By ANN CIPPERLY
Pumpkins with orange and yellow chrysanthemums provide a warm welcome at the home of Trudy and Steve Hung. After living in a variety of places, including Michigan and England, Trudy and her family moved back to the Opelika-Auburn area a few years ago. She is sharing memories of growing up in Opelika and of enjoying her aunt Elizabeth “Lib” Jackson Salter’s wonderful cooking.
Trudy grew up on Welcome Lane that bordered pecan and apple orchards where her grandparents once had a farm, and where Trudy enjoyed riding her horse. Her parents were Cherry Sue and Henry Carson Jackson. Cherry Sue was an artist, singer and composer with some of her songs recorded by Acuff-Rose. She was also a beloved community leader. The Cherry Sue Jackson Recreation Park is named in her honor at the Lee County Youth Development Center.
Henry Carson, who owned Piedmont Fertilizer Company, was chairman of the First National Bank of Opelika and was a passionate gardener and woodworker.
Trudy attended Lee Academy and was in the first high school graduating class of 12 students. Afterward, Trudy attended Judson College for a year before transferring to Auburn University, where she graduated with a degree in art.
“It is interesting how God opens doors for you,” Trudy said. “I thought I wanted to be an architect or veterinarian. All of a sudden, my mom said I was talented with my art and should think about that.”
A love of art was prevalent in the family, and Trudy enjoyed art from an early age. Her grandfather, Carey Orr, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning front-page cartoonist for the Nashville Tennessean and the Chicago Tribune.
After Trudy graduated from Auburn, she taught art at four elementary schools in the Opelika school system. During this time, she spent three summers attending the Rhode Island School of Design, receiving a master’s degree in art education, while specializing in printmaking.
After 13 years of teaching in the Opelika schools, Trudy married Steve, a faculty member of Auburn University, who had just accepted a special assignment offer from Ford Motor Company in Michigan.
What Trudy and Steve initially expected to be a few years in Michigan turned into 27 years away from Alabama. Steve took on various assignments from Ford and its parts-making spinoff, Visteon Corporation. He also spent a few years helping Clemson University set up its International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), and then returned to Michigan to work as a consultant.
Steve’s work took him to various places around the world, including a one-year stay in England, and Trudy would sometimes travel with him. One of Trudy’s fondest memories of England was getting to play the church bells of the local chapel shortly before moving back to the U.S.
In 1999, Trudy’s and Steve’s daughter, Abby, joined the family. Abby, like her mother Trudy, developed a love and mastery of horseback riding. She also developed into a competitive figure skater. Visits “home” to see family in Opelika — and a couple of visits to Auburn University during football season — triggered a love for Auburn. Abby followed in her mother’s footsteps to enroll at Auburn University.
Eventually, Trudy and Steve would decide that 27 years was a long interpretation of “a few years.” They moved back to the Opelika-Auburn area in the fall of 2019, where Steve works through their consultancy, KonseptWerks, to help new technology startups commercialize their ideas.
At their home, Trudy has decorated with family memories. Her grandfather’s Pulitzer-winning cartoon is framed, along with his other famous cartoons. She placed them around the house, and downstairs they are arranged as an art gallery. Other meaningful décor in her home includes furniture and wood turnings made by her father. In the dining room, placemats made from photos showcase views from their home in England.
Since she moved back home, Trudy has seen many changes in the area.
“I am glad to be back, and it has taken a while to adjust,” she said. “I look forward to waking up every morning. We sit on the screened porch to drink coffee and walk around the neighborhood.”
Trudy has become involved in the community with PEO, a book club and Blue Stockings Study Club. She enjoys walking and playing golf with Steve.
While Trudy has traveled the world and lived in various places, she is finding joy being home and surrounded by memories of family and good times. If she wants to prepare a special meal, her Aunt Lib’s recipes are available for cooking up another memory of happy times on Welcome Lane.
Throughout her life, Trudy was heavily influenced by her father’s older sister, Elizabeth “Lib”, who also grew up in Opelika. She moved to Auburn after marrying Elmer Salter. Her “Aunt Lib” taught Trudy many life lessons.
“Aunt Lib really opened my eyes to God, and readily opened up Bible verses to me,” she said. “When I did something wrong, she would bring up a Bible verse and tell me that I needed to think about it. She was a strong Christian. God was first in her life. She would tell me to put first things first and everything else will fall into place. She told me if I didn’t put God first, then I was doing it on my own.”
In addition to life lessons, Trudy said she learned a lot about cooking from Aunt Lib and looked forward to going to her house for meals. Trudy said she has wonderful memories of her aunt’s tender yeast rolls, fried chicken, eight-layer Lane cake and pineapple sherbet. Her aunt also made homemade jams, jellies and relish. It was a joy for Trudy to go to her house and watch Aunt Lib cook.
After her Aunt Lib passed away, Trudy went through her recipe box and made copies of the recipe cards. A year later, she assembled them in a cookbook and drew illustrations to create a book cover. Trudy gave the assembled books to others in her extended family.
“My Aunt Lib was always willing to listen, share views, ideas and, of course, share her special touch in the kitchen,” Trudy said. “These fond memories led me to compile a collection of a few of her recipes. Her dishes have often been a topic of conversation at our family gatherings. I thought that I should make some of them accessible to all of us.”
A few of Trudy’s favorites from her Aunt Lib are featured in the recipes.
Aunt Lib’s Fool Proof Rolls
1 cup Crisco (melted) in 1 cup boiling water
Add ½ cup sugar
Cool and add:
2 pkg. yeast dissolved in 1cup lukewarm water
2 eggs beaten with 2 tsp. salt
About 5 cups all-purpose flour
After adding yeast, add eggs, then enough flour to make a soft dough. Place in refrigerator. Let rise 2 hours or may be stored in refrigerator for a day or two before making rolls.
