I can't tell you how thrilled I get when readers tell me how the Daily Herald Food section has inspired them.
Recently Terri Edmunds of Naperville reached out to let me know what she's been up to since participating in our 2012 Cook of the Week Challenge. Edmunds, a working mother and diabetic, made it to the final four of the contest that year.
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Even before the challenge, she was the go-to gal for planning and cooking school luncheons and scout banquets and would auction off her services as a dinner party chef to raise money for neighborhood schools. And even though the Cook of the Week Challenge focused on the savory side of the kitchen, it inspired Terri to take chances and bake more, and she recently started a business, my little cupcake by terri.
"It's been a learning experience and I'm having fun testing and creating my very own cupcake recipes and designs," Terri says. "I've even taught myself how to make fondant to create professional looking cupcakes. Recently, I even developed my own chocolate vegan cupcake recipe which is my favorite."
Terri, who works in marketing for a global telecom company, has some bigger plans but in the meantime is happy to provide cupcakes for private and corporate events. Her services include birthday parties, where she will teach kids how to frost and decorate cupcakes for the theme of the party.
Hall in the house: Meet Carla Hall, co-host of ABC's "The Chew," when she stops at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville next week.
Beginning at 7 p.m. April 15, Hall will talk about and sign copies of her new cookbook "Carla's Comfort Foods." The book is a well-organized collection of 130 recipes that offers basic comfort food favorites and then translates them into globally influenced versions.
"I follow threads of flavor through cultures and ultimately put together a dish that's easily accessible in taste and execution," Hall writes.
Anderson's Bookshop is at 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville, (630) 355-2665. Priority numbers are available to hold your place in the book-signing line with the purchase of the new book at Anderson's.
Appetite for books: Harper College is cooking up a delicious celebration for National Library Week and is inviting community members to participate in its seventh annual Edible Books Contest.
How about crafting a "Cake Boss"-inspired whale as a nod to "Moby Dick"? Or vegetables carved into characters from "Divergent"? Past submissions have included a caterpillar crafted from three dozen cupcakes in an ode to the children's book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," as well as Rice Krispies molded into a battle droid to represent "Starship Troopers."
There are four categories: best representation of a children's book, favorite character, best representation of an adult book and this year's selection for the One Book, One Harper community reading initiative, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."
Library assistant Melissa Goeppinger said all types of sweet and savory cuisine are welcome. "It doesn't need to be cake or even dessert," Goeppinger said. "We once had a sushi tribute to Hemingway's 'The Old Man and the Sea.' The purpose is to celebrate and encourage reading."
Participants have until April 14 to complete an entry form, available at the Harper Library, Building F on the college's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road, Palatine. Submissions are due between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. April 16. Winners and prizes will be awarded at 12:30 p.m., at which time a slate of judges will slice up the entries for attendees to eat. More details at harpercollegelibrary.weebly.com or (847) 925-6184.
• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at dpankey@dailyherald. com or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend at Facebook.com/DebPankey.DailyHerald or follow her on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter @PankeysPlate.