Not all that long ago, one of the highlights of the day in many households was the nightly family meal.
Whether you call it dinner or supper - or just strapping on the feedbag - meals at one time were sacred in homes all across the country. There were not any TV trays in the living room or the radio playing in the background. Dinner was a hallowed time that helped to gather the entire family and bring them closer together.
Although that quaint scene has faded in the majority of American households, it hasn't lessened the need for quality fare or its ability to unite the masses.
That was clearly the case at Thursday night's Taste of Home Cooking School event at the Randolph County Armed Forces Reserve Center near Belington. Hundreds of people - from all culinary skills levels - gathered to watch Cheryl Cohen whip up a variety of tasty nosh that would make Julia Child herself squeal with delight and Emeril Lagasse "Bam" with excitement.
From the chicken paillarde with cherry sauce and parsley rice to the creamy jalapeno soup made with Bud Light Lime and stuffed baby red potatoes, delectable delights and aromas wafted throughout the armory tantalizing all in attendance.
It wasn't just the main event, though, that showcased culinary treats. Elk Springs Resort and its executive chef, Jerry Strawderman, treated VIPs in attendance to a sampling of goodies.
Throughout the event, Strawderman and Elk Springs Manager Betty Wilson not only showcased the fine fare the resort offers, but also edified local residents about this hidden treasure, which is in our own back yard. Wilson chatted with many area residents in the tasting room during the event who said they were completely unaware of the getaway's location, right here in Randolph County.
"It's just fantastic," Wilson said. "Two ladies I talked to had no idea we were even here. They are now planning on visiting the resort very soon."
Elks Springs wasn't the only local business highlighted during the two-hour cooking extravaganza and vendor fair. Businesses from as far away as Fairmont and as varied as Hopscotch in Elkins to Ralph's Furniture and Carpet in Buckhannon wowed those attending the event. Nonprofits, like the Randolph County Senior Center and Catholic Charities, even used the show to spread the word about their efforts in the community.
As the event concluded, it was apparent that all in attendance enjoyed the annual happening. Many in the crowd even took home door prizes donated by local businesses and the Taste of Home Cooking School.
It's events like this that truly showcase this area and bring our community closer together. From young children to senior citizens, the family oriented show helped to give participants just a taste of the old-fashioned values we all got around the family dinner table many years ago.
The Inter-Mountain and the show's other sponsors are proud to be able to offer the residents of our region such a fantastic, exciting and memorable night. Without these businesses, the many attendees, countless volunteers and the staff at the armory, this event wouldn't have been such an amazing success.
And, don't worry; if you missed this year's show, we'll see you next year.