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Dash of Class: One of Hardin County's finest cooks

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Dolores Perry

By Nora Sweat

It is a great pleasure to introduce you to our April One of Hardin County’s Finest Cooks. I have known Dolores Perry since my days in

4-H at least four decades ago. She not only was a 4-H leader for many years, she was a member of Hardin County Homemakers for 50 years.

Dolores was nominated by Jacqueline Rogers, who is a former Hardin County Extension Service agent for home economics and has been friends with Dolores for many years.

Dolores absorbed cooking knowledge from her mother, Ressie Logsdon, and later learned to cook “by trial and error” after marrying her sweetheart, James Perry, in 1942. They had two daughters, Brenda Sue Perry Harned Clark and Judy Perry Wilshear, and a son, Steve Perry.

In the following years, she liked to experiment and add her own touches to recipes. Her daughter Judy said that was more the rule than the exception. Family members have had a hard time getting a copied recipe to turn out the same way as Dolores because her mother always added more or less of the ingredients. Dolores’ favorite books are a cookbooks. She has loads of them  from local churches, choirs, clubs and schools, including yours truly’s “Mama and Me.” When she is asked for a recipe, she always knows in which cookbook to find it. And, of course, she knows her favorites by heart.

Dolores’ favorite past time is cooking for her family. On her 90th birthday, last summer, she had 40-plus family members and friends come and share her special day. She loves to bake and share with her neighbors and family, and they love it, too. One neighbor swears “nothing bad ever comes from her kitchen.”

Today, Dolores shares four of her favorite recipes. Baked Spaghetti was requested by Jackie Rogers as she said, “the Baked Spaghetti is a must for your column.” The Deana/Dana Dressing was served over a spinach salad with red onion by her granddaughter, Deana Harned Snowden, at a luncheon in 1982.

Spicy Mimi Cheese Spread is a recipe Dolores’ hairdresser, Jenny Brandenburg, gave her in the 1970s when they lived in Radcliff and Mr. Perry owned a Chevrolet dealership. I understand the cheese recipe is a family favorite.

The Blonde Brownie recipe has been enjoyed by the Perry family for more than 40 years and is another family favorite.

I think you will agree, from the recipes chosen, what a great cook Dolores “Mimi” Perry is and what a legacy she has created for her grandchildren.

Daughter Judy said her 8-year-old granddaughter, Abigail, wants to bake banana bread as soon as she comes in the door. Great-grandmother “Mimi” has had an effect on her great-grandchildren as well as her children.

Congratulations, Mrs. Perry, for being One of Hardin County’s Finest Cooks.

Deana/Dana Dressing

1 cup canola oil

½ cup ketchup

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup sugar

Pour all ingredients into a jar or bottle and shake well. Do not use a blender. This can be used over any type of green salad but is especially good over spinach salad.

Baked Spaghetti

1 ½ pounds ground beef

1 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

45-ounce jar of spaghetti sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

8 ounces spaghetti, broken, cooked and drained

2 cups shredded

mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, cook ground beef, onion and garlic until beef is browned and onion is tender; drain off fat. Add spaghetti sauce and sugar and simmer for half an hour. Remove sauce from heat and gently stir in drained spaghetti. Put half the mixture into a greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and top with the remaining meat and spaghetti mixture. Finish by sprinkling with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 12.

Spicy Mimi Cheese

8 ounces each of sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheese, shredded

8 ounces Velveeta cheese, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1-2 tablespoons minced garlic

2/3 cup mayonnaise

Shred cheddar and pepper jack cheeses and soften all four of the cheeses to room temperature. With mixer, combine Velveeta and cream cheese,  then mix in the other cheeses.

Add garlic and Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Stir in mayonnaise, adding a little more if needed until it reaches a good spreading consistency. Cover and store in refrigerator. It will keep for a long time, if you can keep from eating it. You might even want to double this recipe.

Blonde Brownies

2/3 cup shortening

2 ¼ cups light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 eggs

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup chocolate chips *

*Chocolate chips can be replaced with 1 cup of dried cranberries

 

Melt shortening and mix in brown sugar and eggs. Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 9” x 13” x 2” pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cut into squares when completely cool. To store, wrap tightly.

 

Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me,” is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.