Danedri Thompson
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Her turnips were a little bitter, but Lynne Hermansen, Olathe, hopes the other guests at the inaugural meeting of the Cooking Club of Gardner enjoyed her green bean casserole.
“I used goat cheese instead of cream of mushroom,” Hermansen said. “It was pretty good. And I used almonds. I don’t even like nuts.”
That’s kind of the idea of the cooking club – for people to try new things in the kitchen, Christina Reeves, owner of Terrace Catering, said.
Everyone is invited to join the club and figure out what they like.
“A lot of times people are scared to try new things,” Reeves, of Gardner, explained. “They don’t want to try and cook something at home, because they’re not sure if they’ll like it anyway.”
During the inaugural meeting in November, guests shared Thanksgiving-themed recipes. They noshed on appetizers, desserts and sides and brought recipe printouts to share with others. Eight members attended the first meeting, but the groups page on Facebook has 45 fans.
“It’s an easy way for me to post recipes and tips,” Reeves said. “I started thinking about (the Facebook page) when we started the group, because so many times during the year, I’ve put out cooking tips on my own page.”
For example, in order to keep an avocado from oxidizing, you can run it under cold water, Reeves posted last year.
As the owner of Terrace Catering in Edgerton, Reeves has catered dozens of events and even served her gourmet foods on movie sets. It’s not unusual for people to ask her questions about what to do in the kitchen.
When a neighbor asked if Reeves would teach her to cook, Reeves thought it might be more fun to do a cooking club.
“I said I’d rather do something where we share cooking together. It’d be different to do it as a social thing,” Reeves said.
All levels of culinary experience are welcome to join or like the Facebook page.
“Most people that were there at the meeting were inexperienced, which is part of the reason they were there,” Hermansen said.
Some of the club members prefer quick meals they can make in a crock pot.
“And then we have people like me, who really, really like to cook and really, really like different flavors,” Reeves said.
Reeves tries to provide recipes that can be whipped together in less than 30 minutes.
“The main concern a lot of women have shared with me is that they have to dedicate a lot of time to cook. But that’s not true,” she said. “I cook all day every day. I still go home and I cook a meal in 30 minutes, and it’s good and flavorful and good for you.”
The club will next meet on Dec. 9, and anyone is welcome to attend. The meeting will feature holiday and New Year’s themed food and drinks as a progressive dining experience.
“We’ll meet at one house and do appetizers and New Year’s Eve drinks. We’ll go to another house and do mini desserts with different flavors of coffee,” Reeves said.
Guests will also have a white elephant kitchen utensil gift exchange.
Reeves will be giving away her garlic press.
“I never use it. I thought I would, but I don’t,” she said.
Guests can RSVP to the event via the group’s Facebook page. Go to Facebook.com and search for “Cooking Club of Gardner.”