For October’s spotlight, we are pleased to feature Cooks4_6 as our member of the month. A contributor since 2006, Cooks4_6 lives in Wooster, Ohio, and favors her Italian family recipes over cookbooks any day. With fall in full swing, we chatted about her seasonal food favorites, annual Halloween bash and most-loved Food.com recipes.
Tell us about yourself. I grew up in Minneapolis with parents who enjoyed cooking. My mother started my sisters and me in the kitchen before we could even see over the countertop. My dad learned to cook from his grandfather, a first-generation Italian-American who may have been the best sauce maker on Earth. Today, cooking is therapy.
October is one of your favorite months. Why is that? I love everything about fall: the cool crisp air, the colorful leaves and turning on the oven after a long summer break. It is also the beginning of the celebration season in our home. We celebrate the birthdays of all four of my children, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, my anniversary, Christmas and New Year’s!
There are so many great things to cook in fall; what do you like to make? My family has a Friday night tradition of making homemade pizza. Usually we make homemade crust and we always make our favorite pizza sauce, now prepared by my second-born daughter and sous chef!
Halloween is coming up; what are your plans? My husband and I are known in our community for throwing one of the biggest and best adult Halloween parties. This event brings out creative costumes to fit the theme, but also appetizers and cocktails as seen in our Saturday Night Live menu from last year. this menu.
What dishes do you make that your family and friends love? Here are a few family and friend favorites: Scrumptious Black-Bottom Banana Cream Pie, Grilled General Tso’s Chicken, Easy Shepherd’s Pie, and my number one dish: the Fannin Family Casa d’Angelo Salad. One of the most cherished recipes I have is a fourth-generation Christmas must-have: my Grandma Wendt’s Almond Spritz Cookie Recipe. My kids are now clamoring for the recipe and I couldn’t be more ecstatic that it will be passed on to another generation!
Any kitchen disaster stories? My advice is to always check the oven before turning it on. When I was 20 years old, I attempted to make my first Thanksgiving dinner. I was living in a rental with a small kitchen, and being a bit of a neatnik I stored my unwashed dishes in a plastic tub in the oven until I could get around to washing them. When I turned on the oven to preheat it, the tub turned into a Salvador Dalí painting!
What’s your favorite Food.com recipe? When I was a little girl, my grandmother often told me I was her favorite grandchild but said not to tell the others. It wasn’t until she passed away that I discovered she had told my siblings and cousins the same thing. That is how I feel about many Food.com recipes: I have so many favorites I can’t choose just one. But here are a few that stand out: Pub-Style Peppered Stilton Steaks with Charred Onions and Chips, Grilled Porterhouse Steak with Paprika-Parmesan Butter, Buddha’s Chocolate Mousse Shortcakes, IHOP Buttermilk Pancakes and Roasted Chicken Cacciatore.