Library’s Holiday Cookie Bake-Off is a winner for all involved

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A recipe that has traveled over the ocean and through the generations was the favorite bite Monday at the Holiday Cookie Bake-Off at the Wood County District Public Library. Jennie Whiteside won for her German Sour Cream Twists. The recipe, she said, has been passed down through many generations in her husband’s family. The winners were selected by a vote of the more than 60 people in attendance. Each attendee received six tickets to distribute as they choose, and each baker had a paper bag where the voters could deposit one or more ballots. Whiteside is living in Bowling Green while her son’s family is temporarily located here. He works for an engineering firm doing pipeline work. Whiteside said she’s been baking the cookies since 1979. The recipe has traveled with her family from Pennsylvania to South Dakota and now here. At first, the recipe she got wasn’t quite right. Then she figured out what was missing and has been making the winning recipe since. This is the first time, though, that she’s shared it outside the family. (See recipes below). Whiteside said her daughter-in-law, Jamie Whiteside, will be learning the recipe, so it will pass down to another generation. “It’s something to live up to,” Jamie Whiteside said. Her mother-in-law said part of the reason for participating in the bake-off was to show support for the library, which has done so much for her family since they’ve been in Bowling Green. “This has been a huge resource for us to get out of the house,” Jamie Whiteside said. The second-place winner was Janet Griffith, of Bowling Green. Though Griffith has been baking since she was a child, her Magic Peanut Butter Cookies are a recent addition to her repertoire. She found the recipe in the “Gooseberry Patch: Dinners on a Dime” last year. The cookies are gluten-free, but that wasn’t a concern for Griffith. She and her daughter wondered how so simple a recipe – one part peanut butter, one part sugar, one egg – would come out. Well, those attending the bake-off thought they came out just fine. Griffith was confident of the quality of the cookie though she wasn’t sure they were good enough to win a prize. Griffith is a former pre-K teacher. Last year…

Library hosting Holiday Cookie Bake-Off

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY The Wood County District Public Library  invites home cooks and baking enthusiasts to bring their best recipes to the library for a community Holiday Cookie Bake-Off. “With the popularity of television shows such as the Great British Baking Show, we thought it would be fun to offer our local bakers an opportunity to get in on the action,” said Michele Raine, WCDPL Assistant Director.  “Winners get bragging right, a prize package, and their recipe is featured in ‘Cooks Corner’ in the Sentinel-Tribune.”  The event takes place in the library’s atrium on Monday, Dec. 18 at 7 pm.  Previous winning bakers are Char Rehklau and Isabella Nardone. “The winning recipe is determined by popular vote that night, so we need both tasters and bakers,” said Raine. To participate, bring at least two dozen cookies to the library.  “The last couple of years, some of the bakers have run out of cookies, so we feel like having at least 2 dozen is pretty important,” said Raine.  Bakers can bring more than one recipe, but should have 2 dozen of each cookie for the tasters.  After all the cookies have been tasted and the votes counted, Mrs. Claus will award the prize to the winning cookie. The event also features live music from students in Vicki Hoehner’s piano studio. For more information about the Holiday Cookie Bake-Off, please call the Wood County District Public Library’s Adult Services department at 419-352-5050.

