A Life Lived: Flaura “Jeanette” Campbell had a special love for family and cooking
Jeanette Campbell could have had her own cooking show as she had a large collection of recipes. and had tried many of them on family and friends, who came for Sunday dinner.
Jeanette died April 25 at the age of 81.
“She was definitely a good cook,” said her daughter Jewel. The sentiments were echoed by a second daughter, Leslie, who noted her mother was one of seven children, and perhaps got her love for cooking from her mother, Lena Bowers. “Her father was a farmer and in addition to raising a vegetable garden, he milked his own cows. We would go to Mamaw and Papaw’s often for dinner. Mamaw was a good cook as was Mama. Mama enjoyed watching cooking shows on television and she wrote down every recipe featured on the shows, writing them out by hand. She would put them in a book. She had made at least 20 cookbooks from recipes she had saved,” said Leslie.
Leslie said her mother’s favorite recipes to make were desserts. “When we had Sunday dinner, she had at least four or five desserts. She tried every recipe that she wrote down, and there were only a couple that we did not like,” Leslie shared.
“She could have easily had her own cooking show. She was that good,” her daughters opined.
Jeanette was raised in Blue Springs, but after marriage lived in Bulldog Hollow on Stoney Creek. “She was a good mother and grandmother. She doted on her grandchildren,” said Leslie.
“She was also a good housekeeper and kept a clean and neat house. Once she made her bed in the morning, she wanted no one sitting or laying on it or messing it up during the day,” said Leslie.
‘Mama cooked every day, but her biggest meal of the week was Sunday dinner. She spent two days getting ready for it. She would usually start it on Saturday and finish it on Sunday. She not only fed her family, but wanted to feed anyone and everyone who visited. She would insist on them having a piece of cake or pie if they visited in the afternoon,” Leslie said.
To Leslie, her mother’s best homemade dessert was strawberry custard pie, which was quite tasty. “It was a recipe her mother had made and in it, she used strawberry jelly and a custard,” Jeanette’s daughter shared.
A niece, Tina Miller wrote in a tribute to Jeanette: “I’ve always treasured all of the Sundays years ago when we all would meet at our late Mamaw Lena’s house. They were great cooks because they enjoyed cooking so much and the food was absolutely delicious.”
Both Leslie and Jewel agreed that their mother was not one to seek the limelight. “She pretty much stayed to herself, except for some close friends. Sometimes, she and her friends played card games. One of their favorite games was RACKO,” said Leslie.
“Mama was a very intelligent person and had her way of doing things. I remember her writing a story for the book “Rabbit Tobacco and Mountain Farms,” in which she shared about growing up on a farm. She not only took care of her parents, but later cared for my daddy’s parents when they were old and couldn’t do for themselves. Mama was a wonderful caregiver,” said Leslie.
In her later years, Jeanette enjoyed sitting on her porch and watching the birds. A friend wrote on her tribute page: “I enjoyed stopping by and talking to Jeanette when she was sitting on the porch. Her hummingbirds were amazing.”
Leslie admitted her mother could be a feisty person, and there were some TV celebrities she didn’t like and would not watch. She was also an independent person. “She would never ask anyone to do for her if she could do it herself,” Leslie shared.
Jeanette enjoyed wearing jewelry, especially rings. She always wore rings, even one on her toe. When she died she had eight rings on her fingers, in addition to the toe ring and ankle bracelet.
“As most mothers are, my mama was a special person. She was a good mother, a good wife to my daddy, and a good friend to many. She took seriously her home duties, and she did them well. We could not have had a better mother,” declared Leslie.
Today, her kitchen is silent, no rattling of pots or pans, no aroma from the kitchen, just memories – sweet memories that linger.