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Community Cooks Central

Community Cooks Central Toh F

At Taste of Home, we believe home cooks are the best cooks, and our Community Cooks are simply the best of the best. The members of this vibrant community have created many of the inspired recipes at the heart of Taste of Home, treasured by cooks across the globe.

These talented home cooks are always whipping up fresh, exciting flavors, sharing their best cooking tips, and posting pictures and videos of their latest kitchen triumphs. Get to know Community Cooks from across the U.S. and Canada!

Make the recipes Community Cooks are raving about right now.

Community Cook of the Month

Toh Community Cook Of The Month Susan BicktaTMB Studio, Courtesy Susan Bickta

Susan Bickta from Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Susan is a retired office manager and an avid baker and cook. Within the past 12 years, she has become interested in competitive cooking and won numerous contests including Fisher Nuts’ “My Fresh Twist” Contest. She won the grand prize and her recipe was chosen by Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. Susan was also named a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-off in 2019 for her Tropical Sweet Hawaiian Sticky Biscuits recipe. In addition to perfecting her skills in the kitchen, she and her husband of 43 years also enjoy traveling and gardening.

TOH: How long have you been a fan of Taste of Home?

SB: Oh my! [I’ve been a fan] for as long as I can remember, but my interest intensified when I got married and started cooking our meals. My mother was always an experimental cook and I learned a lot from her. She got the magazine from the beginning and we’d both look at it—cover to cover. Then, when I married, I got my own subscription. Best cooking magazine there is!

TOH: How did you learn to cook?

SB: Basically, [I learned to cook] from my mother. As a child, I’d sit at the kitchen table and watch her cook after I did my homework. Watching her like that was like having my own personal cooking show! When I was old enough, she’d let me help—usually by peeling potatoes!

TOH: What is your favorite TOH recipe?

SB: I don’t think I can pick just one! I’ve tried so many and really liked them all. The one that stands out, though, is the Slow-Cooker Chicken Thighs. The chicken has such a beautiful teriyaki flavor and is fall-apart tender. I usually serve it with rice and steamed asparagus. A close second is a recipe I just tried: Spinach Souffle Side Dish. It tastes like the spinach that they have at our local Chinese buffet. So ooey-gooey good!

TOH: What types of recipes are you known for?

SB: Mostly comfort food. I was born and raised in Pennsylvania Dutch Country and comfort food rules around here! My favorite regional dishes include my mother’s bread filling, as well as my husband’s grandmother’s potato filling.

TOH: Who do you love to cook for most?

SB: My husband, of course. He’s always willing to try new recipes and he always gives me his honest opinion. That goes for Taste of Home recipes as well as my own recipes that I create for recipe/cooking contests. I also like to cook for friends and family gatherings, although I have had to cut back some due to the brain surgery I had a few years ago that destroyed my balance and left me deaf on the left side.

TOH: What’s the next cooking skill you want to master?

SB: I’d love to learn how to make French macarons, as well as making a cake roll, French croissants and Beef Wellington. I learned how to make sushi for the World Food Championships, as well as a couple molecular gastronomy techniques.

TOH: What’s your favorite kitchen hack that you now live by?

SB: I love to make homemade bread and I have learned the best place to let the dough rise is in the oven with the light turned on. I turn on the light when I start making the dough and when it’s time to let it rise, the oven is at just the right temperature to let the dough rise—in a covered bowl, of course!

TOH: What is something you no longer buy from the store or at restaurants because you know you can make it better at home?

SB: My husband likes my homemade barbecue sauces. I created a recipe for a mustard-based sauce and a tomato-based sauce. We both prefer those homemade sauces to the ones in the grocery store.

See Some of Susan’s Best Recipes:

Our Whole Team

Cc Map No.2

Community Cooks come from neighborhoods across the U.S. and Canada. Find one in your neck of the woods.

