Wanda Jenkins’ BBQ Sauce, Donna Bates’ Sweet Potato Casserole and Dot McCleskey’s Lemon Apricot Nectar Cake


By Andy Bedwell

“Mama was my great teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.”  – Stevie Wonder

Over  the next few weeks this column will continue honoring our wonderful mothers and the delicious dishes they lovingly prepared for their families. I requested that readers of this column, friends, and family send me the favorite dish or recipe that they enjoyed the most that was prepared by their mother. I hope that you enjoy reading and preparing these beloved recipes that are real treasures.

Wanda Jenkins’ BBQ Sauce

2 cups ketchup

1 cup vinegar

4 tablespoons

Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Tabasco

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons

yellow mustard

Dash of red pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

½ pound butter

Dash of Liquid Smoke

Melt butter in a saucepan, add vinegar and stir until combined. Then add other ingredients and bring to a boil. This is the recipe from my mother that I use the most. We slather it on pork chops, hot dogs and any kind of pork. Daddy and I just eat it on plain bread with the grilled pork.

Submitted by her daughter: Pamela Jenkins Lauyans

Donna Bates’ Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups sweet potatoes (mom always used the Bruce’s canned yams).

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

½ cup butter or margarine melted or really soft

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla


1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup cold butter, sliced

Mix topping ingredients until crumbly.

Mix first six ingredients well and pour in a greased 13×9 casserole dish. Mix topping ingredients and crumble on top. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Note: She always made this every Thanksgiving and some other special holiday. She always said it could double as a dessert!

Submitted by her daughter: Jennifer Bates Davis

Dot McCleskey’s Lemon Apricot Nectar Cake

1 lemon cake mix

1 small package lemon instant pudding mix

1 cup apricot nectar

½ cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs


1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice (or milk instead)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour a bundt pan. Mix together the cake mix, lemon pudding mix, apricot nectar, oil and eggs. Combine on low then switch to medium and mix for two minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then place serving platter over the cake and invert onto the platter.

For the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle over the warm cake. Note: This is an easy cake that my mother often made in the spring and summer. It’s so moist and we loved it.

Submitted by her daughter: Jane McCleskey Cosby

I hope you enjoy these wonderful recipes!

Happy Cooking, Andy

“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at The Messenger newspaper located at 1957 Rainbow Drive in Gadsden.

Latest News

WEEKEND PLANS: Pedal boat operation now open in Gadsden
Annual Memorial Day event planned for Monday
City of Gadsden launches new text-based 911 feature to assist callers, first responders
City of Gadsden honors nation's fallen with memorial flag displays
Outstanding students honored at Honors Day in Gadsden

Latest Sports News

Locals make all-state soccer teams
All-Etowah County Schools softball released
All-Etowah County Schools baseball announced
Local players named to all-area baseball team
Local athletes, coaches named to compete in North/South games