The Times West Virginian

My Favorite Recipe

August 24, 2011

A love of food

FAIRMONT — (Editor’s note: The “My Favorite Recipe” food for September is tailgating food. Send your favorite homemade recipes to Debbie Wilson at

When you’re known for a certain food, you make it for everybody.

That’s how Vonda Pheasant feels.

“Any time we had anything at work (the Fairview Library), my boss wanted me to bring my potato salad,” she said.

And she would.

“I’m known for my potato salad.

“I’ve cooked all my life,” she said. “I think I’m a good cook. Everybody likes what I fix.

“I learned to cook from my mom (Carrie Yost Clelland). She was a good cook. She had six kids, four boys and two girls. So she had to be a good cook.”

Pheasant likes to cook and bake, all that good stuff.

“But I don’t cook as much as I used to. It’s just me and John, so I don’t cook as much, unless we have company.

“I used to can and freeze stuff from the garden. It’s nice to go down to the basement and get a jar of vegetable soup. I don’t put potatoes in the soup, so all I have to do is add meat and potatoes.

“I canned pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce ... everything. But we didn’t put out a garden this year. We’re too old to be doing that,” she said with a laugh.

She and John Pheasant, her second husband, live in a comfortable home high atop Morgan Ridge. Around back are their orchard of apple, pear and peach trees, and grape arbor. Down at the edge of the driveway is their group of bee hives.

She also has a home in Fairview, from her first marriage to Diddy Gump. Her son from that marriage, Tim Gump, will be 51. Her daughter, Nancy Parker, passed away in 2006 at age 48.

They met through John’s son.

“We met, got together and got married,” she said. “That was five years ago.”

She has several cookbooks, but she most frequently turns to those little cookbooks sold by local groups as fundraisers, like “Cooking at the Library I and II” by the Fairview Library.

She even has a few recipes in one: chicken noodle soup, creamy potato soup, baked zucchini squash. She dedicated her recipe for Waldorf Salad to her late daughter.

“I just like these little cookbooks more than the big ones,” she said. “I’ve got so many cookbooks. I don’t use half of them.

“My husband wants me to make the same things all the time. I make him rhubarb cake. It’s easy to make and he likes that.

“I love pasta. Oh, I love pastas. And hot dogs. And hamburgers. I like food period, tell you the truth.

“I like to bake as well as cook. But I’d rather have pie any day over cake. I like any meringue pie. My husband’s always wanting me to make him a rhubarb pie. I put strawberries in with it.

“When I make rhubarb pie, he doesn’t like any thickening in it. But when I make it to take somewhere, I put thickening in it,” she said.

“And he likes blueberry pie. He likes to eat. You see him, you know that.”

The contest for September is tailgating food. To be featured on the “My Favorite Recipe” page, contact Debbie Wilson at 304-367-2549 or

Email Debra Minor Wilson at

Text Only
My Favorite Recipe
  • 091912.jessi.polis.debe104_2785.jpg Sweet enough

    If you like something sweet, Jessi Polis has the cake for you.
    Her orange cream cheese pound cake is light, refreshing and just sweet enough to satisfy those cravings.
    This cake is her husband Sam’s favorite, she said.

    September 19, 2012 2 Photos

  • 091212.paula.jpg Powerful poppers

    Paula Ansberry makes some pretty powerful pepper poppers.
    She got the recipe from a friend a couple of years ago. She was a little hesitant to try one. She’s not a spicy food kind of person.

    September 12, 2012 2 Photos

  • 082912.goddard.jpg Sweet success

    People say they go to cookouts and picnics to get together with friends and family.
    They say they like the burgers and dogs, and pasta, fruit and potato salads, and all those other side dishes you can’t have a picnic without.

    August 29, 2012 2 Photos

  • Art of cooking

    Kim Holbert isn’t one of those “Try it; you’ll like it” kind of cooks.
    She’s more like, “You like it; I’ll make it.”
    “If I know that you have a preference toward something, I aim it that way,” she said.

    August 15, 2012 2 Photos

  • 080812.judy.starn.deb.jpg Just home cooking

    Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be tasty.
    Judy Starn learned this growing up on Sugar Lane in Catawba. She was the only girl in nine children of Woodrow and Anna Starn. One brother passed away, so she grew up among seven brothers.
    “I like to cook, but I wouldn’t say I’m a good cook,” she said.

    August 8, 2012 2 Photos

  • 080112.linn.deb.jpg Just plain cooking

    You know those pretty layered salads people put in clear glass bowls, and you have to lift all the layers out at the same time and then spread them out on a plate so everybody can see how pretty it is, and then they go “ooh” and “ahh”?

    August 1, 2012 2 Photos

  • 072512.jpg ‘Just plain good’

    When it’s just too darned hot to cook, or you need something cool and light in a jiffy, Josephine Vespoint has a quick-as-a-wink salad for you.
    Take two cans of pears, and drain and place each pear right side up on a bed of lettuce.

    July 25, 2012 1 Photo

  • 071812 parrish.deb.jpg All about family

    All her life, Alma Hoy Parrish has been about one thing: family.
    She’s put the knowledge she learned at her mother’s knee to good use during her 46-year marriage to Tom Parrish while raising their two children, Mike Parrish and Lori Hill.

    July 18, 2012 2 Photos 1 Story

  • 071112 pic.deb.jpg Easy and versatile

    There are salads that you ever-so-politely nibble on.
    Not Cathy Davis’ California Tossed Salad.
    It fills a large bowl to the brim. You have to grab it with tongs, lift it to your plate and, as she says it, “dive on in.”
    It’s filling. It’s healthy. It’s easy to make.

    July 11, 2012 3 Photos

  • 070412 picnic 1.jpg Light and fluffy

    Grandmas are probably the world’s best cooks.
    Just ask anybody who’s been lucky enough to have eaten their scrumptious cookies, luscious pies, fluffy cakes and wholesome breads.

    July 4, 2012 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Lifestyles
House Ads