Fort Wayne – Debbie Walterhouse of Kendallville admits that many of the talents she has today came from her grandparents.
After taking a pottery class at IPFW in 1996, Walterhouse, 44, found her love for creating things, just like her grandfather Woody Drerup. She knew beforehand that she enjoyed cooking like her grandmother Marie Drerup.
Anything I can do with my hands. I get that from my Grandpa Woody Drerup. He was a woodworker. He did caning and woodcarver, she says.
Artist? I call myself a potter. That artist word makes me think of a painter and Im not. I help paint murals for friends. I have pottery at SOZO Art Gallery (in Kendallville), she says. I love to go antiquing. Im addicted to American Pickers. I make jewelry. Thats another thing I do.
Walterhouse says that many of her cookbooks came from her grandmother, a native of Newfoundland.
And they were used, Walterhouse says. You can tell from the pages with her fingerprints and dough.
One dessert her grandmother was known for was pineapple upside-down cake, baked in a cast-iron skillet.
Anytime there was a funeral, she would have two cakes ready. If she read the obituaries, she would see when she needed to start baking, she says. We had pineapple upside-down cake at her funeral dinner.
Walterhouse and her husband, Tom, have two daughters, Lydia, 14, and Abigail, 11.
Theyre in sports and with church activities, so Im a taxi mom, she says.
Q. Do you ever get recipes from websites?
A. Pinterest.com. All you do is type in the recipe you want. I have it as a phone app. But Ive started looking in my recipe box and I found a recipe from my mom in her handwriting. That art will be lost.
Q. What vegetable do you eat most often?
A. Broccoli, definitely broccoli, and thats easy to throw in soups or steamed or whatever.
Q. Whats your favorite food?
A. Plain Greek yogurt. I even have a yogurt maker. I love gadgets. Its no sugar and creamy, and its just really good. Fruit smoothies are another thing we have in this house.
Q. Whos your cooking idol?
A. Jaleh Fazel. She was a Fort Wayne potter and my mentor. She could easily have a restaurant. She makes great foods. She lives in New York City now. But if I get stuck, I call her. She calls herself a food snob.
Q. Whats your favorite cooking utensil?
A. Probably my wooden spoons. Ive got spoons from all over the world. When I travel, thats what I bring home.
Q. What one word describes your cooking style?
A. Eclectic. That just comes to mind. Thats my way of decorating. One night might be Italian and later sushi.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
1 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 (20-ounce) can pineapple rings
1 (18 1/2 -ounce) box yellow cake mix
8 Maraschino cherries
In skillet (cast iron if you have a good seasoned one), melt butter; add brown sugar and melt. Stir and remove from heat. Lay pineapple rings (save the juice) on bottom, place cherries in the center of the rings. Prepare cake mix, substituting pineapple juice for the water. Pour mix over fruit. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Run knife along edge to loosen cake. Place heat-proof serving plate upside down on skillet and flip. Allow top layer to soak into cake before removing pan quickly. Makes nine to 10 servings.
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
2 to 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients; set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients. Add dry ingredients gradually. Bake in greased and floured pan at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes one loaf.
1 pound good-quality Swiss cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup white wine
1 cup whole milk
Dash of nutmeg
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons brandy
Combine cheese and flour, tossing until cheese is well-coated. In separate bowl, combine milk and wine. Heat liquids in pan over low heat then toss small handfuls of cheese into milk and wine. Stir continuously until all cheese is melted. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper and brandy. Transfer to fondue pot with a Sterno or on low in a slow cooker. Cube bite-size pieces of French bread and allow to dry (or slightly toast in low oven). Makes 4 servings. Note: If your bread falls off your stick into the pot, you have to kiss the man or woman to your left.
Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
Combine eggs, salt, sugar, vanilla and lemon peel in a buttered 2-quart casserole dish. Combine milk and rice then stir into egg mixture. Set casserole in a pan of hot water filled to within 1 inch of top of casserole. Bake uncovered in a 325-degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. Makes eight to 10 servings.
Spinach Salad with Hot Citrus Dressing
1 1/2 bags of fresh spinach
2 (11-ounce) cans Mandarin oranges, drained
1 large red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
3 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Hot Citrus Dressing:
1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 cup olive oil
Toss together salad ingredients. For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Toss into salad. Makes six to eight servings.