If at first you don’t succeed — fry, fry again

SALEM – From kitchen newbies to the Julia Childses in the crowd, Cheryl Cohen said her advice for cooks of all kinds is to “just keep on trying.”

A Taste of Home culinary specialist, Cohen traveled from her home in Dover to the stage at Salem High School to share some recipes, cooking tips and savory suggestions during the fifth annual Taste of Home Cooking School held Thursday night.

“We all have to eat, right? You gotta make it fun. Never give up,” she said.

Taste of Home offers recipes for cooks of all skill levels. She recalled watching her mother and grandmother while they cooked and how natural it seemed and the ease of it. They made it look easy.

“Don’t be afraid of trying something new – that’s how you grow in the kitchen,” she said.

Cohen has been a culinary specialist for Taste of Home for six years and does cooking shows all over. Some of the recipes she showed the audience how to prepare included mango lime pie, Italian sausage pot stickers, pineapple upside-down cupcakes, spicy gazpacho salad, chicken paillard with cherry sauce and parsley rice, stuffed baby red potatoes and French onion pizza au gratin.

“All of our recipes at Taste of Home come from people around the world,” she said, noting they’re tested in the Taste of Home test kitchen. Anybody can submit recipes at www.tasteofhome.com/submit.

Salem residents David and Connie Buckoski said they have come to the event nearly every year and always enjoy the night. David is retired and said he does a lot of the cooking since Connie works. They said they’ve tried some of the recipes, and they turn out okay.

“We like the desserts,” Connie said, with David adding they’re into meat and potatoes, like steak or hamburgers.

Lisbon resident Melanie Hiner and Salem resident Bonnie Gordon were first-timers and said they heard about the cooking school from someone else, and both like to cook – and to eat.

“I want to learn shortcuts in cooking, make it quicker,” Bonnie said.

Many attendees come in groups every year, either with friends from work, from the neighborhood or family. Cousins Cindy Rodrick of Leetonia and Cheryl Newhouse of Salem said it’s a family affair, with family members coming together every year.

“We enjoy it, it’s a fun evening out,” Cheryl said, echoed by Cindy and Toni Manzetti, another Leetonia resident.

“We love the prizes,” Cindy said.

Attendees had a chance to scope out products from 42 vendors who were set up in the school cafeteria before cooking school began and win one of 115 door prizes given throughout the night which was emceed by John Steven Bloom, a master illusionist.

Hosted by the Morning Journal, Salem News and The Review, the event proceeds benefited the Newspapers in Education program. The 1,000 ticket holders for the sold-out show were asked to bring a non-perishable food item as part of Cooks Who Care, with all the goods to be donated to the Community Action Agency of Columbiana County and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services food pantry. Everyone who brought a food item received a chance to win a Kitchen Aid stand mixer donated by Home Savings. Each ticket holder also received a goody bag containing 55 items contributed by area businesses.

Before the show started, a lucky attendee whose name was drawn earned the “Best Seat in the House,” a chance to watch the cooking show from the stage. At the end of the night, the winner received the five-piece patio set donated by Walmart.

“What a fun-filled night for all attendees who enjoyed vendors, goody bags, door prizes and delicious recipes. This event could not take place without the generosity of our major sponsors and businesses that contributed to the success of the cooking school. Many thanks to all,” Salem News Publisher Beth Volosin said.

Major sponsors for the cooking school included: Giant Eagle of Salem, Calcutta and East Liverpool, who donated bags of groceries for door prizes and food for the recipes; Papa John’s, pizza for the concessions; Home Savings, donor of a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for Cooks Who Care; Diamond Cut, landscape sponsor and flowers; Walmart, donor of the Best Seat in the House; Grove Appliance, appliance sponsor; Kitchen Solutions, cabinet sponsor; Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, goody bag sponsor; and Salem High School, which donated use of the auditorium.