Thanksgiving brings community together to feast

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There is something sacred about Thanksgiving, with its roasted turkey and trimmings, family and friends. So when two local churches invite the community to Thanksgiving dinner, they want their guests to feel that warmth and welcome. “It’s not a charity dinner,” said Lynn Eck of Christ’s Church. “It’s a ‘let’s get together’ dinner. It’s just a way to give back to the community.” Tuesday’s feast was the 26th annual community Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Christ’s Church and Grace Brethren Church. It welcomes everyone to the table. “It looks like we’re prepared for dinner guests,” Eck said as she looked over the busy dining room in the Bowling Green Community Center. “That’s important. For a lot of people this is their Thanksgiving.” The menu featured the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, rolls and pie. The feast is cooked in mass quantities – so heaping helpings could be dished out for at least 500 guests. That included 18 turkeys, 24 industrial-size cans of green beans, 44 dozen rolls and 36 pies and cakes. “Everything is doctored up a bit so it tastes like home,” Eck said. And as usual, the guests at the 26th annual dinner came hungry and thankful for the free feast. “Half of these people were here before we even started today,” Eck said. Among those feasting in the massive dining room were Daneaka Nelson and Christian Wilson. “It’s real good,” said Wilson, as she shook some Tabasco sauce – from the bottle she carries with her everywhere – onto her turkey. But it was more than the hot meal that made the dinner special. “I think it’s just gathering around family and going down memory lane, and eating a good home-cooked meal,” Nelson said. At another table, Ken Fletcher had finished his meal while Barb Bumpus, both of Bowling Green, was still working on her plate. “It’s getting together with people,” Fletcher said, as he greeted other guests walking past his table. “I drove taxi seven years in this town, so I know a lot of people.” In the kitchen, volunteer cooks were scrambling to keep up with the steady demand. The meal relies on a dedicated team of volunteers from both churches. “Some of them, I don’t even know their names, but…

Dairy Council nutritionist shares the skinny on American eating trends

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A week before the day when Americans celebrate eating, Karen Bakies, of the National Dairy Council, gave a presentation highlighting facts and trends in how we consume food. And, she noted, we will consume a lot this Thanksgiving. She projected a graphic with such holiday favorites from dark turkey, green bean casserole, sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, and, of course, pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Tally that up, she said, and you get 2,500 calories. That’s about a recommended daily intake for a day for most adults. Add in a couple glasses of wine and the inevitable seconds, and that can balloon to 4,500 calories. One meal, one day. But consuming extra calories is just a holiday tradition. Americans are battling obesity and the diabetes it too often brings on, she said. Still very few of us, she said, are eating enough fruits and vegetables, whole grains or dairy. That was the first of 10 talking and points and trends Bakies expects that as a nutrition educator she’ll be looking forward to in 2018. Bakies was the featured speaker at the November Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation. There’s nothing simple about eating. “Nutrition is more complicated than astrophysics,” Bakies said. People eat, of course, to gain the energy they need to live, but other emotional dynamics are at work. Food is seen as an experience to be photographed and shared over social media. Food is a way of curing or fending off disease. Food is about values. That’s especially true for millennials and the younger Gen Z, whose members are just now starting their college careers. They wear their food choices like a badge, Bakies said. What people consume defines who they are and what they stand for. Here’s what will shape our talk about eating. Fattening up Topping her list of talking points for 2018 is obesity and diabetes, both of which continue to rise. About a third of adults and child are classified as obese and 11.1 percent have Type 2 diabetes. Given a child’s eating habits are established early, before they are 5, intervention needs to start at a very young age, Bakies said. Children who carry excess weigh when they start kindergarten are four…

Pass the turkey – not food poisoning – on Thanksgiving

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Sure, Butterball has a turkey hotline for novice Thanksgiving cooks on Thursday. But it’s doubtful that their emergency operators have to tell many people not to use the hot cycle of the dishwasher to thaw out their frozen turkeys. That was one bit of advice dished out by the Wood County Health District to a local food establishment years ago. When asked last week for some tips on how Thanksgiving hosts can prepare a feast without poisoning their guests, the restaurant inspectors revisited some unforgettable turkey tragedies. In many cases, restaurants want to serve up all the holiday favorites, but just don’t have room to safely thaw out giant turkeys in their refrigerators. So they devise some creative methods. Registered sanitarian Julie Nye told about the turkeys thawing in a mop sink. That’s a no-no. Then there was the turkey in the dishwasher, with the appliance working double time to also wash all the vegetables for the trimmings. “They thought it would thaw faster,” Nye said. “There are creative ways to thaw that become a public health nightmare.” The best advice is to plan ahead, so the bird has time to thaw in the refrigerator. If you find your turkey still slightly frozen on Thanksgiving morning, don’t panic. It is safe to place a turkey under cold running water to help it thaw, registered sanitarian Jillian Bodey said. Following are more safety tips from the health district sanitarians, so your guests don’t get sick from the feast. Top on the list – wash your hands … often. “The number one thing we can remind people to do is handwashing,” Nye said. That rule is especially important in between handling an uncooked turkey and any food item raw and ready to eat. “Handwashing is top for everybody,” said Lana Glore, director of environmental services at the health district. “It’s amazing what that will prevent.” And for good measure, wash the produce even if it’s labeled “pre-washed,” Glore said. You never really know if the pre-washing was as thorough as you would like. To avoid cross contamination, make sure you wipe up turkey juice that somehow seems to get everywhere in the kitchen. Don’t cut raw vegetables on surfaces used for the turkey, unless they are thoroughly cleaned first….

