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Taste of Home

By Susan Shinn
Salisbury Post
CHINA GROVE ó “I love food!”
The capacity crowd of 750-plus does love food ó that’s why they attended last night’s Taste of Home cooking school hosted by the Salisbury Post.
The Carson High School auditorium was full of enthusiastic folks who wanted to learn about new recipes, new tips and shortcuts in the kitchen.
Learn they did, thanks to Michelle Roberts of the cooking school staff.
Part chef and part comedienne, Roberts led the audience through two hours of tempting but easy recipes, useful tips and ó perhaps the best part ó plenty of giveaways.
There were a couple of rules for the event, Roberts said. The first: Have a good time. “Sit back, relax, watch me work, get some good ideas and go home and cook up a storm.”
Secondly, she said, “If you win a door prize, you must act excited about your prize … and you must jump up and wave your hands in the air and yell, ‘I love food!’ ”
Plastic bags rustled as audience members got out their Taste of Home cookbooks to follow along with Roberts as she cooked onstage.
Along with Post employees and other volunteers, helping out onstage was emcee Michael Thomas, better known in these parts as “Mailvis.”
The evening’s presenting sponsor was The Medicine Shoppe. Other local sponsors included Food Lion, Rowan Regional Medical Center and Renew Skincare, with appliances provided by Queen City.
Roberts, whose curly red hair was pulled back into a ponytail, began the show with Herb-Stuffed Roasted Cornish Hen.
“They’re nice and elegant and they make for a pretty display,” she said as she worked.
It was clear that the crowd ó mostly women ó was there to learn as they watched intently.
Roberts followed up with Buffalo Chicken Wraps that packed the heat.
Thomas told her beforehand, she said, “If you can sweat while eating, that’s always good.”
Cool veggies such as carrots and cucumbers complemented the fiery buffalo chicken.
“Are you sweating?” Roberts asked Thomas after handing him a sampler plate.
“Yes, ma’am,” Thomas answered.
“Good,” Roberts said.
Roberts showed off a quick and easy Taco Meatball Ring. It looks impressive but it’s easy to make with the help of refrigerated crescent rolls. You can substitute turkey for ground beef, Roberts said, and add most any type of filling for the center ring that you like in tacos ó lettuce, tomato, onions, olives, cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, salsa and the like.
Roberts noted that all of the dishes would be given away at the end of the evening.
“This will not make it out of the parking lot,” she said. “Nobody’s gonna see you with sour cream runnin’ down your face.”
Roberts also said that one of her friends weighed each meatball on a scale when she made the dish.
“It’s not that serious,” Roberts said.
Other recipes included an Italian Herb Frittata, Avocado Eggs Benedict, Lemon Nut Twists, Strawberries Al Moscato with Vanilla Cream, Meringue Nests, Flower Power Cupcakes and Chocolate-Almond Dessert Crepes.
“Men, pay attention,” Roberts said while making the eggs benedict dish. “Mother’s Day is just around the corner.”
Everyone in the audience was paying attention.
Vickie Agner-Keene cooks most nights that she’s home. She said she came to see new recipes and new techniques.
“I get tired of the same thing,” she said. “I like new tips and shortcuts.”
Amanda Hesse and her friend Zebbie Bondurant attended from the East Rowan area.
“There have been some good recipes,” Hesse said. “I can’t wait to get home to try some of them. The goodie bag was a nice touch, too.”

Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or sshinn@salisburypost.com.

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