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April 16, 2024

Cookbook Igniting Culinary Passion

Category: Culinary

Author: John Danko, Culinary Director

For numerous chefs, there exists a pivotal cookbook that served as the catalyst for their culinary journey. This single book ignited an idea, unlocking a passion for cooking they may not have realized they possessed. Cookbooks transcend mere collections of recipes; they serve as windows into cultures, histories, and personal narratives. With each page turn, a new adventure, tradition, or innovative technique unfolds.

Every recipe and cookbook, whether passed down through generations or reimagined, enriches our culinary culture at Vitalia North Royalton. Exploring culinary resources nurtures and evolves our love for food and cooking.

Mom's Apple Cake Recipe Printed

My favorite cookbook, “New Cookbook” by Better Homes and Gardens, was a popular choice in the 1980s, distinguished by its red and white checkered cover. That’s the cookbook my mom frequently used for recipes when my brothers and I were growing up.

Printed Copy of Walnut Pineapple Cake Recipe

To capture my interest, a cookbook must demonstrate creativity in its recipes, and classic dishes should offer a unique twist.

Upon my return from culinary school, my mother entrusted me with her cherished mac and cheese recipe, a staple at every family holiday gathering. Additionally, my grandma’s walnut pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting recipe became mine after her passing.

I developed one of my favorite recipes: kielbasa, cabbage, and noodles.

This recipe holds a special place among my favorite dishes.

French Onion Soup


  • 1 gallon beef stock 
  • 10 lbs. Spanish onions 
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce 
  • ½ cup sherry wine 
  • 1 stick butter 
  • 3 TBS salt 
  • 1 TBS ground black pepper 
A steaming bowl of French onion soup topped with melted cheese and crispy croutons. A comforting and flavorful classic.


  • 1 bias sliced French baguette bread 
  • 1 lbs. sliced provolone cheese 
  1. In a large saucepan, cook the butter, onions, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions are a caramel brown color. 
  2. Add sherry wine to deglazed pan and remove all the flavor from the bottom of the pan. 
  3. Pour in beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. 
  4. Soup is finished. 
  5. Pour soup in oven safe bowl or crock. 
  6. Top soup with bread and the top with cheese last. 
  7. Brown the cheese in oven and set to broil. Broil until cheese is golden brown. 
  8. Makes about 10 servings. 

Generational recipes or new culinary creations can spark nostalgia and inspire our cooking journey. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook, we all have that one foolproof recipe. Don’t overlook the power of beloved cookbooks and their stories. Keep sharing and savoring the diverse flavors that await us.

VITALIA® North Royalton in North Royalton, OH offers independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near Parma Hospital and Southwest General Hospital with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Ridgewood Golf Course, Southpark Mall, Sleepy Hallow Golf Course, Cleveland Metro Parks, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and Heavily Hills Farm.

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