Aldi customers brave rain to celebrate store’s reopening

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News More than 100 customers lined up in on dank, grey, rainy morning to be the first to see the bright new interior of the Aldi store in Bowling Green. The supermarket reopened Wednesday (Oct. 12) morning after having been closed for a remodeling since Aug. 14. All Aldi stores in the United States are getting upgraded said district manager Nathan Terhark. “It’s all part of accompany initiative to improve the look of every store.” The store features a brighter look, with new signs, and wider aisles. The store’s footprint remains the same. “We made it a better customer experience to be able to maneuver through the store,” he said. Store Manager Maria Croninger said she especially liked that the store now has refrigerated produce area, the major addition to the product line. Also, wine will have a new display area. The store, said Terhark, focuses on efficiency. It carries a wide variety of items and brands, but only in a couple types of packaging. He said the chain tried to work with customers to help them while the store was closed. Other area stores in Rossford, Sylvania, and Findlay did see a bounce in customers from the Bowling Green area. Just before the ribbon cutting, Terhark stood in the rain and thanked the customers for their patience and for coming up to celebrate the reopening of the store. The first customers through the doors on opening day got golden tickets good for discounts, Customers coming in throughout the day were entered in a drawing for free produce for a year. Diane Petteys, Bowling Green, said she was glad the store was reopening. She lives close by so she does all her shopping here. While it was closed, she did shop at another local chain, but she found it “too big, too crowded.” Last week she did venture to the Rossford Aldi. “I like the convenience, the smallness,” Petteys said. “You’re not walking through a great big store, and I really like their prices.” Paula Watson, who was sharing an umbrella with Petteys, agreed with her friend’s assessment. She was particularly “excited” at the news that the produce selection would be expanding. While it was closed she tried an ordering system from another chain and found that convenient. But she’s…

Sugar Ridge Brewery opens up in historic downtown BG location

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News At Sugar Ridge Brewery the beer isn’t relegated to the tap, it finds its way into every course on the menu. Mike Mullins, the owner and the brewer, said the restaurant’s chef J.R. Hernandez “incorporates it in everything” – the sauces, the brines, even the desserts. Sugar Ridge Brewery opened at 109 S. Main St., earlier this month during the Black Swamp Arts Festival. A ribbon cutting will be held to celebrate the new eatery Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 11 a.m. Contact the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce to RSVP at or (419) 353-7945. Mullins opened on Dixie Highway in October, 2010. He operated it there until he closed it two years ago in preparation for opening the Bowling Green restaurant in the old Millikin Hotel. The new microbrewery was a long time coming. The walls had been covered in plaster and dry board and the tile covered with carpet. Mullins put a lot of “elbow grease and sweat equity” stripping the place to brick and mother of pearl tile. That renovation was done “one brick at a time” exposing the historic hotel’s original interior. Mullins started as a chef. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, he worked in Columbus as a sous chef at the One Nation and then as an executive chef two top restaurants in Charleston, West Virginia. He started brewing back in 1992. “I just always wanted to brew beer and see how it would turn out.” He has seven varieties on tap. Many of the names are a tip of the tap to nearby locales. The Falcon Ale is an American Amber Ale. Rossford Red is a Belgian-style pale ale. Sylvania Stout Mark Daniels is a foreign extra stout.  Not available currently is Perrysburg Pale Ale, a strong English ale. That was the first beer he brewed. He has a dozen varieties registered with the state, though he has more that can be added as soon as he fills out the paperwork and pays the fee. Customers can sample a variety of beers with four- or six-taste flights. Or they can bring a growler if their favorite brew home. Because he operates with a brewer’s permit he can only sell alcoholic beverages brewed in house, though he’s pursuing a license to add wine…

