Archived Story

Someone’s In The Kitchen: Elaine Wiley

Published 12:19pm Monday, July 29, 2013

By Merle Monahan

FRANKLIN—Elaine Wiley said she once walked into a bakery in Franklin and asked for a Bismarck.

”The clerk looked at me as if I were crazy; had no idea what I was talking about,” she said. “But then I looked in the showcase and there it was — a jelly-filled doughnut.

“Same thing, different name,” said Wiley, who was born and raised in Fargo, N.D.

“I had to learn what the folks down here call a number of things,” she went on, “but for the most part, we’re not that different.”

Elaine Wiley of Franklin says she thinks she's a better baker than cook. Beside her is a plate of her fudge brownies, and the recipe is included in this article.
Elaine Wiley of Franklin says she thinks she’s a better baker than cook. Beside her is a plate of her fudge brownies, and the recipe is included in this article.

Wiley said her family lived on a farm, eating mostly farm products, including beef and potatoes.

She said many of the foods of her childhood were prepared the Scandinavian way, however.

“And iced tea—almost unheard of,” Wiley said. “We all drank coffee.”

She and her husband, Ronald, met in college, she said. Raised in Vienna, Va., he became a minister after college. They moved a lot during the years, but now are both retired. She worked in retail for some 25 years.

After their three children grew up and left home, the couple moved to Franklin, where they have lived since 1995.

“We love it here,” Wiley said. “The people are much more southern than I, of course, but they are so nice.”

Despite the fact that foods are prepared a little more differently here, she said, she loves to cook.

“We never put side meat in string beans to season them, for instance, but we do cook and eat string beans,” Wiley said.

Since she did most of the baking while growing up, however, she prefers to cook that way.

“I’m a better baker than cook,” Wiley added.

“After I learned how to cook, my mother let me take over the baking for the family,” she went on. “We always had homemade breads and cakes, although my baking was not fancy, just good.”

Wiley still uses her mother’s recipes, many of which have been handed down for centuries, she added.

“They are easy and some are quite simple, but they are delicious,” she said. “For instance, my children have all asked for copies, so the line keeps going.”

Wiley says she doesn’t have big family holiday dinners for her children and five grandchildren at her home any more.

“They much prefer for us to travel to their homes in Richmond and Charlottesville for the holidays,” she said. “It’s easier for all of us.”

 

NAME: Elaine Wiley.

OCCUPATION: Retired.

FAVORITE FOOD: Anything sweet.

LEAST FAVORITE FOOD: Cooked cereal.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU REMEMBER COOKING: Baking powder biscuits, with the help of my grandmother. I made them for the 4-H County Fair in North Dakota, where I grew up. Actually, I won a blue ribbon.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR WORST COOKING EXPERIENCE: I tried to deep-fry turkey, not knowing the thermostat was off. It was terrible, came out totally charred.

WHAT IS ONE INGREDIENT YOU CAN’T COOK WITHOUT AND WHY: Sugar. It gives foods a little extra flavor.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT COOKING: Read and re-read a recipe.

WHO IS THE BEST COOK YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN AND WHY: My mother. We lived on a farm in North Dakota and my mother not only cooked for her family, but for farmhands as well. She knew how to cook for about 10 people and have everything ready on time. Her meals were well prepared, nourishing and very tasty, using many things we grew right on the farm. I learned a lot from her. She was always patient with me and took time to explain how to prepare different things. I loved to cook, but preferred baking. Eventually, she cooked everything except for the baking, which I did.

IF YOU COULD EAT ONE THING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE: Bread.

 

MEAT LOAF

INGREDIENTS:

1½ to 2 lbs ground beef

¼ cup chopped onion

½ cup oatmeal, uncooked

1 egg, beaten

½ cup milk

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

1/3 cup catsup

2 Tblsp brown sugar

1 Tblsp prepared mustard.

Directions:

Combine first seven ingredients well and pack firmly into meatloaf pan or microwave safe casserole dish. Combine catsup, brown sugar and mustard and spread over top of meatloaf. Cook in 350-degree oven for 1 hour. If using microwave, cook uncovered on 70 percent power for 18 to 24 minutes, depending on power of microwave.

 

FUDGE BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup shortening

4 squares of Baker’s chocolate, unsweetened

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1½ cups plain flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. vanilla

¾ cups nuts

Directions:

Melt shortening and chocolate in microwave, let cool. Beat eggs until lemony and thick. Slowly add sugar, then chocolate mixture to eggs. Add flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla and mix. Add nuts and pour into 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until wooden pick comes out clean.

 

FUDGE FROSTING:

Ingredients:

1½ cups sugar

½ cup cocoa

¼ cup milk

½ cup butter or margarine.

1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

In saucepan, cook all ingredients except vanilla over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches soft-ball stage. Add vanilla and let cool slightly. Spread quickly over brownies and cool completely before cutting.

 

BUTTER HORN ROLLS:

Ingredients:

1 pkg. yeast

1 cup lukewarm milk

4 cups plain flour

¾ cup shortening

½ cup sugar

½ tsp. salt

2 eggs

Directions;

Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Mix next ingredients like piecrust. Beat eggs, and add to yeast mixture. Add yeast mixture to dry ingredients. Place in bowl, greasing around top of bowel and top of dough. Let rise I hour, or covered in refrigerator overnight. After dough has risen, divide into two balls and roll each out like piecrust. Butter top and cut in to triangles. Starting at the outside, roll up, tucking the tip underneath. Place on greased cookie sheet. Butter the tops and let rise 1 hour. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

NOTE: For a special roll, add brown sugar and chopped nuts before rolling into crescent shape.

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