Cheryl Garrison Smith had a hard time deciding which of her parents’ dishes was her favorite, but she eventually settled on her 80-year-old father, Robert “Bob” Garrison.

“Mom was a great cook and had her own pastry shop for over 20 years from the 80s, but Dad was just more adventurous,” said Smith of DeQuincy.

He let Cheryl and her brother Jimmy help him in the kitchen early on, showing them how to cook artichokes and introducing them to mangoes and pomegranates.

“I remember making these elaborate salads,” said Smith. “Big family loved his kitchen and asked about all of his recipes, especially his lobster etouffee and barbecue. Just yesterday I spoke to someone who told me they needed something from my father’s good grill. He makes his own gravy. He also makes hot sauce, one with jalapenos and one with habaneros, and gives them away to his friends. They love it.”

Using an old Sicilian recipe for his spaghetti sauce, Bob Garrison makes his own yeast bread, including the bread for one of his daughter’s favorites – his pecan bun kolaches. (Kolaches are a Czech pastry that is great in Texas because of the Central European immigrants who settled this area in the 19th century. The word is derived from the Czech word for wheel.)

The garrisons not only cooked and ate together (and always with the television switched off). They also hunted together, or at least Smith was with them for a short time in their youth. Smith remembers her father’s fried squirrel, squirrel and sauce, squirrel and dumplings, and squirrel gumbo. Cheryl’s mother and father hunted deer and, in addition to slaughtering and slaughtering deer meat, also regularly slaughtered pigs.

For Smith, her father’s food means more than just physical nutrition.

“Nothing makes him happier than all his children and grandchildren together, under his roof, laughing and loving and enjoying his food. His heart is full of love, ”she said.

Bob Garrison’s Kolache Recipe

2 packs of active dry yeast

½ cup of warm water

2 cups of warm milk

¾ cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of salt

½ cup butter or margarine

4 eggs, only egg yolks (excluding egg whites)

8 or 9 cups of flour

4 to 5 cups of finely chopped pecans

2 cups of sugar

1 stick of melted butter or margarine

2 eggs and the remaining egg whites

1 tablespoon of vanilla

Enough milk to make a paste (1½ to 2 cups)

Directions: Mix and let rise for 3 to 4 hours. Roll out in about 3 sections. Add the filling and roll up (like a jelly roll). Bake for 35 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees. (You look for golden brown.)

While the kolaches are baking, keep buttering them to keep them from cracking.

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