The Ottumwa Courier


July 13, 2006

Family is a ‘Handy’ ingredient

Ottumwan Beatrice Handy cooks for those who are most important in her life

OTTUMWA — Beatrice “Bea” Handy cooks for one reason only — Family.

“One chief ingredient you can’t buy is love,” she said.

Every Saturday, Handy can expect a handful of her children and their spouses at her house for a weekly dinner.

“Its become a tradition now,” she said. “They come over every Saturday, we eat, visit a while and then they leave.”

Every weekend there is a different entree and Handy said it gives her something to do and something to look forward to each week.

“We’ve always been a close family,” she said.

Occasionally, Handy said she will take orders from the family for their favorite dishes.

“Everyone has the dishes they like more,” she said.

She said the weekend gatherings have been going on in her family for at least the past 20 years.

“It’s a way for us to get together and enjoy some food and stay in touch with each other,” she said.

Cooking is something Handy said she grew up learning.

“It was either cook or starve ... when I grew up fast food was almost unheard of, everyone cooked homemade meals,” she said. “A lot has changed ... I have been cooking for probably about 70 years now.”

While some of her recipes may follow a particular recipe, Handy said cooking is usually “just a pinch of this and a pinch of that.

“Most of the time I don’t go by recipes,” she said. “If you have been cooking as long as I have and can’t make things without a recipe, then you might as well not try anymore.”

She said her mother is the one who taught her how to cook and create a variety of interesting dishes.

“I cook all different types of foods for the family,” she said. “Mostly its simple stuff, you know, meat and potatoes ... I’m not big on gourmet foods. I’m a simple gal.”

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