This grandmother and retired teacher credits Allrecipes and her fellow Allrecipes Allstars for her ongoing progress as a cook.
Cook to Follow Paula Roten AM19
Credit: Allrecipes Magazine

Paula Roten of Olive Branch, Miss., is one of 60 million home cooks in our Allrecipes community.

Where I grew up: Memphis, Tenn.

Cooking skill level: I used to say expert, until I met so many experts through the Allrecipes Allstar program.

Who I cook for: Myself and my husband, Gary.

Before retiring: I taught English and French for nearly 20 years at junior and senior high schools in Mississippi and Tennessee.

Best cooks I know: My mother and my mother-in-law. My mother has passed away now, and my mother-in-law no longer cooks. But when they did, my, oh my, it was delicious comfort food!

My approach to cooking: I love trying new recipes and rarely cook the same thing twice in a month. My husband doesn't get upset if he doesn't like a recipe because he knows he won't see it again for a long time anyway.

Who or what inspires my cooking: Ordinary people, like the home cooks on Allrecipes and particularly the Allstars. They have inspired me to try things that scared me, like cinnamon rolls and yeasted breads. They have introduced me to new-to-me foods like quinoa. They have recommended great tools like immersion blenders, meat thermometers, stand mixers, and high-powered blenders. They have given me the courage to try new things in the kitchen and be creative.

Favorite things to cook: Zippy Egg Casserole, fried tilapia fillets with capers, corn on the cob, and baked beef stew.

egg casserole
Zippy Egg Casserole
| Credit: Kathryn Gamble

Food discovery that changed my life: Okra. I roast it straight from the freezer as a side dish. I use it as a thickener. And I put it in healthy shakes.

In my fridge right now: Refrigerator pickles. I made some with sugar for my husband and some with a stevia blend for me.

One kitchen tool I can't live without: I'd say a small paring knife. My husband says a step stool because I can't reach the top shelves without it. This is true! I'm 5'2".

Obsessions: Family! My husband, my son and daughter and their spouses, and my eight grandchildren.

paula family
Paula and Family

The best advice I ever got: There's always something to be grateful for.

Follow Paula and see more of her recipes here.

This article originally appeared in the April/Maay 20119 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.