If personality traits can be a bit like a recipe, then Janet Griffith’s ingredients would be as sweet as ice cream.
As a very talented baker, she spends many hours in the kitchen crafting other traditional desserts, a trait she learned as a teenager from her grandmother, Alberta Oakley. “I used to help my grandmother a lot on weekends,” Griffith says. “I’d go over to spend the night and helped her prepare family meals and desserts.” She also learned a few tricks on making treats from her mother, Joan Harvey.
Griffith is known for a sweet and velvety chess pie, winning the hearts of family members, friends and even co-workers with the recipe she got from her grandmother’s friend, Nell Hale. “At Christmastime, I am always baking cakes, fudge and cookies,” Griffith says. Each year, she takes some of those treats to elderly residents who are unable to get out for the holidays.
In true Southern fashion, Janet also brings her baked goods to friends and neighbors during their times of grief. “I enjoy helping people and letting them know that I care,” she says.
Serving the community
Griffith began as a temp at DTC, then was hired as a full-time switchboard operator in 2000. She transferred to customer service a few years later, preferring to work more directly with customers. Now, she serves the community in DTC’s business department.
Throughout her professional career, Griffith has always served the public. In her first job at University Medical Center in Lebanon, Tennessee, she spent five years as a switchboard operator, then became an emergency room clerk, and later a surgical secretary.
Janet’s professional compassion carries over to several community pursuits. Griffith attends New Hope Baptist Church, where she is a Sunday school teacher for first- and second-graders. She also has a card ministry, sending “get well” wishes and birthday cards to many community members through the years.
During the DeKalb County Fair, Griffith can frequently be found volunteering at the ticket booth or at the Lions Club booth, where both her husband, Tony, and son, Cody, are members, usually selling food at the event. Griffith is a Tennessee native — born in Lebanon, grew up in Watertown, and has lived in Alexandria since marrying Tony 22 years ago.
Their youngest son, Dusty, plans to continue the family tradition and serve a larger community once he joins the U.S. Navy later this year. Regardless of where he is stationed, he will be added to his mother’s card ministry, and he’ll certainly gain new friends when those delicious homemade care packages begin arriving.
Chess Pie Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 45 to 50 minutes
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
5 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
In large bowl, mix butter, sugar and vanilla together. Mix in the eggs, then stir in the flour, cornmeal, vinegar and cream until smooth. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Heat the oven to 350 F and bake.