Gamble shares love of cooking with church community
Published 7:09 pm Monday, August 25, 2014
This week’s dart landed on Lily White Church of the Living God, E.P.C, off County Road 3316 in Brundidge.
Sharon Gamble is a “dash” person. When she is cooking a dish, Gamble doesn’t use measurements— she adds a “dash off this, a tad of that,” because she is so used to making the recipe she knows exactly how much to add.
She also adds a dash of love to everything she cooks— because she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“When I cook, I cook with love,” Gamble said. “When you cook with love, you know it’s gonna taste real good. It means you took time to put all the right ingredients in it. I don’t like to cook when I’m upset, because most the time it doesn’t come out as good.”
Gamble specializes in what she calls “country cooking”: baked and fried chicken, smothered okra, barbecued pork, chicken and dumplings and more.
Gamble began cooking when she was 16 years old and has been doing so for nearly 40 years. She said her father, Irby Stirkens, taught her how to cook. She also liked to go with him when he worked as a farmer.
“He taught me all that I know,” Gamble said. “I used to ride the truck and tractors with him when he was in the field working. I guess you could call me something like an old tomboy.”
Gamble, of Brundidge, said one of her favorite memories of growing up was making cakes with her father.
“I would open up the recipe book and read it, and quote it back to him without looking at the book,” Gamble said with a small grin and far-off look in her eyes. “The first cake I made was a pound cake. It was so good that I ended up making total fives cakes that day, for Thanksgiving. I started cooking from there. My father bought everything that I needed to make those cakes.”
Gamble, an active member of the ministry team at Lily White Church of the Living God, E.P.C, has always had a passion for cooking and shares it with her congregation. She said she does most of the cooking on Sundays when the church gathers for fellowship. She was quick to point out that the pastor and other members of the church chip in and bring their own special dishes and desserts.
“Our pastor, Elder Martha L. Griffin, is most known for her banana pudding, pineapple upside down cake and sweet potato pie,” Gamble said.
Gamble doesn’t keep a recipe book. Instead, she keeps recipes filed away in her memory. Some of her favorite original recipes are for blueberry crunch, squash casserole and pork roast. She said that she and her pastor use secret ingredients in their cooking and many people have tried to figure out what they are.
“They’re secret ingredients and spices, Gamble said. “We don’t tell nobody.”
One ingredient, though, is not a secret at all: love.