What Taste of Home culinary specialist Michelle “Red” Roberts did for the next two hours was show how the average kitchen can still hold a few secrets.
Roberts made recipe after recipe of signature dishes cultivated from the pages of Taste of Home magazine as part of the Taste of Home Cooking School, which has become an anticipated event for many.
“This is our third time coming, and we have enjoyed it every time,” said Calhoun’s Tina Rutledge, who came along with Joy Lovett of Rome. “We missed it last year and had to come back. It’s well worth it.”
Attendees visited food vendors and sampled different dishes before the show and then sat down to watch Roberts turn out recipes as she prepared them on the stage.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Katie Duvall of Armuchee. “You just learn all of these different ways to minimize cooking time and use all types of utensils.”
One of the eight dishes was pulled pork tostadas, where Roberts took a pork loin, browned and slow cooked, and used a stand mixer on a low setting to shred the meat quickly.
“You never know until you come to something like this what you can learn,” Duvall said. “I love to cook, and this is going to help me out a great deal. I can’t wait until next year.”
Roberts uses funny quips and anecdotes to entertain the audience while educating them about some of the techniques that have been developed in recent years.
A moment that called for crushed garlic while making sausage-stuffed mushrooms saw Roberts use a garlic rocker, which is stainless steel and can help remove the smell of garlic from hands.
“When I was growing up, my mother told me that the best way to get the smell of garlic off of my hands was to wash dishes,” Roberts said. “That wasn’t true.”
Prizes were given away throughout the night with names being drawn frequently for gift certificates, gift baskets, floral arrangements and even, at the end of the night, the dishes themselves.
Much of the crowd was comprised of people who had been to the cooking school before and knew that winners had to stand up and shout, “I love food!” A group of girls even came wearing special shirts with the slogan on the front.
“I like the little tips that you get that aren’t in every cookbook,” Rutledge said. “It’s very nice and comes in handy.”