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  • Writer's pictureJaime Wuillermin

Home Cooking: A Blessing or a Curse?

Growing up in a household steeped in Italian culinary tradition, cooking was not just a skill but a way of life for me. My grandmother and great-grandmother, seemingly perpetually stationed in the kitchen, imparted invaluable lessons that transcended mere recipes. Their intuitive approach to cooking, relying on “a pinch of this, a handful of that,” instilled in me a deep understanding of flavors and textures that no recipe card could match.

As I ventured into the kitchen myself, I found cooking to be a natural talent. While I’ve dabbled in recipes sourced online and from friends, it’s the added personal touch that truly sets my dishes apart. For years, as a stay-at-home mom, I had the luxury of time to craft each meal from scratch, earning the praise of my family who developed a preference for home-cooked meals over dining out.

However, the demands of a full-time job and managing the schedules of three active boys have encroached upon my kitchen time. Frozen dinners and fast food have become the norm on busy evenings, much to the chagrin of my once-picky eaters turned fast food aficionados.

Yet, amidst the hustle and bustle, there are certain dishes that simply cannot be replicated outside the confines of my kitchen.

My pepperoni and cheesesteak bread, a closely guarded secret recipe, remains a family favorite. While I’m happy to share the basics, the secret ingredients that elevate it to perfection shall remain mine alone.

My culinary prowess was put to the test when I stumbled upon The Hammonton Gazette Pepperoni Bread Contest. Could my cooking captivate others as it does my family? The resounding answer was yes, as I proudly clinched two first-place awards for my homemade cheesesteak bread. Though my pepperoni bread garnered only honorable mentions, I concede there are formidable competitors in town with their own culinary flair.

Now, as a full-time employee at The Hammonton Gazette, my participation in such contests is no longer feasible. Yet, I cherish my accolades proudly displayed in my kitchen, and eagerly anticipate the joy of witnessing other talented cooks receive their well-deserved baking awards.

In the ever-changing landscape of modern life, the debate over home cooking’s role rages on. Is it a blessing, cherished for its personalized touch and familial warmth? Or is it a curse, burdening busy individuals with the pressure of culinary perfection amidst the chaos of everyday life? Perhaps the answer lies in striking a balance, savoring the moments spent in the kitchen while embracing the convenience of modern alternatives.

Jaime Wuillermin is the office manager for The Hammonton Gazette. She can be reached at


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