When Gail Minor of Anderson cooks, she’s usually winging it.

“I look in the refrigerator and pretty much go from there,” Minor, 62, said. “I can throw something together with anything that’s in there. When you’re poor you learn to cook with what you have and when I grew up we didn’t have a lot of money and to learn to cook with what we had.”

Minor also likes to get new recipes from the television food shows. She watches Food TV and often will memorize one of the recipes she sees and try it out.

“But my husband, he’s a picky eater. I have to cook something he’ll eat,” Minor said. “There’s not too much that he likes. He won’t eat chicken or hamburger.”

But he and her four grandchildren will eat potato soup, she said. They love her potato soup and she said the secret is to put Velveeta cheese in it. The grandchildren especially love it and love her peanut butter cookies.

“I learned to cook when I was young,” Minor said. “I used to help my mother make peanut butter cookies. I still make them and my grandchildren come over and eat them up.”

Her grandchildren are all grown up now, but they still love the cookies, she said. And they know she buys things they like and keeps them in the refrigerator or freezer.

“They’ll come over and get what they want if they don’t have it,” Minor said. “Then it’s not there when I go for it.”

But at least one grandchild has turned out to be a cook, Minor said. Erica Minor, 18, has cooked for her on a number of occasions. Minor continues to teach her to shop wisely.

“She’s pretty thrifty,” Minor said of her granddaughter. “She’ll be out on her own pretty soon. Erica got a lot of her cooking skills from me.”

Gail Minor doesn’t look at a lot of cookbooks or check them out of the library, she said. Instead, she relies on her experience to produce dishes.

“I just like to keep experimenting,” Minor said. “I’ll do different things. Experimenting is the part that makes it fun.”

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