Fort Wayne – The one thing Tennessee native Rick Forester taught his seven children was how to cook.
I’ve taught all of my kids to cook but none of them went into it as a career, says the cook for DeKalb Health in Auburn, whose children range in age from 2 to 31. I just wanted to make sure none of them starved to death.
Recently Forster, 48, celebrated his first year with DeKalb Health and says that much of his baking and cooking began by helping his mother.
I came from a big family. My dad had 12 kids. My mom owned a Dunkin’ Donuts. When she was pregnant, I went in and helped, he says with a Southern accent.
Even though his profession is cooking, Forster says his wife, Michelle, does most of the cooking at home.
When my wife and I got married, she couldn’t cook anything that didn’t come out of a box or a can. She’s a wonderful cook now, he says proudly.
As for recipes and meal ideas at the hospital, Forster says his supervisor oversees those. However, he likes to watch such TV programs as Cake Boss or Iron Chef to get recipe ideas.
I like different recipes out of different books. We have used some of mine here. Most are what our supervisor goes through. I do most of the catering here – 90 percent of the time. I set up our lunches, that sort of stuff. I go to the Food Network website and AllRecipes.com, and I go to the Garrett (Public) Library and look up stuff, he says. My wife collects cookbooks and she’s got about 100 sitting around the house.
When asked to pick a cooking idol, Forster quickly responds, I like Bobby Flay.
Sitting nearby is Terri Christiansen, DeKalb Health director of marketing and public information officer, who asks Forster, Should we do a Throwdown’ with him?
He laughs and replies, No, but I would with Paula Deen. I think I could handle Paula Deen. I would love to meet (Flay). I just wouldn’t go up against him cooking.
Q. What vegetable do you eat most often?
A. Probably broccoli. Boiled and I put a little bit of garlic butter over it.
Q. What’s one thing people would not find in your refrigerator?
A. You would never find alcohol in there.
Q. If you were stuck on an island, what’s one food you would have to have?
A. Ice cream. I love ice cream. I could eat ice cream breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Q. What one word describes your cooking style?
Southern Oatmeal Pie
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl; mix corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla thoroughly using a spoon. Mix in oatmeal. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. Pie will be done when center springs back from touch. Makes 8 servings.
Red Velvet Cake
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 ounce red food color
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Make a paste of food coloring and cocoa and then blend into creamed mixture. Sift flour with salt. Add to creamed mixture, alternating with buttermilk and then blend in vanilla. Mix vinegar and baking soda and add to batter. Do not beat hard after adding vinegar and baking soda. Turn into well greased and floured 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cake and let cool. After cake has cooled, with a serrated knife, carefully cut cake in half to make two layers. Make icing.
5 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Blend flour and milk. Cook over low heat until smooth and thickened; set aside to cool. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until very fluffy and light, about 15 minutes. Gradually add cooled mixture. Beat until it’s like whipped cream. Spread over cooled cake and serve. Makes 8 servings.
Southern Style Spareribs
2 1/2 to 3 pounds spareribs
Dash black pepper
1 lemon, thinly sliced
5 cups ketchup
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon smoke flavor
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange ribs, meat side up, in a foil-lined shallow baking pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Place sliced lemons over top. Bake ribs for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, combine sauce ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil; turn heat down and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Brush with sauce both sides of ribs. Bake for about 1 hour. Turn pan once or twice and brush with sauce. Makes 6 to 8 servings.