I’m not quite sure when the spark ignited this fire inside of me, but as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the kitchen. I don’t know whether it was just to smell the aroma of a meal being prepared or to watch food come to life. Nonetheless, I have many childhood memories of standing and watching different people whip up a quick dish or spend endless hours chopping and mixing for a five-course meal. Growing up in south Alabama, too, probably had a little something to do with why I enjoy food as much as I do.
When I began the process of laying out the design and flow of Covey Rise magazine, I wanted to include all the things that made my childhood and life outdoors so memorable and fun. One key ingredient had to be food. A few others were spending time with friends, family, and bird dogs, enjoying the great outdoors, and of course hunting.
My mother, Jocelyn Thames, is a very large part of the reason why there is a food feature in the magazine. She is known for her party planning and execution, cooking, and her “honey do” lists. The lady knows how to get things done. She is the reason for my love of cooking and fellowship. Every day when I arrived home from school, I would climb off the school bus only to be greeted by my dog Luther and a grocery list.
My granddaddy’s business owned a grocery store a block away from our house, and I was the designated shopper. I would always have three lists: one for our house, one for my granddaddy’s house, and one for my grandma’s house. It is safe to say that after a few years of shopping, I knew how to pick out a chicken for the fryer, a roast for Sunday lunch, or have the steaks cut for Friday night supper. I knew where everything was on the shelves, as well as what the ingredients were and what they were used for. Looking back, maybe I should have been a chef!
Most trips to the grocery store were followed by an elaborate party or event planned by my mother. This lady has been hosting parties since long before I graced the earth. Julia Child just thought she knew what she was doing in the kitchen. If I heard my mother say “don’t stand in the kitchen” once, I heard it a thousand times. The time spent standing in the kitchen under my mother, smelling and sampling everything from fried chicken and potatoes to pound cake and ice cream, are moments I will cherish forever. These moments brought out my love of people and taught me that a meal is not just a meal, it is a meaningful experience that brings people together.
This goes without saying, but please remember to reach out to or honor your mother this Mother’s Day. Oftentimes, they are the crucial hub to the wheel of life that keeps us rolling down the road in the right direction. We couldn’t do what we do every day without them. Visit if you can. Make a phone call, send a card, or say a prayer. Thank you to all of our mothers, and happy Mother’s Day from Covey Rise!
The following recipe is from my mother, Jocelyn Thames. She makes it every year before our annual family fishing trip to Louisiana. This recipe and more from my family are featured in our cookbook, Game: The Chef’s Field to Table Cookbook.
CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE
Recipe by Jocelyn Thames | Serves 14
- 3 sticks butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 3 cups sugar
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Combine the flour and baking powder and add slowly to blender, being careful not to over mix. Add vanilla.
- Pour into a 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Let cool in pan for about 15 minutes before turning onto rack to cool.
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