Someone’s in the kitchen
Published 8:59 am Wednesday, January 5, 2011
BY MERLE MONAHAN/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
IVOR—Nancy Anderson’s training in the kitchen with her mother served her well as she grew up.
The 75-year-old great-grandmother has cooked for and fed more children than she can count.
In addition to her four children and the three she and her husband, Joe, adopted, she has helped raise 200 or more foster children.
Then, when she and her husband moved from Chesapeake to Ivor in 1984, she gave up caring for foster children and opened a daycare service in her home.
“I guess it shows that I love children,” Anderson said. “It all started as I was growing up. I am the oldest of four and helped care for my siblings. I can remember how, in the late afternoon, Mama would work in her garden, while I cooked supper for the family.”
Anderson was born and lived in West Virginia until she was 5. Her father moved the family to Chesapeake to get a better job.
Anderson attended school in Chesapeake and later worked in the school cafeteria. By then, she and Joe, a police officer, were married. She started keeping foster children after her own children were in school.
“I have so much compassion for these children,” Anderson said. “They were so unkempt and looked like they hadn’t had a good meal in ages. The first thing I tried to do was feed them. I remember some of them, after they’d had supper, would then hide food under the bed because they were afraid they wouldn’t get fed again.”
“I had a terrible time convincing them that they didn’t have to do that,” she continued.
Anderson said the children would stay sometimes for just a few days, but she has had some who stayed several months.
The three she and her husband adopted all finished school and married well.
“They keep in touch,” Anderson said.
Today, Anderson gets such joy when her former daycare children visit.
“They talk about how they enjoyed staying here and how I always had snacks,” Anderson said. “I love them all, and it makes my day.”
NAME: Nancy Anderson
OCCUPATION: Retired nanny
FAVORITE FOOD: Chicken and vegetables.
LEAST FAVORITE FOOD: Venison.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU REMEMBER COOKING: Boiling potatoes
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR WORST COOKING EXPERIENCE: I put eggs on to boil and left to do something else in the house. I smelled something strange, and when I checked the eggs, the water had boiled out and the eggs had burst. The kitchen was a mess. To make matters worse, we had just painted the kitchen.
ONE INGREDIENT YOU CAN’T COOK WITHOUT AND WHY: Sugar. I put a little in vegetables and soup. It gives a better flavor.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT COOKING: Have all of your ingredients on hand before you start cooking and don’t leave what you’re cooking unattended.
WHO IS THE BEST COOK YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN AND WHY: My mother, Colletta Long. She was very efficient, could make the best meals, nothing fancy, but delicious. We lived on a farm, and she planted and tended to her own vegetable garden. She taught me how to cook, and how to preserve foods. During those years, we canned everything and always had good meals even during the winter. I was the oldest and spent a lot of time in the kitchen with Mama. They were some of the best times of my life.
IF YOU COULD EAT ONE THING FOR THE REST OF YOU LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE: Chicken.
5 pounds potatoes
6 hard-boiled eggs, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbls pickle relish
1 cup (more if desired) mayonnaise.
Peel and dice potatoes. Boil with 1 teaspoon salt until fork tender. Do not overcook. Drain and cool potatoes to room temperature. Add other ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for several hours to let flavors blend.