Roll dough and cut, then, dip into melted butter fold over . Let rise about an hour.
Bake at 350 to 400 degrees until done.
Enjoy with your favorite jelly, jam or honey. They will melt in your mouth!
Garlic Cheese Grits
1 cup grits
4 cups boiling water
1 tsp. salt
½ cup butter
6 oz. roll garlic cheese (see note)
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup milk
Dash of cayenne pepper
Butter to dot on crumbs
Cook grits in boiling water until thick. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and cheese until melted. Mix eggs, milk and pepper; add to grits and stir well. Pour into buttered casserole and cover with crumbs. Dot with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes. Serves 6.
Note: A 6 oz. roll of garlic cheese is no longer available. Instead add about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and minced garlic to taste.
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3 ½ cups V-8 juice, divided
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. horseradish
½ cup sliced pimentos
1 tsp. salt
Few dashes Tabasco
Dissolved gelatin and ½ cup V-8 juice. Heat remaining 3 cups V-8 juice to boiling. Remove from heat, add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients.
Pour into 4 cups oiled mold. Refrigerate until firm. Serve 6 to 8 people.
Raw Cranberry Relish
A wonderful accompaniment for meat!
4 cups cranberries
2 delicious apples, sliced
Orange peel of ½ orange
2 large oranges
1 ½ cups sugar
Put cranberries, apples and orange peel through food processor (coarse blade). Cut orange sections into small pieces; add to cranberry mixture. Add sugar; mix well. Refrigerate. This will keep for days in the refrigerator and in the freezer for months. Makes 5 cups.
10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. milk
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 herb season stuffing mix
Pierce package of spinach several times. Place on a paper plate. Microwave at high for three minutes or until spinach can be separated.
Combine eggs, milk, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, salt, stuffing mix and spinach.
Spread mixture evenly in a greased 1 – 1 ½ quart glass casserole. Microwave at high 5 to 7 minutes. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.
Banana Nut Bread
1 stick butter or margarine, room temperature
½ cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
6 ripe bananas, mashed
1½ cups chopped nuts
1 ½ cups raisins
Cream butter, sugar and oil. Add beaten eggs, nuts and raisins. Mix flour with soda and salt. Add to mixture. Add mashed bananas. Stir in nuts and raisins.
Pour batter into greased loaf pans. Bake at 300 to 325 degrees about 1 hour or until test done. Baking time will vary according to size of loaf pans.
This recipe can be halved.
1 lb. butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. vanilla
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and beat . Add flour and vanilla, blending well. Shape dough into rolls. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to bake.
Slice rolls and place cookies on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly brown.
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green peppers
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. oil
Three 8 oz. cans Hunt’s tomato sauce with mushrooms
1/4 cup rice
1 can shrimp
2 to 7 oz. canned tuna, drained
1 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 qt. hot water
Sauté onion, pepper in oil. Add other ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for one hour. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serves 4 to 6.
2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp. cocoa
2 Tbsp. white corn syrup
2/3 cup milk or cream
2 Tbsp. butter
½ tsp. baking powder
½ to 1 tsp. vanilla
Nuts, if desired
Ideal temperature for the fudge is 235 degrees.
Mix sugar and cocoa, add corn syrup and cream. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Cook and stir occasionally until it forms a softball in cold water. Remove from stove, add butter, baking powder and vanilla.
Allow to cool partially, then beat until thick (not too thick to pour in pan). Cool and cut into serving pieces.
Graham cracker crust:
½ cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese softened
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
To make crust, combine graham cracker and melted butter. Pat into the bottom of a spring-form pan or deep dish pie plate.
For filling, beat cheese, adding sugar and eggs. Add lemon juice and, vanilla and salt. Pour over crust.
Combine topping ingredients and spoon over filling.
Bake at 325 degrees until filling is set. Can add fruit to the top, if desired.
2 lbs. pork, cut into pieces about 2 inches long and 1 ½ inches thick
½ cup vinegar
1 head garlic, pounded
1 tsp. black pepper, ground
4 tsp. salt or soy sauce to taste
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. lard (or shortening)
Place pork in a large saucepan. Add vinegar, garlic, pepper, salt or soy sauce and water. Cover and cook slowly until most of the soup has evaporated and only a fourth of a cup remains.
Drain the soup in a cup and separate the pieces of garlic from the pork and fry in oil until brown. Add the pork and fry until brown. Add the soup and simmer five minutes. Serve hot. Delicious over rice.
Three golden delicious apples, cut into small pieces
Fresh pineapple, cubed, and a little sweet juice
Celery, finely chopped
Kiwi fruit, sliced
Combine fruit, celery and nuts. Mix mayonnaise with a little pineapple juice. Pour over fruit mixture and stir.
3 eggs ( separate yokes from egg whites)
½ cup sugar
½ pint whipping cream
1 Tbsp. gelatin soaked in about 1/4 cup sherry, then dissolve gelatin/sherry in about 1/4 cup boiling water
Whip cream until stiff.
Whip egg whites until stiff.
Add sugar to egg yolk mixture. Then pour dissolved gelatin into mixture and add quickly fold in whipped cream. Fold in egg whites and refrigerate until firm.
Note: Do not consume raw eggs if you are an expectant mom or have health issues.
Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
½ cup milk
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecans
1 cup light brown sugar
½ stick butter
½ cup flour
Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, milk, salt and vanilla and beat until well blended. Pour into greased casserole dish. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over sweet potatoes. Bake 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees.