Regardless of the style of food prepared or the ingredients used, one thing all culinary experts agree upon is you never stop learning or evolving in your craft.
With the Taste of Home Cooking School sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle along with Trumbull County Woman Magazine kicking off Tuesday evening at the Packard Music Hall, scores of cooking enthusiasts repeated the mantra.
"I cook a lot, so this is perfect for me," Sandra Turner explained from her seat in the hall. "My son asked me why I was going to a cooking show, because I already know how to cook. You can never know enough and I hope to learn some different things tonight."
Turner, 35, of Newton Falls, was attending her first Taste of Home on the advice of close friend Peggy Persin.
"This is my fourth year here and I love it. I've learned a lot from the cooking demonstrations. I love to take them home and try them out on my family, Persin said. "My husband doesn't seem to have any complaints, so that's always a good sign."
The annual event featured culinary specialist Cheryl Cohen, who prepared 10 recipes which included mini maple cinnamon rolls, sausage stuffed mushrooms, upside down apple pie, steak and cheese bruschetta and other dishes. Cohen works as a culinary specialist for the Taste of Home Cooking School in Greendale, Wis., and she frequently travels throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia conducting shows.
Taste of Home Culinary Specialist Cheryl Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Cohen prepares braised beef short ribs Tuesday at the Packard Music Hall during the Taste of Home Cooking School.
Along with Cohen's cooking tips and recipes, food samples also were served to those in attendance by various vendors on hand.
Bill Santangelo, regional sales manager for Gia Russa Italian Foods, noted that this was the biggest crowd he had seen at the event.
"We've been coming here since the event started years ago," he said. "This seems like the best year as far as the turnout. As soon as they opened those doors at 4:30, we had a constant line of people sampling a variety of products that we have. It just seems like it gets bigger and bigger every year."
Santangelo and his company were invited in connection with Save-A-Lot Grocery Store, another sponsor of the event.
Magician John Bloom of Youngstown served as emcee, and a prize giveaway was also held.
"This is my fourth or fifth year coming and I just love it every year," Warren resident Priscilla Sharp said. "I think it is a great bargain. For $10, you get a lot of stuff and it is just a fun evening out. They give away a lot of gifts and coupons. You also get the Taste of Home magazine. How can you beat it for the price?"
Prizes given away included bags of groceries, a recliner and two microwaves.
Sue Shafer, Tribune Chronicle community events coordinator, explained that she sees many of the same faces each year at the event.
"We've had so many people that come every year. This is about the sixth or seventh year that we've done this and it is a tradition for some families," Shafer said. "They come every year and we see the grandmothers and the moms, but now they are bringing their daughters with them."
Connie King, 60, of North Bloomfield, serves as an example of the communal aspect of the show.
"This is my third year coming. I just enjoy it. I like cooking and I like the demonstrations and everything," King said, surrounded by her good friends. "It is just a good get together. There are about six or seven of us that come every year. It has become sort of a tradition now.
"I like to take in the whole event. There are so many things to see and so many things to look at. There is always something that you can learn. I really enjoy cooking, so I always like to see what they have new which I can try. Then I can go home and try it out on my family.
"Trust me, they benefit from it."
Other sponsors include AVI, which supplied a VIP room, Modern Home Kitchen and Bath, Morgan Furniture and Rent-A-Center in Niles.