Seamstress patches up own recipes

Published 8:07 am Wednesday, January 20, 2010

SEDLEY— If it’s Sunday, it’s dinner at Grandma Carolynn’s.

Carolynn Ellis-Tart has cooked and served dinner to her family — children, grandchildren, sisters, cousins and any friends who happen to drop by — every Sunday for as long as she can remember.

Tart said her mother used to do this, but when she could no longer handle the crowd, “I took over.

“I can’t remember when that was,” she said with a smile, “but I really enjoy it because I love to cook.”

Tart, 68, said she has been cooking since she was very young.

“I was the oldest girl (I had two older brothers and two younger sisters) so it fell to me to help mama in the kitchen. By the time I had reached 10 or 12, I was cooking the whole meal because mama helped daddy in the field.

Born and raised on the farm, she is a country cook, she said.

“I cook things like I did when I was growing up, like garden vegetables and fruits, fried chicken, pork and homemade biscuits.

“I seldom use a recipe, and I have my own way of seasoning my dishes, but my meals usually turn out all right,” she said modestly.

She added with a grin, “None of my four children cook like I do. In fact, they say I’m old-fashioned. “But, I’ve noticed they never miss a chance to eat with me.”

Although Tart spends a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking is not the only talent the active grandmother has. She is an excellent seamstress and operates her own small business out of her home. She also has been known to do a little upholstering.

Then she babysits part time for her grandchildren.

Still, she has time to attend her church, Corinth Friends Meeting, and helps with the cooking when there is an occasion where food is served.

“My life is busy, “but that’s the way I like it,” she revealed, “I’m happiest when I have my family and friends around.”

Name: Carolynn Ellis-Tart

Age: 68

Occupation: Seamstress


Least favorite food? Okra

What is the first thing you remember cooking? Boiled cabbage

What has been your worst cooking experience: When I was learning to cook, it took me a while to learn to make a good biscuit (sometimes they were a little hard), but they were edible. I had one brother, though, who teased me all the time. He’d say, “Well, I think I’ll risk it and take a biscuit.”

One ingredient you can’t cook without and why? Salt. Just a little brings out the flavor in almost everything.

What is the most important thing you have learned about cooking? Pay attention to what you’re doing. Just one little distraction can ruin a dish.

Who is the best cook you have ever known and why? My mother, Inez Holt. She could take almost nothing and make one of the best meals I have ever tasted. Times were hard and she had five children plus our dad, our grandfather and herself to feed, but we always had good meals. She could do more with five pounds of potatoes than anyone I’ve ever known. I learned a lot from her by just watching. She cooked a lot from scratch, using her own measurements, and I do that a lot myself. I can remember how, when I was about 10, she would show me how to cook a vegetable and than leave me to finish cooking it while she went out to help daddy in the field.

If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Potatoes

Dog Patch Potatoes


6 Cups Peeled, Washed,

Thinly Sliced Potatoes

1 Small Onion, Chopped

1 Cup Water

Salt And Pepper To Taste

Small Amount Of Side-meat Drippings Or Vegetable Oil


Pour into a heavy iron frying pan enough side-meat drippings or vegetable oil to cover the bottom of pan. Brown potatoes and onions. Add salt, pepper and water and simmer until potatoes are tender, adding water as needed. Stir frequently.