Passing down the family tradition: Cooking never goes out of style for Medora woman

A Medora woman has proven how persistence can pay off when you don’t give up and keep reaching for your goal, as she finally realized her dream of getting her cookbook published about two months ago.

This is the first cookbook Betty Clampitt has created for herself, but she has helped put cookbooks together for several nonprofit organizations, churches and family reunions.

“This cookbook has been a goal of mine for a long time, and so after I retired three years ago from the dietary department at Schneck Medical Center, I decided I would do it,” she said. “I got started and kind of slowed down on it because I was busy, but it has taken me over two years to finish it.”

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Daughter of the late Hershel and Hazel Willcutt, Clampitt grew up and graduated in Medora, where she still resides with her husband, Dick Clampitt, who operates Clampitt’s Barber Shop in Medora.

Dick also is co-owner of Rudy & Dick’s Barber Shop in Seymour, which he runs alongside business partner and best friend Rudy Ault.

“My wife has been working on this cookbook for two and a half years,” Dick said. “Now, I have my wife back again.”

Dick said he knew Betty was a good cook when he married her, and to show for it, he is about 40 pounds overweight.

“She makes a lot of good food, but one of my favorites would probably be red velvet cake,” Dick said. “But my daughter made me a red velvet cake for my birthday this year so Betty didn’t have to.”

Betty has tried to teach her children to cook over the years, and when the grandchildren were younger, they made cookies together, she said.

The Clampitts have two children, Jason (Diane) Clampitt of Seymour and Amber (Barry) Crane of Mitchell, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“Mom was getting ready to turn 90 when she passed away in February, and after I retired, I spent a lot of time with her,” Betty said. “Going to doctors, shopping and going out to eat with her was more important.”

She had hoped to get the cookbook done so her mother could see it, but her mom knew she was working on it and would tell her she needed to get back to it and get it finished, Betty said.

“One year, me and my mom bought 50 pounds of chocolate after we took a candy-making class in Bedford,” Betty said. “She had two long tables in the basement where we set out the candy to cool, then we made trays to take around to different places like the bank or to Sertoma.”

Betty’s dad enjoyed helping out with the Sertoma Club of Jackson County’s Christmas Miracle project to deliver Christmas gifts each year even though he was not a member, she said.

One feature Betty especially likes about her cookbook is that all of the recipes except for two are non-continued, which means if you’re in the middle of a recipe, you don’t have to turn the page to finish it, she said.

“They are recipes I’ve made over the years for when we used to have monthly gatherings with our families to celebrate birthdays,” Betty said. “I’ve included recipes from family and friends with just a few alterations.”

Whenever Betty tried different recipes she liked, she would take notes if the food was too sweet, salty or dry. Then she would make some changes for the next time, she said.

“When someone would bring food to our gatherings that everyone liked, they’d say, ‘Oh, I’ve got to have that recipe,’” Betty said. “So that’s what my daughter suggested for the title.”

Besides cooking, Betty also enjoys crafting, painting, volunteering at Medora Christian Church and helping the conservation club with its fish fry at the Jackson County Fair.

Betty said one of her most requested dishes is the deviled ham cheeseball, which is in her cookbook along with more than 500 other recipes.

“Another good one is the peanut butter no-bake fudge recipe in the cookbook,” Betty said. “The weather really does make a difference as to how the fudge turns out, like if it’s rainy or if there’s high humidity.”

Betty had 300 cookbooks printed and has sold a little more than a third of them since she received them in October.

“I stay so busy I can’t set up at craft shows, so most have been selling by word of mouth,” Betty said. “A cookbook is something that never gets outdated and kind of sells itself.”

Besides making a good Christmas present, cookbooks also are great gifts for birthdays, thank-yous, wedding gifts and for just about any occasion, Betty said.

“I’m very thankful my mother taught me how to cook because that’s something nobody can take away from you,” Betty said. “You can’t go to college and learn how to cook like your mother cooked.”

Betty’s book, “I’ve Gotta Have That Recipe − Family Gatherings & Pitch-Ins from the Kitchen of Betty Clampitt” are $20 each plus $7.95 shipping and handling.

To avoid shipping costs, the books can be purchased at Rudy & Dick’s Barber Shop, Clampitt’s Barber Shop (on Wednesdays) or State Bank of Medora.

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Medora Brownies and Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients for brownies:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup baking cocoa
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) margarine


  1. Mix together sugar, salt and flour. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, mix vegetable oil, baking cocoa, margarine and water and bring to a boil. Pour hot mixture over flour mixture and beat well.
  3. Dissolve baking soda into buttermilk, then add buttermilk to the flour mixture. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat entire mixture thoroughly.
  4. Pour into a greased 12″ x 18″ x 1″ cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  5. While brownies are baking, prepare the frosting.
  6. Remove brownies from oven. While still warm, pour prepared frosting over top of brownies.

Chocolate frosting


  • ½ cup (1 stick) margarine, melted
  • 4 Tbsp. baking cocoa
  • 6 Tbsp. buttermilk
  • 1 pound box confectioners sugar


  1. Mix margarine, buttermilk and cocoa in a pan, bring to a boil, then add confectioners sugar.
  2. Mix well and pour over hot brownies.
  3. Smooth frosting to edges.

Ham and Beans with Cornbread Clampitt Style


  • 3 cups diced, fully cooked ham
  • 4 cans (16 oz.) butter beans, with liquid
  • 2 bean cans of water
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 1 box (8½ oz.) Jiffy cornbread mix, prepared according to package directions
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted


  1. In a 9″ x 13″ baking pan, mix the ham, butter beans with liquid, water, onion, ketchup and Tabasco sauce.
  2. Bake in a 350-degree oven for one hour.
  3. After baking beans for one hour, mix Jiffy cornbread mix per package directions and pour evenly over top of hot bean mixture, but do not push cornbread into bean mixture.
  4. Return to oven and bake until cornbread is browned and done.
  5. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.

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Betty Clampitt’s cookbook, “I’ve Gotta Have That Recipe − Family Gatherings & Pitch-Ins from the Kitchen of Betty Clampitt,” are $20 each plus $7.95 shipping and handling.

To avoid shipping costs, the books can be purchased at Rudy & Dick’s Barber Shop in Seymour or Clampitt’s Barber Shop (on Wednesdays) or State Bank of Medora, both in Medora.

For information, call 812-966-2516