Southern cook now leans toward healthier recipes
As Activities Director at the Golden LivingCenter, Diane Hintz knew all too well the importance of good health. However, so busy was she as career wife and mom that she failed to notice the warning signs that could have resulted in heart attack and did result in type 2 diabetes.
The myth is that heart attacks affect only chronically stressed individuals – “Type A personalities.” With her lilting Southern drawl and soft-spoken demeanor, Diane didn’t seem a likely candidate. But she was!
“I should have known,” she said. “Dad had open heart surgery with five bypasses. So some of it’s genetic, and you can’t do anything about that. Some of it’s lifestyle. And in my case, my love for good old-fashioned Southern comfort foods played a big part!”
“I’ve told my husband, Gordon, that I truly sympathize with those individuals who succumb to addictions,” she said. “You can try to eliminate temptations and change your lifestyle. But you can’t live without food! Food is everywhere. I tell him, ‘please don’t bring home a chocolate bar because I will eat it!’”
The daughter of Rev. Charles and Margie Snipes, Diane and her brother grew up in Great Falls, S.C., the cradle of Southern cuisine.
Southerners begin their day with a good, hearty breakfast, with grits being the perennial favorite.
“Served up with plenty of butter and salt, they are delicious,” she said. “Gordon and the grandkids like them, too.”
Fried chicken is among the region’s best-known Southern dishes, she said. Vegetables, including turnip, collard, and mustard greens, although meatless, are often prepared with bacon and pork.
Diane is particularly fond of hush puppies, a ball of cornbread with onion that is fried in oil.
“Hush Puppies are often served with fish,” she said. “I love the hush puppies but I leave the fish.”
While in grade school, their dad received a call to serve the Native American population at the Church of God in Eagle Butte.
“Moving from South Carolina to the Dakotas was really a culture shock. Not only did we talk funny,” she said, “but we were the preacher’s kids and were teased unmercifully.”
After several subsequent moves, Rev. Charles received a call to the Church of God in Tolstoy. Diane graduated from Bowdle High School in 1970. Undecided about her career goals but leaning toward social services, Diane continued her studies at Northwest Bible College at Minot, N.D., and York Technical School in Rock Hills, S.C. After a succession of office jobs, the spotlight beckoned.
When she was growing up, one of Diane’s passions was sharing her God-given talents with others in the church choir and as a pianist.
“I was the kid whose parents had to beg me to stop practicing the piano,” she said.
That led her to her next gig, as pianist and soloist in Orville Hieb’s Gospel Odyssey touring the upper Midwest and Canada.
“I still pull out the old tapes to play for the grandkids,” Diane said. “They get a kick out of it. Sometimes the local radio station plays a selection or two.”
Diane left the gospel circuit in 1978, and daughter Brandy was born in 1980. Diane managed a grocery store in Tolstoy that allowed the family to be close to her parents. Gordon is an insurance agent at Dacotah Bank in Mobridge. They raised their niece, Carrie, and through the years, more than 30 foster boys and girls have touched their lives.
A couple years ago, she found herself short of breath. Soon she developed ominous chest pains.
Her physician saw the signs, and she was given a stress test and later sent to St.Alexius Hospital in Bismarck for an angiogram.
A stress test, she explained, measures external stress in a clinical setting by measuring an individual’s blood circulation at rest and then compares it under maximum exertion such as on a treadmill.
Not used to exercise of any sort, “I thought the stress test was going to kill me,” she said.
The results were some blockages of plaque in her arteries. Diane was fortunate that the blockages and diabetes could be controlled by medication, diet, and lifestyles changes.
She now burns up the miles on the treadmill and bike. However, she has had to temper her enthusiasm. She recently developed diabetic neuropathy in her feet, damage to the nerves due to high sugar levels from diabetes.
A fun loving grandma, her grandchildren Macghynn, 7, and Nevaeh, 5, keep her moving. Daughter Brandy (Scheller) is employed as a CNA at the Good Samaritan Center in Selby and the family lives in Mobridge. Carrie, a junior in high school, recently was reunited with her biological mom and lives in Colorado.
Diane sometimes prepares Southern dishes for her grandchildren as a special treat, but when they eat at Grandma’s, the emphasis is on eating healthy.
Diane Hintz’s Recipes
Sugarless Cheese Cake
1 – 8 oz. pkg. low fat cream cheese (softened)
8-10 pks. of sugarless sweetener
Mix together until creamed.
8 oz. Sugar Free Cool Whip
Mix together and put in a graham cracker crust
You can add any kind of fruit topping if you choose
Baked or Grilled Cabbage Head
1 cabbage head
1 stick butter
seasoning salt (to taste)
Cut out cabbage core and put in 1 stick butter. Open up leaves as best you can and
sprinkle seasoning salt on leaves. Wrap up in aluminum foil and place in pan in
oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 – 2 hrs. Can also put on the grill and cook the same way. Open the aluminum foil and serve.
Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
2 lb. large sweet potatoes, raw and cleaned
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper (to taste)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Halve the potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch wedges. Toss
with the oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange potato wedges in a single layer on a nonstick
baking sheet. Bake, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 35 minutes.