Her interest in baking is coupled with her love of cooking, she added. As a child growing up in Haverhill, she learned many basics of cooking and tips on creating meals from her father. Her parents, Victor and Jeannette Gaiero, owned Uptown Supermarket in Haverhill and the family lived upstairs from the store.
Often, she visited her father in the kitchen and watched as he prepared dishes like beef stew, fish chowder and baked beans to sell to customers.
“I learned a lot by watching him,” Gaiero said. When she was 13, she told her father she was ready to make the family dinner one Sunday. She served roast pork and squash to her impressed parents and siblings, she said.
These days, Gaiero continues to impress her family with her tasty treats — often made with the help of her “sous chefs,” her grandchildren, Addy, 6, Brady, 9, and Colby, 7. The three often offer their advice and suggestions, Gaiero said, noting that it was Colby who first suggested she try making peanut butter-chocolate whoopie pies.
“You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate,” Gaiero said.
It was for Addy that Gaiero first baked her now popular Barbie cakes. While it started off as a birthday dessert, Gaiero admits the cake is requested much more often that once a year.
“She’s 6 and I’ve already made about 12 cakes,” Gaiero added with a laugh.
While Gaiero loves to look through her pile of cookbooks (“I sit and I read them, it’s like therapy for me,” she said), she also frequently searches the Internet for recipes.
“I love making cookies,” she said. “It’s relaxing.”
But for certain events, such as Thanksgiving, she always returns to her family’s favorites. Next Thursday, she’ll bring the stuffing for dinner, made with her mother’s recipe.