Hancock strives to make every meal good

Hancock strives to make every meal good


Tonya Hancock loves to cook for her family and she even makes cooking large meals a family affair.

On Sundays her entire family is in the kitchen and everyone has their own separate job to do to help make the meal. 

She credits her mother, Barbara Durant, and father, Hartford Durant, both deceased, for teaching her how to cook when she was growing up in the Calico community.

Her mother taught her to make cornbread and sweet tea, which was her job in the kitchen until she went to college and then her mother taught her more about cooking. 

Her father would often cook community stews and big meals for the Calico community right on his back porch. 

Today, Hancock, who is a teacher at Neshoba Central and has been there for over a decade, said she is inspired by Paula Deen, who is her favorite chef.

“She loves butter and butter just makes everything so much better!” Hancock said.

Hancock does not have any type of specific food that she loves to cook for her three sons, Jordan, Jacob and Jesse, and her husband, Dale Hancock, who is an auto body technician at West Side Body Shop. 

In addition to cooking and gardening another one of Hancock’s hobbies that she does every year and she loves to can her own vegetables. She also has chickens so she can have fresh eggs whenever she wants. 

“I don’t cook for fun,” Hancock said. “I cook to survive and if I have to eat I’m going to try my best to make it good.” 




1 box butter yellow cake mix, add 1 tsp of vanilla 

Bake as directed.

Frosting ingredients:

¾ cup of milk

3 1/2 TBSP flour

¼ cup oleo

½ cup Crisco

¾ cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla

Combine milk and flour in a saucepan. Cook on med until thick, stirring constantly. It is ready when it is the consistency of paste. Let cool. Mix oleo, Crisco, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add milk/flour mixture to the sugar mixture, beat until all lumps are gone. I always double the frosting recipe because everyone loves it!



¼ c butter, unsalted

3 pieces of bacon, cooked, reserve the bacon grease

5 medium carrots, shredded

1 yellow onion, diced

4 celery stalks, diced

6 large potatoes, cubed

6 cups of chicken broth/stock

1 c half and half

3 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

2 c cheddar cheese, shredded

Cook bacon. Add butter to the bacon grease, allow to melt on medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and simmer for approximately 7 minutes or until vegetables are soft. In a stock pot add potatoes, chicken stock, vegetable mixture and bay leaves. Add water to cover potatoes completely. Add salt and pepper. Simmer until potatoes are done. Remove bay leaves. Puree or mash up about 2 cups of the mixture and then add back to the stock pot. This makes it thicker. Add half and half. Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, make sure to stir occasionally. Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese about 5 minutes before serving. 



1 stick of butter

1 qtr. half and half

1 med onion, diced

1 8oz cream cheese

3 celery ribs, diced

1 c milk

1 quart chicken broth

2 lbs. shrimp

3 tbsp. flour

2 lb. crab meat/ scallops

3 large potatoes, diced       

2 tbsp. Tony Coachers

Pepper and salt to taste

2 tbsp. liquid crab boil

Melt butter in a stock pot on medium heat. Add celery and onion, cook until onion is transparent. Add flour and stir for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and potatoes, simmer until potatoes are tender. Add half and half, seafood seasoning. Simmer for 15 minutes. Soak shrimp in crab boil for 5 minutes, drain. Add seafood to the stock pot. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Heat cream cheese and milk on low. Stir until creamy, then add to the stock pot. Mix and enjoy!



5-7 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

1 tsp cinnamon 

½ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp salt

Topping Ingredients:

¼ c butter

6 tbsp. flour

2 eggs

½ c brown sugar

½ c sugar (to taste)

1 c chopped pecans

1 tsp vanilla

½ c melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mash sweet potatoes in a bowl. Add salt, butter, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Mix until well blended. Place in a casserole dish. 

Mix topping ingredients and spread over top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.

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