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Somone’s in the kitchen: Hobbs learned to cook by accident

Published 12:18pm Saturday, May 25, 2013

BY MERLE MONAHAN/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
merlemonah@aol.com

Dorothy Hobbs is well known in the area for her Texas sheet cake, homemade bread and coconut pie. -- Tidewater News
Dorothy Hobbs is well known in the area for her Texas sheet cake, homemade bread and coconut pie. — Tidewater News

WAKEFIELD—Dorothy Hobbs likes to say she learned to cook by accident.

“It’s true,” she said. “I was raised by my aunt Estelle Joyner and when I was a little girl and should have been learning to cook, she’d say, “I don’t want anybody messing up my kitchen.”

Hobbs said during her younger years, her mother became ill and her father’s sister, Estelle, moved in to care for the family.

“Aunt Estelle was a great cook and I did learn by paying attention to the way she prepared our meals. But I didn’t have much hands-on training,” Hobbs revealed.

But you would never know that today, say her friends. Hobbs is well known in the area for her Texas sheet cake, homemade bread and coconut pie.

“She loves to cook,” says her friend, Gayle Lanier, “and whenever we have a cover-dish dinner at our church, Wakefield Baptist, or at our senior citizen’s club, she never brings one dish—it’s more like three or four.”

Lanier considers her one of the best cooks she knows.

“And she loves to share with her neighbors,” Lanier added. “She’s always the first one to show up with a special dish when she hears about a neighbor getting sick.”

Hobbs, 81, was born in Surry County and raised in Dendron and has always lived in this area. An only child, she went to work as a bank teller after her daughter was born, while Aunt Estelle helped raise her daughter just like she raised her.

By this time, of course, she had learned to cook on her own and according to her friends, had become “quite a chef.”

But Hobbs plays down the compliments. She even remarked that she learned a lot of what she knows about cooking from her last husband, Carl Hobbs, to whom she was married for 17 years.

“Actually, we cooked together,” she said with a laugh.. “I was fortunate in that he liked to help me in the kitchen and we spent a lot of time together making our meals.”

Hobbs went on. “Carl and I always had a garden, just like my father did, so there were always vegetables to can and pickle and he was just as involved as I was. He took care of the garden and picked the vegetables for me to put up.

As a matter of fact, although canning is not as popular as it used to be, Hobbs still cans her vegetables. “I learned to do this years ago and it has become a habit,” she added.

She said after her husband passed away several years ago, she realized that a garden was more than she could handle by herself.

“But my neighbors, John and Betty Cook, came to my rescue,” Hobbs recalled. “He tends the garden and we share the vegetables.”

 

NAME: Dorothy Hobbs

AGE: 81

OCCUPATION: Retired bank teller

FAVORITE FOOD: I have two—seafood and sweets.

LEAST FAVORITE FOOD: Spinach

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU REMEMBER COOKING: Candy

WHAT IS YOUR WORST COOKING EXPERIENCE: When I made the candy, it was so hard, I had to break the dish to get it out.

WHAT IS ONE INGREDIENT YOU CAN’T COOK WITHOUT: Salt

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT COOKING: Have all of your ingredients on hand before you start cooking.

WHO IS THE BEST COOK YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN AND WHY: It would have to be my Aunt Estelle. We always had a big garden, which provided a lot our food and was a big help during the late 30s and early 40s. Aunt Estelle could cook the best vegetables. In fact, we always had wonderful old-fashioned meals—she just knew how to cook everything.

IF YOU COULD EAT ONE THING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE: Coconut pie or cake. I like coconut.

DOROTHY HOBBS’ RICE PUDDING

Ingredients:

* 1 cup instant white rice

* 1 egg

* 4 cups milk

* 1 large package cook-n-serve vanilla pudding mix

* ¼ cup raisins

* Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

 

Directions:

Cook rice by package directions, let cool. Beat egg and milk in large sauce pan until blended. Add pudding mix and beat two minutes. With whisk, stir in rice and raisins and bring to a good rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool five minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into serving bowl and sprinkle with spices. May be served warm or cold. If not served warm, refrigerate until ready to serve..

 

LUCILLE’S COCONUT PIE

Ingredients:

* 3 eggs

* 1 tsp. vanilla

* 1 ½ cups milk

* 1 cup sugar

* ½ stick margarine, melted

* 1 ½ cups coconut

* 1 uncooked deep-dish pie shell

Directions

Mix first six ingredients together well and pour into pie shell. Cook for 55 minutes at 375 degrees.

Note: If pie shell browns too quickly, cover with foil during last part of baking time.

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