Alicia Wesley cooks everything from intricate cakes to fry bread.
Alicia Wesley cooks everything from intricate cakes to fry bread.
Cook of the Week Alicia Wesley has a passion not only for creating dinners for her family and friends, but also in decorating intricately-artistic cakes for special occasions.

Originally from Walnut Grove, Wesley has lived in Neshoba County on the Pearl River Reservation since she was around 15 years old. A proud mother of five and grandmother of one, Wesley adores cooking for family.

Some of her favorites to cook range from scalloped potatoes to rice casserole, and her children often request her Dorito casserole or hamburger steaks.

Wesley remembers learning to cook through watching family. Her grandmother, the late Bema York of Walnut Grove, and her mother, Rita Frazier, raised her in a family where everything was home-cooked.

The family raised chickens and pigs, and they hunted for rabbit and deer meat. Wesley said she loved when they had rabbit meat.

“Now, my grandma has passed, so my mom has taken over,” Wesley said. “I learned a lot from her, but she wasn’t only just a cook. Everything she laid her hands to seemed to prosper every way around.”

Wesley said the way her family taught to cook was different than most instructors today. Instead of using precise written instructions, they knew the perfect amount to put into the dish for it to come out just right, without using measuring cups or tools.

“Nowadays, I can teach my kids how to cook, how you measure this, how you measure that, but back then it was a ‘you watch and you learn’ kind of thing,” Wesley said. “Then, kind of imitating what they do.”

Wesley’s family not only cooked often, but they also cooked outside. They would make traditional Choctaw food the traditional way – over the open fire.

“They were really good at cooking outside,” Wesley said. “I remember the Hominy, frying chicken outside and making biscuits outside, frying eggs and everything over the fire. They used to do all that.”

Her grandmother also had acres of crops, with corn, tomatoes, potatoes , okra, and anything else she wanted for her meals.

Wesley’s favorite of the traditional foods is fry bread, a bread with a dough similar to biscuit dough which is flattened and fried. She uses the fry bread to create ‘Indian tacos.’ The cooking process is similar to traditional tacos, but instead of being served on a tortilla shells, the meat and vegetables is served cradled in fresh fry bread.

Wesley not only enjoys cooking meals for the family, but she also bakes cakes for parties and events.

Wesley fell in love with decorating when she was 7 years old. She remembered her first experience with decorating. Her aunt, Iva Demson, asked her to make some icing for a cake she was baking, and told Wesley she could decorate it. Wesley found she loved transforming the cake from plain to glazed and colorful.

Wesley said her father was also artistic, and skilled with his hands, and she enjoys creating other art like beading earrings and jewelry. Decorating cakes was something she found she loved, and something therapeutic that helps take her mind off things.

Later on, Wesley took classes offered in Carthage that allowed her to hone in her skills of decorating. The classes taught Wesley which tools to use for what types of designs. Now, she creates intricately-decorated cakes and desserts for people who request them for parties and events.

Wesley’s favorite verse in the Bible is Proverbs 31:31,

“Give her the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

“That’s always been my thing, that with everything I put my hands to there has to be a purpose for it,” Wesley said. “A purpose for why you’re touching it, a purpose for why you’re thinking it, a purpose for why you do what you do. You’re not just existing but you’re purposefully living, and that’s always been an inspiring scripture to me.”

While in the kitchen, decorating, Wesley said she draws her inspiration from doing the best she can do. While creating dishes for her family, she thinks of the women who inspired her and taught her to cook. She said she thinks of her mother, and wonders if she would prepare the dish the same way, and thinks of her grandmother, and wonders if it would be a dish she would enjoy.

Wesley not only cooks and works for the Tribe, but she also strives to help build others up. She is involved in women’s conferences like last Saturday’s Women’s Empowerment: Arise conference in Jackson. After seeing many hardships, Wesley strives to encourage and support women going through hard times, and to let them know how much they are worth.

In her free time outside the kitchen, Wesley enjoys beading colorful earrings and has a passion for reading. She worships at Word of Life church in Flowood every week.

Wesley looks forward to cooking for her family and continuing to create delicious meals for her children, grandson, and any future grandchildren that may come along. She also looks forward to continuing to encourage others through food and ministry.


Salmon Patties

1 cup Salmon

2 egg

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup chopped onions

Dash salt and pepper

1 1/2 cup oil



Heat oil in a frying pan on medium. Mix all the ingredients together. With a tablespoon, put into grease until brown on both sides.



Sweet Potato Pie

3 1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes, or 2 large cans sweet potatoes (already mashed)

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 stick melted oleo

3 eggs

1 can Eagle Brand milk

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla



Mix ingredients together and put into two 9-inch pie shells. Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees, turn to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes.



Rice Casserole
1 pound ground chuck

1 cancream of mushroom soup

1 can chicken noodle soup

1 cup rice (raw)



Brown ground chuck and spoon into buttered baking dish. Sprinkle rice over meat. Pour soup on top and add 2 soup cans of water. Cook in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.



Hamburger Casserole
1 1/2 pound chuck

Potatoes

Onions

Bell pepper

Brown hamburger meat and drain. Put in casserole dish. Layer with cubed potatoes. Add a layer of onion rings, then layer of bell pepper rings. Pour can of stewed tomatoes over top. Cover with foil and bake in oven until potatoes are tender.



Spaghetti
2 pounds ground beef/chuck

1 chopped onion – medium size

1 chopped bell pepper – medium size

2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce

1 can of sliced mushrooms

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 cheddar cheese



Cook spaghetti according to package, combine beef, onion, bell pepper, mushroom, chili powder, and cook in a skillet over medium heat. Drain grease. Add tomato sauce and cheese. Serve over spaghetti or mix it all together.