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Marion Whitehouse is “One of Hardin County’s Finest Cooks”

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Food column by Nora Sweat

By Nora Sweat

Rachel Daugherty, a former student at West Hardin High School, nominated this month’s “One of Hardin County’s Finest Cooks.”

Rachel is part of her Central Hardin fan club. Rachel first got to try her cooking when she and Rachel fed the Central Hardin football team for their pre-game dinners. She also had the pleasure of cooking for their post-season banquet and the lunches and snacks for the Central Hardin High School JROTC and their Raider Team the past four years.

Her name is Marion Whitehouse and after 23 years of marriage, she finally is getting to start living her dream. Marion’s husband, Tom, retired from the military in 2009 while they were living in Virginia, and it was supposed to be their home for some time to come as Tom took on a civilian job with the Army in Alexandria.

But with Base Re­alignment and Closure, it would bring them and their three boys to Kentucky. Central Hardin High School was a great fit for their boys, and her husband enjoys his work on Fort Knox. But Marion had a hard time finding work in Elizabethtown.

Marion is a certified chef from Germany. Since marrying her husband, she has held a variety of jobs and titles: line cook and assistant pastry chef, independent cleaning consultant, Telemetry Tech, cardiac scheduling coordinator, dietary director and a Kentucky senior support associate for the Lincoln Trail District Health Department, cashier at Aldi, and now food service director for Memorial United Methodist Church and owner and operator of “Cakes and Catering for All Occasions.”

While growing up in Germany, Marion’s mom had a restaurant and she could not keep her out of the kitchen from the moment she was old enough, 8, to help. In the beginning, her mom would only let her make garnishes and salads, but not too long after she graduated to hot foods.

One of the first things she learned was rouladen, a tasty rolled beef entrée her family really enjoys. Her family also loves her chicken enchiladas and they always are a big hit.

“I fell in love with the kitchen and the people at Memorial United Methodist Church,” Marion said. “I first got the job as their part time cook and got convinced by my kitchen volunteers that I should start my own business. I left my full time job at Aldi, and I only cooked for church and started my catering business. I still cook for church, bake bread and cakes there and finally am living my dream. “Anne Armes, a member at Memorial is one of Marion’s biggest fans. Anne told her on one occasion, “You just look too happy.”

Congratulations, Mar­ion, on being named One of Hardin County’s Finest Cooks.

Grandma’s Apple Cake
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6-8 medium apples such as Gala, Red Delicious or Pink Lady, peeled, cored and sliced about 1/4-inch thick

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then add in one egg at a time, beating well after each. Stir in vanilla, mix and then stir in flour until well blended. Add apples and spread mixture on a 15 ½” x 10” cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 min. Do not over bake. Dust with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar before serving.

Marion’s Sloppy Joes
(Halloween tradition at our house)
2 pounds of ground beef, browned
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup bread and butter pickles, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1/4 cup water

Brown beef in a skillet, add onion, pickles, celery. Mix sauce together in bowl. Add the sauce to beef mixture. Simmer the mixture with cover on at medium low for 15-20 minutes. If the sloppy Joes are low on moisture, add 1/4 cup more water.

Marion: These are great with potato salad.

Potato Salad
5 medium to large potatoes, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup bread and butter pickles, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 or 3 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and boil potatoes but do not peel. Let them cool. Cut potatoes into small cubes, chop onion, celery and pickles add to potatoes. Cook eggs — let cool. In separate bowl, mix all other ingredients and pour the dressing over the potatoes. Toss to moisten everything.

Cover and cool in refrigerator at least two hours, best if left overnight.

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