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Cooking up something delicious

Created date

July 15th, 2009

After more than 50 years in the catering business, it's pretty safe to assume that Bea Toms knows what she's doing. In this time, the self-proclaimed country cook from Frederick, Maryland, has been baking, grilling, and roasting her way into the hearts of those in and around her hometown. And after selling over 70,000 copies of her cookbook, Recipes from a Country Cook, on the television shopping network QVC, her reputation as a ' home-cooking marvel has made its way across the country. In May, I spent an afternoon with Bea in the kitchen of her farmhouse interviewing her for a feature story set to appear in the Tribune's September issue. Here I had the opportunity to sample ' a few ' of the most popular dishes ' in her book undoubtedly one of my job's perks. Bea's famous cheese straws (Photo by Michael G. Williams) First, I went for a few of Bea's popular hors d'oeuvres, with the cheese straws being the most tempting. Bread sticks made with a blend of extra sharp cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, this appetizer ' reminds me of the ' Ore Ida ' Crispers so popular with kids. Bea warned me that I couldn't eat just one, and ' she was ' right. Next in line were her toast points, made with lightly buttered box bread, cut into triangles and topped with cheddar cheese and bacon bits, then baked until crisp. As was the case with the cheese straws, I couldn't eat just one. Then came the desserts, which started with a slice of Bea's delicious applesauce cake, filled with bits of nuts and raisins. This was followed by several bite-sized pieces of her orange blossoms, made with white cake, grated orange rinds and juice, then topped with a thin layer of sugar. You can find many other ' recipes like these in Bea's book, Recipes from a Country ' Cook, available through QVC.com (QVC Item #5680).

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