Local cook shares grandma's recipe with the world

When Monica Anderson joined two years ago, she had no idea that one day she would be asked to share her recipes with a worldwide audience.

Monica Anderson
Local member Monica Anderson with Michael Ketchum, the host of the website's traveling video show "What's Cooking?" Ketchum came to Duluth in August to film a segment in Anderson's kitchen; it debuts Thursday. Submitted photo

When Monica Anderson joined two years ago, she had no idea that one day she would be asked to share her recipes with a worldwide audience.

"I am a little bit nervous, but I'm really excited," the local baking enthusiast told the Budgeteer. "This is my first time behind the camera."

Come Thursday, visitors to the community-driven site will be able to watch a video segment called "What's Cooking?" featuring Anderson, a Richfield native.

"I shared one recipe, one of my grandmother's, for chicken roll," she explained. "It's a recipe she used to make every Sunday night."

Every Sunday night? But Anderson only laughed when I asked if she ever got sick of eating the same thing.


"No, not when my grandma was cooking," she said proudly.

In fact, her family's love of cooking is what inspired her to master the craft in the first place.

"I grew up in the kitchen cooking with my mom and my grandmothers," she said. "And my dad's a really good cook, too."

Anderson, who works for the University of Wisconsin-Superior's catering and events department, said she was initially turned on to the website by a friend.

"I loved that you could view all the different recipes," she said. "It's a great website, and I love being part of its community."

For the segment for the site, "What's Cooking?" host Michael Ketchum came out to her kitchen to learn about her grandmother's simple chicken roll recipe.

"You have to be able to, you know, read and roll," Anderson said with a laugh. "This is something anyone could make."

It's this vivacious personality that first attracted the overseers to Anderson.


"Monica submitted a photo to our site that we thought embodied our everyday home cook, and we've been using the photo in our marketing materials for years," Ketchum admitted to the Budgeteer. "When we decided to do this project, we knew we had to track her down since she has been -- unbeknownst to her -- the face of many of our campaigns.

"As with most of our members, her personality and energy were so great; once we talked with her, we knew she would be a great fit for the show."

Ketchum continued by saying that the "What's Cooking?" video series is a good way to connect site visitors to the people behind the recipes.

"We have a massive community that spans the globe, and this show gives the audience a behind-the-scenes look at some of our most active members, as well as a chance to see the tips, tricks and stories behind some of the most loved recipes on our site," he said. "It's got a mix of entertainment and education and it's very authentic for viewers because we feature real home cooks just like them. It's shot from our members' hometown and kitchen and gives the audience a chance to learn about the featured cook, the dish they are preparing and the region they live in."

Indeed, before Anderson got down to business cooking up chicken rolls for the cameras, she took the crew on a tour of our fair city -- even bringing them down to Bayfront Blues Festival. (It was shot in August.)

"We walked along the beach and we were 'bridged' at the Aerial Bridge," Ketchum said, confiding that Anderson was kind enough to introduce the term "getting bridged" to the crew. "... The filming itself went quite well and we enjoyed our creation outside on the back patio, finishing up just as the rain started.

"It's like Duluth knew we were coming and kept the weather perfect until we were done."

Monica Anderson's "What's Cooking?" segment debuts Thursday on the website Visit to check out the local cook's recipes (and ones from other users she likes).

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