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‘Cool Cooking’ piques community’s palate

Created date

May 25th, 2010

[caption id="attachment_12148" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Eleanor Mahoney (left), host of Cool Cooking on LPTV6, lifts the lid on some corned beef, alongside Marilyn Pula, her cohost. "]Linden Ponds, though the outcome isn t always edible. Ovens there have been known to house shoes and double as desks, for resident artists often use their kitchens as art studios. In this setting, a community where one meal a day is included and cooking is usually put on the back burner, a cooking show seems an unlikely hit. But Cool Cooking, a segment on the LPTV6 variety show Bright Lights, resonates with its audience. The challenge always was, What can we do without using the oven? says Marilyn Pula, who directed the first episode of the show and now assists host Eleanor Mahoney on-screen. The result was Cool Cooking, which offers fast, easy recipes that require few ingredients or appliances. With recipes like freezer cucumber pickles, two-ingredient Marvelous Microwave Marmalade, and the popular 5-minute chocolate mug cake, Mahoney makes culinary feats easily accessible.

Culinary prowess

As part of Bright Lights, a variety program that showcases the talents of those who live atLinden Ponds, Cool Cooking provides a peek into Mahoney s expertise. The mother of six children, Mahoney did plenty of cooking and entertaining when her children were growing up. When she moved toLinden Pondsin December 2004, Mahoney chose not to eliminate her time in the kitchen. She hosted a cocktail party for her neighbors shortly after moving in and continues to exercise her cooking skills about twice a week in her sun-filled kitchen. Mahoney s neighbors are often privy to homemade sweets. I think it s very creative, she says of cooking. You really can get into it. Lo Steele, the creator of Bright Lights, tapped Mahoney to lead the show s cooking segment. The two women were neighbors on Cape Cod, and Steele knew well Mahoney s prowess in the kitchen. But Mahoney insists cooking hasn t always been her strong suit. I didn t even know how to cook when I got married, she says. She learned by reading recipes, and she continues to refer often to her many cookbooks and cooking magazines. Mahoney authored her own 53-page cookbook as a gift for her daughter s wedding. Titled Mom, do you have the recipe for , the typewritten book plays on Mahoney s experience getting phone calls from her children before they were entertaining. Following requests, Mahoney distributed about 50 copies of her cookbook to family and friends and she is now at work on an updated edition. Mahoney keeps busy behind the scenes atLinden Pondsas well, selling tickets for events and working at the community s Treasure Chest store. She just does five million things around here, Pula says.

Tasty work

Mahoney devotes hours of research to each Cool Cooking segment. She works diligently to find easy recipes with few ingredients, and then prepares the foods in advance. Mahoney and Pula, good friends since they were put on the show together, meet to choose a theme and plan each episode. One episode took viewers through the British convention of High Tea. Pula explained the history of the early evening meal, while Mahoney went on to make the traditional tiny sandwiches. The show inspired a luxurious High Tea event at Linden Ponds, where a sign reading Welcome to Ellie s tea greeted guests. Careful planning and practice have paid off on Cool Cooking, and the show has clearly evolved since it began about three years ago. Mahoney and Pula now move with ease on-screen. Behind the scenes, the camera work is more skilled, and editing is done inLinden Ponds television studio, which didn t exist for the taping of the first Bright Lights episode. The show, which also features comedy and music segments, runs about four times a year. In between, Mahoney continues pleasing the palates of her friends and family.

5-minute chocolate mug cake

(Courtesy of Eleanor Mahoney)


4 tablespoons flour 4 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons cocoa 1 egg 3 tablespoons milk 3 tablespoons oil 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) A small splash of vanilla extract 1 large coffee mug


Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil, and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. Put mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don t be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. Eat! (This can serve 2.) And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!
Linden Ponds is an Erickson retirement community in Hingham, Massachusetts. Erickson manages a network of 19 communities nationwide that combine a maintenance-free, active lifestyle with social activities, amenities, and medical offerings proven to improve both physical and mental health.