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Cooking brings people together

By LOURDES VAZQUEZ
May 4, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.

Jamie Dunn demonstrates a dish for hundreds of participants at the Taste of Home Cooking School.

For more information on Chef Jamie Dunn and future Taste of Home cooking programs, click on www.tasteofhome.com/Cooking-Schools/

Participants were also able to visit with more than 30 vendors prior to cooking school.

Debbie Stange, 48, has been cooking since she was 4 years old and her daughter, Hillary Stange, 20, cooked her first meal at 7.

They were among the more than 800 cooking enthusiast who filled the Victoria Community Center for the Taste of Home Cooking School and expo on Tuesday.

"My grandmother gave me a Betty Crocker beginners cookbook," the daughter said.

Mother and daughter of Victoria sat attentive in the third row listening and watching trying to learn new tips for their love of cooking. They like to experiment with new recipes.

"We both like cooking," the mother said. "I like grilling ribs, steaks and hamburgers."

Cooking school was in session as Chef Jamie Dunn opened the event.

Cutting a red bell pepper, Dunn expressed joy of her new kitchen gadget - an electric salt dispenser.

"If this is too salted you'll know why," Dunn joked as she used the dispenser.

The event, hosted by the Victoria Advocate, not only brought families together, but was a chance for friends to gather as well.

"It's a good thing to do with a whole bunch of friends," said Ruth Glass of Victoria.

Glass and her friends attended the event for cooking tips.

"It's a good place to get ideas, instead of cooking the same thing," said Susie Blackaller of Victoria.

Friends also joked that it would improve each others' cooking.

"They're better cooks than I am, so I want to learn how they do it," said Mary Otto of Victoria.

The event also touched on healthy eating, as Dunn spoke of using alternative ingredients in the recipes.

Instead of using only cream cheese, cooks could use the low fat version, said Dunn as she prepared Zesty Teeny with sausage and peppers as the first dish.

Sylvia Cortez, administrative assistant for Karnes County Sheriff's Office, has found that more people are cooking.

"People are gearing more toward home cooking for health reasons, weight issues and plus the family time," said Cortez of Nordheim, whose grandson is a chef.

The administrative assistant said cooking is a stress reliever.

"It's relaxing," Cortez said.

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