Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

Chef Nathalie Dupree Visits Wrightsville

October 27, 2011 in Better Hometown,City of Wrightsville,Events,Johnson County | Comments (0)

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(This article appeared in the Macon Telegraph as a prelude to the Better Hometown sponsored Nathalie Dupree/ Louise Dodd Luncheon November 10th.)

 

Even the memories are delicious

by Ed Grisamore, TheMacon Telegraph

WRIGHTSVILLE
— Louise Dodd must have been born with a spatula in one hand and a mixing  bowl in the other.

Recipes calling for allspice were part of her DNA. When she arrived in the world in 1929, the umbilical cord could have been an apron string.

No, he never strayed far from the kitchen. She got that from her mother, Kathleen “Kitty” Futrelle. She passed it on to her daughter, Carol Dodd Porter.

Kitty hailed from the tiny town of Guyton, in Effingham County. She was still baking pies in her  golden years, and she lived to the ripe old age of 102.

“She would tell everybody she was baking for the ‘old’ people,’’ Carol said, laughing. “And they were 20 years younger than she was!”

Louise was a chip off the old cookie. She wrote more than 1,800 food columns over a 31-year period for The Courier-Herald newspaper in Dublin. She also served as food editor of Macon Magazine.

She published a cookbook of her calorie-filled travels, “Eating from the White House to the Jailhouse,’’ now in its second printing. She could always put her finger on recipes for cheese straws or lemon chess pie. After all, she had collected more than 700 cookbooks.

Clara Eschmann, the longtime food editor of The Telegraph, was one of Louise’s culinary running mates. Those gals really got around in cooking circles, nibbling their way across the globe in search of perfect recipes for everything from corn pudding to spoon bread. Over the years, Clara and Louise brushed forks with a number of celebrity chefs. Among them was Nathalie Dupree, the  author of 11 cookbooks and a household name in home cooking. Dupree has hosted more than 300 shows on PBS, The Learning Channel and The Food Network.

She became the first food maven since the legendary Julia Childs to host more than 100 cooking shows on public television.

Louise and Clara became such good friends with Dupree they were invited to her Jamaican beach wedding, with Clara serving as the matron of honor. (That must have been a hoot.)

Four years ago, with help from Betty Ragland and Barbara Cowan, Louise was instrumental in getting Dupree to Macon for a luncheon and cookbook signing at Riverside United Methodist Church.

Louise had lived in Macon since 1985, the city where she had graduated from her beloved Wesleyan  College and where she was crowned Mrs. Macon in 1967. She was married to Billy Dodd, a well-known physician and noted jazz musician.

They lived in Wrightsville for 35 years. Louise taught school, and Billy was a country doctor. (In 1962, he delivered the town’s most famous native son — football star Herschel Walker.)

Mary Ann Norris was a neighbor from across the street when the Dodds resided in Wrightsville. She said that Louise was not only one of the best cooks ever to ever heat up an oven, but she was a “longtime, upbeat mem-ber of the community, a tireless volunteer and champion of Wrightsville events.’’

A few months ago, Mary Ann connected on Facebook with an old high school friend living in Chattanooga, Tenn. Mary Ann noticed on her friend’s “friend list” was Nathalie Dupree, so she sent her a message.

“She (Nathalie) must have been on the Internet at the time, and we chatted back and forth,’’ said Mary Ann. “She didn’t realize Louise had passed away the previous November and was completely devastated. I mentioned that Louise had planned to do a cooking class to benefit Wrightsville’s Better Hometown Program, but it never came to be because of her illness. A few days later, Nathalie messaged me that she would dearly love to do the ‘class’ honoring Louise’s memory and to benefit our community nonprofit.’’

So Dupree is headed to Wrightsville on Thursday, Nov. 10, for a luncheon in the social hall at the First United Methodist  Church. It will start at 11 a.m. with a silent auction, followed by lunch at noon.

The meal will feature several dishes from the cookbooks of Dupree and Louise. (Tickets are $25. For more information, call (478) 864-0048.)

Like her mother and grandmother, Carol became a devoted cook. One of her recipes, called “Dootsie’s Divinity,’’ was included in Louise’s cookbook. Carol also writes cooking columns and is now working with WDIG, a community television station inDublin.

“My mother was friends with everybody she met,’’ Carol said. “She was the best letter writer in the world, and she lived by that mailbox. Not only did she love to cook, but she loved to entertain and go places. We used to tease her she would go to the grand opening of a Piggly Wiggly.’’

Carol said she was “overwhelmed” at Dupree’s gesture to honor her mama. “I know she is looking down with pride,’’ she said. “And it would mean a lot to her that it is benefiting the hometown she loved so much.’’

Clara died in the spring of 2002. We lost Louise last year, just three days before Thanksgiving, the holiest day of the year for cooks. I’m sure the aroma from heaven’s kitchen is quite heavenly these days.

(Louise’s death also came just three weeks after Carol lost the election as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor against Republican incumbent Casey Cagle)

Reach Gris at 744-4275 or gris@macon.com.