Spring fare showcased at Taste of Home event

WORTHINGTON -- Ticket-holders observed a demonstration of cooking 10 delectable dishes at the Taste of Home Cooking School Monday night at Memorial Auditorium, after being treated to a ton of tasty tidbits at the pre-show event at St. Mary's School.

WORTHINGTON -- Ticket-holders observed a demonstration of cooking 10 delectable dishes at the Taste of Home Cooking School Monday night at Memorial Auditorium, after being treated to a ton of tasty tidbits at the pre-show event at St. Mary's School.

Culinary specialist Kristi Larson took her audience of more than 600 people through a series of decadent desserts, light brunch fare and international cuisine, encouraging them to "Savor Spring" -- the evening's theme.

"The first time you make a dish, follow the instructions closely," Larson advised. "The second time, you can embellish and make it your own."

Larson has an associate's degree in culinary arts and a bachelor's degree in family and consumer science education.

She and her four local cooking assistants, Julie Weber, Ellen Olson, Kim Rogers and Holly Sieve, kept things organized, so all 10 dishes could be successfully cooked in just two hours. They also helped set the stage and did the little bit of pre-cooking the show required.


Unlike watching a cooking show on television, audience members could actually smell the food as it was assembled, baked or boiled. Ten lucky audience members also got to take home the dishes Larson created, right in their display serving pieces.

Other audience members went home with bags of groceries as door prizes. Every audience member received a treat bag with a small plastic container suitable for freezing jam, a tablespoon/teaspoon measure, cookbooks with the evening's recipes plus hundreds of others and dozens of coupons.

Co-emcees Ryan McGaughey, Daily Globe managing editor, and Beth Rickers, features editor, helped keep the evening moving.

"Don't be afraid to try new things," Larson said.

Her own personal favorite dish from the show was the ham and asparagus puff pancake, with its colorful fresh asparagus spears, ham and shredded cheddar.

"It's a great presentation, a nice spring dish. It's fun to make," Larson said.

It is also meant to be an easy dish to make. Taste of Home specializes in dishes that can be made easily with ingredients most people probably have in their kitchens already.

International-themed entrees in the show included Spanish-style paella, basil and chicken marsala with orzo, easy penne with vodka cream sauce and a gyro salad with tzatziki dressing.


The most exotic-looking dish may, however, have been the dangerous-sounding chocolate-strawberry bombe. The globe-shaped cake was a chocolate-lover's paradise and a dieter's nightmare, with its wickedly rich devil's-food cake, succulent strawberry filling and heavenly whipped cream frosting.

"Life is short. Eat dessert first," Larson said, quoting a popular saying.

To assemble the dessert, the cake layer is pressed into the bottom of a bowl, layered with filling and more cake, and then inverted onto a decorative serving platter. The end result is an elegant and apparently gravity-defying cake.

The Daily Globe hosted the event, which was made possible through the support of co-sponsors, many of whom had booths at the pre-show event.

Attendees wandered St. Mary's gym, plucking up samples of chicken noodle soup, fresh-baked bread and walnut apple pie from Hy-Vee's table, or skewered meatballs, sausage and cheese from Schwan's table.

Krista Van Heuvelen came from Ocheyedan, Iowa, to enjoy the vendors and the food samples. She had attended the show two years ago as well, and returned to wander the gym trying new things.

Samples of an unusual drink Xango, made from the fruit and outer portion of a mangosteen, were also popular. The slightly sweet, tangy drink is said to be a COX-inhibitor, which can help with inflammation.

The booths weren't entirely devoted to food and drink, though. Fitness service Curves for Women was there.


Worthington Regional Hospital told a cautionary tale at its booth with a model of a pound of fat that disgusted and fascinated many passers-by as well. The hospital's display of sugar vials stated 12 teaspoons of sugar could be found in regular soda, compared to 0 teaspoons in a diet soda.

Deb's Healing Massage offered hydrating paraffin treatments to anyone passing by its table.

Angie Gonsor of Round Lake, a massage therapist, put hand sanitizer and then hydrating lotion on Brenda Schweigert's hand. Then, Schweigert had to dip her hand into the paraffin three times before Gonsor wrapped a plastic bag over it and finally covered the hand with a terry-cloth mitt.

"It's nice and warm," said Schweigert, of Fulda, who stopped to have her hand treated.

Later, Schweigert's hand would be unwrapped, and the paraffin gently peeled away, leaving her hand soft and hydrated.

Other booths at the pre-show included At Home America, Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, Melaleuca, Echo Lighting, Lien Electric, Kitchens and Baths by Greta, KM Graphics and Discovery Toys.

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