Visiting relatives keep family busy in the kitchen

Published 1:39 am Monday, December 29, 2008

NATCHEZ — With a head of cabbage in one hand and a knife in the other, Geraldine Williams is preparing cole slaw to accompany what feels like her 100th meal of the week.

But the time spent in the kitchen is well worth it since her two sons, grandchildren and daughter-in-law, who are visiting from Atlanta, are devouring the food.

“I’ve made six cakes already. I made two yesterday,” Williams said. “And there’s only about a quarter of a German chocolate cake left.”

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When The Dart landed on Mascagni Avenue in Natchez, Williams was sharing the kitchen with her son Clayton Williams. The two were busy preparing dinner for the night — fried catfish, French fries and cole slaw.

In the living room enjoying the newly set up Wii video game system, are three of Williams’ granddaughters, one of her grandsons and a grandniece visiting from Jackson.

Also visiting are Williams’ other son, Gerald and his wife Keyna and a second grandson.

“There’s nothing like family,” Williams said.

While Williams enjoys making all of the family’s favorite dishes and desserts, she definitely doesn’t want to spend the entire visit cooped up in the kitchen. So she plans ahead and preps food beforehand.

“When I find out they are coming, I plan out a menu for each day,” she said. “Then I start making dishes ahead of time. I’ll make casseroles and all the veggies will be prepared.”

Williams’ husband, Dan, is always happy to see Georgia car tags pull into his driveway — mostly because he will be surrounded by his grandchildren, but also partly because of the food that will be whipped up by his wife.

“I like peach cobbler and some other things, and she will fix them for me if I ask,” he said. “But when the kids are home, I know the food will be good.

The group has been in town for about a week to enjoy the Christmas holiday with family and friends.

Gerald Williams said he tries to bring his family back to Natchez for visits as often as possible, but he said holidays are an especially important time to spend back home.

His favorite part of coming home, besides the food, is leaving his busy Atlanta life states away and having time to relax.

“Between work and getting the kids to school and taking them to their practices and homework, we’re always on the go,” he said. “Here, I average about three naps a day.”

When the group of eight loads their cars to head back to Georgia later this week, there will be a big hole left in the four bedroom house Dan and Geraldine Williams call home.

“It will definitely be a lot quieter,” Dan said.