Small Talk: Holiday cooking school a feast for the senses
by Annette Maddox
Special to The Star
Nov 18, 2012 | 1544 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christmas — it’s in the air, in the stores, on the radio and (thank goodness) in the kitchen, too. The Holiday Cooking School, sponsored by the Calhoun County Office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Calhoun County Homemakers and Community Leaders (CCHCL), was held recently at Anniston’s First Presbyterian Church. And happy guests walked away armed with tips — and full tummies.

As they entered, guests were greeted with the smells, sights and sounds of the holidays. Frances Surrett encouraged guests to register for door prizes donated by CCHCL. Pat Killian and Peggy Crosby handled sales of the 2012 Holiday Cookbook. At only $2 each, they’re perfect to collect or give as small gifts. The cookbook is available at the County Extension Office until Christmas.

Marchale Burton, regional urban extension agent and moderator, began the program with demonstrations of a breakfast casserole, key lime pie, scalloped potatoes, turkey turnip green soup and cocoa fudge cake. She offered hints on using sugar substitutes in food preparations and using leftover turkey in healthy dishes to extend your budget.

Prudence Hilburn demonstrated her recipes of cranberry cashew chicken salad and fiesta corn dip, both of which are great for the holidays or tailgating — even in the comfort of your den. Prudence said that recipes are not always set in stone — they can be changed according to what’s in your pantry. Perhaps this is how her award-winning recipes are devised…

Alan Martin, chef and owner of the Victoria Restaurant at the Victoria Inn, explained how to prepare moist cornbread dressing using extra fat, not liquid. He also explained how to roast a stuffed turkey, prepare Brussels sprouts with leeks, sweet potato gratin and cranberry chutney — all without a recipe. (Alan cooks without recipes and said it’s absolutely acceptable to experiment until you like what you taste.)

Several guest chefs prepared dishes for the cooking school: Rick Bussey prepared Rick’s Roll Tide Roast in a Crock Pot.

“If you put it on early in the morning, it will be done in time for you to watch the ball games,” he said.

Stephen Faughn, 4-H agent with the Calhoun County Extension Office, demonstrated his barbecue rub on pork tenderloin, and Shelia Pesnell, a new CCHCL member, prepared Mexican cornbread. She once brought the cornbread to a CCHCL cancer sewing workshop, and the overwhelming reviews encouraged her to share her recipe at the cooking school.

Natalie Owens, a senior at Jacksonville High School who hopes to attend culinary school with a concentration on baking and pastry arts, demonstrated her recipe of white chocolate cherry almond cookies. Killian demonstrated her blueberry cream cheese pie with an emphasis on the pecan crust, which she said really makes the pie special.

Guests were fortunate enough to taste several other dishes — chicken spaghetti, orange balls, candy crunch pie, tomato grits, peach dump cake, cinnamon sugar pretzels, pineapple bread, banana bread, strawberry bread, Nancy’s buffalo chip cookies, apple cake, Italian cream cake, Travis’s barbeque and golden punch.

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Save the Date

This is actually more of a “Save the TIME” event: the JSU Gospel Choir’s Winter Concert — “An Evening of Sacred Music” — is tonight at 6 in the Leone Cole Auditorium. Special guest Dr. Jeremy Benson will be playing hymns from his new CD on the flute, accompanied by pianist Christopher-Joel Carter. Special musical features will include “Quartet Music,” “N 2 Christ,” “Jackie Stamps and God’s Gifts,” “Spiritual Harmonizers” and others. Admission is free.
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Small Talk: Holiday cooking school a feast for the senses by Annette Maddox
Special to The Star

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