Rapid Fired Pizza opens shop in BG with giveaway

Submitted by RAPID FIRED PIZZA Rapid Fired Pizza will host a grand opening in Bowling Green, Ohio on Monday, September 25 followed by a 500 free pizza giveaway on Tuesday, September 26th.  The company has achieved 21 restaurant openings in just 2 years time. The Bowling Green restaurant, at 852 S Main St in Bowling Green is over 4,000 square feet and will seat 100 people.                                                      “The work week is fast paced and people need somewhere to go for a quality meal that is quick and affordable at both lunchtime and dinner.” says Ross Wiley, the franchisee and operator for the Bowling Green location.  “We are excited to finally get this location open,” stated Wiley.  The Bowling Green team expects a large turnout at the grand opening and giveaway.                                                                                 Rapid Fired Pizza offers a build your own or craft pizza that is cooked in 180 seconds.  RFP features eight sauces, eight cheeses, over thirty toppings, and fourteen dipping sauces for patrons to build their perfect pizza, there are ten craft pizzas on the menu as well.  Salads, breadsticks, and desserts are also available. Craft beer will also be available in Bowling Green as soon as the liquor licensed is processed through the State of Ohio. The concept was founded in Kettering, Ohio and has grown as fast as their pizzas cook with Bowling Green being the 21st store to open and many more under construction right behind it.  Every Rapid Fired Pizza location has flat screen tvs,  LED lighting and uses recyclable materials.   Rapid Fired Pizza opened their first store in September of 2015. For more information visit

Farmers, bar owners, beer drinkers gather to toast BG Beer Works’ all-local brew

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News W.C. Fields made its debut in Bowling Green Monday night. No, a cynical comic zombie W.C. Fields didn’t lumber into town. W.C. Fields is the latest brew from Bowling Green Beer Works, and the name stands for Wood County fields, because that’s where the grain and the hops needed to produce the pilsner originated. Farmers, business proprietors, politicians, and those with a taste for craft beer assembled at the brew pub Monday to celebrate the new beer. Justin Marx, the owner of Bowling Green Beer Works, said the beer was a labor of love made from hops and barley grown locally and brewed by Roger Shope into a traditional German pilsner, the “granddaddy” of American beers. The celebration wasn’t just for its crisp taste with just a hint of those local hops, but for the doors the brew opens for local farmers. Some had come in from the hop yard at the Ag Incubator where hops had been harvested that day. Brad Bergefurd, of the Ohio State Extension Service, said that hops provide another crop for small farmers without the large acreage needed to have a viable corn and soybean operation. Hops are labor intensive, he said. Zack Zientek, who works at the Ag Incubator, testified to that.  He checks the hop vines six times a day. But the price they fetch, Bergefurd said, is higher than corn and soybeans. Hops used to grow in Ohio, he said, until Prohibition killed the demand. Now the Extension Service is exploring bringing hops back to service the burgeoning craft brewing business. He said when and another OSU professor first discussed the possibilities six years ago, there were about 30 craft brewers in the state. Now there are about 200. The Ag Incubator site is one of three hop yards in the state the other two got funding through the Us Department of Agriculture. The funding for the Wood County site was eliminated, but the Hirzel family stepped up and provided the in-kind services needed. Craig Martahus, of Haus Malts, said W.C. Fields was “taking us back in time” when beer was brewed from local ingredients. “We’re coming back to a real local product that tastes really good.” He praised the barley grown by Ron Snyder of Pemberville for making that possible….

