The story begins August 11, 1962, when I married the most beautiful woman in the world, beautiful inside and out. She soon became not only my loving wife but a good companion and almost all of my friends. We began a life journey of 57 years until she passed in August of 2019.
The saga of “Cooking Together” began in 1978 when I received a Chinese wok for Christmas. I had always enjoyed cooking when time allowed so with my job that meant on weekends. I researched Chinese cooking techniques and recipes. Along with a friend, Jim Bandy, who also enjoyed cooking, we decided to take a Chinese cooking class at a local college. The class was taught by a student as part of her requirements to become a home economics teacher. After the class, over dinner one evening, our wives asked how we enjoyed the class, and being the smart alecs we were we answered “Okay but we could have done better”!
Well, that is where it all began. Jim’s wife Millie, who was involved with the local YWCA, without our knowledge, arranged for us to teach Chinese cooking classes. She had “called our bluff”. As a matter of pride, we had to accept the challenge. After completing the first classes people began to call asking the YWCA when the next classes were to begin so we continued doing the classes for 5 years until Jim retired as Vice President of the bank and moved to Florida.
Interest in the classes continued and the YWCA wanted me to continue teaching the classes. I did not want to do them alone and talked Joyce into doing them with me. That is where our “cooking together” adventure began. We continued the classes for the next few years and the students kept suggesting that we write a cookbook. After consideration, we began to collect the recipes we created and in 1991 we self-published “Cooking Together Chinese Style”.
Our son acted as our marketing manager and arranged for interviews with several area newspapers and regional publications. He also arranged for us to appear on the local Fox affiliate “Wake Up “morning show. We prepared a couple of recipes live on the show and talked about the cookbook. After our appearance the show’s director contacted us saying we were a “big hit” and offered us the opportunity to appear weekly. We began a 13-year weekly appearance on the show in a Wednesday time slot.
It became apparent early on that we could not continue to do just Chinese recipes so we began to create other recipes which later became the basis of our second cookbook “Cooking Together Quick & Easy published in 2001. In the 13 years, we never missed a show. During the 13 years, our son continued his marketing efforts and we expanded our appearances throughout the Midwest. He arranged for us to appear in cooking stores and cooking shows in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Louisville just to mention a few.
We moved from our country home to a villa in the city in 2004 and made our last TV appearance as a remote from the kitchen of our new home. This was the year that Joyce was first diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the next 15 years, we continued to “cook together” but just for each other, friends and family.
To organize our cookbooks and files, I discovered we had hundreds of recipes. So, after much thought I decided the create this new cookbook dedicated to Joyce and her love of cooking. Cooking Together “Revisited” is a collection of those recipes including ones from “Chinese Style” and “Quick and Easy. So now we move on with Cooking Together Generations. Passing the torch to my family to continue the legacy. Brock, Rose, Amanda, and Chris, I love you all and look forward to this new adventure.
Enjoy and Keep Cooking Together,