HOWLAND - Tina Chinchic's kitchen is open - for conversation.
Stools on one side of a counter invite guests to sit and take in the sights and smells of her cooking - chicken marsala today. There's not even a wall behind the stove, just an impressive array of pots hanging from the ceiling above it.
The cooktop, modified by contractor husband, Larry, has six burners and a grill. She said he teases her she wanted it this way so it would be like having her own cooking show.
Tina Chinchic prepares chicken marsala recently in her Howland home.
Speaking of which, there's a clear view of the TV from the kitchen, and the Cooking Channel is on.
"I always have the Cooking Channel on," she said. "My husband - he has to sneak his sports on."
Chinchic works and talks, and before you know it, there's a plate of something delicious on the counter in front of you.
"It's like the quickest dinner ever," Chinchic said. And a frequently requested one.
A busy lawyer in downtown Warren, this cook sometimes gets home later in the evening. If it's just early enough, her husband asks for it.
"Honey, just make the pounded chicken," he'll say.
For many of us, pounding the chicken would be a great stress-releasing activity. For Chinchic, the whole cooking process is satisfying.
"It relaxes me. People think that's weird. It kind of chills you out," she said.
Tina Chinchic grew up in Fort Lauderdale, where she met her husband. At the time, he was building a marina there. They also lived in Las Vegas, where she taught at University of Nevada.
A couple of years ago, Larry, a Warren G. Harding graduate, wanted to move back home.
"The people here are super nice," Tina Chinchic said. "In Las Vegas, the people are only nice if they're paid to be."
She might be a newcomer to this area, but Chinchic's heritage is Italian, and she enjoys cooking different pasta dishes.
The marsala recipe came from her grandmother, and she said family members on her maternal side are all wonderful cooks.
She likes to double the flour in the recipe, so the chicken will be a little crispier, and she uses restaurant chicken base.
"Regular chicken stock for this recipe isn't strong enough," she said.
Grandma wasn't the only one in the kitchen.
"Cooking is a big deal in our family," she said, adding that her sister, Christina, is a chef in Philadelphia. She is one of six siblings.
Chinchic has a few tomato plants growing in her shaded backyard, mostly because she likes to make pico de gallo. She also enjoys canning, another reason for the large cooktop.
On the wall are shiny copper molds, but the collection started with a fish-shaped one - "You find all kinds of cool stuff in Las Vegas," she said.
The rest came from friends. The same happened with a plate collection on another wall, which started with only three, as well as a Buddha statue that is no longer lonely. Her friends saw the first and added to the collections.
To this house guest, the most impressive collection was the one above the stove, and it's the most useful. She likes restaurant-quality cooking tools. The one she can't live without is the large skillet in which the chicken marsala was made. It can go straight in the oven.
Another small collection was waiting downstairs - four bichons, or "little, white, fluffy hedons," Chinchic jokingly calls them.
Chinchic and her husband like to have company, and she enjoys cooking for a crowd.
"I like to cook and feed people," she said. "Our house is where people come for the holidays."
In fact, she said it's easier to cook for 10 than it is for two. She can handle more, such as church events and even friends' weddings. Turns out, her father and stepmother owned a catering business.
"That was my job every summer," she said.
Chinchic's job now involves mostly government work, including local township and zoning needs. At home, the kitchen is her haven.
"To me, laundry is work. Doing the floors is work. Cooking is not."