Archived Story

Someone’s in the Kitchen: Barbara Haywood

Published 10:51am Saturday, April 27, 2013

BY MERLE MONAHAN/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
merlemonah@aol.com

IVOR–Barbara Haywood has been cooking for at least 72 of her 78 years, and still loves it.

“I don’t know anything I’d rather do,” said the great grandmother of eight. “I especially love to cook for my family and when I can cook a great meal and have them around me, I’m just so pleased”

Haywood, the second of four daughters says she started cooking when she was about six.

“I loved to play house and I was always the cook. I had my own little oven, dishes and pots and pans.

“And when my mother was cooking, I’d keep after her to let me help. Finally, she did.”

“I learned to scramble eggs while standing on a couple of wooden Coca Cola crates in front of the stove,” she added with a smile

Haywood, an accomplished musician who plays piano and sings, thinks she’s probably the daughter who was most interested in cooking. She quickly learned the way her mother cooked and by the time she was eight, could cook whole meals.

“This was a good thing, because that year my mother had some health issues when she was pregnant with my next sister, and I was able to help with the meals.”

“Of course, mom was back in the kitchen after the baby was born, but I still helped. I just loved it.”

Haywood said she learned to do it all. She helped with canning foods from her grandparents’ garden and making jams and jellies from fruit trees in her parents’ yard. She doesn’t care much for canning, however.

“I don’t think I’ll get back into that as long as Food Lion is in business,” she grinned.

But putting together a meal is another thing, she said. All during her school years, Haywood helped in the kitchen whenever she was needed and by the time she got married, she felt like she was a pretty good cook.

“Not exactly true,” she added with a pained expression. “My first attempt at making biscuits for my new husband was a disaster. I think I forgot the yeast. Anyway, they were so hard we couldn’t eat them. I was so disappointed I cried.”

Haywood recovered, though, and is now pretty well known for some of her dishes.

Aside from feeding her family, she will often take a dish to a neighbor or to church when it is called for.

“I cook basically like my mom did, but add my own little touches,” she went on, “like a little less sugar, or a different spice, for instance. Anyway, my kids all compliment me on this and especially like to come here for meals.”

Haywood says she’s happy that one or two of her relatives will pop in at any time. For this reason, she never cooks just for herself. “There’s always enough to feed a couple extras.”

But holidays are another thing. She and her sisters and their families like to get together for meals, so Haywood starts making plans early. “It’s so exciting, and I look forward to these times,” she said

“I really would like to do more of the cooking, but they’re trying to take some of the load off of me now, since I have a little trouble walking.”

Haywood smiled. “I guess they’re right. My sisters who all have families, plus my four kids, 10 grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and their families—well that’s a lot of cooking.”

Profile

NAME: Barbara Sexton Haywood.

AGE: 78

OCCUPATION: Retired from several jobs, but most recently from the City of Suffolk in 2000 after 19 years as a dispatcher.

FAVORITE FOOD: Lemon pie. My country-fried sweet potatoes would make a close second.

LEAST FAVORITE FOOD: Mushrooms.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU REMEMBER COOKING: Scrambled eggs.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR WORST COOKING EXPERIENCE: The first time I made biscuits for my husband after we were married, they were so hard, we couldn’t eat them. I was so disappointed, I cried. I think I forgot the yeast. I recovered, though, and he got over it, because it wasn’t long before he began gaining weight.

WHAT IS ONE INGREDIENT YOU CAN’T COOK WITHOUT: Black pepper.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT COOKING: Don’t leave what you’re cooking unattended is most important, but I always stress that children should not be close to the stove when you’re cooking. An accident can happen so easily.

WHO IS THE BEST COOK YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN AND WHY: My mother. She was an old-fashioned cook in that she cooked from scratch and took her time. She taught me everything I know about the art. She had a real love of cooking and I feel the same way. I could stay in the kitchen for hours. In fact, I never cook for just one person—always for myself and anyone who happens to stop by.

IF YOU COULD EAT ONE THING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE: Potatoes, any kind, cooked any way.

Country-fried Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

* Iron frying pan
* 3 or 4 medium red sweet potatoes, peeled
* Oil or bacon grease
* Butter or margarine
* Sugar

Directions

Slice peeled potatoes in ¼-inch thick rounds. Turn frying pan to medium heat and add 1/3 cup oil or bacon grease (enough to cover bottom of pan) Cook potatoes on medium heat until they begin to get soft, turning each slice often to avoid burning. When potatoes begin to soften, cut ½ stick of margarine or butter into little squares and place randomly over potatoes. Cover and cook until butter melts. Uncover pan and scatter ½ cup sugar over potatoes. Cover again and cook 2 to 3 minutes, turning potato slices often. Cooked potato slices may be a little brown and crisp around edges. Important! Do not leave unattended while cooking.

Barbara Haywood’s Chicken/Rice Soup

Ingredients
* 2 chicken breasts, skin on
* 1 can chicken broth
* Salt and pepper to taste
* Minute rice

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill roasting pan ¾ full of water. Salt and pepper chicken and place in pan. Cover and roast 1 ½ to 2 hours, keeping check on water. Remove pan from oven place on top of stove. Place chicken on plate to cool, then remove all bones and shred chicken in small pieces. Strain liquid in pan to remove any bones, then add one can of chicken broth to water. Add 3 cups minute rice, salt and pepper and stir well. Turn heat down to medium low and heat. When rice is almost done, add chicken and heat about 20 minutes more.

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