After cooking up cures for a living, now Barrington man lives to cook

  • Cook of the Month Marc Salit of Barrington and his matzo ball soup.

      Cook of the Month Marc Salit of Barrington and his matzo ball soup. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Cook of the Month Marc Salit of Barrington and his matzo ball soup.

      Cook of the Month Marc Salit of Barrington and his matzo ball soup. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Cook of the Month Marc Salit of Barrington shares his recipe for matzo ball soup today.

      Cook of the Month Marc Salit of Barrington shares his recipe for matzo ball soup today. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
By Sally Sigan
Daily Herald Correspondent
Posted6/19/2019 5:00 AM

This week's spotlight lands on Marc Salit of Barrington who spent 40 years in a pharmaceutical biology lab attempting to cook up cures for diseases; now that he's retired, he loves cooking up food for his family and friends.

"I've worked in many labs, even overseas, but my kitchen is my favorite workplace yet," he said. "It's the only place I can drink whiskey on the job!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Looking back on his life, Marc feels blessed.

Marc's parents were immigrants whose families escaped war-torn Europe.

"I was born and raised in Philadelphia," he said. "I grew up in a modest 1960s house, you know, with the Formica kitchen table. I went to college, got into this industry, and it was a great company to work for. And now, here we are. Life has been fabulous."

Marc learned to cook from his mother.

"My mom and I had a great relationship," he said. "We had great conversations. We'd sit in the kitchen and talk. I guess I learned to cook along the way!"

Marc was an Eagle Scout and spent many hours cooking over an open fire, and enjoyed it again years later when his son became a scout.

Marc's wife loves to cook as well, and the pair often teams up to grill.

"I love marinating. I'll mix up the marinade, and my wife will grill," he said. "We grill everything -- meat, vegetables, fish."

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Marc enjoys cooking soups and chili. He shares his chicken soup recipe with us today.

"This is really my only original recipe; it has some unusual ingredients: basil, dill and sweet potato," he said. "You can add matzoh balls too. It's like a Jewish grandmother's chicken soup."

Marc remembers watching Julia Child on TV and now likes watching Martha Stewart. When it comes to finding recipes and cooking ideas, he likes clipping recipes from newspapers and magazines.

One recipe he shares with us today, a creamy ham and pea casserole topped with biscuits, was one of those. His other favorite go-to is the cookbook collection he and his wife have collected. When he retired, his family gave him cookbooks.

When asked what his favorite cooking tools are, he debates between his chef's knives, -- he "loves chopping vegetables" -- or his beloved slow cooker. He uses this to make his Chicken Chili, a hearty mixture of chicken and vegetables spiced with chili peppers in adobo sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Salits enjoy entertaining; they have three children, and Marc's wife has a large family. Besides that, the Salits live in an active neighborhood with great food traditions, like a recent progressive dinner.

"We like taking stuff on," Marc said. "At the age of 50, my wife changed careers; she now teaches science in junior high. I feel like I've had my career, and now I spend my time volunteering and cooking. Cooking is easy compared to what she's doing."

• To suggest someone to be profiled here, send the cook's name, address and phone number to food@dailyherald.com.

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