In the mid-’60s, my family moved from Knoxville, Tenn., to Charlotte, N.C. It was a great move for me and holds many good memories. I fell in love with the state, so naturally many years later I fell in love with a boy from North Carolina.
In 1990, I met my future husband, Tony, from Mount Airy, N.C. He came to Hopkinsville as a young man who had hardly stepped out of the state of North Carolina. He was 24 and starting his career with Bill Nichol and Kentucky Derby Hosiery.
Shortly after our romance began, and as all good southern girls do, I cooked dinner for him. It was my first meal for him and I learned right away that I didn’t make my green beans like his best buddy, Helen Patterson. Needless to say, I was anxious to meet Helen, who was, as Tony told me, a home economics major in college and had practically reared him (not to mention a DUKE fan!).
Helen and I have had many laughs since then, and when I asked her to share some of Mount Airy’s favorite recipes, she and the girls gladly did.
Just like in Hopkinsville, there is such a sense of hospitality every time we visit, and just like many small towns, they entertain at home often.
Mount Airy is a small town of about 10,000 and is nestled between Winston Salem and Galax, Va.
There is a long history between Hopkinsville and Mount Airy. Along with the history comes many stories, and as in all small towns, the most unique characters.
Not only do Tony Prim and Helen Patterson hail from Mount Airy, so does Andy Griffith. Did I mention that Mount Airy is Mayberry?
For all of the faithful Andy Griffith fans, you really must visit Mount Airy. Each September they have a Mayberry Day festival that draws in thousands. Over 50,000 in 2010! You can take a spin in Andy’s police cruiser and eat in Barney’s diner, which is owned by great friends Eric and Vicki Fleming.
Vicki shared the restaurant’s recipe for cornbread salad and if you visit them, just tell them “ Ole Tone” sent you.
I served these tasty dishes with some barbecue to a group of my faithful friends Monday as the Cats brought home their eighth national championship!
Margaret Prim runs a clothing business from her Hopkinsville home and enjoys entertaining for friends and family. Her column runs the first Wednesday of every month. If you have questions or comments about her column, email them to knefood @kentuckynewera.com.
6 medium tomatoes
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 10 ounce package frozen chopped broccoli
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely minced onions
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Wash tomatoes and cut the tops off. Scoop out the pulp leaving the shell intact. You can save the pulp to use in a different dish. Sprinkle the cavities of the tomatoes with salt and pepper; invert and drain on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Cook the broccoli according to the directions, omit salt and drain well. Combine the broccoli with the Swiss cheese, bread crumbs, mayonnaise and onion. Blend well. Spoon broccoli mixture into the tomato shells and top with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake in a 350-degree oven.
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves
In a small mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese and mayonnaise until blended. Beat in cheeses and green onions. Stir in pecans. Spread into plastic-wrapped 9-inch round dish and refrigerate until set, about one hour. Invert onto a serving plate. Spread with raspberry preserves. Serve with assorted crackers.
Barney’s restaurant cornbread salad
1 box Jiffy Cornbread mix
Homemade ranch dressing or ranch dressing of your choice
2 to 3 diced tomatoes
1 to 2 diced onions
2 to 3 diced cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 pound crumbled bacon
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
Follow the directions to make a pan of cornbread on the box of the Jiffy Cornbread muffin mix. Let the pan cool completely or for better results, store uncovered at room temperature overnight. You want the cornbread to be dry.
Crumble the corn bread into a large bowl. Add the diced tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers, mix well. Add the ranch dressing a cup at a time until the vegetable mixture is moist and creamy. Add the bacon and shredded cheese to the mixture. Make sure you add enough dressing to make the mixture moist. Refrigerate overnight.
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 1/4 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 heaping tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 can refrigerated biscuits, do not use flaky
In a large glass pie plate, melt butter in the microwave or in a preheated oven. After melting butter, add onions, parsley flakes and Parmesan cheese; mix well. Cut biscuits with scissors into four pieces. Place biscuits on top of the butter mixture until all the biscuit pieces are used. Follow directions on the biscuit package for oven temperature and cooking time. When browned and done; remove from the oven and invert on a serving plate.