Cooking Stage 2014

“Looking Back” Theme for 10th Annual What’s Cookin’ Stage at Festival


JUDY HARDEN,  shares a laugh with her granddaughter, Anna Grant, center, and Lauren Enoch.

JUDY HARDEN, shares a laugh with her granddaughter, Anna Grant, center, and Lauren Enoch.

“Looking Back” will be the theme for the 10th anniversary of the Cooking Stage at Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival.  Memories revolving around old-time recipes and all the preparation of favorite dishes will be brought to life at this year’s event.  Festival attendees are invited to stop by the stage for a nostalgic look back to former presentations.  Along with encore recipes, the cooks will continue to prepare new “old” recipes.

The cooking stage has continued to grow with each year.  “In the past ten years, we have endured heat, rain, wind, location changes, more heat, rain and wind, sunny skies, cloudy skies, and several technical difficulties.  However, we have prevailed and succeeded in accomplishing our goal of encouraging people to find a family recipe and use it.  Find your mother, brother, aunt, or grandson and recreate that lost art of spending time together in the kitchen,” says coordinator Judy Harden.

The success of the Cooking Stage is attributed to our area heritage and the handing down of family favorites.  Since a lot of recipes and cooking techniques come to us by word of mouth, we encourage sharing the stories and recipes, and demonstrating the “how to” in order to preserve them.  This year we will try to include all your favorites, such as our local squirrel pot pie, chicken and dumplings, rhubarb pie, persimmon pudding and hog’s head mincemeat.  Along with all these we will make homemade bread of all kinds.  Yes, donuts will happen on Saturday morning!

We are fortunate to have a faithful audience who have continued to provide interaction and participation, offering suggestions and alterations to recipes, as well as encouraging the presenting cooks.  We welcome storytelling to accompany the cooking.  Area cooks who are willing to share a recipe should call Harden, at 417-256-7988.

The free samples of the food prepared are always a draw for festival attendees and volunteers.  Come to the festival, attend the cooking stage, and leave feeling like you have visited days gone by.

Of course one of the featured dishes will be the festival’s signature dish – squirrel pot pie. This dish was featured in the Travel Chanel’s ‘No Reservations’ episode with Anthony Bourdain.

Visitors can expect to see annual favorites, such as homemade bread, donuts, rolls and pies, as well as the surprise dish of the year, Harden promised.


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