Recipe guru lends local flavor to Pawhuska tables

Becky Burch
Special to Journal-Capital
The author of PJC’s cooking column “Local Flavor”, Carla Brown, is pictured with her husband Alan.

If you are ever looking for a new and delicious recipe for your dinner table, look no farther than the Pawhuska Journal-Capital and its cooking column “Local Flavor.” It is written by Pawhuska native Carla Core Brown, who surprisingly did very little cooking as a child, but did watch closely as her mother, LaVerne “Sissy” Core, prepared meals.

The column features meal ideas from Pawhuska or Osage County residents, and shares background history on how a recipe ended up being a family favorite. Many of the recipes have been passed down through the generations. Brown always ends her column with the tagline: “Now How’s that for a little Local Flavor??!!”

“My Mama was a fabulous cook but rarely went by a recipe,” Brown said. “She favored one-pot dishes and just adjusted whatever she prepared to suit her taste.” 

Brown said she does have some old written recipes, but her mother rarely wrote down the ingredients.

Brown was an only child and her mother never insisted on her doing much cooking or other domestic duties.

 “She just wanted me to enjoy simply growing up; not sharing in the domestic bliss of running a household.”

However, Brown eventually found herself at Oklahoma State University without much knowledge of frying potatoes or boiling eggs, much less following a recipe.

“It became a running joke between Mama and me because I would call home 'collect' numerous times during the week to inquire how to maneuver my way around in the kitchen,” Brown said.

But once Brown developed some skill in the kitchen, she also began to nurture a love of recipes and making homemade meals. Her husband, Alan Brown, is usually her “guinea pig” when she experiments with new cooking ideas.

“He’s a good sport and is game to try whatever experimental fare I place in front of him,” Brown said. “I will have to say we’ve had more hits than misses.”

Brown is a retired elementary school teacher, who taught for 28 years. Her first cooking column was written for the Pryor Jeffersonian newspaper and was called “Soup’s On.” After moving back to Pawhuska, she started her first PJ-C cooking column, called “Season to Taste,” that ran until 2004. In 2005 she opened "Mudpies," a retail gift shop which required a lot of her attention. She reluctantly made the decision to end her “Season to Taste” column.

But she continued on with her love of cooking through a cooking club started in 2009 with friends and fellow cooking addicts. They held monthly parties that consisted of sharing new recipes, cooking, eating, and bonding together through the fellowship and friendships.

“Once I caught onto cooking, the recipe bug bit and never let go. It is a passion of mine and I relish collecting and trying new dishes,” Brown said.

Brown is a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church and also writes a monthly recipe column for the church newsletter called “Loaves and Fishes.”

“I have a lot of fun with it and many of our parishioners have given me their own recipes to print,” Brown said.

Brown was thrilled when the PJ-C gave her the opportunity for her new “Local Flavor” column. 

“I have found cooking to be another love language understood and embraced by all,” Brown said. “I ascribe to the fact, even if you don't like cooking, you like eating so there's something for everyone!”