Division of labor

August 01, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

The kitchen in Carol and John Weible's Hagerstown home is up a flight of stairs from the ground-floor entrance.

The open space is brightened by glass doors that lead to a deck that John Weible built to span the width of the house. He also built the couple of tables that are great for summer gatherings and eating crabs.

The Weibles, originally from Altoona, Pa., share the house with Orphan, who has put more than 20 pounds on the tabby frame that weighed 8 ounces when the Weibles found him. And he doesn't even get to eat their kitchen creations.

John Weible is an optician and owner of Paramount Optical in Hagerstown. Carol Weible is director of admissions at Washington County Hospital.


Both love to cook, and, through 30 years of marriage, they have developed a happy division of labor in the kitchen.

When they were first married, Carol was having trouble with boxed sticks of pie-crust. John told her he could do better. Carol invited him to go ahead. He rolled out a crust, picked it up and carried it over to her, and he's been making the family's pies ever since.

His baking is famous, Carol Weible said. He bakes hundreds of dozens of cookies at Christmas.

Staff Writer Kate Coleman recently visited the Weibles' home.

John Weible had baked a batch of Inside-Out Carrot Cake Cookies, a recipe he found in the April 2004 issue of Gourmet magazine. The recipe also is on the Web at He modified it a bit, adding 1/8 cup more butter. He makes his cookies a tad smaller, and, instead of making sandwiches with a cream-cheese-and-honey filling, he has the filling nearby in a bowl for dipping or spreading on the cookie treats.

Carol Weible had made a sweet Vidalia Onion Appetizer, a recipe that's become an expected favorite among family and friends.

How often are you in the kitchen? Who cooks dinner?

Carol: I do.

John: She does.

Every night, do you cook?

Carol: Practically.

John: At least five nights a week - except Thursday. That's my day off, so I'm responsible.

Where did you learn to cook?

Carol: Some from my mother, but then I taught myself. I collect cookbooks.

John: Well, I've probably been watching forever my mother and her mother and sister get together at Christmas and bake cookies. There wasn't a flat part of that house that didn't have a cookie sheet. So I do a lot of the things my mother did. My grandfather on my father's side was a baker by trade.

Did you cook with your mom as a kid?

Carol: I don't remember doing too much cooking.

John: I helped.

When was the first time you made the Vidalia Onion Appetizer?

Carol: It is really a great recipe. I've been making it six or seven years. It's kind of become a staple at our Christmas open house.

How many people do you have?

Between 60 to 80 who come through all day long.

How many hours?

John: Probably 2 to 11 p.m. - something like that. We just do it one day.

Carol: I'll make three or four (Vidalia Onion Appetizer).

Where'd you get the recipe?

Carol: Actually from a friend of mine. She got it from a relative of hers.

Why do you keep making it? What makes it successful?

Carol: Because it's just so simple. It doesn't taste like onions. It' very sweet. It's cheesy.

John, have you made those cookies a lot?

John: About three or four times. It's going to be a staple. It's a keeper.

What makes those cookies good?

John: They're so moist, and they taste like carrot cake.

Do you have a favorite thing you like to eat?

Carol: I love pasta. Pasta's just my favorite. I was raised in an Italian family.

John: I eat almost anything. Probably for a meal, it would be roast chicken. The other night I smoked chicken on the smoker we have.

Carol: He smokes salmon.

Who cooks the roast chicken?

John: She does.

Do your friends or family have a favorite recipe?

Carol: The Vidalia Onion Appetizer and also a smoked salmon dip.

John smokes it and Carol makes the dip?

Carol and John: Yes.

Cooking together! Are there times that you're in the kitchen together?

Carol: We eat together.

John: There are times when we do, actually. I get rather obsessive when I'm in there, and she gets rather territorial, but we can throw a meal together. But as far as my baking, she pretty much just comes out for a sample.

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