Thank you for the memories

Meredith Hines-Dochterman
Published: September 5 2013 | 7:02 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 8:01 pm in

I met my husband because of a tornado, one of those random events you donít recognize as life-changing at the time.

Our first date was a 4th of July celebration. A few months later, he was asking my parents for Christmas present ideas.

Dad suggested a cookbook; mom proposed an engagement ring. I still donít know who mortified me more, but by Christmas day I had both.

I still have that cookbook in my collection. I donít use it often, but thatís OK because, to me, itís more than a cookbook. I see it and remember how nervous my husband was when he gave it to me, hoping I wouldnít take it the wrong way. I remember the first dinner I made for him, the pumpkin pie I ruined, and the look on his face when I catch him sneaking a bite of cookie dough. There are memories tied to the recipes Iíve made, even those that didnít turn out like Iíd hoped.

I'm not a†culinary expert. Iím simply a person who enjoys cooking and finds delight in making food for others.

I love how I feel when I try a new recipe and my family likes it. I love how bringing a container of cookies to work makes a Monday better. And Iíve loved the e-mails and letters Iíve received from Gazette readers with comments about the stories Iíve told and the recipes Iíve shared. I even love the correspondence that includes a ďno failĒ sugar cookie recipe from well-meaning strangers who believe Iíll achieve success someday.

Itís been an honor to write about Eastern Iowaís food scene, from annual chili cook-offs to nationally-recognized chefs. We are lucky to live in a†place where we can dine on fried butter at the state fair and heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market. Itís my hope that my time covering food for The Gazette was both informative and entertaining. I consider it a highlight of my journalism career, one Iíll remember fondly as I embark on a new path.

So while this is good-bye, it also isnít. Iíll still be writing Everybody Eats on a freelance basis, an opportunity Iím thrilled to have because maybe, someday, Iíll finally have a triumphant sugar cookie story to share. For now, though, I leave you with the recipe of the first dinner I ever made for my husband. Thank you for reading; happy eating!

ANGEL HAIR PASTA WITH CREAMY MUSHROOM SAUCE

  • 4 †††† ounces angel hair pasta
  • 1 †††† Ĺ cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 †††† medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 †††† tablespoon butter
  • 1 †††† 3-ounce package cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • ľ †††† teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 †††† teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 †††† cup milk
  • 2 †††† tablespoons snipped chives
  • 1 †††† cooked chicken breast, cubed

Cook pasta according to directions on the package.

In a medium saucepan, cook the mushrooms and onion in the butter until vegetables are tender. Stir in cream cheese, salt and pepper. Cook a stir over low heat until the cheese is melted. Gradually stir in milk, chives and chicken; heat through.

Pour sauce over pasta. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from ďPasta (Cooking for Today)Ē by Better Homes and Gardens Books (May 15, 1993)

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