About Betty

Food lover – Cooking Teacher – Writer – TV Show Host – Culinary Explorer

As a youngster, I was a picky eater without an ounce of interest in food, but all that changed when I spent my junior year studying in Dijon and Paris. I was in France as a French major to study the works of Molière, Rousseau, and Baudelaire, but discovered early on that I was far more interested in mille feuilles, boeuf à la bourguignonne, and crème au caramel. I still remember my favorite patisseries better than my favorite classes!

After college, I set up my own kitchen, but my first efforts were disasters: burnt scrambled eggs (I forgot to stir the eggs, thinking they would scramble themselves), pie dough that was lead-heavy, and caramel sauce that broke spoons. After those inauspicious beginnings, my  husband gently suggested that I might want to take cooking classes. I did, and I cooked my way, with increasing confidence, through countless cookbooks (among them Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking). Finally, much to my own surprise, I decided to teach cooking myself.

I’ve worn more than one culinary toque since entering the food world. I started out by founding La Belle Pomme Cooking School in Columbus, Ohio. At its height, over 4000 Ohioians attended each year. I taught the majority of classes, but had such guest teachers such as Jacques Pépin, Giuliano Bugialli, and Nina Simonds. After moving to New England in the 1990s I continued to teach, and today give classes at The Baker’s Pin (formerly the Different Drummer’s Kitchen) in Northampton, Massachusetts.

It wasn’t too long before my teaching career led me to writing about food. For over twenty years I wrote a nationally syndicated column called “That’s Entertaining,” distributed by Tribune Media Services. I also kept busy contributing to Bon Appetit Magazine and other publications, and have authored 12 cookbooks, the latest of which is Soup Nights published by Rizzoli (October 2016).

I also logged many hours in front of the TV camera as the host for a popular PBS cooking show, “On the Menu,” aired in western New England from 2006 to 2009.

Times are changing, but cooking and all that goes with it remain among the most popular interests of millions throughout America and across the globe. So, with this website  I hope to keep in closer touch with my readers, and to get to know a younger generation of cooks who are just as fascinated with food as I am.

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21 thoughts on “About Betty

  1. This is just a note of appreciation. I bought your book, Sunday Soup, and have been amazed by the incredible recipes! I’ve loved each soup so much that I’ve decided I need to buy every cookbook you make 🙂 You have my (and my hubby’s) appreciation for the lovely meals.

  2. So happy for my family to rediscover where you are and that you have a great food blog. My 2 sisters and I took many classes from you at the school in Columbus! We will again look forward to cooking together with you!

    • Thanks so very much for your note, and I hope you’ll enjoy the recipes on the blog. They’re like the ones I used to teach at La Belle Pomme, only updated to be contemporary!

  3. Just had to let you know that I hosted a dinner party last night based on the recipes you demonstrated at your February class in Northampton — Jambalaya, Garlic Bread, Green Beans. Everything worked perfectly and it was a great success. Thanks so much for sharing your skills and creativity.

    • Thank you so much for your note. I am crazy about that Jambalaya dish (it’s going to be in my new book Sunday Casseroles-out in 2014) so I’m thrilled to hear that it was a hit at your dinner!

  4. Betty,

    I love your cookbook,Sunday Brunch. There are many great recipes in there and I use them frequently. One of my favorites are the popovers (page 73), however, I have one question about the cooking process. When baking them my oven gathers a large amount of grease on the bottom, and I have put down baking sheets below the popovers to gather the grease. The grease burns off and creates a horrible stench and smoke that pierces the eyes. What would this be from (the butter I drizzle in the pan???) and how do I remedy it?
    Thanks!
    Michael

  5. I know this is a long shot, but I am wondering if you might be able to point me toward a source for a well-loved and then lost recipe of yours. It was a dish prepared for my husband and I by a college professor in 1993, and one that subsequently became a regular in our repertoire after we graduated and married. We brought the recipe to a family reunion one year, and have not seen it since. I have it partially memorized, but there are enough blank spots that it isn’t the same dish. It was something like “Gratin of Three Cheeses with Spicy Tomato Sauce” and may have been published in the Mpls Star Tribune. It was vegetarian, and included rotini mixed with shredded havarti and mozzarella in a spicy tomato sauce, topped with parsley, parmesan and black olive slices. I have searched high and low on the Internet and have found a number of intriguing gratin recipes by you, but not this one. I would be so grateful if you could direct me to where I might be able to find this recipe. Thanks for any help you can provide.

