Wednesday, September 17, 2014




Cooking demo kindles family legacy (Video)

By ErinPradia
May 8, 2012 at 12:08 a.m.
Updated May 9, 2012 at 12:09 a.m.

Michelle Schroeder and her mother, Mary Jo Alcantar, enjoy a good laugh just moments before the Taste of Home Cooking School began on Tuesday evening.

Victoria Advocate Taste of Home sponsors:

Victoria Advocate Taste of Home sponsors: • Presenting Sponsor: The Cooking Depot

• Stage Partners: Agama Advertising, Ashley Furniture Homestore, Home Depot, McAdams Floral, Shop the World, Torin Bales Fine Jewelry, TNT Restaurant and Uncle Mike's Rent to Own

• Chocolatiers Sponsors: Cal-Com Federal Credit Union, Fountain of Youth Medical Spa, This is It! Seasoning Company and Yoakum National Bank

• Concessionaire: DoubleDave's Pizzaworks

• Food Drive: H-E-B

• Print Sponsor: Victoria Blue Print Company

Cooking is a family legacy for Victoria resident Michelle Schroeder, passed down to her by her mother and her grandmother.

Continuing this legacy made the Taste of Home Cooking Expo at the Community Center a fun mother-daughter event for the 38-year-old and her mother Mary Jo Alcantar, 58, of Nursery.

"Honey, I've been cooking since I was about 5 years old," Alcantar said with a laugh. "I've cooked in the schools and in the jails. Now, I have my own taco stand."

Alcantar's favorite dish to make is tamales, she said.

While her family's favorite dish to eat is enchiladas, Schroeder said it is always fun to learn fresh new recipes.

The women said they regretted Schroeder's little sister, Christine Aviles, 37, of Laredo, wasn't able to drive up for the cooking demonstration as well.

All 800 seats at the Taste of Home Cooking Expo were sold out the week before the event began and an additional 100 vendors and volunteers offered samples of products, said Emily Weissmiller, the Victoria Advocate's marketing manager.

Booths included hair dressers, photographers, appliances, aprons, jewelry and aromas. A portion of the proceeds from the Cooking Expo were donated to the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent.

A continuous line of people were waiting to sample food prepared by the Cooking Depot of Cuero and get a hold of their recipe cards.

Gertrude Janak, 76, and her husband, Gene Janak, 75, said they usually take turns cooking.

"Whenever one's not there, the other one cooks," she said. "Except when we have company or the kids come. Then we work together and really get cooking."

Dinner for the Janaks generally consists of a main dish, salad, vegetable, iced tea and a dessert. They said they hoped to learn some tips for quick, easy-to-prepare meals.

The Cooking Expo also drew members of a younger crowd just beginning to develop their repertoire.

Baleigh Williams, 13, wearing a pink and blue striped shirt shouldered goodie bags and her eager fingers - tipped with blue nail polish - explored the gift bags she and her mother, Becky Williams, 45, received at the door. Williams said her daughter often helps around the house and she looked forward to learning new things.

Baleigh said her favorite dish to prepare is spaghetti. She especially enjoys serving her family a home-cooked meal and seeing their gratitude, she said.

Alcantar said she had attended a cooking expo at the community center in the 1980s and she was glad to bring her daughter back with her. This time, she and her daughter bought reserved seating in the front of the room.

"When I went the first time, back in the 80s, I was seated way in the back. I couldn't see a thing," Alcantar said. "It was nice we were able to pick up some of the goodies before the cooking show started."

Many of the attendees continued munching on samples and food from the concession stand as they settled in for the cooking show.

"I enjoyed getting to taste the samples. The chicken salad from South Texas Milling Inc. - it's awesome," Schroeder said. "I want to see what else they have to offer."

Schroeder said the demonstrations and magazines got her started planning meals for the next several weeks.

Culinary specialist Jamie Dunn demonstrated 10 recipes, new food products, cooking shortcuts, tips and plating techniques during the cooking show.

In addition to goody bags stuffed with cookbooks, magazines and special offers, participants were entered into a drawing for door prizes.

In addition to cooking lessons to spice up the kitchen table back home, participants were encouraged to donate canned goods to the H-E-B Plus food drive to benefit the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent. The names of those who donated food were entered into a drawing for two gift baskets from H-E-B valued at $100 each.

H-E-B Plus store director Joe Farias said the donations more than doubled those from last year's food drive at the cooking expo.

"This is one of the many ways H-E-B supports the food bank throughout the year," Farias said.

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