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Home Cooking with Mary Ann Messing

Editor’s note: Look for these interviews to start trickling out in the coming days. I can’t think of a more appropriate inaugural interview than Mary Ann Messing. She is an avid supporter of local food sources in our area and an adventurous home cook whose zeal for taking on new projects (homemade cheese, among other things) I admire. I first met her through a column I wrote about the pumpkins at Miller Farms, and I’m happy to have her participating in this feature.

Messing picking grapes at Gray Ghost Vineyards in Amissville

Name: Mary Ann Messing

Tell us who you are and why you cook.

62, married, retired. I’ve always enjoyed everything about cooking–reading the recipes, shopping for the ingredients, putting everything together and presenting it in an appetizing way.

Describe your cooking style in three words.

thoughtful, adventuresome, organized

Favorite cookbook?

Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (although I’m not a vegetarian). It’s great for soups, salads and side dishes.

What is one dish on your menu this week that you’re excited about?

Balsamic-orange glazed roasted duck (April Bloomfield’s recipe)

What is one thing that must be in your pantry at all times?

EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

What one kitchen gadget could you not live without?

excellent chef’s knife

It’s 6 p.m., the people in your household are hungry and you just walked in from work and need to get something satisfying on the table as soon as possible. What’s your favorite thing to whip up in this situation?

hearty lentil soup with bacon

It’s a snowy Sunday, you’ve just done the grocery shopping and have the rest of the day to spend in the kitchen cooking a meal that will bring comfort. What’s for dinner?

Roasted chicken, roasted root vegetables, freshly baked bread and brownies

What is your favorite dish to make for pot-luck dinners?

relish tray that includes pickled fruits and vegetables and jams I made over the summer, along with some great cheese and buffalo summer sausage (editor’s note: you can buy buffalo summer sausage locally from Cibola Farms in Culpeper)

Do you have a favorite food source in the Fredericksburg region?

The Spotsylvania Farmer’s Market when it’s open, Miller Farms in Spotsylvania and always Wegmans

Home Cooking is a regular feature on The Front Burner that offers a peek at how home cooks around the Fredericksburg area work in their kitchens. If you’d like to answer our questionnaire, download it here and return your responses to with a digital photo of yourself, or pass it along to anyone you think would like to participate.

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  • http://ClarificationIITheSequal Matthew Kelly

    We call a person who does nothing more than throw paint at a canvas an artist. How come a person that garnishes his macaroni and cheese from a box with sliced hot dogs; or adds some processed “parmesan” cheese and a dash of oregano to his Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli before he nukes it not be considered a chef? If cut do we not bleed too? (Your right–Way too much time on his hands)

  • Faith G

    I LOVE MIller’s! They have THE BEST granola bars I have ever tasted in my life. I enjoy hearing about local food sources and am thrilled to grow my own, buy local and eat fresh this coming season!

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