If you are one of the hundreds of people that attended the Indian Taco Feed in Java from 2006 to 2016 you already know that good food and a good cause make for a good time. Spearheading the annual feed was Javaite Becky Witlock. A lifetime Java resident, she no stranger to the importance of family and community.
Becky is the third child of John Witlock Jr., and Anne Witlock. Her father, her sister Jeannie and her Aunt Helen were stricken with multiple sclerosis at different stages in their lives. This sparked the idea for the annual Indian Taco Feed to raise money to benefit the search for a cure.
Of course, it helps that she comes from a long line of good cooks. Anne cooked for 25 years at the Java school and for another 10 at the Selby school. Becky credits both her mother and her Grandma Mueller for her aptitude.
“One of my favorite memories is spending Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa Mueller’s house after our church program,” said Becky. “My grandmother would spend days making Christmas cut-out cookies and decorating every one.”
Her grandpa would retrieve the gallon of Mogen David from its place in the bathroom and give each kid a ration according to their age.
“He would use one glass for 50-plus people sometimes, because he didn’t want Grandma doing dishes all night,” laughed Becky.
Several years ago, probably on a blizzard night, Becky and her nephew Eric decided to cook some pudding. They scorched it and knew it, but put it in bowls anyway. The jokers served it and wouldn’t let anyone eat it until everyone was served.
“No one was pleased by the taste, but we had cooked another batch that was 100-percent better,” said Becky.
One of Becky’s favorite things to make is her sister Jeannie’s caramels.
“This year I made 22 batches” said Becky. “She passed away in 2014 and I want to carry on her legacy.”
A full-time clerk at Shorty’s One Stop and a semi-retired painter, Becky is no stranger to hard work.
“My mother and I painted (structures) for years and when someone asked ‘why do you do that’ (it’s hard work) my mother would reply ‘you can see what you’ve accomplished when you’re done,’” she said.
Community is important to Becky. The vice president of the Java Boosters Club, she is also on the board for the Java Community Center, committee woman for the Walworth County Republicans, and has served three terms on the council of Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Java. She is the past president of the Woman’s Coffee Cup Bowling League and served on seven separate committees for the Java Centennial. Becky even played Frosty the Snowman for the Selby Snow Queen Pageant.
In 2016, on Jeannie’s birthday Becky, held her 10th and final feed for the cause. There were a lot of people who were disappointed when they stopped and Becky is asked about it often.
“I told people, if I ever do it again it won’t be for MS,” she said.
In 2018 a friend suggested they resume the tradition to raise funds for a different cause, the Walworth County Care Center. On Sunday, April 14, beginning at 4 p.m. the Java Community Hall will be filled again with hungry people sharing a meal and their gifts for a good cause.
Becky Witlock’s Recipes
No-Bake Sunflower Bars
3 cups sunflower kernels
2 cups flaked Coconut
1 cup rice cereal
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
In a large bowl combine the sunflower kernels, coconut, and rice cereal. In a sauce pan combine brown sugar and syrup and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute stirring continuously. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until well blended. Pour over the sunflower mixture and stir until coated. Press into a greased 13x9x2 inch pan. Cool: cut into bars. Yields 3 dozen.
3 cup sugar
1 ½ cup butter
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cup dark corn syrup
3 cups cream
1 ½ cup walnuts, optional
Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and 2 cups cream. Bring to a boil. Add remaining cup of cream. Cook slowly to soft ball stage. Remove from heat-add nuts and vanilla. Pour into greased pan. When cool cut and wrap.
Home-Cooked Salad Dressing
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1 Tbsp dry mustard
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
Bring water and vinegar to a boil. Mix sugar, flour, salt and mustard in a bowl and add some of the hot liquid. Add the mixture to the rest of the hot water and vinegar and return to a boil. Beat the eggs, add a little hot dressing to them stirring well. Then add to the dressing and cook until thick. You can mix these with equal amounts of salad dressing for a delicious dressing for macaroni salad, etc. Also, mix with garlic salt and onion salt to taste for tartar sauce. The kids in school ate this on their fish sticks and noodles.
1 ½ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 Tbsp lard
Add enough warm water to make a stiff dough. Let stand in a covered mixing bowl for ½ hour. Dice potatoes and put in a heavy frying pan with lard and water to just cover potatoes. Salt to taste and bring to a boil. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick and spread with lard or butter. Put dough over your hands and stretch and pull until very thin. Roll up and cut in desired sized pieces. Add strudels to the potatoes and cook with a tight cover on the pan. Cook until they fry, about 20 minutes.
No-Bake Caramel Nut Bars
1 pkg graham crackers, whole not broken or crushed
1 cup real butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp Karo Syrup
1 can mixed nuts or cashews (1 -2 cups)
1 to 2 cups chocolate chips
Line a 9×13 cake pan with the whole graham crackers. Cut them to fit the bottom. On top of stove, melt brown sugar, butter and syrup together. Bring to a boil and boil 3 minutes. Pour ¼ of the caramel mixture over the crackers until they are lightly covered. Top with nuts and chocolate chips. Pour the rest of the caramel over the bars and cool slightly before cutting into bars. Enjoy.