Lisa Goodman

Lisa Goodman enjoys making sticky buns for her family at her rural Montgomery County, Missouri, home.

NEW FLORENCE, Mo. — On a cool and overcast autumn day, Lisa Goodman was at work in her rural Montgomery County kitchen, making some of her family’s favorite foods.

“I just like making good food for family, making good food and knowing they appreciate it,” she says. “A full belly is a happy kid.”

Family is how Goodman learned to cook. She credits her mom and home economics class for teaching her.

“My mom showed me,” she says. “I kind of cook like her. A lot of times I don’t measure. I dump, I taste.”

That’s how Goodman enjoys cooking — learning what works through experience, cooking by feel, trying new things and ideas.Her mom had a feel for cooking and shared that with Goodman.

“My mom could just make pie crusts, just dump in ingredients,” she says.

Goodman enjoys making a wide variety of foods.

“I love to cook and bake,” she says. “I really like making pies. My favorites are strawberry rhubarb and blackberry.”

She has blackberry bushes to grow her own ingredients. She says she has also gotten into making habanero jelly this year. She first tried it at a farmers market in Kansas City, and she’s been working with it ever since.

When Goodman and her husband eat at a restaurant, she likes thinking about how she would make menu items.

“I go to restaurants and I try stuff, and I think, ‘I can make this,’” she says.

She also gets recipe ideas from thumbing through cookbooks she collects.

Goodman has two daughters and several grandchildren. She enjoys making the family favorites that they request. Recently, she said her pregnant daughter asked her to make barbecue meatballs and noodles.

For Goodman, she enjoys the family aspect of food, the experience of learning new things to make, and simply the joy of preparing it.

“To me, it’s kind of relaxing,” she says.

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Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.