What's Cooking?

Cooking becomes calling for Macon native

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Teresa Tabor

If you have lived in Macon County for long, chances are you have eaten Kathryn Solesbee’s cooking. Solesbee has cooked in area restaurants for more than 50 years, specializing in such things as homemade cinnamon rolls, coconut cream pies and the best biscuits and gravy you could ever hope to eat. She and her family have owned a couple of restaurants in Franklin ­– The Coffee Shop on Main Street in the early ’70s and Mama’s Restaurant in Heritage Hollow from 2000-2005. In the interim, at the Sunset Drive-In, Solesbee made dozens of pies every day along with home-cooked meals for which the Sunset is famous. She has cooked for governors, movie stars and dignitaries from all over, including John Denver, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, Burt Reynolds, and Jimmy Carter, working at Highlands Inn and Earl & John Dillard’s Place in Clayton. In 1998, she was featured in “The Dillard House Cookbook” with a few of her most famous recipes including Coconut Cream Pie.


2 cups milk

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 eggs, separated

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup coconut

Heat milk in saucepan over medium heat. Mix cornstarch with enough water to make a thick smooth paste. Add egg yolks and salt and beat well. When milk gets hot, add sugar and stir contantly until sugar dissolves. Let milk come to a boil and add cornstarch mixture. Stir constantly until mixture returns to a boil. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Beat very well. Stir in coconut. Pour into a baked pie shell. Top with meringue made from the three egg whites, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/4 cup of sugar, whipped until stiff. Bake at 325º for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool at room temperature.


2/3 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 3/4 cups self-rising flour, sifted

1 1/3 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease two, 9-inch layer pans, cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time beating thoroughly after each one. Add vanilla. Add alternately the flour and milk, beginning and ending with flour. Pour into cake pans. Bake 35-30 minutes Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. 

For RASPBERRY SHORTCAKE, combine 3 cups raspberries with 2 cups of sugar and mash well. Split each cake layer in half. Mix 3 cups whole raspberries with mashed raspberries. Fill each with a layer of raspberries and whipped cream. Top with another layer of raspberries and whipped cream. Makes two, 9-inch cakes.

Solesbee has made cooking her ministry of sorts. At 83 years young, she still cooks for her family, her Monday night Bible Club, and anybody else that needs a meal.