Alabama
Lisa Allen, Joppa, Alabama

Alaska

Cindi DeClue, Anchorage, Alaska

Arizona
Jessica Burke,
Chandler, Arizona
Cathy Orban, Chandler, Arizona
Robert J. Johnson,
Chino Valley, Arizona
Cori Cooper,
 Flagstaff, Arizona
Paul Williams, Fort Mohave, Arizona
Lee Mason, Gilbert, Arizona
Belqui Ortiz-Millili, Mesa, Arizona
Karen Keefe, Phoenix, Arizona

Arkansas

Debbie Glasscock, Conway, Arkansas

California

Helen Nelander, Boulder Creek, California
Marina Castle-Kelley, Canyon Country, California
Kallee Krong-Mccreery, Escondido, California
Jenn Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California
Rosie Godycki, Los Angeles, California
Dorothy Kern, Rocklin, California

Colorado

Ann Bush, Colorado City, Colorado
Crystal Jo Bruns, Iliff, Colorado
Rebecca Wilson, Longmont, Colorado

Connecticut

Anna Gass, New Canaan, Connecticut
Lynn Faria,
Southington, Connecticut
Janet Turner, Southington, Connecticut
Diane Morrisey, Trumbull, Connecticut
Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh, Willimantic, Connecticut

Florida

Janie Ganyard, Jacksonville, Florida
Kathleen Criddle, Lake Worth, Florida
Heather Chambers, Largo, Florida
Pam Brooks, Micco, Florida
Nancy Murphy, Mount Dora, Florida
Cyndy Gerken, Naples, Florida
Kailey Thompson, Palm Bay, Florida
Shawn Barto, Palmetto, Florida
Jane Whittaker, Pensacola, Florida
Norlene Trice, Weeki Wachee, Florida
Danielle Lee, West Palm Beach, Florida

Georgia

Lynne German, Buford, Georgia
Rosey Sumrall, Kennesaw, Georgia

Hawaii

Rachel Garcia, Honolulu, Hawaii

Idaho

Glenna Tooman, Boise, Idaho
Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
Cindy Worth, Lapwai, Idaho

Illinois

April Lee Wiencek, Chicago, Illinois
Bill Roberts, Geneva, Illinois
Dixie Terry, Goreville, Illinois
Deborah L. Staley, Mount Vernon, Illinois
Erin Raatjes, New Lenox, Illinois
Renee Page, Rochelle, Illinois
Michele Tungett, Rochester, Illinois
Brigette Schroeder, Yorkville, Illinois

Indiana

Kizmet Byrd, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Rena McCalment,
Sharpsville, Indiana
Kathy Renee, Terre Haute, Indiana
Jill Thomas, Washington, Indiana

Iowa

Anna Miller, Churdan, Iowa
Lonnie Hartstack, Clarinda, Iowa
Jennifer Stowell, Deep River, Iowa
Stephanie Gates, Waterloo, Iowa

Kansas

Gina Dolieslager, Conway Springs, Kansas
Allison Ochoa, Hays, Kansas
Erin Wright, Wallace, Kansas
Courtney Stultz, Weir, KansasKentucky
Donna Gribbins, Shelbyville, Kentucky

Louisiana

Laura Herbage, Covington, Louisiana
Amy Gattuso, Denham Springs, Louisiana

Maryland

Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
Nikki Haddad, Germantown, Maryland

Massachusetts

Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts
Molly Winsten, Medford, Massachusetts
Lindsey Centrella, Uxbridge, Massachusetts

Michigan

Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan
Teri Rasey, Cadillac, Michigan
Lorraine Hickman, Lansing, Michigan
Sue Evans, Marquette, Michigan
Sue Falk, Sterling Heights, Michigan
Rebecca Jennex, Warren, Michigan

Minnesota

Pauline Custer, Duluth, Minnesota
Joyce Moynihan, Lakeville, Minnesota
Julie Herrera-Lemler, Rochester, Minnesota

Missouri

Debbie Johnson, Centertown, Missouri

Montana

Amanda Monroe, Manhattan, Montana

Nebraska

Tami Kuehl, Loup City, Nebraska

New Hampshire

Anne Ormond, Dover, New Hampshire
Jolene Martinelli, Fremont, New Hampshire
Pattie Prescott, Manchester, New Hampshire
Margaret Drye, Plainfield, New Hampshire
Grace Vallo, Salem, New Hampshire
Linda Harrington, Windham, New Hampshire

