Updated December 30, 2005
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in The Flint Journal Aug. 15, 2000
Flint Journal readers can stop digging through drawers and piles to find a recipe they cut from the paper last year or was it five years ago?
Food writer Ron Krueger has compiled a book of recipes printed by The Journal. Titled ``Scoops: Ron Krueger's Inside Dish on The Flint Journal's Favorite Recipes,'' the volume is chockfull of desserts, casseroles, salads, soupssomething for just about everyone.
Unfortunately, Krueger also had to dig through many piles, because the recipes were not stored on a computer or in neat files.
The cookbook is not organized in the traditional wayappetizers, main courses, salads, and so on. Krueger, in the introduction, said it made more sense to arrange the recipes according to topics. The eight chapters incorporate such themes as Readers' Choices, Farm and Orchard, Journal cook-off and contest winners and Journal employees' favorites.
The Journal's food writer for the past 11 years, Krueger has a 24-year career with The Journal, including such jobs as editing, business writing and reporting on, as he says, ``just about anything.''
Krueger wasn't always good in the kitchen. About 1978, he ``declared himself a cook,'' as he said in his first Journal food column in May 1989,``after spending about the first three decades of my life not usually knowing what I was putting in my mouth.''
Soon after that,
in an early ``food phase,'' Krueger and his family joined a food co-op.
That was during the days, he said, when cookbooks spoke of nutrition
and people were worried about getting enough protein.
`There was cheese in everything,'' he said. ``Casseroles with beans and cheese, heavy as a cement block and not very good.''
Krueger remembers that his sons, then about 8 and 12, figured out just about every way possible not to eat the cement, from giving it to the dog to flushing it down the toilet.
Krueger also went through a phase where he got a wok and ``stir-fried everything but Cheerios.'' He said his wok concoctions were fairly edible,compared to the casseroles he made.
In the 1980s, Krueger took some cooking classes at the International Institute. He also poured through issues of Gourmet magazine and became a fan of ``nouvelle cuisine,'' which was popular at the time.
``I remember believing that my challenge was to serve to my friends food they could not possibly recognize,'' he said.
Krueger still remembers the first seven-course gourmet dinner he made for his family, soon after his first cooking classes.
That not-so-memorable meal is chronicled in a May 1983 Tempo story in The Journal. Suffice it to say that the meal was not a raging success. Especially the cream of lettuce soup, which one of his sons described as ``algae.''
Eventually, he was able to please the palates of his offspring. By the late 1980s, Krueger had learned to make a pizza that his sons pronounced ``pretty good.''
``I developed a repertoire of easy, kid-friendly foods, like Cincinnati chili, pasta, things with grated cheddar foolproof for kids,'' he said.
Krueger said he hopes people will use ``Scoops'' to help overcome the aversion to cooking that was common in the 1990s.
``I think the trend toward two-career families overrode cooking dinner at home,'' he said. ``Now, there is a segment of baby boomers that wants to get into the kitchen, to do some `weekend cooking.' ''
Nowadays, Krueger is more moderate in his kitchen creations, favoring homey, bistro-style foods. He enjoys potlucks with friends who also like to cook. He says eating is fun, an important part of life, and people shouldn't just eat to live. Rather, his philosophy is embodied in his car's license plate: LIV2EAT.
``Scoops'' is for sale for $12.95. The cookbook can be ordered by mail for $5 extra for shipping and handling. For more information, call 810.766.6275.