In July 2 IssueBy Derek AaronNews-Register Editor
A Russell County couple recently authored and had published their own cookbook after family and friends urged them to do so for several years. Roger and Anita Hisle's cookbook, "Welcome to Our Table," became available just over three weeks ago and features many selections of the couple's favorite recipes.
The Hisles, who have been married seven years and live in Jamestown, have a combined 64 years in the hospitality industry through Kentucky State Parks Food Service and those many years of knowledgeable culinary time have helped them in this new endeavor.
"We decided to tackle it and it was quite an adventure," Roger said of the book, which contains everything from stir fry and desserts to various Southern comfort foods. It took around two years to complete before it was sent to the publisher, Morris Press Cookbooks, in Nebraska earlier this year.
"We tried to put recipes in there we knew and had eaten and that other people had tried as well," Anita said. "We tested every recipe that we put in the book."
After being out just a few weeks, the Hisles said they are already getting positive feedback from those that have purchased the book.
"We've sold probably a third of what we ordered," Roger said. The book can be purchased at The Porch restaurant and the Christian bookstore, both in Russell Springs, or by contacting the Hisles directly at 270-343-4312 or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are being sold for $14.95 at all locations.
"The book has 300 recipes," she said. "They're all broken down into several different categories."
Roger said it was their intent to put as many simple recipes in the cookbook as possible in hopes of luring in folks that may not be experts in cooking into trying something new.
"We tried to keep the recipes simple, without a whole lot of ingredients because people seem to like that once they start cooking," he said.
Anita shared that some of her favorite recipes include the lemon flake cake, summer squash casserole and any of the strawberry recipes.
"You can't go wrong with strawberries," she said.
Roger said that fresh vegetable recipes are very popular this time of year as folks are just now seeing the fruits and vegetables of their labor in the many local gardens the county is home to.
"We've got recipes from her mom, my mom and so many different other family and friends over the years," he said. "My mom's got a macaroni salad recipe in there that I've never seen another one like it and it is one of my favorites but my favorite in the book is the cold banana pudding recipe, it is different than any other one you've ever had."
Roger said he was also an avid Walleye fisherman so there were plenty of Walleye and other fish recipes in the book as well.
"There is no exactness to any recipe," he said. "That is the first and hardest thing I had to learn in the food business. No recipe is exact because everyone has different tastes. If you understand that and a few basics of cooking you can make adjustments to any recipe."
While the cooking responsibilities are shared in the Hisle household, both bring their own unique approach to the kitchen which allows for menu planning days ahead of time.
"We have some friends that it just drives crazy," Anita said. "We know, pretty much in advance, sometimes up to three days in advance, what we're going to have for a meal. We plan our meal … that is just the way it is."
The Hisles attends Grace Family Fellowship Baptist Church in Russell Springs where they regularly cook for the church members. The couple also has two children and seven grandchildren.
"Part of making good food has to do with the way you handle that food," Roger said. "A lot of people nowadays are in so much of a hurry and on the go that they'll use a microwave to thaw meat and stuff like that. Every time you do that it takes away from the quality of the product."
"We don't like to cook in a hurry," Anita added.
Roger's first experience in the food service business was working with Uncle Wing Lee of Wing's Tea House after school and on the weekends in Lexington, where he grew up.
In 1973, he accepted a job as area food service supervisor for the Easter resort parks where he oversaw many daily duties of ensuring food quality. In 1989 he was promoted to assistant director of food service and in 1998 he was promoted to Director of Food Service for the Kentucky Department of Parks. During his time working for the state, Roger worked for seven governors, worked 27 Governor's Derby breakfasts and seven gubernatorial inaugurations as well as national and Southern Governor's conferences, the World 3-Day event at the Kentucky Horse Park and numerous other events around the state. He has served as a board member on the Kentucky Restaurant Association, the Kentucky Restaurant Education Foundation and a charter member of the Kentucky State Food Committee.
Anita's first food service experience was working in her parent's restaurant in Russell Springs while growing up. In May of 1973 she went to work at the Lake Cumberland State Resort Park as a waitress. This began her more than 30 year career with the Kentucky Department of Parks. In September of 1990 she accepted a position as dining room trainer with the Kentucky Dept. of Parks Food Service Division in Frankfort where she worked until she retired. In 1998 she was promoted to area supervisor in food service over the Western Area Resort Parks and in 200 was promoted to administrative branch manager in food service for resort parks and in 2002 was promoted to director of food service for Kentucky's Dept. of Parks.
She worked for eight governors, worked 30 Derby breakfasts, eight governor's inaugurations and national and Southern Governor's conferences, the World 3-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park and numerous other events around the state. She served as a board member for the Kentucky Restaurant Association, the Kentucky Restaurant Education Foundation and the Kentucky State Food Committee.