Sue Walters of Etowah County defies the notion of farmers being solitary creatures.
“I have always liked to cook, but I really love to cook for a crowd. We love to have company and family over to eat, and I look forward to opportunities to cook for family reunions and church dinners,” she said.
Sue says she didn’t get the chance to cook much as a child, but she credits her mother as being a kitchen inspiration to her just the same.
“My daddy had four boys, then I came along as the baby, and I guess he thought I was a boy, too,” Sue jokes of her childhood chores.
“But my mama was a wonderful cook, and she was such a smart lady. She used to tell me that I better enjoy my children on my toes because they’d soon be on my heart instead, and she was so right. She had all her children and their families to her house for Sunday dinner until the time she died,” Sue said.
Now, Sue and her husband Roger have 11 grandchildren of their own, and Sue says she cherishes the summers she got to spend caring for them on their farm.
For 38 years, Sue maintained six broiler houses, and she and Roger still raise commercial Angus-Charolais crossed cattle. Sue is also a Master Gardener and enjoys gardening on their farm.
“I have a passion for cooking for people though,” she said, adding that her involvement in the Etowah County Farmers Federation affords her many opportunities to do so.
“I always cook for the volunteers during Farm-City Week, and I look forward to feeding the people who work so hard to bring those children the chance to learn a little more about farming,” she said.
Sue says she and Roger also enjoy having the opportunity to travel more since scaling back their farming operation.
“I go on a camping trip with my kids in the mountains in Colorado every year, and last fall, Roger and I went to Italy on a seniors’ tour. It was a really good trip,” said Sue, adding that her travels often inspire her cooking.
“When I taste something on vacation, I like to try to recreate it or improve it a little bit when I get back home,” she said.
Two of the recipes Sue shares this month in the Country Kitchen are some she said she brought back home from a trip to the mountains 20 years ago.
“The Wild Plum Tea doesn’t have any plum in it, but that’s what the restaurant in Gatlinburg called it, and they shared that recipe with me and the one for Wild Plum Muffins – which do have plums,” she explains.