Fraser, Colorado Shaun Berkey is a world traveler, avid reader, knitter, swimmer and sailor who plays golf, practices yoga and volunteers for the candidate of her choice. Shes also a wife, mother, doting grandmother and adventurous cook.At age 12, Shaun started a pie business although shed never made a pie. Her mother, a journalist and mother of seven, forced Shaun to purchase all her supplies so she would understand the word business. Shaun sold the warm peach pies door-to-door in her Chicago neighborhood. With a net profit of $5 for eight pies, she promptly abandoned the pie business.In college, she babysat for a family whose library contained gourmet cookbooks. From these books, Shaun prepared elaborate dinners for the family.While she and her husband served in the Peace Corps, she acquired a love for the spicy foods of their duty country, Thailand - more on this later.After a recent harrowing maiden overnight voyage in the Atlantic Ocean on their sailboat, Shaun and husband Jack set anchor in the Charleston, S.C. harbor. She enrolled in a low-country cooking class the next day. Concentrating on cooking allowed her to regain her composure after the frightful experience of the stormy sea. And she learned a new recipe for sweet potato, date and pecan hash. Nowadays, she cooks for friends and family and occasionally entertains on their pontoon boat on Shadow Mountain Lake or on their 33-foot Island Packet sailboat, which summers alone in Florida during hurricane season while they are here in Fraser, but takes them up and down the east coast during winters. Shaun said the biggest difference in the way they eat on the sailboat vs. on land is that, when they stop in a port, they usually purchase fresh produce at a farmers market. She makes stir-fries, soups and curries when at sea. Speaking of curriesTheir Peace Corps assignment to Thailand didnt come easily. They joined in 1969 and were first assigned to Libya, but never made it there because Muammar el-Gadaffi uninvited the Peace Corps to his country before they finished their language training. Then assigned to Korea, Shaun refused to go there after she learned of the living conditions and hostile treatment of other Corps members by the Koreans. The Corps finally sent them to study Thai in Hawaii for six weeks before placing them in the village of Khon Kaen, in northeast Thailand. They taught English and developed a love of the country, its culture and cuisine. However, towards the end of their stay, Shaun became deathly ill and learned she was pregnant with her first child.She spent five weeks in a Thai hospital, where she received unsuccessful treatment for pregnancy induced rheumatoid arthritis. A military aircraft evacuation to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. took weeks. Stateside medical treatment proved successful, their firstborn arrived healthy and Shaun made a full recovery. They moved to Fargo, N.D., where Jack joined the family business, a car dealership. After having two more children, Jack and Shaun both became teachers. When their children grew up and left home, they moved 50 miles east to the Berkey lake house in Detroit Lakes, Minn., which they remodeled. They commuted from the lake house to teach in Fargo until retirement.By that time, their kids were all in Colorado. Some had come here to work with their aunt, Shauns sister, in her ad agency on the Front Range. They all loved to ski, so it was only natural that the Berkeys moved to the Fraser Valley, only a couple hours drive to see the grandchildren and minutes from the ski slopes. A few months ago, Shaun invited our book club to have its meeting aboard the pontoon boat. She served two delicious dishes to go with the wine - one a fresh green bean corn salsa salad, the other an unusual lettuce wrap of chickpea salad with cilantro dressing. I asked for the recipes and if she would mind sharing other recipes as well. The Berkeys invited my husband and me for a meal and to watch the presidential debate. On land, Shaun makes good use of the grill. She served grilled pork tenderloin with peach salsa, grilled sweet potatoes and intriguing curried coleslaw. We started with flavorful zucchini bisque. A warm apple crisp, with ice cream, was really more than we needed after dinner, but it sure tasted great.The other debate dinner recipes are from her latest favorite cookbook, The Cooks Illustrated Guide to Grilling & Barbecue. Shauns bisque recipe couldnt be easier. Zucchini Bisque 3 cups boiling water 3 chicken bouillon cubes 10 cups sliced or grated zucchini 1 large chopped onion 1/2 cup butter salt and pepper dash of nutmeg1/2 cup milk Dissolve bouillon in water. Cook zucchini and onion in butter until very tender. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add milk and stir before serving. Enjoy!Contact the Highland Foodie at 970-531-1952 or firstname.lastname@example.org for the book club recipes mentioned above or for comments or suggestions.
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