She's down-to-earth

October 24, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

There's no pretense, no airs, nothing fancy about Pat Cohen's cooking.

The Hagerstown resident prepared Beef Stroganoff, a recipe she's made for years. She serves it over egg noodles, plain and simple - without garnish.

"I'm no phony," Cohen said.

Pat Cohen, 64, shares her Hagerstown home with husband Dr. Barry Cohen.

Three of the six children she raised live in Hagerstown. The others are a bit farther away but still in Maryland.

Last year was the first year she didn't have a couple of dozen family members for Thanksgiving dinner. She and her husband moved to a smaller home and it gets a little crowded.


"We have Christmas here," Pat Cohen said. "It's wonderful." She has 10 grandchildren.

"She lives to cook," daughter Pam Shank said.

Cohen was born in Sunbury, Pa., and has lived in Washington County since 1947 - when she was in second grade.

Cohen recently shared her recipes and some down-to-earth conversation with Staff Writer Kate Coleman.

How often are you in the kitchen? Do you do all the cooking?

Yes, I do.

Do you cook dinner every night?

If that's what you want to call it some nights. Eggs and grits - stuff like that. My husband's an easy man to cook for.

Where did you learn to cook?

My mother taught me.

When did you start?

Probably when I was about 8 or 9.

Did you cook with your mom as a kid? What did you make with her?

We made cookies and cakes and I helped make bread.

When was the first time you made the Beef Stroganoff?

How long have we been eating the stroganoff? Probably about 15 or 20 years.

Where did you get the recipe?

It came out of a cookbook, but I had to change things around because I didn't care for the things they had in it. They didn't put enough this and enough that, so I just changed things around.

Why do you keep making it?

Because my kids like it. And so does my husband. I never make it unless somebody's coming for dinner. I don't just make it for Barry and me.

Do you have a favorite thing you like to eat?

I like fudge cake. That's my favorite. It's a very dry cake. A lot of people don't like it because it's so dry, but it is delicious.

Where'd you get that recipe?

My mother's best friend in school got it from her home ec class ... and gave it to my mother and my grandmother and they just passed it to me.

Do your friends or family have a favorite recipe?

The Macaroni Soup - everybody (except daughter Pam) likes it. We have a thing on Super Bowl Sunday. My friend - since eighth grade - we get together, my sister and anybody else who wants to come. We have Macaroni Soup. That's a Super Bowl meal. Macaroni Soup with "molasses" bread. I use King Syrup. Butter that bread and put some King Syrup on it. That's good.

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