Having grown up in Homewood, Alma Moore is no stranger to Southern-style cooking and hospitality “around the table.” She says her family is full of great cooks who passed on their passion for cooking to her. Alma’s mother, Judy Keenum, learned mostly from her mother in law and sisters in law. Judy is Alma’s main role model, she says. Judy’s mother was a business woman and imprinted on Alma that she could be whatever she wanted to be growing up–a wife, a mother, a good cook and a business woman, too. Alma says she’s combined these two sides of the family into her own lifestyle, utilizing her cooking knowledge to volunteer with her church and as a caterer. Here, she offers her favorite Thanksgiving recipe and tips for cooking around the holidays.
Who taught you how to cook?
My mother, aunts and grandmother all taught me how to cook.
How has cooking become a family tradition–one that you hope to pass down to future generations?
Cooking for family events and holidays is a big part of our lives. I feel like I’ve already passed it down to an extent because my son loves to be responsible for the Thanksgiving turkey, and he makes several dishes that were passed on to him by my mother and me.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving meals?
I make most of the side dishes, including corn casserole, dressing, potato salad and baked beans. My corn casserole is inspired by Paula Deen’s corn casserole recipe, and I adapted it to be able to be cooked in the crockpot, too. To make my signature corn casserole, you’ll need one can of cream corn (not drained), one can of whole kernel corn (drained), one 8.5 oz. box of Jiffy corn muffin mix, 8 oz. of sour cream and one stick of butter (melted). First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Next, combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the batter into a greased 9×13 casserole dish, and cook uncovered for 55-60 minutes. To make this dish in a crockpot, combine all ingredients into a large bowl and then pour into a crockpot to cook on low for about three hours or on high for about five hours. To reduce the condensation from dripping on the casserole, put a clean dish towel under the lid of the crockpot.
Are there any secret tricks you can share as to keeping Southern cooking “soulful?”
Take as much help from your family as possible, from oldest to the youngest. Almost everyone can take part in the cooking. I think the time spent together preparing the meal is really better than sitting around the table.
What’s the better Thanksgiving pie: pumpkin or pecan?
Both are good, but my favorite holiday pie is a cream cheese pie that my mother found a recipe for 50 or more years ago, and we have changed it to fit our preferences and ingredients. Also, my mother’s egg nog custard pie is great! I’ve never tackled it, but it’s on my to-do list.