SOUTHINGTON - The sign on the wall says "Grandma's Kitchen - hugs, kisses and lots o' spoilin'!"
If Peanut Butter Pie is what they're eatin', then these grandkids sure are spoiled.
"They come over for everything," Betty Hoover said recently in her Southington home. "They know Granny has it."
Hoover places cup-up peanut butter cups on the pie.
Hoover said she's been making the pie for many years, and everybody loves it. She also makes a strawberry pie that suits her husband, Jim, because it's made with special "gook," or sugar-free glaze.
She doesn't mess with other pies. "I go to Marie Callender's," she said.
When asked what she likes to cook, her response: "What do you like to eat?"
Peanut Butter Pie
Submitted by Betty Hoover
1 8-ounce Philly Cream Cheese
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
Beat well, then add:
1 cup powdered sugar
Beat well. Fold in:
1 8-ounce container of Cool Whip
2 cut-up peanut butter cups
Pour into pre-baked crust. Cup up 2 more peanut butter cups. Place on top.
Refrigerate for 3 hours.
Hoover's lived in the home for 48 years, and her son, Jeffery, and his family live right next door. She baby-sits her 9-year-old grandson, Dalton, every day. Somehow, the X-Box and PlayStation fit in to the immaculately clean home.
"She's a nut-freak when it comes to cleaning," said her husband, Jim.
Her other grandson, Brandon Chinn, is a junior (and an honor student, boasts Grandma) at Warren JFK High School.
She said her "guys" love breakfast, especially sausage, biscuits and gravy. The couple also makes homemade noodles.
For the Peanut Butter Pie, she doubles the recipe. She pre-bakes the pie crusts, which are Walmart brand, taste good and have a price that pleases her, and they come in packages of two, anyway.
The filling, already made rich and chocolatey by cream cheese and cut-up peanut butter cups, are topped with more cut-up candy to make it pleasing to the eye. She said the pies freeze well. Her son likes them right when the mixture is poured, while she prefers to let it chill.
It's a wonderfully cold and creamy treat on a hot summer day
"What's nice about this is that it's so easy," she said.
Hoover, 76, worked for the Kmart distribution center and for 25 years at Van Huffel Tube. Now, she and her husband enjoy Anderson Bus Tours as well as trips to Florida on the Amtrak Auto Train.
They don't eat out much - Jim said she cooks "all the time" - but when they do, they enjoy the Hartville Kitchen and the "Fabulous Sunday Brunch" at the Iron Bridge Inn in Mercer, Pa. Betty Hoover said they also love Panera Bread.
Jim Hoover said his wife makes "about 200 different cookies at Christmastime, all different shapes and sizes."
"I give them all away," she says in response.
Betty keeps her recipes in a neat binder with page protectors - they are organized "A to Z but not alphabetical."
"I keep only the ones I use," she said, throwing a thumb over her shoulder to indicate where the rest go.
There are a couple of recipes that are used more than others.
"When we're invited out somewhere, they say, 'Please bring the peanut butter pie or peanut butter cake,'" she said.
Another peanut butter treat?
"I guess we're a peanut butter family," Betty Hoover said.
"It's Better Than Sex," said her husband of the cake, earning him a surprised and slightly uncomfortable silence from those sitting at the table with their taste buds focused on the featured pie.
"No," he exclaims, saving himself. "That's what it's called!"
"Really," says his wife, "You should call it Orange Pineapple Cake."