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Homemade in the High Plains Featured Recipe: Darby Grier, miscellaneous category prize winner

Darby Grier, a self-described city girl turned farm wife from Stewartsville, Missouri, is the High Plains Journal cookbook miscellaneous category winner with her family spaghetti sauce recipe. Grier said she has been married to her farmer husband for 35 years and they have been loyal subscribers throughout their marriage. She said she looks forward to the home and family page every week. As a child, Grier learned to cook from her mother and grandmothers’.

“I was in the kitchen a lot when I was little and when my mother went back to work when we were children, one of my jobs was to have the meal started before she got home and then she would finish it,” Grier explained. “I always resented that, but it helped me learn to be the cook I am.”

Although she considers herself a city girl, Grier did live on a farm when she was very young, but moved to town and grew up mostly in town. When she met her husband, his country lifestyle and hardworking mentality appealed to her and they started dating in 1986. The Grier family had a dairy for many years, but after several members of the family passed away, Grier’s husband decided to get out of the dairy business. Nowadays, the Griers are building an Angus cowherd and they raise 1,200 acres of soybeans, corn and hay. Grier said she has had an off-farm job for years but helps on the farm whenever she is needed for tasks such as feeding bottle calves, picking up parts in town, taking care of tasks around the home and, of course, cooking meals for the field.

She said her favorite time of year is fall. She loves the smells, colors and when her family gets in the field to harvest their crops.

“My daughter-in-law and I prepare the meals for harvest and bring it to the field and that’s where we have our meals as a family,” she said. “For me, cooking is a love language. My people leave the table satisfied and with a full tummy and that brings me such happiness.”

As for her winning spaghetti sauce recipe, it has deep family roots and will be passed on to many more generations.

“This recipe has been in our family for so many years.” Grier explained. “My dad grew up in the 30s and 40s and my grandmother had to find cheap ways to feed her kids. The sauce was hamburger, ketchup and water over noodles. My mother decided she was going to give this recipe some extra oomph and she created what is now our family spaghetti sauce recipe. Even when I was a little girl, my brothers and I would fight over the last bit of spaghetti sauce. It’s been in the family a long time and my grandkids even love it. It’s a special meal and all three of my kids ask for that for their birthday dinner.”

HPJ cookbooks can be purchased at hpj.com/store/cookbook/

Lacey Vilhauer can be reached at 620-227-1871 or lvilhauer@hpj.com.

Family Spaghetti Sauce
by Darby Grier, Stewartsville, MO

Servings: 12
Total Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
2 lbs. ground beef
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
16 oz. can mushrooms
12 oz. bottle chili sauce
20 oz. bottle ketchup
12 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
20 oz. water

Brown the ground beef and sausage; drain. Place in a crockpot and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer on low for 3 to 4 hours. Serve over your favorite pasta.

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