  6. I’ve made many recipes from your Cooking School Cookbook and love the baked new potatoes with lemon-thyme butter. But, the recipe calls for an awful lot of butter. Can you suggest a way to cut down on the butter, or would doing that ruin the recipe? I’d appreciate your advice. Many thanks.

    • Hi Judy, Thanks so much for your note. You’re right there is a lot of butter in that recipe, which is from an earlier time (1980s) when I was not watching calories and fat grams!). I think you could try cutting the butter by half to 3/4 stick (6 tbsp) and replacing the other half with 4 to 6 tbsp olive oil. That way you’d get the taste of the butter but not so many saturated fat calories. Please let me know if you try this and how it turn out!

      • I will try it Saturday night when we have guests. Nothing beats turning one’s guests into guinea pigs!! I’m betting that the other butter won’t be missed. Many thanks for replying.

  7. Forgot to mention in my other posts that I lived in Lawrence KS for 35 years and was friends with Frank and Gridley Smith. Also, Pete Wiklund was my dentist and first introduced me to your books. Small world, huh?

  8. Hi Betty,
    Nancy Hancock sent me your wonderful new cookbook, “Sunday Casseroles”. Do you remember us from La Belle Pomme days? I received it today and the next thing I knew I had read it from cover to cover. Ed walked in and chose a few recipes for me to try first. Can’t wait!

    My question is whether it is possible to double the recipes as we usually feed 8-10 people and do enjoy leftovers. Are there some recipes that could be doubled without a problem? Any suggestions?

    • Hi Winkie, Of course I remember you and Ed! How special to hear from you and to learn that you have my new Sunday Casseroles. Re: doubling recipes, you could double most of them as long as you have the baking dishes to do so. If you are cooking two casseroles together in the same oven, the cooking time might increase slightly.
      Many dishes, esp the pasta ones are easy to increase. I triple the Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato Sauce on pg 139 (I have three 9 by 13 baking dishes) when Ron invites his students over for supper at our house. Hope this helps, but you know how to reach me if you have more questions!

  9. Hi Betty! I taught at Ohio State with Ron. I was chairman of the Management and Human Resources Department. I use to interact with you and Ron at the Faculty Club after the football games. Remember LSU? I have been using both of your Sunday books: Soup and Casseroles and everything I have cooked has been great and I have received many compliments. Hope all is well with Ron. Thanks for your receipes. Randy

    • Thanks so much!I’m so pleased to learn that you’re cooking from Sunday Soup and Sunday Casseroles. It’s been a long time since Ron was at OSU. He fine and says “hi!”

  10. I have been cooking your recipes for many years both from Bon Appetit and your books. I am so excited to find your blog and website, it feels like finding an old friend. Your recipes always work and are spectacular. For the first time since 1977 I am not going to renew Bon Appetit magazine. I sure miss your writing as well as many others that were so good. I am looking forward to renewing my contact with you through these sites.

    • Dear Emily, Thank you so much for such a nice note which made my day! Every food writer is thrilled to hear that readers are making this recipes! I am delighted that you found my blog and hope you’ll enjoy the recipes and stories that appear on it. I try to post every 7 to 10 days and typically included a recipe. Sometimes I post restaurant reviews and culinary tales of my travels. All best wishes and again many thanks for taking the time to send me an email. Betty

  11. Hello,
    I just got your cookbook featuring casseroles for a gift. The recipes look great.
    I made the shrimp and sausage jambalaya Sunday. The flavors were excellent. However, the time was way off. After 30 minutes I checked the dish/rice. The rice was hardly cooked. It took over an hour to get to the point where the rice was edible. Even then I raised the temperture to 375 from 350.
    Just FYI
    Joan

    • Hello Joan, Thank you for your note. I am so sorry you had a problem with the cooking time. Ovens can vary in the way they cook and sometimes dishes will need longer. (My own oven has to be adjusted constantly because it runs high.) I usually have several testers run the recipes through and ask them how long their cooking times areHoep and then take an average.

      I’m so glad you liked the flavors and hope you’ll make it again. You could raise the temperature the next time to 375 to shorten the cooking time. Hope this helps. Best, Betty

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