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Dimple Caldwell Presides Over the Kitchen

Dimple Caldwell makes fruit pizza for her family. (Photo by Thomas Wells/For Corinth Today)

By Ginna Parsons

For Corinth Today

When Dimple Caldwell was born some 85 years ago, she weighed a whopping 12 pounds.

I had dimples everywhere, so that’s what they named me,” she said. “I’ve been called everything from Dumpling to Dinkle. People can’t believe Dimple is my real name.”

Caldwell lives in the Pleasant Hill community near Corinth and has spent most of her life there. She’s a homemaker, and for many years she kept the books for her husband’s construction company. Bobby Caldwell died in 2012; they had been married for 61 years.

She has one son and two daughters, 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Her oldest son, Lane, was killed in 1979. He was the first narcotics officer in Mississippi to die in the line of duty.

Now, her son Joe is Alcorn County’s circuit clerk, and her grandson, Ben, is the sheriff.

Through the week, Joe would call and say, ‘Mom, you want to cook for Judge So-And-So?’ and I’d say yes, and he’d bring three or four of them with him,” she said. “I don’t do that too much anymore.”

In her kitchen hangs the first skillet Caldwell ever received.

My daddy gave me that when I was 5 years old to cook my eggs in and I’ve been cooking ever since,” she said. “I’d cook for my mom and dad when I came in from school, just easy stuff, like vegetables and cornbread. Sometimes Mama would make caramel cakes to sell and I’d help her get those started. I don’t think she ever owned a recipe book – people didn’t back then. It was a little bit of this and a pinch of that.”

Today, Caldwell mainly cooks on the weekends.

I cook enough to have leftovers,” she said. “I cook Sunday dinner every week, but now I start part of it on Saturday. My kids know my door is always open on Sunday. Sometimes I’ll have six and sometimes I’ll have 16.”

During the week, she joins a group of women two to three times for lunch. They all started first grade together.

We go to Corinth, Iuka, Shiloh,” she said. “I can find something to eat wherever we go. We like to try new things.”

Recently, Caldwell has been undergoing treatment for colon cancer.

It hasn’t made me sick,” she said. “I’ve done very well. I’ve had a lot of prayers for me. I believe this cancer will go away. I’ve still got to do more cooking for these grandkids coming along.”

CHOCOLATE COBBLER

2 sticks margarine

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

2 1/2 cups sugar, divided

3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

6 tablespoons cocoa

2 cups water

Melt margarine in a casserole. Combine flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, milk and vanilla. Pour over melted margarine. Do not stir.

Combine remaining 1 cup sugar and cocoa and sprinkle over the flour mixture. Slowly pour the water over that and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

VELVEETA MAC and CHEESE

2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked

12 ounces Velveeta processed cheese, cubed

1/3 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cook macaroni in a saucepan as directed on package; drain well. Return cooked pasta to pan and stir in cheese, milk and pepper. Cook over low heat until the cheese is melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently.

JIFFY CORN CASSEROLE

1 box Jiffy corn mix

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can cream-style corn

8 ounces sour cream

1/2 stick butter, softened

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a greased casserole and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 25 to 30 minutes.

FRUIT PIZZA

CRUST

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 stick margarine

10 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

ORANGE SAUCE

1/2 cup sugar

Dash of salt

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon orange zest

TOPPING

1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened

12 ounces whipped topping

1 quart fresh strawberries, halved (leave a couple whole)

3 bananas, sliced and rolled in lemon juice

1 (15-ounce) can sliced peaches, drained

1 (15-ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained

For the crust, sift flour, soda and cinnamon together. Cream margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Cover and chill. When ready to make pizza, roll dough into a circle and place on a pizza pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely.

For the orange sauce, stir together sugar, salt and cornstarch in a small saucepan; gradually stir in orange juice, lemon juice and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in orange zest. Cool completely.

For the topping, blend cream cheese and whipped topping and spread over cooled crust. Arrange strawberry halves around the edge of the cookie crust. Place banana slices in a circle next to the strawberries, overlapping. Place peaches in a circle next to the bananas. Mound pineapple chunks in the center. Place whole strawberries and some strawberry halves in the center of the pineapple. Pour orange sauce over fruit. Cut pie in wedges and serve.

HUMMINGBIRD CAKE

CAKE

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice

1 cup pecans, chopped

2 cups bananas, chopped

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese

1 stick margarine

1 (1-pound) box confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the cake, combine flour, sugar, salt, soda and cinnamon. Add eggs and oil, stirring until moist (do not beat or use a mixer). Stir in vanilla, pineapple with juice and nuts. Add bananas. Divide batter among 3 greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees until done, about 25 minutes.

For the frosting, beat cream cheese, margarine, powdered sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Spread between layers and on top and sides of cake.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

1 box German chocolate cake mix

1 can coconut pecan frosting

4 eggs

1 cup oil

1/2 cup water

6 ounces milk chocolate chips

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Combine all ingredients, mixing by hand, and pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes before turning out.

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