Pop’s Seafood reels in customers with fresh perch, walleye

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For years, Brandon Keiser has been at home on the water, reeling in perch, walleye and more exotic fish. Now, he finds himself in the kitchen, cooking up fish for customers. Keiser has combined his two loves – cooking and fish – into his business called Pop’s Seafood. The restaurant is named after his father, Jim Keiser, who also shares a love for fishing and worked for a period as a charter captain on Lake Erie. “It’s been something we kicked around the last few years,” Brandon Keiser said of the restaurant in Bowling Green’s Greenwood Centre, 1616 E. Wooster St. “Bowling Green needed something other than pizza, wings and fast food,” he said. The restaurant features Lake Erie perch and walleye, as well as shrimp, hush puppies, fries and tater tots.  The fish is fresh – at least until the lake freezes over. The fish is hand-breaded and deep-fried in rice oil, which means it’s far less greasy. “It’s been a hit,” Keiser said. “As for deep-fried, it’s the healthiest you can get.” The servings are large, and Keiser is trying to hook more customers by offering all-you-can-eat fish and shrimp specials. The winner so far for shrimp-eating is one customer who downed 100 shrimp. “He’s got the record so far. He’s up on our Facebook page,” Keiser said. “I want people to go away full and satisfied,” he said. The restaurant’s décor features stuffed fish, lobster traps, nets and photographs of Keiser’s family fishing outings. “We wanted it to be a very friendly, fun atmosphere, feeling like you’re at the dock,” he said. Keiser, who was born and raised in Pemberville and now lives in Whitehouse, grew up fishing on Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, “all over the place.” “I love Lake Erie – always have. Fishing has always been a passion.” His biggest catch was a 6 to 7 foot striped marlin in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Photos line the wall of smiling anglers holding up their prized catches. Customers are welcome to bring in their fishing photos and add them to the restaurant’s “bragging board.” “Anyone can bring their pictures up to put it on the wall,” Keiser said. This is the first time in 44 years that Keiser hasn’t had a boat….

Everyday People Cafe cooks up new twists on classic diner dishes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Everyday People Café, the newest eatery in Bowling Green, has deep roots in the city’s culinary culture. The proprietor Pat McDermott has a long history with the Corner Grill, Cohen and Cooke’s, and other restaurants in the area, and he wants to bring the skills honed in those kitchens to his own operation at 309S. Main St. At the Grill, where he worked third shift for 15 or so years, it was cranking out diner favorites quickly and simply. At Cohen and Cooke’s he got to see the adventurous side of the culinary enterprise. What was on hand, he said, is what went into that day’ menu selections. He wants to blend those two approaches. “I want it to be classics, just trumped up a little bit,” he said. He’ll have plenty of help in that with his fellow cooks out back. Steve Bishop was McDermott’s mentor at the Corner Grill from the time McDermott was a dishwasher. Chris Parratt is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked locally at Reverend’s and the Oaks on campus as well as in Portland, Oregon. McDermott has been wanting to launch his own place for a while, and the opportunity popped up when Andy Halleck and Ammar Mufleh bought the building that formerly housed the Falcon Market and Café Havana. Finding financing proved difficult, then McDermott was approached by local bar owners Nate Cordes, Michael Wahle, and Troy Myers. They were looking for a home for a liquor license they’d recently acquired, and suggested a four-way partnership. So Everyday People Café was born, a place you can have a mimosa or Bloody Mary with your hash in the morning. True to McDermott’s concept that Bloody Mary will be concocted with the café’s own mix. “We’re going to put as many items on the menu as we can that we make from scratch,” he said. “That extra bit of love, extra bit of labor, makes everything taste better. That’s something I’ve learned from 20 years of slinging hash.” Those items include muffins and cupcakes baked by his wife, Shaina. Because she and members of her families have had issues with tolerating gluten, she’ll offer gluten-free versions of all of them. McDermott said they looked around for the best gluten-free…

