Today, we're happy to introduce you to a Gooseberry Superstar!
Debra has been a customer for years and has been kind enough to share some of her best family recipes with us too. You may have seen her name in our cookbooks, Comfort Foods, Autumn in the Country, Fast-Fix Meals or Christmas Kitchen. One of her recipes was also selected for an upcoming book called Farmer's Market Favorites, due out early next year.
We asked Debra to share a little bit about herself...
Tell us about you, your family & your hometown?
I'm married and have three grown children, two daughters and one son. By the time this is published, I might have two grandchildren...one of my daughters is due with our 2nd grandchild in November!
My husband & I started Heritage Corner Health Care Campus in 1982 and I absolutely love what I do. It's still a family-owned business and I'm lucky enough to work with my husband and two of my children. One of my grandchildren even attends the child care center, which is part of our health care campus.
Our two daughters manage and operate our child care center and are considered part owners of the company. My son is a chef and I would like to say maybe picked up his interest in cooking from me.
It seems like I used to cook more when our children were little and lived at home, now I look for quick & easy recipes to make for just my husband and I, although I love to have our whole family over for meals often.We live in Bowling Green, Ohio which is hometown to Bowling Green State University. About half of our small population here is made up of students so we have many restaurants (lots of pizza joints!) and some great places to shop. Next time you drive down I-75 stop in and visit. Bowling Green is a really great place to raise a family, work and visit...there's always lots going on!
Well, family and work keep me pretty busy, but I am also very involved in my community. I volunteer quite a bit and serve on several community boards and committees. Most recently, I am winding up a project with three friends in which we traveled pants around town filling the pockets with money. When all is said and done, we hope to have raised over ten thousand dollars for our local Public Library!
My husband and I also enjoy traveling. We have a cottage in remote Canada in which I enjoy many hours by the fire reading my collection of Gooseberry Patch cookbooks. In fact it is there where I have the most time to cook and to copy and submit recipes!
I enjoy cooking for the other cottagers on our lake and we often have company for dinner when we are there! We also have a home in Florida where we love to take our granddaughter, who at age four, considers herself a frequent flier.
I first heard about Gooseberry Patch many, many years ago when I received a small 5"x7" catalog in the mail. It had the cutest black & white photograph of an old-fashioned little girl on it and when I opened it the first thing I saw was a set of cookie cutters that I knew I had to have.
I read how Gooseberry got started and admired them. From one female entrepreneur to another, I have always wanted to meet Vickie & Jo Ann but have never really had the opportunity, even though we are in the same state.
I can understand the whole “building your own business from scratch” thing and totally agree that your customers are your goodwill ambassadors. If you do a good job and stand behind your product, they will support you. Those are the values that I have in my business too.
What is your favorite Gooseberry Patch cookbook?
That is a tough one, I have quite a few that I like and, of course, would recommend all five cookbooks that have my recipes in them. But I think my favorite one, which has none of my recipes, and I think is now retired, is Simple Joys of Friendship. The book itself with the stories and the recipes was delightful to read and the companion book, Simple Joys of Christmas was also a favorite. I think I liked these so much because they were very different from the regular cookbooks and I really read the cookbooks just like I would a best seller.
I have two and for whatever reason I don’t think either one has been published. They would be a yummy salad/dessert recipe called “Apricot Jell-O® Salad” which came from my Mother and Grandmother and is a must have at holidays! The other which I have not submitted yet would be my “Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes” which I just made up when my kids were babies in the 70s and early 80s. (I promise I will turn it in soon!)
Of the recipes of yours that we've published, which is your favorite?
Well, because the season is fresh in my mind and we have been having it quite a bit, it would have to be “Crispy Zucchini Fritters”. This recipe is new and due out in the new February 2010 cookbook, so you will have to watch your mailboxes and order this book when it is released to get the recipe. But it will be well worth the wait because they are very tasty and you can’t eat just one!
Since it's Debra's favorite of the bunch, we're sharing her recipe for Crispy Zucchini Fritters tomorrow, just for YOU...see you then!