Not many people know someone who is 100 years old, mainly because there aren't that many centenarians alive. Willie Robinson is one of them.
Despite his age, Mr. Willie is a spry man who exercises regularly. He can be found at St. Helena Senior Citizen Center four days a week. He is very much involved in the devotional. If there is a secret to long life, he believes that doing right and serving God is a big part of it.
He was born on Dataw Island, the seventh of 13 children. He can tell stories of his family relationship with Kate Gleason, who owned the island and began the development there. For many years, his father was a caretaker on Dataw and stayed in the home of Gleason. Later, she built a house for the family.
Despite having a sixth-grade education, he was able to find a steady work on his own.
He discovered his love of travel while working for the railroad. For 41 years, he was a sleeping-car porter. He met many wealthy and famous people, including Eleanor Roosevelt and civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune.
When he retired, he fished and farmed at his home at Eddings Point on St. Helena.
"I wanted to enjoy a quiet life where I could gather with friends, laugh and play checkers as we did growing up," he said.
He serves as a deacon at Ebenezer Baptist Church on St. Helena.
His wife is deceased and his only daughter, Carolyn Theodore, a retired social worker, has moved home to care for her father.
"Because my dad did not have a chance to attend school, he was adamant that I receive the best education possible," she said. "He has always been helpful to family and other people. He can be demanding, but he is kind and loving."
He loves getting an early start each morning with coffee, grits, bacon and eggs.
He is a lover of cornbread and okra soup.
He is not one to say "no thank you" to sweets.
I plan to pick a time soon with Mr. Willie when we can play checkers and eat cake.
1 stick butter
1 onion, chopped
1 package frozen chopped broccoli
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
2 eggs, slightly beaten
8 ounces cottage cheese or American cheese, or 1/2 and 1/2 of both
Melt butter, pour over eggs. Beat; add cheese, cornbread. Thaw and drain broccoli, add to mixture with chopped onion. Pour into baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until center is done.
Source: Carolyn Theodore
1 1/2 cups corn meal
1 cup white flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups whole milk or buttermilk
Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and just enough milk for a good pouring consistency. Spoon into a greased pan and cook at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until brown.
Source: Ervena's archives
CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR POUND CAKE
1 pound butter
1 pound box confectioners' sugar
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon rum extract
Heat oven to 275 degrees. Place butter in large mixing bowl and beat with electric or rotary hand beater until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition. Add eggs all at once and beat well to blend. Gradually add cake flour, beating well after each addition. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to blend. Grease a 10-inch tube cake pan well(with shortening), dust with flour. Pour in batter and bake 2 1/4 hours. Serves 10 to 12.
Source: "Sharing Family and Friendship, Generation to Generation Cookbook" by Helen Terry
Apologies, once again, to my readers who attempted to bake my Apple Crumb Cake recipe last week. An ingredient was left out, causing some confusion. Here is the correct full recipe, printed, hopefully, for the last time.
APPLE CRUMB CAKE
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
20-ounce can of Comstock Apple Pie Filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter, set aside. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir in sugar. Add egg and butter to this mixture. Mix well. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Divide the mixture into equal portions. Place half the mixture on the bottom of pan. Add pie filling. Spread the second half of mixture on top of the apples. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.
Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at email@example.com.