Sandlapper Society

Autumn 2009

Let’s Meet in Manning

Good Food, Gift Items & Southern Charm at The French Hens

Sometimes, things are just meant to be. Ask Brandi Wheeler, owner of The French Hens café and gift shop in Manning.

Four years ago, JoAnn Corbett and two friends opened a little gift shop and named it Three French Hens. “I’d always wanted to own a shop,” says JoAnn. “After my husband died and I gave the business to our children, I was able to do it. We carried lamps, gift items and even accent furniture. We had a ball!”

In 2007, Three French Hens moved to its present location in the old Brailsford Grocery on West Boyce Street in downtown Manning. Since the site had once been a restaurant and still had a kitchen, the trio decided to offer light lunch items—salads and sandwiches and a few desserts. The decision was a good one: Tempted by key lime coconut cake, pecan praline cake and other indulgent sweets as well as fantastic chicken salad and made-to-order sandwiches, hungry locals and visitors flocked to the cafe.

The legendary chicken salad is made the same way it was when the café opened (although the ladies won’t part with the recipe, Brandi does admit one of the secret ingredients is cream cheese), as is JoAnn’s famous pecan praline cake. “Like everything here, we make it homemade,” says JoAnn, who created the recipe after tasting the cake at a friend’s house. “She wouldn’t give me the recipe, so I went home and went to work. It took a few tries, but I finally got it right!”

Below are several recipes the ladies would share!

Chicken Casserole

1 bag of large egg noodles
1/2 can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 can of cream of celery soup
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
2 cups cooked diced chicken
1 small container of cottage cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 bag of Stove Top Stuffing® mix

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and spread into a 9x13 glass pan. Cook in oven on 350° for 20 minutes.

French Hens Asparagus

Olive oil
Margarita salt

Steam asparagus for three minutes. Place on pan; coat with olive oil and sprinkle with margarita salt. Place in the oven on broil for approximately three minutes.

Copper Pennies

2 cans of cooked carrots, drained
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups cider vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Place carrots, onions and peppers in a bowl. Mix together all remaining ingredients and pour over carrot mixture. Refrigerate and let sit overnight.

Praline Icing

Although The French Hens won’t part with the exact instructions for its Praline Cake, it is willing to share the recipe for the frosting. You’ll find it transforms just about any cake into something special.

1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter (not margarine)
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
11/2 cups finely chopped pecans

Melt butter and brown sugar on medium heat. Gradually add powdered sugar and milk as needed to stir in sugar. Cook for 5 minutes or until slow boil. Add pecans and stir until completely mixed.