As a young girl in New York, dinner time at Suzanne DeWitt’s house usually consisted of a dish akin to fish sticks, accompanied always by a vegetable that came in a can.
“My mom didn’t really cook,” DeWitt says with a smile.
Needless to say, she grew up with a limited view when it came to making meals. It stayed that way until 1993 when DeWitt started watching the new television station called Food Network while spending her days at home with her infant son.
“That really got me interested,” DeWitt says. “Until then, all I had was ‘The Frugal Gourmet’ or ‘Galloping Gourmet.’”
With endless shows devoted to cooking and food, all of which offered tips, recipes and demonstrations, DeWitt was inspired. Her love of cooking was born, and gone were the days of frozen or prepared meals that came in a box, bag, or can.
These days, you’ll likely find the 48-year-old Newburyport writer updating her “Cookbook Love” food blog, or tucked away in the galley kitchen of the second-floor apartment on Orange Street that she shares with her partner, Diane Hall. The pair moved to Newburyport a year and a half ago from Rochester, N.Y. DeWitt, who is divorced, has two children: Kiera Topping, 24, and Ian Topping, 19.
Cooking offers her a creative outlet, DeWitt says, as well as an avenue for relaxing and eliminating stress. Also, a freshly made meal brings pleasure to the person eating the dish by appealing to his or her senses, such as taste, smell, sight, and even touch, she adds.
“It’s rewarding,” she says.
While DeWitt enjoys reading recipes from her vast collection of cookbooks, she doesn’t like to follow them.
“I really like experimenting,” she says. “I look at what I have and I think, ‘how can I put it together.’ A lot of my concoctions come from what’s available.”