by Lisa Tome
After spending his first 67 years not cooking, Fran Dixon was ready to learn something new.
Dixon, of Conowingo, made his very first homemade pizza - carefully pouring on sauce and sprinkling on shredded cheese.
"I've cooked some in my life but my wife does the cooking. I want to learn because we have an RV," said Dixon.
But he shunned convention for his cooking lesson. Dixon is learning how to cook outdoors, Dutch oven style.
Priscilla Garvin, a staffer at the Rising Sun Branch Library was the teacher. She said she got "good response" when she offered the class. Since the program was new, she limited enrollment to 10 people.
"I want to dispel that Dutch oven is cowboy cooking. You don't have to have a campfire. I cook in my driveway this way," said Garvin.
The recipes strayed far from the traditional chili or baked beans.
The class members learned to prepare and cook a salmon and scallion frittata, vegetable pizza, roasted vegetables, and a dump cake. Before the class, Garvin also made Dutch oven cottage cheese/dill and strawberry breads for the class to sample.
"People are getting ready for camping season - in the wild or their own backyard. Dutch over cooking takes longer but once you get the formula down, you can make virtually anything," she said.
She uses the charcoal briquet approach. Depending on the temperature and cook time, that is how the number of briquets to use is determined. A specific number of pre-heated charcoal pieces are placed underneath and on top of the Dutch oven.
"This is not a cooking demonstration. You will get your hands dirty," said Garvin.
Carole Rice of Perryville is about to celebrate 50 years of marriage and cooking meals for her husband. "I'm always wanting to learn something new about food and cooking. I'm going to surprise my husband and family with new meals and different recipes," said Rice. "This is something fun to do."
Eileen Rhodes of Rising Sun took the class with her daughter. "We got a new RV and I'm hoping to learn to cook with it," said Rhodes.
Lorrine Palmer of Rising Sun has a son and grandsons involved with Boy Scouts. They already know how to cook in a Dutch oven. "I don't want them to show me up," said Palmer. "I'm a down home country cook and I don't care for eating out. The more I can learn here, the better."