Peggy Abercrombie enjoys being at her childhood home
Peggy Abercrombie’s first year of college at Snead State Junior College in Boaz will always remain a precious memory.

That’s because she started that year with her mother. They rode together and had many girl-to-girl talks.

Although they started at the same time, her mother finished first.

Peggy grew up in Blountsville, in Blount County, the daughter of the late Claude and Beatrice (Copeland) King. She was a daddy’s girl and a tomboy. Peggy confesses that when she should have been helping her mother with chores insides, she was usually outdoors helping her father on their farm.

“Daddy didn’t have any boys, so I was his boy,” said Peggy. “I wanted to be outside with him. I milked the cows, hoed cotton and hunted with my daddy.”

After Peggy’s parents died, she bought their house from her sisters. Now, it’s a retreat for her and her husband, Jerald, whenever they feel like getting away for a few days.

Inside the house are her grandmother’s dining table and chairs that she and her sisters ate on while growing up.

It’s also the location for family reunions and other events.

Peggy says she and Jerald especially enjoy being there when their children and three grandchildren can join them.

Their friends are another reason they enjoy going back.

“When I know we’re going up there, I start calling everybody, and we all meet at Jack’s,” said Peggy. “We call ourselves the Jack’s Social Club. It’s people we went to school with and people we’ve known forever.”

After leaving Snead, Peggy attended St. Bernard College in Cullman and Samford University in Birmingham. She has a degree in home economics and a master’s in library science from the University of Alabama. She has also taken classes at Jacksonville State University where Jerald teaches math. They moved here in 1970, after Jerald finished his PhD at the University of Alabama.

She and Jerald grew up together in Blountsville and reconnected at the University of Alabama.

“I ran into him on campus, down by the soup store,” said Peggy. “That’s where all the kids hung out and got something to eat between classes. I came home every weekend and so did he, so we started riding back and forth together.”

They will be married 44 years in May.

Peggy taught a year in Anniston and Spring Garden and was librarian at Weaver High School for 21 years. She retired in 1997.

“I’m so thankful I retired when I did, because I got to spend the last two years helping my mother out,” said Peggy. “I have her house now, so when I feel like running away, that’s where I go.”

The Abercrombies attend the First United Methodist Church. They enjoy visits from their children and grandchildren and, when they’re here, the grandchildren like riding horses and having Jerald ride them on the tractor.

Their son, Todd and his wife, Denise, live in Cumming, Ga. Todd is a computer programmer. A daughter, Andrea, lives in Chattanooga where she is a traveling physical therapist, and daughter Alison Heaton and her husband Jason live in Birmingham were Alison is a doctor at St. Vincent’s.

Peggy said she learned how to cook from her mother.

“I cook all the time,” she said. “I’ve been cooking since I was 12. Mother worked. I never knew when daddy was going to say he was bringing someone home for dinner.”

Peggy said she’s been attending Prudence Hilburn’s cooking classes for 30 years.

She enjoys cooking not only for herself but for friends or anyone who might need something warm and good to eat. She says her grocery bill hasn’t changed since her children moved out because she’s always preparing food for company or taking a dish to someone. She often cooks and carries food to her children.

One of Peggy’s favorite recipes, Mother’s Pound Cake, has been in her family a long time. She also likes Hershey Bar Cake (an old recipe) and Greek Chicken and Lemon Soup with orzo.

Mother's Pound Cake

2 sticks butter (Peggy uses Land o’ Lakes)
½ c. Crisco
2 ¾ c. sugar
6 lg. eggs
3 c. all purpose flour (Peggy uses King Arthur flour and sifts it)
½ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
1 c. milk
3 t. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract

Have all wet ingredients at room temperature. Cream butter, Crisco and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and almond. Add flour and milk alternately, beating no more than necessary to combine.

Pour into a bundt pan or loaf pans. Bake at about 300 degrees in a convection oven or 320-325 degrees in a regular oven for about an hour and 15 minutes.

Hershey Bar Cake

2 sticks butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
½ t. soda
¼ t. salt
1 c. buttermilk
7 - 5 cent Hershey bars (5 - 1.55 oz. bars)
11 oz. can Hershey syrup (11 oz. from a bottle of syrup)

Wet ingredients should be at room temperature. Cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs, one at a time. Sift flour, add salt and soda alternately with milk. Melt candy bars with Hershey syrup and then cool. Add chocolate to cake batter and fold in completely. Bake in bundt pan at 325 degrees for about an hour and 15 minutes. Be sure to test for doneness with a toothpick.

Greek Chicken and Lemon Soup with Orzo

8 cups chicken stock
¾ cup orzo
½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into ¼ inch thickpieces
3 eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 T. grated lemon zest
Salt and white pepper to taste
2 T. finely chopped parsley

In a large saucepan, bring stock to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add orzo. Cook uncovered until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Five minutes before pasta is done, add chicken.

Place eggs in mixing bowl. Whisk eggs while adding lemon juice. Stir in zest. Whisking constantly, slowly pour a ladle of the hot stock into the egg mixture to temper. Reduce heat to very low. Then, while whisking the soup in pan, slowly pour in the egg mixture. Soup should thickens lightly. Add salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.
© 2013