Cook of the Week

Carrie Leeth begins mixing up a batch of her popular cream cheese Danish.



Cooking is a time-honored family tradition for Albertville resident Carrie Leeth.

"I come from a long line of cooks," she said. "Everybody in my family cooks."

Not only were all of Leeth's grandparents "great cooks," she said, but her mother formerly worked as a chef in Atlanta and her brother once owned Squiggs Barbecue, in Guntersville.

"A lot I learned from my momma," Leeth said. "She's been a wonderful teacher."

Leeth also learned from experience.She began practicing her skills as a young teenager. When her mother went to work full time, Leeth started preparing dinner every night.

However, she was too young to use a stove. Instead, she cooked all of her dishes, such as Swedish meatballs and Swiss steak, on an electric skillet.

"That was the safest way," she said

She has since graduated to the oven and range, and her food selection has increased, as well.

"I do all kinds of stuff now," she said. "I've always enjoyed cooking."

Leeth said she loves making breads in her bread machine, although she hasn't had time to do it in years. She also enjoys using a slow-cooker on busy days.

"If I get it in there before I go to work, I don't have to worry about supper when I come home," she said.

However, some of Leeth's favorite and most popular dishes are desserts, such as her cream cheese Danish and chocolate cobbler.

She often cooks them for potluck meals at her workplace of Hospice of Marshall County and her church. In fact, her cream cheese Danish became so popular at HMC that she couldn't keep up with the demand.

"It got to where I was doing three or four pans at one time," she said. "I couldn't afford it."

With a full-time job as volunteer services assistant for HMC, four grandchildren and part-time work as the secretary for her church, time to cook is scarce. However, she still likes to cook and share with her loved ones.

"I enjoy cooking when I have the time," she said. "I grew up doing it, and food is the one thing everybody has in common. Everybody likes to eat."

Today, Leeth is passing on her skills and words of kitchen wisdom to her youngest daughter, and her key piece of advice is to experiment.

"I can't say ‘it's follow the recipe' because I'm not a recipe follower, but if I find something I like, I'll try it," she said. "I may have to throw it away later, but I'll at least try it."

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