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Immerse yourself with family

contributed photos — Susan Bowe is known for her German potato salad and Swiss steak.

Susan Bowe believes a good meal is one of the best ways to show someone you care. And with the high praises her dishes receive, it’s easy to see why.

Bowe has been interested in cooking her whole life, attributing her inspiration to her mother.

“As a child I was fascinated watching her cut potatoes with a paring knife in her hand without ever cutting herself, and thought that she had superpowers,” she said. “And seeing what joy the finished product would bring people, it made me want to be just like her.”

Bowe said she enjoys cooking because of the personal enjoyment she gets from it and it allows her to care for others.

“Cooking provided a way for me to escape, to forget my everyday issues, pour all my focus into what meal I was preparing and know that just like my mother, I could lift someones spirits and fill a void that you do not realize is there,” she said.

Contributed photo Susan Bowe’s Swiss steak is popular among her friends and family.

Bowe added making a meal for someone has the power to show them you love them, care for them and are willing to take the time to do something for them.

She said her favorite dish to make is her German potato salad. Bowe noted there are many different versions of this dish, but her favorite is a family recipe. Her great grandmother came up with it, but all the women in her family put their own spin on it by adding a hint of something or scaling an ingredient back. Despite this, she said “the main heart of it stays the same,” and it is always highly requested.

Bowe said any dish she makes for her children goes over well because they understand love goes into it.

“I know my kids always request my German salad, but I think it’s really any food I prepare because they feel the love and commitment I put into anything I make,” she said. “If I know a specific meal is their favorite or something they had growing up, I like to show them that they matter, to see the joy on their faces when they remember a fond memory.”

While Bowe’s cooking brings joy to others and herself, it isn’t always smooth sailing in the kitchen. Mistakes are just part of the journey and are well worth it, she said.

When asked if she has had any kitchen disasters, Bowe said there have been many through the years.

“I’m not sure you could call yourself a cook or chef if you haven’t. I mean it comes with the territory, I’ve had hot oil splattered on me, spilled hot water, almost lost a finger while cutting,” she said. “If you have a scar from cooking its almost a rite of passage. But, I wouldn’t trade those for anything because each one is a reminder of the fulfillment I got when the meal was finished, and the happy faces I saw after.”

Bowe encourages others to have family dinners, as it brings everyone together for a little bit. She said it can be a pause button from all the activity of everyday life and allow families to connect.

“Bringing joy to someone can be just a simple gesture and with the times such as these, people need to know they matter, they are needed and family is number one,” Bowe said. “The kitchen is the backbone to any family, its the heart and I think we need to bring that to the forefront, sit around a home cooked meal and immerse yourself with family.”

German Potato Salad (Hot)

Ingredients:

5 pounds red potato (uniformed potatoes)

1 pound thin sliced bacon cut into small pieces

Sauce:

2 cups cooked potato water

2 tablespoons cornstarch, stir until gone

1/2 cup white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of sugar, stir until sugar is gone

Boil potatoes w skins until semi tender. Peel potatoes and cut into small cubes. Chop one medium onion into small pieces. Put chopped onion on top of potatoes.

Fry Bacon ( keep bacon grease).

In a small sauce pan on low heat, melt 1 stick of butter and then add your sauce ingredients and stir until thickened, then you add the bacon with the fat and pour over the potatoes. Simmer until ready to serve.

Grandpa’s Swiss Steak

1pound round steak 1/2-inch thick

2 cans tomato sauce

2 cans sliced mushrooms or package of fresh mushrooms sliced

1 large onion peeled, sliced or chopped chunky

Worcestershire sauce (a few hefty shakes)

2-3 tablespoons flour

salt and pepper to taste

Cut steak in to serving size pieces. Dredge with flour so they are all covered. Put oil in a heavy skillet and saute meat over high heat until browned. Add salt and pepper. When meat has browned, add the 2 cans tomato sauce, mushrooms and onion to the meat. Swish it around in the pan so all the meat is covered. Sprinkle in the Worcestershire sauce in a hefty dose. Cover and simmer until meat is tender when poked with a fork.

Mashed Potatoes covered with the tomato sauce gravy goes well with this meat.

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Contact Anna Shearer at 641-751-6611

or ashearer@timesrepublican.com.

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