Food

‘My Mom’s the Greatest Cook’ (Part 5)

With Mother's Day right around the corner, the “Today” show decided to honor moms who labor in the kitchen year round to please their family and friends. We asked viewers and Web site users to e-mail us nominations for inclusion in our five-part series "My Mom's the Greatest Cook."

Hundreds of people wrote in. We read about some amazing women and saw some delicious recipes. And now we reach our fifth, and final, supercook.

And super she is. Every year, says Megan Gaddis, her mom, Nancy Cowart, single-handedly cooks a meal for up to 100 employees of the car dealership her husband manages in Greensboro, N.C. (See Megan’s e-mail below.)

We decided to see if Megan’s mom was indeed the hostess with the mostest — and, of course, it turns out that she is. You will find some of Nancy’s recipes below as well as more information about her and Megan we learned during our trip.

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HERE IS MEGAN’S E-MAIL:

I don't just think my mom is the greatest cook — I know she is. Every recipe my mom has ever made me has tasted wonderful. Whenever I make something from one of my mom's recipes everyone goes crazy for it. During the holidays my mom not only cooks for our family, but prepares a holiday party for all of the employees at my dad's work (This is up to 100 people and she does all of the cooking totally herself). She cooks everything from scratch and it is always amazing.

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MORE ABOUT NANCY COWART AND MEGAN GADDIS AND THE GREAT FOOD THEY SHARE

Megan's dad is the general manager of a car dealership, and to thank his employees at the end of each year, he invites between 60 and 100 of them over to his house for dinner. Nancy does all of the cooking for this evening by herself. (She hires people to help serve the meal and clean-up, but nobody else does the cooking.) She says it takes her 10 days in preparation, including a couple of major shopping trips.

When Nancy found out Megan wrote in she was thrilled. She says she doesn't necessarily consider herself the greatest cook but as long as her daughter does, that's all that's important. Nancy grew up in Florida and had a grandmother in Georgia and one in South Carolina so she said a lot of the influences in her cooking come from the South.

Nancy says she sometimes she uses recipes from cookbooks, but after cooking so many years a lot of it is in her head. She also makes many dishes from old family recipes. Megan says the most special gift she ever got from her mom was a beautiful recipe book filled with her family recipes. Megan, who lives in Jacksonville, FL, says she has acquired some of her mom's skills, but that her husband still likes coming to her mom's house for her cooking.

Megan says that growing up her mom always made sure there was a great meal on the table every night (and always several courses) and that she always had food, such as homemade cookies, fresh bean dip and nachos, out on the counter whenever her friends came over after school.

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