Get to Know Community Cook Teri Rasey
Over the last 27 years, Teri has contributed hundreds of recipes to Taste of Home. She was even a 2020 Recipe of the Year finalist! Read on to see what inspires her creations.
courtesy Teri Rasey
This Michigan mom of six knows a thing or two about making easy weeknight dinners. Find out her secrets to keeping things fun in the kitchen.
Taste of Home: Tell us a little about you. Where do you live, what do you do when you’re not cooking, and who’s in your family?
Teri Rasey: I live in Cadillac, Michigan, but spend summers in Curtis, Michigan, near Manistique Lake. When I’m not cooking I put on my hockey mom hat, taxiing kids to practice three times a week and to games on weekends. This pretty much consumes all my time during the season. During the summer, though, you can find me fishing, kayaking, swimming or gardening. We’re even working on refurbishing our house.
My family consists of three girls, Lorien, Sunshine and Etienne; and two boys, Sam and Noah; plus my step-daughter, Christina. They’re all grown now and have given me 19 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Sunshine and her children have been living with us since March 2020 because of the pandemic.
TOH: Wow! That’s a big family. Tell us how your love of cooking started? Was there someone in your life who taught you?
TR: I actually grew up in Los Angeles, where my family went out to restaurants most nights. That exposed me to almost every cuisine imaginable. I would say this the start of my love for food, but it was actually my mother-in-law, Bernice, who taught me to cook. I loved sitting at her kitchen table watching her prepare food. She would talk the entire time, telling me what she was doing. She never measured anything!
TOH: What inspires you to cook?
TR: I find cooking for others really inspiring. I remember the first birthday I celebrated with my husband, I invited his entire family over for cake. I wanted to please him and his family so much that I made 16 different desserts! I had never made any of them before. He actually did most the cooking then because he just loved to do it.
It wasn’t until I was called into action on our yearly mission trip that I really began to cook. I don’t remember what happened, but for whatever reason, our cook left so I traded in my drywall tools for cooking ones. At that point I didn’t know anything about cooking for a crowd, but I just asked God to guide me. I must have done OK because I have been cooking on this trip for the past 12 years now.
TOH: That must have been quite a challenge. Do you cook for any other groups?
TR: I do! I cook for a local church program called Higher Ground. It’s a program that offers educational classes to families along with a family dinner. The program runs 10 weeks in the fall and 10 weeks in the spring. I play my own version of “Chopped” by using donated ingredients to serve approximately 75 meals every Monday. I never know what’s going to be available but I always manage to create something delicious.
TOH: What recipe do you get asked to make the most?
TR: My baklava is definitely the most requested. Those sweet layers are hard to resist. Folks also love my Greek Couscous Salad. It comes together quickly and is full of fresh flavors.
TOH: How long have you been a Community Cook, and what do you enjoy most about it?
TR: I’ve been a Community Cook for about 27 years. I enjoy developing recipes the most because it lets me tap into my creativity. It’s also nice when people stop you and ask for a specific recipe. Locals know I’m a Community Cook, so when they see me in the market they stop and chat. I’ve also gotten cards and phone calls from people all over that tried and loved my recipes from Taste of Home magazine. It’s been such a fun experience!
TOH: What’s your desert-island meal? The one you could eat over and over again and never get tired of.
TOH: When it’s an especially cold winter day in Michigan, what do you make to feel all toasty again?
TR: I love to spice things up on a cold day. I make a spicy, creamy chicken soup with lo mein noodles or sometimes dumplings. I’m a sucker for a gooey macaroni and cheese with a south-of-the-border flair to it—the kind that warms you up from the inside with its heat and spice.