NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

January 16, 2013

A taste of the local life

Drawn to city by food scene, Wiley gives her cooking a fresh flavor

(Continued)

Reflecting on how she first became interested in cooking, Wiley points to her Irish heritage. During her childhood, dinner often meant boiled meals and a heaping of potatoes, she explained with a slight chuckle. If she wanted to eat the foods she craved, she had to learn to cook them.

And she did, through “trial and error,” she added. At 15 years old, she cooked her first meal: homemade meatballs and sauce. The classic recipe remains in her eclectic collection to this day, although it has been tweaked over the years.

After all, tinkering with recipes is a favorite hobby for Wiley. Often, after returning home from dinner at a restaurant, she’ll get to work recreating the dish she ate. Waitstaff and cooks will share the ingredients used in her dinner, she said, while leaving it up to her to figure out the amount of each.

In the fall and winter, Wiley can be found cooking comfort foods. With a penchant for soups and stews, she loves to mix up her favorite recipes, such as by adding fresh flavors to her tomato soup.

“We love spicy foods,” she said.

For Wiley, who can quickly cook a complete Sunday dinner within a few hours of returning home from serving as a deacon at a morning service at Central Congregational Church, it all boils down to a simple passion.

“I just find cooking very easy,” she said. “I love it all; I love food.”

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We’re looking to share the recipes and secrets of amateur cooks who have a knack in the kitchen and consistently amaze their family and friends with their culinary skills. If you know a great cook or are one yourself, email Katie Lovett at klovett@newburyportnews.com.

what’s cookin’?

Below are several of Meg’s favorite recipes:

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