WEIRTON - Hundreds came out for the annual Taste of Home Cooking School hosted at the Serbian American Cultural Center on Tuesday.
The event was sponsored by Frank and Jerry's Furniture and Appliance and M&M True Value Hardware. It was organized by The Weirton Daily Times and Herald-Star.
Crowds began to line up outside before 3 p.m. waiting to be the first through the doors. Every attendee received a gift bag that included several Taste of Home magazines with new recipes including those featured Tuesday night, as well as coupons from participating national food companies.
"I'm always amazed at the attendance of local residents gathering for the Taste of Home Cooking School," said Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times, who served as the master of ceremonies during the event. "This show has become an important community event and something good always happens here."
Cindy Kotsch, events and marketing coordinator for the newspapers, said those attending the evening who are 21 and older also had the chance to register to receive door prizes and purchase tickets for the grand-prize drawing for a 42-inch flat screen television or a top range stove. She said proceeds from the drawing would benefit the newspapers' literacy program which puts 3,800 newspapers in 28 area schools to assist teachers with their lessons.
In addition, attendees had access to area vendors featuring everything from sweets to handbags to jewelry and more before the cooking school kicked off at 6:30 p.m.
SHOW HOST — Cheryl Cohen, a culinary expert with Taste of Home who has hosted the show in Weirton several times, demonstrated 10 new recipes during the show Tuesday that kicked off her season of cooking with the Taste of Home Cooking School. -- Angelina Dickson
PACKED HOUSE — The crowd poured into the Serbian American Cultural Center Tuesday, receiving their goody bags and ready for the evening at the Taste of Home Cooking School. -- Craig Howell
Taste of Home Cooking School Chef Cheryl Cohen shared a number of recipes with residents of the Tri-State Area during the evening. She entertained the crowd while offering them tips on 10 different featured recipes, including peanut butter cheesecake, asparagus strudel, grilled chicken with mango chipotle mojo, mushroom tacos, Italian meatballs, taco casserole, garlic chicken, Mexican shrimp bisque, grilled chicken pizza and chocolate strawberry shortcake.
"I'm happy to be able to return to the Weirton show. It's close to my home and it's always a great crowd," she announced to the crowd as he continued through each recipe and drawing names for prizes throughout the show. "I hope everyone came prepared to have a great time."
Some of the tips she included for the recipes included substitutes that would work for different tastes. She said there were a lot of spring veggies and flavors featured and some new products from the national sponsors.
Diana Burtnett said it was her second time attending the show. She said it is something she now looks forward to and it has brought her and her husband closer together as they help each other in the kitchen. Burtnett said she had some extra tickets and decided to bring her friend Susan Yost along for the very first time.
"Taste of Home is the best cooking magazine there is," said Yost. "I love the magazine and the show was great."
At the close of the show, each of the recipes prepared, along with the dishes on which they were presented, were given as prizes to some in the audience.
Robin Nixon of Colliers was announced as the grand prize winner of the 42-inch television. She said this was her second time at the show and she never expected to win, but she was very glad she did.
"I decided to take the TV because ours just broke two days ago so this has worked out perfectly," said Nixon. "I enjoyed the show and anyone who's never been here before, you are missing out."
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)