Coach a natural at cooking for friends, family and student athletes
"I have had a few misadventures," admits John Schauble with a laugh. Like the time when he was a kid and decided to broil hot dogs -- then forgot all about them. His mother's newly renovated kitchen needed renovation again. Or, the time he was using his smoker and burned down his deck. "No more smokers for me!" he says emphatically.
Despite those missteps John, who lives in Lake Zurich, still loves to cook and loves to entertain. His friends and family keep coming back for more, so he must be doing something right.
And he has plenty of recipes to choice from.
"My mom was a pretty big cook. I was an only child -- I guess my mom wanted a girl. She taught me all the good stuff, so I am pretty self-sufficient in the kitchen." John's parent's met during World War II. His mom was an Australian war bride.
"I have four or five boxes of her recipes in my garage; one of these days I'll go through them all!"
John recently retired from his 25-year career at Stevenson High School as a physical education teacher and coach (track, cross-country and swimming). He wasn't entirely successful in leaving work behind; he was talked into coming back to coaching, this time for the Palatine High School boys swim team. The truth is John loves working with young people.
"They keep me on my toes!"
There may have been an ulterior motive behind the request as well; John often brings food in for the school staff. Whether a Rueben pie, chili or his dried cherry and macadamia nut cookies that appear only at Christmastime, John enjoys feeding his co-workers.
"I had a gastric bypass a decade ago, so I can't eat half of what I cook!" he explains.
He also loves to feed his student athletes and was known for hosting a summer cookout for 20 to 50 team members.
"When I had my barbecues I would grill a lot of meat. The boys like meat. But I also would make gluten-free food, or some vegetarian food. I tried to stick to the healthy stuff."
John rarely eats dessert. "I always tell my athletes, don't eat a lot of sugar."
John makes an exception for his mother's Australian Pavlova, a light, meringue concoction created especially for the Russian ballerina's visit to Australia. He shares this recipe with us today.
John also enjoys cooking a variety of ethnic foods.
"I make a dynamite spaghetti sauce -- it's really tasty. I like to bottle it up and give it to people for Christmas," he said adding that he learned the technique from his Italian former mother-in-law.
Cooking Chinese food appeals to John as well. He has dabbled in homemade egg rolls and bean paste dumplings. When a cousin's wife served him an Indian-spiced lamb shank, John was quick to get the recipe in order to recreate it -- and he is sharing it with us.
He will do the same with a meal he has out at a restaurant, locally, or while he is traveling. Though his mother never returned to her native country, John has traveled to Australia many times and has met many Aussie cousins. He looks forward to going to Germany next to meet more cousins from his father's side.
And then there is his annual, summer trip to Glacier National Park in Montana, with a group of former cross country students. Hopefully any campsite cooking of hot dogs will not lead to another misadventure!
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