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New Design’s Monarie Wilson:
Recipes come from way back
From left, Glenda Inge, Pastor Tony Dillard, his wife Cassandra Dillard, Monarie Wilson and Hope Breedlove stand at the buffet table at New Design Baptist Church’s rainbow tea. (Bulletin photos by Holly Kozelsky)
Monarie Wilson was 12 years old when she joined New Design Baptist Church in 1952. She and the church are still going strong.
On Sunday, the church held a rainbow tea, and her cooking was enjoyed with two other people who joined on the same day in 1952 she did — Edward Divens and Jeanette Fuller — along with the rest of the congregation.
Like her church attendance, her recipes follow a lifelong pattern. Most of the foods she makes are what she learned from her grandmother.
To the church meal, Wilson contributed her potato salad. At home, she likes to make “just anything,” she said. Favorites include greens, cakes, sweet potato or coconut pies and apple cobbler, and “I love making up corn bread,” she added.
Her grandmother, Palmetta Barksdale, lived in Axton. She was a homemaker and a quilter, and she worked in people’s homes, Wilson said. She also raised eight children and farmed. All of the recipes Wilson shares here are her grandmother’s.
Special tips to improve the quality or flavors of food also come from her grandmother. One example is a method to improve turnip greens picked after frost.
The flavor of turnip greens improves after they’ve been bitten by frost, Wilson said, but the cook will have to make some adjustments for potential bitterness or toughness: Just put in a spoonful of baking soda while cooking to get rid of those characteristics.
Wilson lives in Sandy River, not far from the church. She and her husband, Frank Wilson, have one daughter, Veronica Baynes. The retiree describes herself as a “stay-at-home” wife, though that comes behind two long careers.
She worked at Bassett Furniture Co. for 261?2 years. After that, she was the cook at Smith Adult Center in Sandy River for 10 years.
There, Wilson cooked for 20 people each day. There weren’t any particular favorite foods there, she said: “They really liked everything.”
New Design is an important part of Wilson’s life. “I love it,” she said about her church. “There ain’t nothing about it I don’t love. ... We’ve got a very sweet pastor,” she added. Pastor Tony Dillard has been with the church for almost a year.
Wilson is the president of the rainbow tea committee. At the rainbow tea, each table had a color scheme. People knew in advance at which table they would be sitting, so they were dressed in the color of their table.