New Jersey

Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, New Jersey
Janie Zirbser, Mullica Hill, New Jersey
Kim Spaccarotella, South Plainfield, New Jersey

New York

Rose Rodwell, Bergen, New York
Aleni Salcedo, East Elmhurst, New York
Luanne Asta, Hampton Bays, New York
Holly Balzer-Harz, Malone, New York
Marisel Salazar, New York, New York
Kimberly Ludvick, Newburgh, New York
Rita Sumers, Niagara Falls, New York
Melissa Obernesser, Oriskany, New York
Kristine Chayes, Smithtown, New York
Susan Seymour, Valatie, New York
Andrea Rivera, Westbury, New York

North Carolina

Stacey White, Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
Stacy Corday, Waxhaw, North Carolina

North Dakota

Amy Lents, Grand Forks, North Dakota
Diane Randle, Maddock, North Dakota

Ohio

Christina Addison, Blanchester, Ohio
Gina Fensler, Cincinnati, Ohio
Kimberly Wallace, Dennison, Ohio
Angela Robinson, Findlay, Ohio
Kristyne McDougle Walter, Lorain, Ohio
Theresa Ravencraft, Marysville, Ohio
Diane Shipley,
 Mentor, Ohio
Becky Carver, North Royalton, Ohio
Michele Salazar, Plain City, Ohio
Shannon Copley, Upper Arlington, Ohio

Oklahoma

Nancy Johnson, Laverne, Oklahoma
Shawna Welsh-Garrison, Owasso, Oklahoma

Oregon

Mary Anne Thygesen, Portland, Oregon
Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon

Pennsylvania

Diann Hammel, Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Dawn Lowenstein, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
Tina Mirilovich, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Teena Petrus, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Susan Bickta, Kutztown, Pennsylvania
Cindy Reams, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
Patty Crouse, Warren, Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Renee Murby, Johnston, Rhode Island

South Dakota

Joan Antonen, Arlington, South Dakota
Karen Stucky, Freeman, South Dakota

Tennessee

Margaret McNeil, Germantown, Tennessee
Kim Powell, Knoxville, Tennessee
Dianna Smith, Newport, Tennessee

Texas

Darla Andrews, Boerne, Texas
Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas
Allison Ulrich, Frisco, Texas
Corinna Nguyen, Hutto, Texas
Marietta Slater, Justin, Texas
Carmen Edwards, Midland, Texas
Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
Denise Browning, San Antonio, Texas
Sherri Jerzyk, Somerville, Texas
Leah Hebert, Tomball, Texas

Utah

Courtney Rich, Highland, Utah
Elisabeth Larsen,
 Pleasant Grove, Utah
Gaylene Anderson, Sandy, Utah

Vermont

Nancy Mock, Colchester, Vermont
Hannah Lenehan-Emmons, Williston, Vermont

Virginia

Soniya Saluja, Chantilly, Virginia
Rachel Lewis, Danville, Virginia
Rebecca Yankovich, Springfield, Virginia
Kelly Shoemaker, Stafford, Virginia

Washington

Tara Huntley, Colfax, Washington
Ann Marie Eberhart, Gig Harbor, Washington

West Virginia

Lori Daniels, Beverly, West Virginia
Lorri Burns, Keyser, West Virginia

Wisconsin

Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Heather Karow, Burnett, Wisconsin
Darlis Wilfer, West Bend, Wisconsin

Alberta

Shannon Dobos, Calgary, Alberta
Lori Stefanishion, Drumheller, Alberta

Ontario

J. Fleming, Almonte, Ontario
Susan Kieboam, Amherstburg, Ontario
Janet Tigchelaar, Ancaster, Ontario
Wendy Masters, East Garafraxa, Ontario
Raymonde Bourgeois, Swastika, Ontario
Pat Roberts, Thornton, Ontario

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