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Taste of Home: A second helping of cooking show comes to Rowan

By Susan Shinn
sshinn@salisburypost.com
CHINA GROVE ó Michelle Roberts served up another delightful evening Monday as a presenter at the Salisbury Post’s second-annual Taste of Home Cooking School.
The 750-seat auditorium at Carson High School was filled to capacity ó and then some ó as Roberts prepared nearly a dozen springtime recipes.
This year’s show was presented by the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy and sponsored by Rowan Regional Medical Center. Beforehand, guests mingled in the spacious Carson lobby with a variety of local vendors.
But Roberts ó and the cooking show ó were clearly the main event.
Jennifer Kopetzky and her mom, Cheryl, came from Davie County.
“I saw it in the paper and my mom and I like to cook, so we came to check it out,” Kopetzky said. “We don’t get to do too much together so it’s a good mother-daughter thing.”
Kopetzky said she purchased tickets the first day they were available in March. Other folks must’ve had the same idea, because the show has been sold out for weeks.
Before the show began, Michael Thomas entertained the crowd as “Mailvis,” then stayed on as emcee. He and Roberts engaged in “friendly banter” during the entire evening.
With her trademark flaming red hair, Roberts, a native of Mississippi, could’ve easily pursued a career in stand-up comedy. But she’s chosen to stand behind the counter instead, dishing up delicious recipes with ease.
She told the audience that she’s presented more than 200 shows since joining the Taste of Home staff as a culinary specialist in 2002.
Lori Young of Salisbury, who won one of the evening’s numerous door prizes, was especially looking forward to seeing Roberts again.
“She was really great last year,” said Young, who got a chance to meet Roberts after the first show.
Roberts asked the crowd whether this was their first time attending a Taste of Home Cooking School. More than half raised their hands.
“Y’all are outnumbered by the newbies,” she said.
Roberts’ wit sparkled as much as her talent for whipping up yummy dishes.
She mentioned that her 19-year-old niece is an Elvis freak.
“You best be getting me a picture” of Thomas, her niece told her.
As attendees opened their goody bags, many in the audience did not have the Taste of Home Cooking School magazine, from which Roberts drew her recipes.
“I will give you mine,” she said to a woman in the audience, whose name was “Debora without an H.”
Debora even asked Roberts to sign her magazine, which she did by quickly grabbing a Sharpie from her apron pocket.
“I get asked for autographs all the time,” she said, the perfect deadpan tone in her voice.
While cooking, Roberts shared with the audience the seven “super spices,” which are loaded with antioxidants: oregano, cinnamon, ginger, red pepper, thyme, rosemary and curry powder.
She also shared a bit about her personal life while preparing Spicy Asian Shrimp Salad.
“I had a boyfriend who was allergic to peanuts,” she said. “I don’t have him anymore … I didn’t kill him! Not that it didn’t cross my mind.”
Distribution of door prizes and women in the audiences hollering out the requisite “I love food!” kept things moving along at a fun pace all evening.

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