By GWEN SISSON
Local artist Fay Fisher believes the way food looks is as important as the taste.
Just as color and texture play important roles in the beautiful artwork Fisher is known for throughout Starkville, she said it is just as important in the creation of a meal.
"It is so important to let the eyes feast," Fisher said.
Fisher said feeding the eye and the soul is as important as feeding the body, and adding a sprig of parsley or some other touch of green really helps with the presentation.
"Faye does everything top notch," said Lynn McAdams, longtime friend of Fisher. "She is a gourmet cook who likes good food, and always has beautiful accompaniments."
Using the eye of an artist, Fisher has become known for entertaining. She loves a dinner party. And recently added on to her home to accommodate her love for company.
The new spacious kitchen allows her to entertain her guests while cooking some of her favorite dishes, including re-constructing recipes from restaurants around the world. You may say, she has a "taste" for adventure.
Just returning from a trip to the coast, Fisher discusses the food at various restaurants visited throughout the week. The tastes and textures are a mystery, and part of the fun is experimenting in the kitchen upon her return.
As part of this recent trip, Fisher had a Gazpacho Soup that was puzzling. She said it had a hint of sweetness and an unusual texture. The soup was not totally a tomato color, and she suspects the restaurant used watermelon, which would explain the texture and the sweetness. She said the soup also featured a large piece of crabmeat. She can't wait to recreate the dish.
"Figuring out what restaurants have done and trying to duplicate it at home is fun," Fisher said.
On a trip to Montreal, Fisher had the best French Onion Soup that has ever crossed her lips. During her stay, she tried the French Onion Soup in other restaurants to see if it was a "Canadian" thing, but those dishes were comparable to her own recipes.
On the final day of the trip, the Fishers returned to the restaurant with the unique French Onion Soup. After explaining how far away she lived, she asked the chef for the recipe. Instead of a beef base, this chef created the brown liquid from cooking five different types of onions on very low heat over the course of two days. It is a simple dish that friends and family have come to love. It takes a while to prepare, but Fisher says it makes the house smell wonderful.
Recreating recipes is a fun way for Fisher to share her travels and her love of food with friends and family.
She has always entertained herself in the kitchen. As a young girl growing up in Fulton, Mo., Fisher remembers looking through cookbooks and finding recipes for the food available in the cupboards.
"I wanted to see what I could create," Fisher said.
She said her mom was an excellent cook who "made it look so easy." She remembers her mother working full-time, cleaning the house on Saturday morning, and shopping for groceries Saturday afternoon. Her mom then began the pies and breads for Sunday lunch. She said her mom taught Sunday School all of those years. She made sure Fisher, her sisters and younger brother were dressed and ready for church Sunday morning, then the entire family came to their home for Sunday dinner.
"It wasn't potluck, that was for holidays and special occasions," Fisher said. "It is amazing what she was able to do."
Fisher grew up on a farm and her mom raised a garden that "would feed the entire community." And during the growing season, her mother canned vegetables to have available throughout the winter.
Two recipes that stand out for Fisher was her mom's "Poor Man's Pudding" and "Lemon Ice."
"Poor Man's pudding with ice cream or whipped cream is so, so good," Fisher said. "I didn't know until I got married that people didn't have dessert for every lunch and supper. She was amazing."
Poor Man’s Pudding
1 ½ cup brown sugar
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoon of butter
1½ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup nuts (large chopped pieces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk
3 teaspoons cocoa
Bring syrup to boil in an iron skillet and drop batter by large spoonful in it. Put in oven @350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Serve alone or with whipped cream on top.
For more of Faye's Favorites, see today's SDN Taste section.