Growing up with three sisters on a farm, Annie Lou Harris of Cleburne County said she learned to cook and help out on the farm at a young age.
“We didn’t have any brothers, just girls, so when Daddy needed help on the farm, we all had to pitch in just like we did inside,” she says.
And her early days on the family’s farm in the Fruithurst community foreshadowed the lifestyle she continued as an adult.
When she married her husband, Hobert, in 1953, the two settled on his family farm in the Hopewell area and for 58 years, the couple has called that farm their home.
“We’ve had to give some things up, but we keep enough to do,” said Harris.
The couple said time that once was dedicated to the care of cattle and the nurture of market produce is now spent traveling with friends or in Hobert’s case, woodworking.
“We don’t really go to any far-off places, but we’ll go with some friends to the mountains and such from time to time, and Hobert had several orders for swings and things to build folks for Christmas gifts, so we find plenty to do,” she said, adding that they are grateful to be close to their son and daughter as well.
“We’re a pretty close family. Our children don’t live far from us, and we’re very proud of both our granddaughters, one of which graduated from Auburn with a doctorate in pharmacy, and the other is studying at Jacksonville State University,” beams Harris.
The recipes Harris shares with Neighbors this month are what she calls “main recipes,” those she reaches for time and again because they’re simple and popular with friends and family.
“I’ve been making the same sweet potato casserole since 1973, and my family loves it. The chicken and rice casserole is one of Hobert’s favorites, too,” she explains.