Alice Lee Cook

February 1, 1921 - November 17, 1997
Role: Ranch Cook, Cowhand Family
Nicknames: Grapes
Known for: Extraordinary Cooking
Maiden name: Youngblood

Alice was a member of the large Youngblood family who lived in the San Antonio River bottom and Lewis’ Bend. Alice’s family worked for the Power and the Welder families. She was born on the Murphy Ranch and grew up in the Lewis’ Bend area with her parents, Dan Youngblood Sr. and Jemima Dawson Youngblood. Her brother was Dan Youngblood, Jr. and her cousin was Nathaniel Youngblood, both major participants in the oral history project. She spent most of her life in this area and became the ranch cook for the Welder Vidauri Ranch when she married Spencer Cook, who worked on that ranch his entire life. After Spencer’s death, she moved to the Thomas M. O’Connor Greta Ranch as a housekeeper and cook. Alice’s food was the best and her fried chicken was famous. She was a major impetus for the beginnings of the O’Connor oral history project and contributed greatly throughout the project.

Introduction to Alice Cook

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Alice Cook
LOC: Alice what did y'all's houses look like?

Alice: Well I guess it an old raggedy house with a long porch cross it. When you would walk in, like I say, there would be a bed there, some chairs and a table. I don't remember having no sofa or anything like that. Let's see I think they had two bedrooms, my mama had a room, we three girls have a room, my brother have a room. And a kitchen, I guess the kitchen/dining was all together, it's five or six rooms, but gosh when the wind be blowing you could sing a song through 'em. Specially when march wind getting up, and they used to take ole rags and things and take a knife and punch it through those cracks trying to keep the wind out. No screens or anything, they was telling that the other day. And you know what they used to do for the mosquitoes, make smoke. They put the smoke in an old bucket and set it in a room, smoke the mosquitoes out. That room get full of smoke and then they move the bucket to the next room. For towels, flour sacks, and they save that cord. My mother would rip 'em, rip that cord out of it. And when they can make sausage they tie sausage with that cord.

Nancy: they didn't throw anything away, huh?

Alice: no, everything they could save was saved.