Lamar County native Gail Gosa says she and her husband Terry are nearly vegetarians. Not that they have anything against eating meat — they just love fresh vegetables that much.
“Just give us turnip greens, fried okra, peas, or stuff like that and some fresh cornbread, and we’ll eat just fine,” says Gail.
To keep their freezers full, Gail and Terry grow much of what is cooked in their country kitchen. “We enjoy our garden, and we hardly ever eat food from a can unless a certain recipe calls for it,” she says.
Gail says she grew up cooking with her mother who taught her to love freshly grown and homemade foods. “Mother was always a homemaker, and I remember clearly watching her make jellies and jams, cakes and tea cakes. So many women now don’t know anything about cooking. It makes me thankful I learned,” Gail says.
Like her mother, Gail says she’s sharing her love of home-grown produce with her son Jason and his family. “My daughter-in-law, Crystal, told me she had never shelled peas in her life, but now she’s learned. And she’s great at cutting corn. She and Jason bought a freezer this year so they can have their own supply of vegetables,” says Gail.
And while she enjoys working with her son and daughter-in-law, Gail’s favorite garden partner is her 2-year-old granddaughter, Lydia Brooke. “She gets out in the garden and picks vegetables with her Daddy. She and I rode our (four-wheeler) out around our pine trees the other day, and she told me she saw a strawberry that was black, so she picked her first blackberry with Maw-maw,” Gail said with pride.
Gail says she and Terry feel blessed that their family lives so close to them, and she usually cooks lunch for them on Sundays, a tradition she enjoys.
Terry serves on the Federation’s Board of Directors for Lamar County, a position Gail says he’s held since the 1970s. In addition to their garden, Gail says Terry grows pines on their property.
While this year’s drought has been hard on farmers across Alabama, Gail says a small waterway on their property has provided enough water to keep their garden growing.
“I hope we’ll continue to have enough vegetables to share with our friends who don’t have that extra bit of water,” she adds.
According to Gail, selecting recipes for the Country Kitchen was difficult because of the way she cooks.
“I use a bunch of handfuls of this and that in my kitchen. I like to experiment and make things up when I cook. So, following recipes and measuring ingredients are not that common for me,” she says.
Still, her love of vegetables is reflected in her freestyle cuisine like Chicken Pot Pie as well as her salad recipes.