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Cook's Corner

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I still want to learn…
A. To make artisan breads. I make bread a lot but not the fancy kinds.
I can’t wait to…
A. Get fresh strawberries, peaches and tomatoes.
Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette
Katherine Tinsley, a professor of history at Manchester College, shows off her cooking skills.

Professor’s curriculum guides cooking

– Katherine Tinsley, a professor of history, just wrapped up her 21st year teaching at Manchester College.

One course Tinsley taught is “History of Foodways.”

“ ‘Foodways’ is the whole culture surrounding food,” explains Tinsley, 54, “The students start off doing everything from scratch. We do both reading – I give background on some topic – and cooking. All by hand, of course – there’s no mixers. They even make angel food cakes. It takes patience.”

Tinsley says the course is offered every other January.

“It’s a great way to introduce history,” she adds.

Tinsley feels her interest in the combination of history and food was sparked from a James Beard’s cookbook.

“It was his book, ‘James Beard American Cookery,’ that I became interested in the history of cooking,” Tinsley says.

Noting how history and food continue to go together even outside her classroom, Tinsley says, “I remember showing early Julia Child tapes to people and she’s speaking about where to get dried basil because you might not be able to get it in a standard grocery. I remember my mom saying she had to go to the city market in Indianapolis to get mozzarella cheese for pizza. It was the only place in town to get it. That was in the middle ’50s.”

Tinsley and her husband, Matt Hendryx, an economics professor at Manchester College, share their Allen County home with four cats.

During those occasions which the two have class schedules that keep them hopping, Tinsley says she keeps the menu simple.

“When we’ve got a semester that Matt has a class two nights a week and I’ve got classes two nights a week, it’s soup. In the summer we do a lot of cold pasta salads and cold soups,” she says.

Q. What’s your favorite cookbook?

A. I have “The Joy of Cooking.” I have one from the ’50s, ’70s and the most recent one. I compare how the recipes change. My favorite I draw on is “James Beard’s.” (And) I’ve got Matt’s mom’s Better Homes and Gardens from 1951.

Q. What’s your go-to meal?

A. Pasta with anything on top. It comes from anything I have on hand. Matt will say, “That’s really good. Did you write it down?” I say, “Well … I’ll try and reconstruct it.”

Q. What’s one thing people wouldn’t find in your refrigerator?

A. Ground beef. We do chicken and fish. Occasionally, we do chops. We just don’t eat too much meat.

Q. What vegetable do you eat most often?

A. Broccoli followed closely by chopped spinach. Those are the ones that go into pasta really good.

Q. What’s your favorite food?

A. Cheese – all kinds of cheeses. There’s a lot of variety. We don’t eat a lot of meat but there’s cheese in almost everything I make.

Raspberry Chocolate Bars

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup very finely chopped walnuts

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 2/3 cups seedless raspberry jam

12 ounces chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with foil, shiny side out. Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and walnuts; mix well. Work flour into mixture to make a crumbly dough. Press 3/4 of the dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan. Cover the dough with 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips; press into dough slightly. Spoon jam into a small bowl and stir up till smooth. Gently spread jam over chips. Crumble remaining dough over the jam. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Remove from pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over the top. After 10 minutes swirl the melted chips. Let cool completely. Lift out of pan with foil and transfer to cutting board. Peel back foil and cut into small bars. Makes 48 pieces.

Black Bean Soup

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)

1 (15 ounces) can of black beans

1 1/2 cups of your favorite salsa (any kind from mild to hot depending on your preference)

1 cup frozen or canned corn

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried basil or oregano

1/3 cup lime juice

In a 2-quart saucepan sauté the onion in the oil till translucent; add the minced garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Dump in the can of black beans, the salsa, and the corn. Mix in with the herbs and the lime juice. Simmer for 20 minutes. For a thinner soup, add a bit of broth or water. May also add 1 cup salsa, instead of 1 1/2 cups, and serve over rice. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Turkey, Wild Rice and Cranberry Stew

(The following recipe Tinsley uses in her History of American Foodways class. It is the modern version of a stew typical of what would have been eaten by Northern Woodland Native American tribes.)

1 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons vegetable or butter

1 (27 ounces) can of cooked turkey in broth, drain and reserve broth (See note 1 below)

Enough additional chicken broth to make 2 cups

1 (2.75 ounces) package of quick cooking wild rice (See note 2 below)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup dried cranberries

Sauté onions in oil in 2–quart sauce pan till they are soft. Drain broth off turkey into a measuring cup and add enough chicken broth to make 2 cups. Stir the broth into the onions along with the package of wild rice. Bring to a boil, then turn down and cover pan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until rice is tender. Break canned turkey into bite-sized chunks, and add it along with the pepper and the dried cranberries. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes more. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Makes 8 servings.

Note 1: The canned turkey Tinsley uses is the Grabill County brand. May substitute 3 (10 ounces) cans of cooked chicken.

Note 2: May use about 3/4 cup of regular wild rice instead of the quick cooking kind; will need to increase the first simmering time to 50 minutes and may need to add a little more broth.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know of someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-0088; fax 461-8648; or email