Ross enjoys cooking

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, November 25, 2009

IVOR—Malissie Ross will tell you that she is not a great cook.

But her friends and family will say that she’s close to it.

For someone who was married for 54 years and raised four daughters, it stands to reason that she would have to be.

Ross, who was widowed 10 years ago, moved to Ivor from Virginia Beach soon after her husband passed away.

She joined a couple civic organizations and the local Baptist church, where she is involved in every event that calls for preparing and serving meals.

“I do enjoy it,” she said. “I like to help, and there’s always something I can do.”

Ross laughs when she remembers the days when she was just learning to cook.

“My mother didn’t like having people in the kitchen when she was preparing a meal, and, as a result, my sister and I didn’t have a chance to learn and really didn’t know much about cooking when we were growing up.

“So when I got married, I was pretty much lost in the kitchen.

“Fortunately, my husband was an excellent cook — his mother insisted that all her children learn — so, he taught me a lot.

“It was funny, though. In those days, it wasn’t cool for men to cook and he’d say, I’ll teach you how to do this, but you’ll have to close the blinds so the neighbors can’t see me cooking.”

Ross said she studied cookbooks and finally learned by trial and error and even admits that she isn’t so bad now.

“But my poor family,” she said. “They never knew what they’d get for dinner.”

She chuckled. “I overheard two of my daughters talking one night as I was getting ready to cook.

“One said, ‘Oh my goodness, mother just took out one of her cookbooks,’ whereas the other moaned, ‘Oh! No!’”

Ross said all her daughters are now living on their own, but always bring their families home for holidays. This year she is expecting nearly 20 for Thanksgiving.

“They’re going to help with the food, though. And this year, they’ll also bring the turkey.

“I was happy to hear that,” she said with a grin. “Over the years I’ve cooked more turkeys than I can count.”

Name: Malissie Ross

Age: 82

Occupation: Retired

Favorite food: Beef/vegetable soup

Least favorite food: Okra

What is the first thing you remember cooking? A plain cake. I was about 16, I think. Actually, I didn’t cook very much until after I got married.

What has been your worst cooking experience? I found a new recipe for sweet-and-sour pork and it sounded so good, I decided to cook it for dinner one night. Well, I have no idea what I did wrong, but we could not eat it. My kids let me know in no uncertain terms that it was awful and my husband, who normally was a patient man, was pretty agitated, as well. We had canned soup instead.

One ingredient you can’t cook without and why: Vegetable oil. I use it in so many of the dishes I cook for seasoning.

What is the most important thing you have learned about cooking? Use the lowest heat you can get by with and pay attention to what you’re doing.

Who is the best cook you have ever known and why? My mother. There were seven children in my family, and she had to stretch things sometimes, but we always had good meals. She was what I call an old-fashioned cook, meaning that she had her own way of measuring ingredients — a pinch of salt and a handful of lard. She was master of her own kitchen, however, so her children were a little lacking when it came to knowing how to cook.

If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Home made beef/vegetable soup.

malissie ross’ Hawaiian Pie


1 (No. 2 can) crushed pineapple — not drained

6 tbsps. flour

1 ½ cups sugar

3 firm bananas

½ cup chopped pecans

½ pint whipping cream

1 cup flaked coconut

2 baked pie shells


Cook pineapple, sugar and flour until thick, then cool. Slice bananas and place on bottom of baked crusts. Sprinkle nuts over bananas and pour pineapple mixture over nuts. Whip cream, stir in coconut and spread over pies. Chill for at least two hours.