that her mother passed along to her. But quite a few are Mrs. Rains’s originals.
Take her Country-Fried Okra recipe below, for instance. Talk about good old country cooking: It’s fried okra and fried green tomatoes—all in one skillet.
“I don’t have any idea when or why I started cooking it that way, but it’s been for as long as I can remember,” she says. “We just really like the flavor combination.”
Mr. and Mrs. Rains, who celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary in June, live near the town of Centre, on a farm that’s right on Weiss Lake.
Mr. Rains is a retired a row-crop farmer, but he still gets his farming “fix” by working in the couple’s impressive vegetable garden. This past summer, despite the dry, hot weather, the Rainses harvested enough vegetables to fill three freezers and still had enough left over to share with their neighbors.
The Rainses’ son and two daughters are all grown and married, but they all live close by. So, although Mrs. Rains doesn’t spend quite as much time in the kitchen now as in years past, “I still cook a good bit, because there’s nearly always some of them dropping by,” she says. “They know they’re welcome here.”
And they also know that they’ll find plenty of classic country cooking on the menu-treasures like the ones Mrs. Rains shares in this month’s “Country Kitchen.”