BALDWYN • When Teresa Gholston’s boys were teenagers, she never knew how many she might be feeding at her home in the Pratts community.

“I felt like there was neon sign outside that said ‘Gholstons’ Dew Drop Inn,’ because they do drop in,” Gholston said. “We’d go to sleep on a Friday night and the next morning, I’d tell my husband to go count heads to see how many we had for breakfast. You just never knew who they were going to bring home.”

Gholston and her husband, Keylon, have three sons and a daughter, and 11 grandchildren. When the boys were teens, Gholston said it was hard to keep food in the house.

“Once they started playing football, they’d go through two gallons of milk a day,” she said. “Keylon threatened to get me a cow.”

Gholston, 65, was born in Maben and raised in Mathiston. She and Keylon met at Mississippi State University, where they both studied animal science.

“My dream job was to work on a Quarter Horse farm in Texas,” she said. “Instead, after college, I went to work for the Farmers Home Administration.”

She later taught parenting classes through the Family Resource Center in both Baldwyn and Tupelo.

Gholston learned to cook a little bit from her mother, mostly by watching.

“She always said I made too much of a mess cooking,” Gholston said. “She preferred I just watch. She didn’t want to have to clean up after me. I did learn to make my mother’s chocolate pie, and I’d make them for kids in college who couldn’t get home.”

When the Gholstons first married in 1978, they rented a little house in Aberdeen.

“We moved in on a Saturday, and Keylon invited all my family and his family for dinner on Sunday,” she said. “I could have strangled him.”

Over the years, she learned to put meals on the table for her family. She’s collected cookbooks all her life and used many of them as resources.

“I’m bad about trying a new recipe and taking it somewhere,” she said. “But I’ve gotten caught. I made a cheesecake dip and took it somewhere, and it was awful. I don’t do that anymore.”

Every Sunday, Gholston prepares Sunday dinner for her family. After her kids got married, they started bringing their families.

If Keylon makes Boston butts, she might put baked beans, slaw, potato salad and rolls with them. If he smokes a turkey, she’ll do chicken and dressing, fruit salad, green beans, creamed potatoes and English peas.

“We could have anywhere from 21 to 26 show up,” she said. “I just never know how many’s coming.”

ALMOND POUND CAKE

CAKE

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

3 cups sugar

1 stick butter

1 cup vegetable oil

5 eggs

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

1 teaspoon lemon juice

GLAZE

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon butter, softened

2 to 3 tablespoons warm water

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

For the cake, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Cream sugar, butter and oil. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately. Add flavorings and lemon juice and mix well.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

For the glaze, blend sugar, butter, water and almond flavoring until smooth. Spread over cake while it is hot.

MELON BALL PUNCH

1 (25-ounce) bottle sparkling white grape juice

2 cups clear lemon-lime flavored soda, such as Sprite or 7 Up

1 cup lemonade

1 small seedless watermelon

1 small cantaloupe

1 small honeydew melon

2 limes, sliced

Fresh mint

In a pitcher, stir together grape juice, soda and lemonade. Place in the fridge to chill.

Use a melon baller to scoop out the flesh of the watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew. Place melon balls on a cookie sheet lined with foil and freeze.

Once the melon balls are frozen, add a few to the chilled contents of the pitcher, along with some of the lime slices and fresh mint leaves. Stir. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Serve cold using the remaining frozen melon balls as ice cubes. Garnish glasses with lime slices and mint leaves. Serves 6.

CRUNCHY PEA SALAD WITH BACON AND CASHEWS

1/2 cup mayonnaise

4 teaspoons vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

Ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon soy sauce

1/4 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 (10-ounce) box frozen sweet peas, thawed and drained

1 cup cashews

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup dried cranberries, such as Craisins

Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, pepper, soy sauce and Worcestershire. Place peas, cashews, onions, bacon and Craisins in a serving bowl. Pour mayonnaise mixture over all and toss well to combine. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

SUGAR BUTTER

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

Cook brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Serve over biscuits or ice cream.

7UP BISCUITS

4 cups Bisquick or other baking mix

1 cup sour cream

1 cup 7 Up or Sprite

1 stick butter

In a large bowl, combine baking mix, sour cream and 7 Up. Dough will be very soft. Knead and fold dough until coated with baking mix.

Turn dough out onto a flour-coated pastry sheet and pat the dough out about 1-inch thick. Cut out biscuits in whatever shape you desire, round or square.

Melt butter in a 9x13-inch casserole. Place biscuits on top of melted butter and bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes about 15 biscuits, depending on size.

WILD TURKEY PECAN PASTA

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons, divided

Salt and pepper

1 wild turkey breast or half of a store-bought turkey breast, cut in bite-size pieces

1 cup buttermilk

Oil or frying

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 stick unsalted butter

2 tablespoons plus 1 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided

2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules, dissolved in water according to package directions

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

8 ounces angel hair pasta, broken into thirds

1 cup toasted pecans

In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and pepper. Lightly coat the turkey breast pieces in this mixture. Dip turkey pieces into the buttermilk and then back into the flour mixture.

Heat 1 inch oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the turkey pieces to a light golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onion, garlic and mushrooms in butter.

In a small bowl, blend remaining 2 tablespoons flour with 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Add this to the onion mixture. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups cream and the dissolved bouillon granules. Cook this mixture until thick. Add the Parmesan and cream cheese, stirring until melted.

Cook pasta until al dente. Add the pasta to the sauce mixture and spoon it into a 3-quart casserole. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through. Remove from the oven and top pasta with the turkey bites and toasted pecans. Serves 6.

MISS DOT’S POUND CAKE

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups sugar

6 eggs, at room temperature

3 sticks butter, at room temperature

1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and beat until well blended. Pour into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Place in a cold oven and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

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 call (662) 678-1581 or email them to ginna.parsons@journalinc.com.

ginna.parsons@djournal.com

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