No. 834



My friend Milton Davis is a cartoonist featured each day in our local newspaper, as well as a number of others around the state. As it relates to my topic today, which is cooking, he had a cartoon awhile back that really hit the nail on the head. He has one of his fictional characters say, “My wife and I split the duties on cooking -- she calls it in and I go and pick it up.” There will be many in the younger generation who won’t know what I am talking about, but there was a day in our country when people, mostly women, actually cooked and prepared all of their meals in the home. However, today you have to hurry to get in the take-out line at McDonalds in order to make it back to work on time.
There are still many in our country today who long for the good old days and to have good, nutritious, home-cooked meals. In this respect, I have been tremendously blessed ever since I married my wife Viola, as she is an excellent cook. This reminds me of a day when I put my foot in my mouth. Soon after we married, we were attending a family reunion with mounds of food on picnic tables. I made the comment that Viola was the best cook I have ever known. Then I looked around and there sat my grandmother and my mother, who had fed me for all those years as I was growing up. I tried to salvage the moment by saying that what I meant is that she knew how to cook “fancy” dishes. But too late! Several months ago, as her Parkinson’s began to take an even bigger toll, I found myself having to buy the groceries and do the cooking, if I didn’t go and pick something up.
It was during these past few months that I have developed an even greater appreciation for the art of cooking, and if you are a veteran cook or even a beginner, I have an excellent resource for your consideration. I have a friend of several years by the name of Janis Mack, and she and her husband Ralph formerly owned a group of specialty shops, that included a good restaurant at Pickles Gap Village. This restaurant also included a fudge factory. It was hard to get out without having a sample.
In addition to being a fabulous cook, Janis is also a talented writer and has written four cookbooks, all with great recipes. Her favorite is titled, “All Day Singin’ and Dinner on The Ground.” This book also includes many memories of yester-year. At this point I would like to separate the wheat from the chaff. You will find many cookbooks around but not many that have good recipes plus the memories, photos, quotes and poems -- and the singing was special, too.
These were the times that many have called America’s greatest days. I make this statement based on the fact that people who lived back in these times reared a high percentage of the young men and women who went to war to preserve our nation’s freedom. Manners were still in vogue, along with being married before you lived together. Faith, family and country really meant something. Apart from the nostalgia and sentimental part of the book, you will find one great recipe after another that will make your mouth water.
A few of the offerings include: Pickled Okra, “Edna’s Sausage Cheese Dip”, Cranberry Punch, Strawberry Bread, Jan’s Fresh Apple Cake, Cowboy Cookies, Melt in your Mouth Chicken Pie, Tenderloin Deer Steak, Pinto Bean Pie and Hash Brown Potato Casserole. And that’s just scratching the surface. Janis still has a few of these cookbooks on hand. If you are interested, good cook or beginner, contact Janis Mack, 8 Southshore Lane, Conway, AR 72032.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)