COOK OF THE WEEK: Booneville woman gears up for Thanksgiving meal


By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

If Shirley Morgan is headed to First Baptist Church in Booneville, there are a handful of dishes she’s just about required to make and take with her.

“They either want chicken and dressing or chicken and dumplings,” said Morgan, 76. “Or they want a dessert, like my buttermilk pound cake.”

Church members aren’t the only ones partial to her chicken and dumplings.

“My granddaughter tells me, ‘You would win the national prize for your dumplings.’ And I say, ‘Yes, I would, if you were the judge.’”

Morgan began cooking meals for her family when she was about 10 years old.

“We lived on a farm in Prentiss County and we had cotton and corn and cows,” she said. “I didn’t like to milk so I’d cook supper while my mother went to the barn to help Daddy.”

Morgan still cooks country-style meals for her husband, Herschel, just about every day, but more often than not, they eat their big meal at lunch and then have a light supper.

She might fix pork chops, pinto beans, creamed corn, Mexican cornbread and cherry cobbler, or chicken and dressing, green beans, sweet potato casserole and a chocolate cake.

“I don’t cook now like I used to because Herschel has a pacemaker,” Morgan said. “We don’t eat a lot of fried food. We don’t eat a lot of beef. We eat chicken and pork loin. But we both have a sweet tooth.”

Morgan worked at the Prentiss County Courthouse for 16 years and then spent another 36 with the United States Department of Agriculture before retiring in 2005. Herschel is retired from FMC.

“We don’t really get in each other’s way,” she said. “We do our own thing. He goes and drinks coffee in the mornings and I try to walk. I read a lot of Francine Rivers books. They’re Christian-based and I’m hooked on them. And I tell Herschel we’re either the cleanest two people or the dirtiest two, because I do an awful lot of laundry.”

The Morgans have two children and five grandchildren and though they don’t often all get together around the same table, they will come Thanksgiving .

“And they’ll tell us exactly what they want to eat,” she said. “We’ll have chicken and dressing, creamed corn, sweet potato casserole, green beans and homemade rolls. And they’ll want their daddy to smoke both a turkey and a ham. And he’ll do it.”

Do you know a good cook? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can fax them to (662) 842-2233 or email them to

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