Why my kitchen is filled with love, healing and comfort…
The main ingredient in any dish a good cook prepares is love. Love makes the world go round. It is the basis for any good relationship. A dish filled with love satisfies the heartiest appetite. The kitchen has long been the heart of the home. It was sitting around the breakfast table that family would discuss the plans for the day and around the dinner table that they recounted the events of the day. Any important family decisions were made around the table after a good meal.
From the kitchen came homemade chicken soup, a source of healing for what ails you. Homemade cakes and pies chased away the blues and healed a broken heart.
Comfort is found in my kitchen, whether it is the solace I get from preparing the meal or the joy the diners get from eating it. There is a certain warmth and comfort in any good cook’s kitchen because whatever is prepared in it is prepared with an extra dose of TLC.
Annie Mae Gipson, Author
About the author …
Born in Prairie, a small community in northeastern Mississippi, Annie Mae was the fifth child of Will and Lizzie Ewing. Annie Mae grew up a total tomboy. "I liked to go to the woods, ride horses and do anything the boys did," she recalls.
Lizzie taught all six of her daughters to cook at an early age. Annie Mae started cooking at the age of 12. She cooked vegetables and made bread. During her teen years, she was active in church - singing in the choir and working in Sunday School. She was also active in school. She decided she wanted to be a nurse so she could care for the sick. Years later, at the age of 38, she entered the medical field, becoming an operating room technician.
In 1946, she married Albert Wilson Lee in Mantee, Mississippi. She and her husband moved to Portageville, Missouri, the day after they married and began farming. Mr. Lee was killed in an auto accident in 1953. The couple had two children, a son and a daughter. Two years later, Annie Mae married Joseph Gipson, Jr. Annie Mae began worked at Ross School in the cafeteria where she remained 12 years. The couple had one son. By this time, Annie had become a first class cook. She started working at Pemiscot Memorial Hospital. She also worked 28 years in the surgery department. In 1995, she worked at Casino Aztar in Caruthersville, Missouri and later retired in 2002.
In April 1966 the Gipson’s built a home in Hayti, Missouri. She still resides in that home. Mr. Gipson died in 1980. Annie never remarried. Annie Mae has lived her entire life by high principles, honesty and charity. “I do unto others as I would have them do unto me," she says.
Known to many as "Mae" Annie Mae is known for her homemade dishes. Her chess pie and pineapple cake are big hits, as is her strawberry cake and dressing. As for Annie Mae, she enjoys "cooking - period."
"I like to cook a lot of good food and sit back and watch people enjoy eating it," she says.
In 2002, Annie Mae united with Cedar Street Missionary Baptist Church, where she is a faithful member. Her pastor, the Rev. Darion Thomas, is perhaps the biggest fan of her cooking. His favorite dishes are pineapple cake and dressing.
Included in this cookbook are some of the recipes that are frequent requests. According to Annie Mae, the secret to being a good cook is the ability to make a recipe your own. She says, “You have to be able to try a recipe and add your touch and make it work."
When not in the kitchen, Annie Mae enjoys Bible word search puzzles, visiting on the telephone with family and friends and being a good neighbor.
"It's all about helping others," she declares. "You have got to reach out and help someone who may be down to get up."
Annie Mae encourages young people to reach out to others.
"It's only lonely at the top if you don't take someone with you," she says. "I stood on the shoulders of many people that helped me get where I am today."