Carrie Fletcher was never stingy with her homemade dishes

May 14, 2004|EMILY BURTON

McKINNEY - Generations of McKinney elementary graduates start to drool at the mention of her name, or her infamous peanut butter brownies. In Mrs. Fletcher's school kitchen, eating was a religious experience.

Called Carrie by friends, Ma-maw by relatives, and sometimes just Cooker by students, Fletcher fed McKinney's pupils homemade lunches for more than 25 years as head cook at the school. Her dedication to cooking was matched only by her dedication to church and family, said friends.

"I knew her as a dedicated Christian lady, mother and grandmother, and friend to just most everybody," said longtime friend Eula Richey. "She was just loved by everybody."

Now 26 years after her retirement and four years after her death, Fletcher's culinary creations are making a revival in the community and still tempting church members' appetites.


"I remember her for many things, but I think a lot of children would remember her for her good peanut butter brownies," said Richey. "All my children loved her."

Students at McKinney have compiled a cookbook honoring Fletcher and featuring some of the school's all-time favorite flavors. For $8, backyard chefs can raid the recipe boxes of Fletcher and other area kitchens.

"She would talk about how, in the old days, they made everything homemade," said Susan Kirkpatrick, Fletcher's granddaughter.

"The way I understand it, when she was here they didn't buy rolls or buns for hamburgers. Carrie made them, of course that was some years ago," said Sandra Robbins of McKinney Elementary and member of McKinney Baptist.

She was never stingy with her homemade dishes or her love, said Kirkpatrick. Students who had to go without at home knew they could go visit the kitchen after school and be given food she had held back for them.

Fletcher's cooking brought more to students than just meatloaf, said Kirkpatrick. Her cooking offered "the same thing she brought to her children and grandchildren, knowledge that you were loved, no doubt about it."

She and her husband, J.C., were life-long members and pillars of McKinney Baptist, said members. With their help, new members of the community found a welcome.

"When I moved down here as a young bride, and didn't know anybody, she and a couple other ladies took me in at the church. And I don't know what I would do without them," said Robbins.

But her taste for life, and the treats she left behind, has become one of the most cherished memories of friends and family.

"Everybody knew her peanut butter brownies," said Richey.

"In fact, when she passed away, all I wanted was the pan that she baked them in," said Kirkpatrick with a laugh.

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