Hatch has many recipes in head

Published 8:02 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WAKEFIELD—Anne Hatch, 85, rarely uses a written recipe because it really isn’t necessary — she has scores of recipes in her head.

But several years ago, her granddaughter, Frances Warnick, happened to leave one of her cookbooks at Hatch’s house and Hatch decided to look through it.

“I was fascinated,” she said. “It’s actually an historical cookbook. Some of the recipes had been around a long time, some were “old-timey” and some even were attributed to the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Hatch said she became so attached to the book that she wanted to keep it, “so Frances decided to give me a copy.”

Although she uses recipes from the cook book now, she still cooks the way her mother taught her.

Born in Sussex County on her grandfather’s farm, she, her sister and her parents moved to Disputanta when she was about 5, she said.

“My grandfather’s farm was unusual because it was located in three counties (Sussex, Surry and Prince George.)

“The main house was in Sussex, but the smokehouse was in Surry County. I can still remember mammie saying she had to go to Surry to get meat for supper,” she said with a laugh.

Hatch remembers her days visiting with mammie and papa with affection.

“Papa would come to our house in Disputanta with his horse and wagon, settle my sister and me in the wagon and take us back to the farm for some of mammie’s sugar cookies.

“They were such a treat,” she smiled.

Hatch says she remembers the similarities between her mother’s and her grandmother’s cooking, including the sugar cookies.

“Mammie and mama cooked just alike,” she said, “and that’s the way I cook most of the time.”

But Hatch’s talents are not limited to country cooking. She is equally at ease when it comes to making hors d’oeuvres for a reception or planning an elaborate dinner party.

She, in fact, had a big hand in preparing for some of the parties given for her two granddaughters, Beth Joyner and Frances Warnick, when they got married, both within the last five years.

But back to basics. Hatch says her daughter Anne Joyner and both granddaughters call on her during the holidays.

“It doesn’t matter who cooks the turkey, they always bring me the giblets to make the gravy and dressing,” she said.

Name: Anne Hatch

Age: 85

Occupation: Homemaker

Favorite food: Turnip greens

Least favorite food: Sauerkraut

What is the first thing you remember cooking? Probably scrambled eggs. That’s been a long time ago.

What has been your worst cooking experience? I made a strawberry jello pie once and forgot to put in the jello. Pretty embarrassing — I just wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing.

One ingredient you can’t cook without? I use a lot of black pepper because I think it gives a better flavor.

What is the most important thing you have learned about cooking? Pay attention to what you’re doing, and don’t leave what you’re cooking unattended.

Who is the best cook you have ever known and why?That would have to be my mother, Rebecca Edwards, but then she learned to cook from her mother, Annie Bain Moss, so I’ll have to include Mammie as well. My mother and father lived with my grandparents on their farm until after my sister and I were born, so we had plenty of time to watch Mammie and my mother in the kitchen. They cooked like all farm families did in those days — using foods that were grown on the farm, like pigs, chickens and garden vegetables. They seldom used a written recipe (they cooked from recipes they memorized) and they rarely used the traditional ways of measuring. But even with a wood cook stove, they could come up with some of the most delicious meals I’ve ever tasted. I learned a lot from them and cook that way myself most of the time.

If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Probably fresh vegetables. I really enjoy them.

anne hatch’s rum cake ingredients

1 box yellow cake mix

1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix

4 eggs

½ cup rum

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup water

½ cup chopped pecans

glaze ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 stick margarine

¼ cup rum

¼ cup water


Mix dry cake mix and dry pudding mix together. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased, floured tube pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour.

Test cake for doneness with toothpick before hour is up, because ovens vary.

glaze directions

Mix all ingredients and heat until sugar is dissolved. Punch few holes in cake with fork, then pour glaze over slightly cooled cake.