This week here at Chef Chat we're spending some time at Mrs. White's Golden Rule Café in downtown Phoenix. When we stopped in, we weren't the only ones hoping to chat with the woman who started it all. Fans of Mrs. White's southern style cooking from as close as up the street and as far away as Los Angeles packed into the café during lunch for an authentic taste of the Deep South.
Where did you learn to cook?
Well, I cooked in different homes back in Texas but most of all I learned from my mother. My mother was a good cook; she could sew, make our clothes--I can't sew. All I can do is kinda cook. Yes, I learned a lot from my mother and then from just trial and error. Kind of like, what was her name that used to go, "I'll just throw that away"? ... Julia Child! Julia Child threw a lot of chickens away. But she went all in Italy and all those places where the good cooks are--gourmet cooks. I'm not a gourmet cook; I'm just a country cook.
Now, oh Lord, I see all that stuff on TV...They do all that cooking and come out with this little stuff. I don't have time for that. I just fix it like I like it and I say, "If I like it, somebody else will like it." I like seasoned food. I don't like a lot of salt in my food; I like the right amount. I don't like it over-sweet it's supposed to be kinda sweet--I like it just right. And when I get it just right for me, somebody else gonna like it. So that's the way I cook.
What do you like to make?
I baked a cobbler yesterday and I came down here today to bake a peach cobbler. I do potato pies and peach cobblers--nothing goes as fast as peach cobbler! Now, if they call and ask could I make one if they want to buy a whole pie, I'll make more than one so we'll have one here, too. But pies don't go as fast as the cobbler. They love the cobbler. And I had made this cake--I make cakes too--and it was good but I had made butter, and it didn't really pop it off they way I wanted....you know you can't really find good butter anywhere.
You make your own butter?!
Sometimes I do...yeah.
Have you been passing your knowledge on?
Yes, yes. I taught all of them in there how to cook and if I didn't, Larry did. Cause he can. He doesn't cook anymore though. He started his business right here--LoLo's Chicken and Waffles, you know about that? We'll that's my grandson; he started here working for us. Then he found him a place and moved on. Now he has two places! He has one in Scottsdale and one over there on Buckeye.
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And you know we lost [my granddaughter] little Kim. Kim was the instigator of [Late Night Munchies]. If you said it and you wanted it, she was going to get it for you that same day or the next day. That's the way Kim was. I don't have any more Kims around here. Kim had brochures made up for the big thing that was coming, the big ball game (MLB All-Star Game). She had all that made and it came in the mail after she was gone. We didn't even know she had it--she was lookin' out for us. Yeah, little Kim was a good help. So, we really miss her. We hope that [Munchies] will do that same thing [as LoLo's] but I don't know what they're gonna do since Kim is gone. Cause Kim was the real fireball for that.