Glenna Cross, a member of the Women's Club in Hagerstown, said she learned how to cook from her mother and other family members, and from high school cooking classes. She got a lot of practice cooking for her family.
Desserts were a favorite when she was a child, and they are also popular with her own children.
"We have an uncle who is true Italian. So I cook my tomato sauce all day long and make homemade lasagna," Cross said. "We just spent the winter with our daughter. She loves to come home to homemade lasagna and tomato sauce that's been cooking all day."
Like many longtime cooks, Cross has many recipes she's collected over the years. When members of the Women's Club in Hagerstown requested recipes for their soon-to-be-published cookbook, Cross submitted her recipe for a Reuben casserole.
"I got it from a co-worker many years ago," she said. "If you like a Reuben sandwich, it tastes just like that."
Cross likes the recipe's flexibility. It can serve a large appetite or a small one.
"Say someone wants to eat the equivalent of a sandwich. They can," she said. "But say someone else just wants half a sandwich. They can do that, too."
Cross said her approach to cooking has changed over time. She pays more attention to the impact of diet on health.
"We have a tendency to cook with less calories and less carbs," she said. "As we get older, we think more health-wise. I don't fry anything anymore."
Glenna Cross' Reuben casserole recipe can be found in the Women's Club's forthcoming cookbook. The book will be sold at a recipe-tasting event at the Women's Club, 31 S. Prospect St., Hagerstown. For reservations or more information, call the club at 301-739-0870.
— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor
1 bag 16-ounce sauerkraut, drained
1 pound thinly sliced, cooked, corned beef
1 pound Swiss cheese, sliced
1 cup Thousand Island dressing
1 loaf rye bread, sliced and cubed
1 stick butter, melted
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Layer sauerkraut, corned beef and Swiss cheese in dish. Spread Thousand Island dressing evenly.
Cover with bread cubes. Pour butter over bread.
Bake for 30 minutes.
— Courtesy of Glenna Cross, member of Women's Club of Hagerstown