ECRU • Her given name may be Wanda Farris, but to family and friends, she’s BooBoo.
“That’s my grandmother name, but everybody calls me that, I reckon,” Farris said. “I used to babysit some kids and one day I was in the store and I heard somebody yell, ‘Hey BooBoo,’ and everybody in the store just kind of looked around. Sure enough, there was one of those kids, waving at me. I just smiled and waved back.”
Her nickname has carried over into her cooking. Every other Sunday, she prepares a big meal for her kids and her sisters and their families. She usually feeds at least 15.
“When they come here on Sunday, they call it BooBoo’s Buffet,” she said. “I don’t put the food in bowls and put it on the table. I serve off the stove and from pots and pans.”
A typical meal might include beef roast, meatloaf, chicken tenders, green beans, corn, creamed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, lima beans, peas, rolls and cornbread.
“I try to cook what everybody likes so my menu doesn’t really go together,” she said. “My kids say, ‘Mama, why do you cook so much?’ and I tell them I’d rather have too much than not enough.”
Farris, who worked at Brookwood Furniture in Pontotoc for 32 years, usually starts the meal on Saturday night in Crock-Pots, and by the time she heads to Sunday school at Ecru Baptist Church, it’s all ready to serve.
“They have to show up to eat, but they all take a to-go plate with them when they leave,” she said.
Farris was born in Crestview, Florida, and grew up in New Albany. She largely lived with her maternal grandparents, Lewis and Edna Parish, but she was too busy being a kid to learn to cook.
“Us kids didn’t stay in the kitchen,” she said. “We were out playing and running around. I didn’t learn to cook until after I married. I didn’t really have recipes to go by. You don’t have to have a recipe to cook peas and cornbread.”
Farris and her husband, Gene, share four children, nine grandchildren and one great-grand.
“I cook the same way today as I always have,” she said. “Sometimes on Sundays, I’ll throw a new recipe on them that I’ve never done before. Most of the time, they like it.”
TACO TATER TOT CASSEROLE
2 pounds ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
2/3 cup water
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can fiesta nacho cheese soup
1 (32-ounce) package tater tots
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
Taco sauce or ketchup
Brown and drain ground beef. Stir in taco seasoning and water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add corn and soup. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13-inch casserole and top with tater tots. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and cook 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Serve with taco sauce or ketchup.
CROCK-POT GREEN BEANS
8 cans cut green beans, drained
1 stick margarine, cut up
5 slices uncooked bacon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Place drained green beans in a Crock-Pot. Place butter pieces on top. Lay bacon slices over all. Sprinkle with brown sugar, then pepper, salt and garlic salt. Cook on low for 8 hours, or overnight, or on high for 5 hours.
CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
3 chicken leg quarters
3 chicken breast halves
3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place chicken in a large pot of water and boil until tender. Remove chicken from pot and, when cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Set aside.
For the dumplings, combine flour, eggs, oil, salt and water and mix until a soft dough forms. Roll dough out very thin on a floured surface. Cut into strips and drop into the boiling chicken broth. Cook dumplings until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the boned chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
CREAMY CHOCOLATE PIE
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 regular pie crust, baked
3 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
For the pie, mix egg yolks, flour, sugar, cocoa and milk in a heavy skillet and cook over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour filling into baked pie crust.
For the meringue, beat egg whites and cream of tartar together. Add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over top of pie. Bake at 350 degrees until meringue is browned.
3 packages frozen corn
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese
3 tablespoons sugar
2 sticks margarine
Combine all ingredients in a Crock-Pot. Cook on high for 5 hours.
TURNIP GREEN SOUP
1 large can Glory seasoned turnip greens
3 cans Great Northern beans
3 cans water
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
1 package smoked sausage, sliced or diced
1 package Knorr’s vegetable mix
Combine all ingredients in a Crock-Pot and cook on low for 4 hours.
VERY GOOD PUNCH
5 cups sugar
4 cups plus 1 gallon water
1 large or 2 small boxes strawberry gelatin
1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice
1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade
2 large cans pineapple juice
1 tablespoon almond or vanilla extract
1 (2-liter) ginger ale
Bring sugar and 4 cups water to a boil, stirring until sugar melts. Remove from heat and while still hot, add the gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Add orange juice, lemonade, pineapple juice, extract and remaining 1 gallon water. Freeze. Let thaw about 6 hours. Just before serving, add the ginger ale.