Naslada celebrates fine & local food with wine tastings

From NASLADA BISTRO Naslada Bistro, 182 S. Main St. in historic downtown Bowling Green, is highlighting its commitment to high quality and locally sourced foods with weekly wine tastings offered in conjunction with the Downtown Farmers Market. Opening Wednesdays at 5 p.m., the European flavored restaurant offers a tasting of distinctive fine wines from Europe accompanied by a plate of olives, cheese and savory treats and a selection of breads. As part of the bistro’s commitment to providing food that is good on the palate and good for the rest of the body, Chef Boby Mitov has worked with local bread baker David Dupont to come up with an exclusive bread. The recipe created by Dupont uses ancient and whole grains – einkorn, the earliest form of wheat, spelt, rye and buckwheat, to produce a rich, full flavor to complement the restaurant’s fare. Mitov sources as much of the restaurant’s meat and produce from as close as possible. That includes selecting the best he can find at the weekly Farmer’s Market. Mitov, who started his career back in his native Bulgaria, started Naslada in the Woodland Mall in 2003. He moved the eatery downtown in 2006 bringing an authentic continental flair to BG’s dining scene.

Survey shows Wood Countians are overweight, under-exercised

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A recent survey of Wood County adults shows that 70 percent are either overweight or obese. Few are eating the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. And few are drinking the suggested amounts of water. Ten percent of the adults said in the past year they have had to choose between paying bills and buying food. The survey also shows many would support more locally grown foods, want more accessible walking and biking trails, and would like local agencies to partner with grocery stores to provide low cost healthy foods. The 2017 Nutrition and Physical Activity Health Assessment – which is still in its draft form – is intended to help local organizations develop strategies that focus on wellness, access to care, and unmet community needs. The survey is the work of the Wood County Health District and the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio. The information was gathered from 456 local residents who completed surveys. A separate section, which came from 106 community leaders in the county, was done to see how close the answers compared between average citizens and key leaders. The survey showed that key community leaders are much more aware of healthy food options and exercise opportunities in the county. “One of the biggest gaps we identified was the difference between key leaders and the general public,” said Pat Snyder, communication manager at the Wood County Health District. “It’s not that every place needs more bike trails or parks, but we need to make people aware” of where they already exist, said Alex Aspacher, county outreach coordinator at the health district. When completed, the survey will be shared with other local entities interested in the health of Wood County residents. “We will freely share it with people who want to use it,” Snyder said. An action plan using the survey results is expected to be created by September. The partners, the health care leaders of Wood County, have made commitments in order to ensure the success of this effort: The assessment will not “sit on a shelf.” The identified priorities and recommendations will be followed up and acted on. The assessment will not be done in a vacuum. In order to be successful, any and all stakeholders will need to be involved in current…

Golf carts must pass inspections to be on city streets

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents who like to drive golf carts on city streets may soon be able to do so legally. The first step in the process was accomplished Monday evening when City Council passed an ordinance regulating under-speed vehicles. The next step must be taken by the golf cart drivers, whose vehicles must pass an inspection process. As of Jan. 1, a state law deemed it illegal to operate under-speed or utility vehicles on public streets unless they are registered, Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter told City Council on Monday evening. The city ordinance will allow the golf carts on city streets with speed limits of 25 mph, except for Main and Wooster streets. The inspection program has been set up with the local police division. The vehicles must have proper brakes, lights, turn signals, tires, windshield wipers, steering, horns and warning devices, mirrors, exhaust systems, windshields and seat belts. Once an inspection is passed, the golf cart or other slow-moving vehicle can be registered and titled just like other vehicles. Stickers indicating registration will have to be placed on the carts. Police Chief Tony Hetrick said after the council meeting that two inspection events will be scheduled for golf carts. After that, the police will do inspections by appointment only. Also on Monday evening, council passed an ordinance authorizing the trade of property with First Presbyterian Church, and the donation of land to the Wood County Committee on Aging to be used for a new senior center. Former city administrator Colleen Smith praised council for its decision to donate the property for the senior center. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said. Smith mentioned the work of the committee on aging, including the serving of more than 850 meals a day and services that are “absolutely marvelous.” In other business, two city firefighters were promoted. Jim Ritterbach, who has been with the department for 22 years, was promoted to lieutenant. Lucas Ward, who has been with the department for 17 years, was sworn in as a captain. A couple awards were also presented to local citizens Monday evening. The Bowling Green Human Relations Commission recognized the Brown Bag Food Project for its efforts to end food insecurity in the community. Marcy St. John, a…