If you know Becky Berwig, there’s a good chance that when you met she was wearing an apron and talking food and recipes, and the fun of cooking with the right tools. As a Pampered Chef director and consultant for twelve years, Becky has had the opportunity to reach thousands of Northwoods cooks.
“I love to teach,” she said. “Just last night I did a (Pampered Chef) party for about eighteen young women, and I showed them that they didn’t need to spend a lot of money on eating out, going through the drive-through, and showed them how they could make the same foods more healthy and more economically at home.”
Recipes, Berwig is fond of saying, are just guidelines. “I will usually make a recipe the first time the way it’s written. Then I start tweaking it to fit what works for my family.”
But what does this experienced cook prepare in her own kitchen? Comfort food is what the family falls back on.
“I have very adventurous older son (Hunter), very adventurous husband (Frank), and a younger son (Billy) who is getting there,” Becky said in response. “We cook just about anything; I use a lot of Pampered Chef recipes but we also have a bunch of our parents’ recipes. We have hand-written recipes from Frank’s parents, and my mom… and my dad loves to cook.”
Cooking is an ‘all in the family’ kind of effort. Frank likes to cook, and the boys are interested in cooking, and like to help prepare dinner, Becky said. “I’m glad I am bringing that interest in cooking to my kids and know that they will be able to take care of themselves when they leave the house.”
Becky’s dad won a cooking contest years ago. Now he is a bona fide foodie. “He loves to try anything. He travels a bunch and tries the local specialties. He’s not intimidated by ethnic cuisine.”
Nor is Becky. She accompanied her dad to Africa in 2010. They camped on the Serengeti and ate authentic African food during their ten-day safari.
“The food was very plain. It’s a poor country; we ate lots of beans, lots of rice,” she recalled. “We had box lunches often, which consisted of three chunks of bread with a thin slice of cucumber. And bananas- lots of bananas!”
The pair participated in a Maasai meat eating ceremony the last night of the trip. It’s part of a coming of age ritual for young men in this semi-nomadic culture. The meat eating ceremony was all about eating meat, and plenty of it.
“We sat down on logs, and they came over and put this stick of meat in the ground between my dad and me and they sliced off a piece with a machete,” Becky said. “It’s tradition to eat the liver first, and you don’t just eat a piece, you eat until it’s gone. We ate half a goat!” And as a digestive aid, the meat was followed up with a pinkish soup made of unknown parts of the goat. Their hosts claimed it was made from wood, but all Becky knew was that it tasted as horrible as you’d imagine it would.
While those wild specialties are not likely to be replicated at home, the Berwigs compiled several of their more tame favorites to share with us. Enjoy!
Contact Becky for more information at pamperedchef.biz/becky.
Beef Rouladen (Pigs in a Blanket)
2 lbs. slices top round steak, ¼” thick
Salt and pepper
8 strips bacon
2 lg. onions, chopped
Round toothpicks (do not use flat)
Trim any fat from the meat & cut into pieces about 1 ½ x 5”. Salt and pepper each piece to taste. Sprinkle w/flour and place chopped onions & uncooked bacon on top. Sprinkle more flour on top. Roll up the meat and secure w/2 toothpicks. Brown meet in a skillet, place the rolls in a large pot, cover with water and add more onions and salt & pepper. Simmer until the meat is tender. Be sure to keep the meat covered with liquid at all times to prevent dryness. When the steak rolls are done, remove the liquid, taste liquid for seasoning. Thicken the juice with flour and water, return the steak rolls back to the pan. Serve with mashed potatoes, the gravy is wonderful.
1 egg, beaten
1 10-3/4 oz. can condensed tomato soup
¼ C. long grain rice
2 Tbs. finely chopped onion
1 Tbs. snipped parsley
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
In a bowl combine egg and ¼ cup of the soup. Stir in uncooked rice, onion, parsley, ½ tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Add beef and mix well. Shape meat mixture into meatballs, place in skillet. Mix remaining soup w/Worcestershire and ½ cup water; pour over meatballs. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Cover and simmer 35-40 minutes, stir often. Serves 4-5.
½ C. butter
1 C. water
1 C. flour
1 lg. pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 ½ C. milk
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. Cool-whip
Boil butter & water, remove from heat. Add flour and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Spread in a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 400’. Cool. Mix pudding and milk, blend into softened cream cheese. Spread over crust. Spread Cool whip over filling. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.
½ lb. ground beef
¾ C. chopped onion
¾ C. shredded carrots
¾ C. diced celery
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
4 Tbs. butter, divided
3 C. chicken broth
4 C. diced, peeled potatoes
¼ C. all-purpose flour
1 8-oz. pkg. process American Cheese, cubed
1½ C. milk
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
¼ C. sour cream
In a 3 quart pot, brown beef, drain & set aside. In same pan sauté onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 Tbs. butter until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and beef; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover & simmer 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter, add flour; cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper, cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat, blend in sour cream. Serves 8.
2 lbs. beef cubes
2 lbs. pork cubes
(Or 4 lbs. chop suey meat)
1 med. Onion, sliced
4 stalks of celery, diced,
20 fresh mushrooms, sliced, or 1 larger can
1 lge. can bean sprouts
1 lge. can chop suey vegetables
1 can bamboo shoots, drained
3 cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
Put 2 tablespoons oil in large sauce pan. Add meat, onion, celery and ½ cup water, cook on medium heat, covered, until meat is brown. When meat is tender add mushrooms, bean sprouts, chop suey vegetables, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Add molasses until the color is dark brown. Use soy sauce to satisfy taste. Thicken with corn starch to desired thickness.