LISBON FALLS – Bev Garneau values simplicity in life and her family, and it’s reflected in her cooking style.

“You know, I love making things that are quick and simple,” she says. “I’m not really into fancy and complicated things. I just love to cook, and when I do I find the easy things are just as good as anything else.”

Garneau started cooking as a girl. “I was lucky that I had a mother who just let me go into the kitchen and try things out. She was a 4-H leader, and I was in the group as well. So I got started making muffins and cookies with her and then bringing them to fairs. But then she let me go on my own, and do what I wanted to do. I discovered that I loved it and it’s gone from there.”

The family ties in cooking remain close for her to this day.

“My grandmother passed away about a year ago, and I have a whole collection of her old cookbooks – some great recipes. Whenever I want a new idea, all I have to do is go to her books and recipes. I treasure that.”

Garneau’s mother also did cake decorating, an artistic skill she passed on to her daughter. “She did it for over 30 years; she just retired, actually. I make wedding cakes and such for friends and family from time to time. It’s a lot of pressure, though, so I pretty much keep it to just them. It’s not an easy thing to do. But Mom is a wonderful cook and has taught me so well.”

In her kitchen cabinet, Garneau usually has “chocolate chips, walnuts or oatmeal – for making my chocolate chip cookies. My 3-year-old grandson, Devin, loves coming over and baking cookies with me, whether it’s chocolate chip or cookies that he gets to sprinkle sugar on, like for the holidays. I love the fact that I’m passing on great traditions with him now.”

Garneau and her husband, Dave, who’ve been married 36 years, live in Lisbon Falls. They have one son, Aaron, who lives in Durham with his wife, Kimberly, and Garneau’s grandson. In the summer, Garneau enjoys fishing with her husband. “We have a boat and we go a few times a year, but in the summer, we go up to Moosehead for a week at a time, sometime in July, with the whole family. It’s a great time and I love it because it’s with the whole family – that’s what it’s all about.”

Whoopie pie cupcakes
Cupcake ingredients:
Box of favorite chocolate cake mix

Confectioners’ sugar (for decoration)
Filling ingredients:
1 cup milk

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup Crisco

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
Bake cupcakes according to cake mix directions and allow them to cool. Then make filling: Mix 1 cup milk and 3 tablespoons flour in a pot and cook on stovetop, regularly stirring, until it makes a paste. Remove from stove and let it cool. Then add Crisco, vanilla and sugar. Beat well.

Carefully slice off caps of cupcakes. Put aside. Using either a pastry bag or a spoon, add filling to each cupcake. Replace caps. Dust with a little confectioners’ sugar.

Bev’s notes: This recipe is a favorite and so easy. It’s also wonderful because refrigeration isn’t really necessary.
Chocolate pudding
¾ cup sugar

3 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder (cooking brand, not drinking kind)

3 heaping tablespoons cornstarch

1½ cups evaporated milk

1½ cups warm water
Cook sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, evaporated milk and water on stovetop over medium heat, regularly stirring, until thick. Then stir in butter and vanilla. Divide into serving dishes and top with whipped cream.

Bev’s note: This also makes a wonderful pie. Put filling in a pre-baked pie shell
Fruit salad
Sauce ingredients:
Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup pineapple juice

½ cup sugar
3 eggs, well blended

Put sauce ingredients in a double boiler and cook until sauce thickens. Can be made the day before; it needs to be very cold.

Salad ingredients:
1 large (29-ounce) can and 1 small (15-ounce) can of fruit cocktail, well-drained

1 small can (14 to 15 ounces) chunk pineapple, drained

1 small can mandarin orange segments, drained

1 or 2 bananas, sliced

1 pint whipping cream

Cherries for garnish
Whip the whipping cream and set aside. Stir together all fruit, well drained, in a large bowl. Add the cold sauce and half of the whipped cream to the fruit. Mix. Put the remaining whipped cream on the top of the fruit. Garnish with cherries.

Bev’s note: The fruit is not an exact science when it comes to measurement – as long as it is well-drained. If you like more of one canned fruit than another, just add more of that one. This is only based on my taste – change it how you’d like.

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