Students collect culinary clues

CNJ Staff Photo: Tony Bullocks
Jamie Dunn prepares one of many dishes Thursday night during the Taste of Home Cooking School, held at the Clovis Civic Center.

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

Culinary secrets must be pried from some cooks. But not Jamie Dunn.

The culinary specialist shared 10 recipes and lots of kitchen wisdom with about 600 people during the fourth annual Taste of Home Cooking School in Clovis.

The event was held Thursday at the Clovis Civic Center.

“Let me show you how to make a flavorful feast for your family,” said Dunn, an apron strapped around her neck, colorful ingredients strewn across a table.

That she did. Attendants learned how to make an assortment of food, including classic pumpkin pies, ham and cheese omelettes, white chicken chili, and confetti stir fry with pan-fried noodles.

And Dunn didn’t stop there. In a conspiratorial tone, she told attendants she always adds pure vanilla extract to pies made with eggs.

To protect the crust of a pie from the searing heat of an oven, the sunny chef continued, fold a piece of tinfoil in four halves, cut in a ring shape, place the ring over the crust, and bake.

And when choosing apples for a pie, pick the shiny ones, she advised.

But, she also hinted, truly great cooks are always inventive.

“Develop your own ways of doing things,” said Dunn, who travels to Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and New Mexico for home cooking shows.

Scores of people were transfixed by Dunn and her recipes.

Clovis resident Anita Anthony, 60, estimates she has 300 cookbooks at home. That didn’t stop her from attending Thursday shows to collect even more recipes, she said.

Seasoned cookie baker Floyd Workheiser, also of Clovis, has attended all four Home Cooking Schools held in Clovis.

Randy Segura, 16, strained to hear Dunn’s presentations as he washed dishes in the Civic Center kitchen. Segura volunteered to help during the show along with other students of the Clovis High School Culinary Arts Department.

Segura hopes to one day, like Dunn, make a career of cooking.

“I love everything about cooking,” Segura said.

“No one could survive without food,” the teenager said. “It’s not one of those unneeded things in this world.”