Grandmother passes on kitchen skills, enjoyment | Recipes: Iowa Farmer Today

GLENWOOD, Iowa — Family time is the most special of times for Nancy O’Rourke.

And when her children are all together, she makes sure they never leave the house hungry.

“A home-cooked meal is really part of coming home,” she says. “I spend a lot of time planning menus and buying groceries. I love having them all together.”

Nancy and her husband, Larry, farm near here in Mills County. They grow corn and beans and have a 45-head Red Angus herd. Larry also works a senior loan officer with Rabo AgriFinance.

Nancy and Larry have been married 44 years and have four grown children and five granddaughters. For several years, Nancy offered daycare services. Now she takes care of two of her granddaughters.

“I love having them here. They’re so much fun,” she says. “Any time I can get all five granddaughters together, we always have a lot of fun.”

Nancy and Larry were high school sweethearts, and both grew up on farms. She says cooking was not her favorite thing while growing up, but once she got married, she used trial and error to find her way around the kitchen.

“I collect a lot of recipes and have a lot of cookbooks,” Nancy says.

When she has one, two or all five granddaughters in her Southwest Iowa home, Nancy says they usually do some baking.

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Presidential Parfait

IFT photo by Jeff DeYoung

“The girls don’t all have sweet tooths, but they all love to help me bake,” she says. “The Presidential Parfaits we made are something all the girls can do. I try to teach them at the same time I’m having fun with them.”

Cupcakes are one of their favorites.

“That’s probably my favorite and they are so much fun to make with the girls,” Nancy says. “They help me measure the ingredients, so they learn how important that is.”

She says all of her kids are good cooks, but they are happy to let Mom handle the duties when they get together.

“I think food is one of the things they look forward to when they come home,” Nancy says. “I enjoy planning meals and making sure they have plenty to eat. It’s always a really special time when we can all be together.”

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