Erica Flake’s earliest cooking memories involve her grandmother and great-grandmother.
Erica Flake’s earliest cooking memories involve her grandmother and great-grandmother.
Cook of the Week, Nurse Practitioner and owner of InTouch Psychological Services, Erica Flake, enjoys many aspects of life, from her business in helping others combat anxiety and depression, among other psychological ailments, to spending time with family.

Flake grew up in Edinburg. Some of her earliest memories include cooking. Her grandmother, Beulah Pigg – whom she called “Mamaw Eddie” – and great-grandmother Sophia McBeth –her “Momma Mac” – were always close with delicious, home-baked goods.

Flake remembers her Mamaw Eddie teaching her to make biscuits from a young age. Her grandmother would cook from scratch and can goods from the garden.

“That’s my biggest early memory, getting to squish the dough in my fingers,” Flake said. “You didn’t stir it with a spoon. You had to get your fingers in there and you had to work it with your hands…My Momma Mac used to make the best teacakes. That was the big – racing to her house on Saturday to get that big plate of tea cakes, because she’d always have them ready and waiting for us.”

Flake also remembers her grandfather’s fresh watermelons after a long summer day and swiping apples from the yard as they dried for her great-grandmother’s homemade fresh apple pies.

Flake said another influence in her cooking is her mother-in-law, Jean Flake.

“Mark’s mother was an amazing cook,” Flake said. “She used to get up at four in the morning and make breakfast for them before they’d go to the milk farm my husband was raised on. She would cook these huge, amazing dinners.”

Today, Flake’s life still centers around family, and she inherited her grandmothers’ love of cooking.

Flake works alongside her husband, Mark Flake, operating their business and its three locations in Philadelphia, Ackerman and Meridian. They have two children.

Her eldest child, Madison Flake, 22, is graduating from The University of Southern Mississippi this year and is starting Medical school at William Carey University in July.

Her youngest, Jonah Flake, 18, is graduating from Neshoba Central High School in May and plans to go to school to become an electrician.

Flake loves cooking for the family, and she’s not afraid to step outside her comfort zone and try a new dish.

“My family likes the good normal, everyday home-style stuff,” Flake said. “I like to try some different things every now and then but our favorite would probably be just basic taco soup.”

Flake said she makes taco soup often, as well as a taco roll her family also enjoys. She also cooks a John Wayne casserole for dinner – another favorite of her family’s.
“I like, a lot of times, things that have all sorts of different vegetables and meats in them all together, like casseroles, and then sometimes I’ll sometimes make up my own recipes,” Flake said.

When cooking for church, Flake loves to find new sweets to bake. The family attends Antioch Baptist Church.

Flake has made caramel apple salads, a rich chocolate cake with marshmallows and fudge, and she used to make Amish Friendship Bread often.

Flake’s favorite traditions are those which include family. She said she loves the holidays where everyone gets together and eats with those they only get to see once or twice a year.

“When I think of traditions around food, I think of holidays with my family, and always think about the chair where Papaw always sat at the table,” Flake said. “I think about how the first year after he died nobody wanted to sit in the chair, so we left that chair open. If I think about the meals, it’s always been about the family and the getting together and just enjoying the time together so much as the actual meal.”

Her grandmother’s pecan pie is one of her favorite things to look forward to during the holidays. Flake said she and her uncle compete to see who gets the biggest slice of the pie.

In her free time, outside of spending time with family, Flake enjoys researching family history. Flake began researching in 1996 and enjoys learning new things about her ancestors.

Flake also participates in mission trips, having travelled to Nicaragua and Romania. While in Romania, she was introduced to one of her new favorites – cooked cabbage. The locals cooked meals for those there for the mission trip, and taught her to wrap a head of cabbage in tinfoil, and grill and season itjust right.

“Before, I never really thought I liked cabbage, but I learned they eat a lot of it and it was really good,” Flake said. “I learned how to grill a whole head of cabbage. When we have a meal together, I’d cook it and my dad and I would eat the cabbage.”

The family is also loves travelling. Flake said they are looking forward to a trip in Cabo this summer to celebrate her children’s achievements graduating from college and high school.

For her recipes, Flake shared some of her favorites from her Mamaw Eddie’s cookbook.


Buttermilk Corn Sticks

1 cup buttermilk

½ tsp baking soda

1 tbs sugar

¾ cup yellow corn meal

1 egg beaten

½ tsp salt

Combine buttermilk and soda. Stir in egg, sugar, and salt. Add corn meal, a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Fill greased corn-stick pans ½ full with batter. Bake at 450 for 12 -15 minutes, or until golden brown. Yield: 10 corn sticks.



Love Proof Candy

2 cakes dot (baker’s) chocolate
30 marshmallows

1 can Eagle brand condensed milk

Melt in double boiler, beat well and add 2 c. of nuts. Pour into buttered dish. Cool and cut into squares. 


Pralines

4 c. sugar

3 c. pecans

2 tbsp. vanilla

1 c. milk

Pinch of salt

Caramelize 1 c. of sugar. While doing this, have 3 c. of sugar and 1 c. of milk cooking. When the 1 c. is caramelized pour in with the other that has been cooking, but remove from fire to do this. Place back on fire and cook until it will form a soft ball when dropped in cold water. Add 4 cups of pecans, salt, and vanilla. Beat, then drop on wax paper. 

The above recipe has been tested and approved by Stella Belle Wilson. 



Ice Box Cheese Wafers

2 c. Cheese

2 c. flour

1 c. butter. 

1/8 tsp. red pepper

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp Worchester Sauce

Cream butter, add cheese, sauce, and other ingredients. Roll out and cut. Bake in oven 350 until done. 

Yield – 85. 



Bessie’s Egg Pie (Delicious)

4 beaten egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 tbs. flour

Mix sugar and flour. 

½ stick of butter after beating egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla

Nutmeg to taste

Beat egg whites separately and fold into mixture. Bake in oven 450 then 300 then 250 degrees for 40 minutes. 


Corn Casserole
3 egges

1 pkg Mexican cornbread mix

1 can niblet corn

1 can cream corn

¼ cup of oil

½ chopped onion

Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top after mixing the top ingredients together. Put in oven and bake 350 until done.