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updated: 8/29/2012 9:57 AM

Mary Beth Thornton, 43, Cary

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  • Mary Beth Thornton of Cary

      Mary Beth Thornton of Cary
    Rick West | Staff Photographer


Mary Beth Thornton

43, Cary

Hospital secretary

Cook of the Week: March 2012

What is your favorite ingredient and how do you like to use it? Olive oil. I go through olive oil like there's no tomorrow! I cook a lot of Italian food and most of the recipes call for olive oil. Olive oil is also very healthy for you. I not only cook with olive oil, I also use it to dress other foods like salads, soups, pastas and always have it to dip bread into. I feel that the aroma and flavor of olive oil makes a plate. Growing up we always had olive oil on our table, along with salt and pepper.

Describe your style or approach to cooking. I like to make traditional meals that the novice can make with basic ingredients found in everyone's cupboard. As well as taking traditional recipes and substituting ingredients one might not think to pair with the dish. One day I had the craving of eggplant parmesan and went out to my garden and the eggplants weren't ready to be picked. Next to the eggplant was my huge zucchini plant so I substituted with zucchini and it was a hit!

Why do you want to be part of the Cook of the Week Challenge? To see if I am really a talented cook. If I win this I will follow my lifelong dream to attend culinary school.

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